We possess art lest we perish of the truth. ~ Nietzsche
I think that by all measures and standards I would be considered a hack as a jazz guitarist. That does not detract from the pleasure I receive through being creative and learning new melodies on the guitar.
People such as Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, George Benson and Kenny Burrell hear things that lie beyond my ken – sounds, nuances, flavors, tones, melodies and harmonics that are “uniquely familiar” to my consciousness. By “uniquely familiar” I mean that my mind would not have thought that these divine and delicious things existed, but once exuberantly assimilated they give me fresh insights into the beauty both in nature and created by human beings.
We are living amidst a massive explosion of human creativity and artistic expression. And despite the unsustainable ecological damage caused by late capitalism as it continues to fail to see planet earth a holistic living organism, so many people in first world countries have the ability to employ new technologies to express themselves in truly profound and wonderful ways hitherto unimaginable.
A friend recently set up an Instagram account for me and I quickly decided that I would try to help raise consciousness by founding a little museum called “Le Petit Musée d’Ira.” While traveling around the world I had accumulated hours of footage shot on a $138 FLIP camera in over 100 different amazing locations. Probably 35-40% of this footage was used making my meditation DVDs but the rest lie fallow on my iMac hard drive. I started skimming through it in iMovie and quickly noticed that many things that would be considered cinematic “mistakes” – camera flares, windstorms, people walking through shots, unexpected waves crashing, birds, etc. – were actually like some of the “mistakes” or experiments that make jazz so electrifying and poignant.
Speaking of Hal Hartley’s debut masterpiece “The Unbelievable Truth,” (shot in the late 1980s for $70,000) producer Ted Hope said, “The budget is the aesthetic,” meaning that the long takes that make the film intensely unique were actually the result of having to be resourceful under budgetary constrictions. Similarly, I took Instagram’s 15 second limit as such a constriction that would determine the aesthetic. In iMovie I placed the exquisite first 15 seconds from Brian Eno’s 1/2 from “Music for Airports” on the audio track and then started importing all of the “mistakes” or outtakes from my DVDs.
“Le Petit Musée d’Ira” will have 100 videos that elucidate phenomena that occur every day but are often missed because we are too busy to notice them: suns setting, clouds passing, leaves rustling, people bustling, children playing, birds flying, waves crashing, reflections beaming, etc.
So please allow me to thank all of the people behind the (now defunct) FLIP camera, iMovie and Instagram that allow hacks like me to be creative, manifest our artistic visions, have a little fun, and contribute whatever we can to raising consciousness around the beauty in the world.
When you have a moment please explore “Le Petit Musée d’Ira.”