Tuesday, November 11, 2008

today is veteran's day.

for those of you who don't know, my partner is a veteran who served six years in the us navy. during this time, i was mostly in college. when i think about the vast disparity of our experiences, it is dizzying. this is what inspired me to make the project i am currently completing, an investigation into the existential qualities of enlistment. i wanted to make a piece about enlistment that was removed from the context of combat and war, that dealt more with the everyday of the military life. i chose to focus on the navy because of my existing connection to veterans and also because the navy life is fairly constant whether or not one is in a combat zone: living on a ship, in the middle of the ocean. 

the scope of this piece is very limited, and that's pretty much how i approach every project. not only is it totally futile to try and include "everything" in a documentary, i don't have nearly enough resources to even BEGIN to TRY to do that. instead i try to focus on the microcosm, hoping it can speak to the macrocosm. so my work is not meant to be the last word on any one issue, but rather just a piece of the dialogue. 

it has been a particularly stressful week. i often try to take on a lot because i seem pathologically incapable of the alternative, and often i find that the more i have to do, the more i get done. however, this semester has been a lesson in the art of pushing overcommitment over the line into insanity. i feel like i am constantly juggling, and that i have to always drop some balls/babies/chain-saws to keep the majority in motion. everything has suffered, and everything i have tried to accomplish this semester so far has been a resounding failure. between meltdowns i have been coaxing myself into treating this four months as a learning experience, rather than incontrovertible evidence of my incompetence as a maker. 

things i have learned:
- i seem to do my best when i make durational work that is not appropriate for the gallery.  i have a show next week where i am debuting a video installation and a performance and i am pretty sure both are going to be disappointing. but hey, i tried. 

- i really am not the best at interviewing. it's funny; i've been interviewed for several student docs and i've never had trouble giving detailed responses to questions (big fuckin surprise there). but dealing with other people, especially reticent people, as many ex-military types can tend to be, has been difficult for me. i have been reviewing the hours and hours and hours of interview footage and i am at the point where all i can hear is everything i did wrong: "i should have pressed him to elaborate on that, i should have made him be more specific, i should have tailored the questions more to each subject", and on and on and on. this is the first piece i've done involving active interviewing, and hopefully next time will be better. 

- i really don't know anything about technology. i can handle editing in fcp ok, but when it comes to codecs, exports, aspect ratios, compression, and suchlike, man am i a dumbass. i should really try to take some lynda.com courses over winter break to get some knowledge before i actually get let loose on the world! 

i registered for my final semester of classes yesterday. my SIXTEENTH semester of school in a row. i think i'm done for a while after this, guys. i AM thinking about a phd in science fiction studies, but that shit can wait. 

i am taking a winter intensive on film editing, which will talk about the conceptual side rather than technical side, and is being taught by the woman who edited apocalypse now. so that's cool. and it frees up some time for me in the spring that i WON'T have to spend in the classroom and can instead spend hunched in front of my computer. 

i am also taking:
critique with janis crystal lipzin
critique with john priola
tutorial with laetitia sonami
and a tutorial with matt borruso, a painter, who is teaching my dystopian science fiction class

i am also going to TA for a digital painting class, which is kind of hilarious. 

this will be a nice, light schedule. i'm looking forward to not doing ANYTHING but artwork for a few months. 

in future posts, seriously, i promise i'll have photos. i have not had a chance to go to any openings (actually that's not true, i went to one on the 4th, but there was live coverage of the election being streamed in the gallery so i was kind of distracted) or do anything really worth taking pictures of. 

also i want to talk about the class i'm teaching and my experience taking tutorial with trisha donnelly, whom i adore completely.

the media blitz:

reading: talk to me, by anna deveare smith, and what the best college teachers do
watching: silent running, the man who fell to earth, children of men (goddamn that's a good fuckin movie), better off dead (eighties teen movies are so weird and dark compared to shitty nineties teen flicks) and terminator 2 (i'd never seen it! can you believe it? it was rad). 
considering: how to not lose my shit completely all the time anymore, how to be more of an (asshole) effective interviewer, time management, inspiration, what the fuck i'm doing with my practice. la la la.

No comments: