Saturday, April 02, 2011
Excess of Containment: a brief, partial manifesto of avant garde artistic and literary practices that is belied by its excessively long title
For all of the criticism from English teachers that it is difficult to teach the writing of avant-garde poetry and literature, it is not if you have the right approach. The avant garde is playful. It is only when you are trying to create something perfect, beautiful, it's a chore: a chore to write, a chore to "try" to be avant-garde, to think up the next new great technique when we all know (this is for you Rosalind Krauss et al) that the avant-garde is all about stealing to make art, appropriating, not originality. The true avant-garde artist it would seem should strive to be the least original (but then there is an art to being creatively unoriginal or uncreatively original but then we get back to trying too hard). Appropriating not originality. That frees you up to actually be creative, if creativity is within you, and it is. Some may just have to excavate more, be more unoriginal more often that others in order to dredge up a remnant of creativity from the dregs of anti- non- un-creative subconscious. It will be unlocked. The form creates the container, the structure that will allow its own excess to bubble up like a cesspool of creativity, an excess of containment, an excess of form that enables a glorious excess of content, that feeling that I can put anything into this structure, not the drudgery of a blank page, but the excitement of a child towards an empty box that could be a house, a train, a robot head, infinite possibities lie in the empty container, not on the blank page.