An artist friend loaned me

An artist friend loaned me his copy of the 1968 underground classic film, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. I'd seen clips of the film before, and it played at Sundance one year when I was partying there. But this William Greaves landmark is pretty amazing to watch. The film is a combination of "screen tests" or early scenes of a feature film and the "behind the camera" documentary of the making of the feature. As those familiar with Souvenir (November 2001) can appreciate, the contrast between scripted&unscripted, the use of documentary tools to tell a story, etc. are ideas the film explores. Well, in Symbio, Greaves doesn't just explore these ideas, he riffs on them with amazing fluency (Miles Davis soundtrack >> obligatory jazz metaphor).

Earlier, Olafur (another artist friend) and I grabbed some milkshakes during his whirlwind US tour. He's reaching an amazing level in his work, with a sustained fluency and engagement over a daunting number of complex projects, almost all at once. Even as I focus intently on Souvenir and almost everything about it (finetuning, critical reception, marketing and promotion, the potential impact on the WTC Memorial debate), he made a really good point that it's the process, the continuous production that's actually more important. A first project is a trial/test; the second is a reaction/correction; the third is the first real coherent/comprehensive attempt; it's really the fourth project that has the greatest potential/expectation. A very useful perspective to be reminded of. And one that hits home these days when I'm regularly statuschecking myself and my longer term prospects/plans.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

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first published: July 19, 2002.

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