Sunday, February 10, 2008

Closer to God II

First Casting for Milo (2004) by photographer Joel-Peter Witkin

Did I mention that I never paid any attention at all to Nine Inch Nails until two days ago?
I don't yet know NIN well enough to know what I think of Mr. Reznor; but I'm intrigued to meet in his work questions and people I've met before, such as the disturbing beauty of Joel-Peter Witkin's photographs.

After having stumbled across NIN's song "Closer" (by watching all the Star Trek videos --Closer to God I-- on YouTube), I watched NIN's own music video of "Closer," which I don't recommend if you're squeamish:

Many of the images in it are drawn from Witkin (the image above is not representative of the video--I chose it for the cute dog) and painter Francis Bacon, whose figures end up looking like raw meat.
Directed by Mark Romanek, the video is part of New York's Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.

It's very undomesticated stuff, which I appreciate.

One of the problems I ran into with the Catholic Church was
its [our] overdomestication of spirit, its reluctance to get down and dirty and honest--about faith, about flesh, about self.
We cover over the messy, wild bits, which isn't a bad idea if you are doing a lot of committee work.

But avoiding the inconvenient demons of our natures is contrary to the work of being an artist--or a saint.
Addressing this problem of self-censorship on his site, Romanek offers this advice for aspiring artists:
people need to discover and follow their own unique path. perhaps the best advice on the topic i've ever come across is from [filmmaker] john cassavetes:

"you have to fight every day to stop censoring yourself.
and you never have anyone else to blame when you do.
what happens to artists is that it's not that somebody's standing in their way, it's that their own selves are standing in their way. [italics mine]

the compromise really isn't how or what you do, the techniques you use, or even the content, but really the compromise is beginning to feel a lack of confidence in your innermost thoughts.
...
these innermost thoughts become less and less a part of you and once you lose them then you don't have anything else.
so many people have so much to say and there are so many really worthwhile things to say that it seems impossible that we could cut ourselves off from this whole avenue of enormous excitement."

from cassavetes on cassavetes
edited by raymond carney

1 comment:

bink said...

The dog does look every bit like a smooth coat fox terrier, except that it is unusual for that breed to have it's ears stand up...of course, Mr. Witkin could have arranged of that in the same way that he painted the woman white. I love it!