Monday, November 24, 2008

Paragraphs about Synecdoche, NY

Joe Young sent me a thing explaining just what's the deal with microfiction and it inspired me to write a thing about experimental literature (sorry Justin Taylor but I think I'm using the word I mean to use). Along the way I talked about Synecdoche, NY. Here are those paragraphs, the ones in which I talked about the movie more than just to say one little thing about it. I like abstracted paragraphs sometimes. This thing I'm writing is still in process. So:
The four of us discussed the act together, and it seemed natural that the film Synechdoche, NY would be discussed. Like Terry’s piece, viewers watch Caden, the protagonist in the film, develop his play, or more accurately, develop an alternate reality predicated upon an actuality obscured by its own actuality, or in other words, an alternate reality based so closely on the characters’ lives that they are incapable of realizing there is no distinction between their lives and their art. They are always ignorant of the fact that they are always performing. One actor complains, “When are we going to get an audience in here? We’ve been working on this for 17 years.” So the film, then, makes infinite, constant switches from what the “play” is about (via the notes that Caden gives in his directorial capacity), and the production of the piece. Synecdoche, NY, like Terry’s performance, is discombobulated in many other ways, but here we are concerned with attempting a brief comparison of “Art” with Caden’s role in his play, stopping at other experimental literature on the way.

When he gets to work on the project, Caden – who hires an actor to play himself – outlines bombastic goals. There is a similarity between the directions he and I seek in our work: while most of "Art" is spent looking for a mode of creation, Caden searches for lives to preserve. The difference is that for Caden, the process is the final product. Process is the essential element, and Dan, unlike Caden as well as his friend Rob misses that. It is also relevant that Caden manages the development of the play that he is writing synchronously with the play his double stars in. In this way, Caden can make speculations about what matters in life and simultaneously reenact those moments. I like it when, in his Philosophical Fragments, Kierkegaard points out that the “speculative individual,” someone who determines the results of his life must at that moment – poof – stop living. Kaufmann gets this, and he wants Caden’s alternate reality to be real, not burdened by contrivances like plot or even a script. In theatre as in life, everything can be reduced to a question of motivation. Caden's assertion on this subject are not unlike Dan's; take, for instance, his (cranky) sincerity when outlining the elements of his piece. Vacuum cleaners and leaf blowers are still uncommon media for serious art, but they are the things Dan finds natural to use.
Sorry about that.


Joseph Young said...

Dan Steinhilber? Cool. Looking forward.

Adam R. said...

How did you know that? I will send it to you now.

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