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.