Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Take-away from Jake Pinholster

One of the things I value most about my grad school experience is this little tidbit:

There is a great value in arriving at the intended destination when it comes to art.

I audited a class on performance technology last semester.  There were tons of amazing projects that were presented during the term, but one sticks out because it was graceful, intelligent, simple and stunning.  One of the students worked with physical motion and the Kinect to create a real time digital display of light and motion.  It was an alluring piece in that it took an already beautiful thing -- the motion of the human form -- and turned it into a Universe of lights.

Jake asked the student if he had stumbled upon the patch to make the Kinect work or if the student had started out to achieve this outcome.

The student had indeed known what he intended to do, found a way to do it, and made it happen.  This was no happy accident.

So many pieces of theatre and performance that I've seen have had the "happy accident" syndrome.  It's a high for a performer to make an accident "work."  But we must take these as learning experiences more than art, I think.

Jake's question reset my thinking to a new purpose.  Get to where you want to be, plow the path before you.  Don't settle for what you get, make what you WANT what you GET.

You've heard of that old sexist adage of separating the men from the boys.  Well this is the artistic equivalent.  By finding the path to a goal you separate the artist in you from the accidentalist in you.

Yes happy accidents are aptly named.  They make you happy. and they are accidents.

Preproduction is all about prior planning preventing poor performance.  Don't rely on the happy factor, rely on your ability to get to the destination.

So there you have it.  Jake Pinholster summed up my grad school experience in one question:  Did you mean to do that?

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