Repetition

My wife shared with me a trait she attributes to my illness– that, particularly in art, when I start a kind of task or trend, I do the same or a similar thing over and over again many times.

I often defended this as “practicing”– or, as Brian Eno suggested in his Oblique Strategies cards, “Repetition Is A Form Of Change”.
That is my view.

To my wife, a repetitive work ethic seems strenuous and extreme, and lacking in variety. She feels that it is my schizophrenia that prompts me to create in this fashion.

Perhaps an example of this would be my musical project, “Grid Resistor”. As Grid Resistor, I created over 26 hours of industrial drone textures in about 5 months. All sounds used in each piece were machine sounds that I had recorded. Each release was over 1 hour in length. The tracks had a naming convention, based on the date and point in the day that they were recorded. There was one release for each letter in the Greek Alphabet, and that letter was the release title.

A record label called the Grid Resistor project, “a window to an introspective and sterile world”.

Another example of this kind of creativity was when I used certain graphic processes to pixelate and otherwise manipulate photographs. I made hundreds of images, therefore, based on squares. This concerned my wife, who suggested that people had no need for so many works that were so similar.

All of this activity seemed perfectly normal to me. I am not sure how my friends on social media felt. The only phenomenon I noticed was that they tended to pay less attention if I did too much of the same thing.

What do you think? Do I exhibit good practice or is my creative process twisted and obsessive?

Author: mystified13

Sole member of Mystified and Mister Vapor.

2 thoughts on “Repetition”

  1. Monet painted many pictures of the same iconic water lily filled pond, over many years. Every one of them today is a treasured work of art.

    Once I went to a Monet retrospective, where all the paintings he did of the same topic were displayed next to each other, gathered together in the same place. Sometimes, only a single element was changed, like a single hue or different time of day. The same view of his lilies, over and over and over, through the years. Here is an old movie clip of him painting in his garden, dated 1915. https://youtu.be/BJE4QUNgaeg

    The life story presented at the gallery said Monet had significant sight issues, that could not be entirely corrected by lenses. As he got older and his eyesight got worse, the paintings of the water lilies got more rough, the colors more dark colored and garish, still pretty but much more abstract and painterly.
    (In the old clip, he may not be wearing lenses, hard to tell, but he may not have worn them for filming this little vignette.)

    I marveled, looking at all these water lily paintings, that this artist who influenced the whole movement of Impressionism, and one of the most famous of his era, may not have been trying to paint a new style. He painted his waterscapes like any other painter, he painted what he saw. He couldn’t see clearly the way we do, he saw things differently, so that’s exactly what they looked like to him. What an amazing and unique perspective, so generously shared through his dogged pursuit of his art!

    So keep practicing your art, (and your music) exactly as you are, every expression is a revelation into a new and different perspective, broadening the minds and horizons of all who experience them. Your point of view from your brain is as real and unreal as ours is for rest of us. You are gifted by being able to share your mind and thoughts through your art. Very few of us are free from illusion, and all of us are limited by the temporary container we currently occupy. Thank you so much for showing us your world, and contributing to humanity in your own poignant and unique way.

    – Madhavi

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    1. What a thoughtful and interesting response.

      I do find that general commerce and culture do not adequately allow me to convey the kinds of things I would like to, in the ways I would like to. Something about today’s world, it’s pace, how disjointed it is. How non-reflective.

      Sometimes, I think that in trying to express my inner peace, thoughts and feelings, the only path I can take is to criticize or call into question what most of us are asked to assume.

      I admit, perhaps that is an effort to undermine (in non-violent ways) our culture, and to throw a light on some of its problems and inadequacies.

      I am glad you brought up Monet, as he is a painter who pro-actively, in spite of various challenges, created many beautiful things and shared them with people. Clearly, though painted in a traditional manner, as you suggest, there is more to a Monet painting that just what one sees (as I realize you know, too).

      I like the quiet, natural moods I often find in impressionistic paintings. I was fortunate enough to see a show of the impressionists years ago at the Chicago Art Museum. I was impressed both with the size and contemplative qualities of the works.

      My wife, incidentally, also likes the impressionists. It is probably no coincidence that she very much loves nature, too– especially being in nature.

      Thank you, once again, for being so supportive.

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