A Personal Method, Or Just An Excuse For Fun?

February 6th, 2011 § 0 comments

One’s life can be seen as a collection of rich and colorful events that happened spontaneously, serendipitously, and sometimes unexpectedly. One may also choose to further enrich life’s fabric of events by responding to challenging events more actively; in this case, even charging the responses with a rebellious and unwilling to conform personality, or getting to the extent of discretely engineering some situations to allow him to step in and make a statement through such response.

I’m not compiling stories together in a single space – rather than reserving them for good conversation over a fine wine with friends – gratuitously. Seen together, they are thought of to conform a bildungsroman of sorts, a narrative constructed of snapshots that draw a picture of how “nature and nurture” or “DNA and environment” play a role in the construction of a personality. They are factually true, and so are the elements, cast of characters and scripts.

It would be strange however to think about life’s events as totally separated from one’s life philosophy or so I suppose.

Mine was, since birth completely entrenched in the artistic practice and thought around me. The idea of the bildungsroman comes from literature, and a kind of literature championed in the XVIII and XIX centuries, with Goethe’s young Werther and Stendhal’s Julien Sorel as its outmost champions. I don’t imply that my life has been infused with the myriad of misfortunes these two characters had to endure; merely that I can certainly see how our present character developed through our responses to certain events that demanded us to take a stand and act in a certain way .

This philosophy of not letting suggestive events pass before my eyes without my active reaction is something that I keep to this very day, and that is the main reason why these narratives are still important to me now.

Literature is not the only artistic source of the thinking behind this.

The other line of thought comes from the performing arts, particularly from the method created and taught by legendary director and actor Lee Strasberg. Some of my parents’ friends and their children were actors and movie directors, and during the 80s and 90s, when I spent my childhood and teenage years, Strasberg had already become the foremost theatre teacher and director before his death in 86. His teachings were paramount to this group I was daily in the company of, who at all times sought to infuse a sense of real life into the characters they played – and the reverse – if nothing else, for humor sake.

The foundation in this method of theatre placed a great deal of importance on the idea of experience. It wouldn’t only be the actor’s intention to instill the breath of life into the character, but also to get inside the experiences of the character before and after their curtain calls. My stories are for me like my own live studies of the Strasberg method.

Yes, I live my life as an art dealer but these stories shaped who I am outside my professional role and conditioned its direction.

So just as Werther’s voice was given to him by Goethe, Sorel’s voice was shaped by Stendhal or Michael Corleone’s turmoil was given life both by Puzo and Pacino, my own voice has been shaped by invitation from writers (and the visual artists who illustrated them) who have taken an interest in my own bildungsroman. What has been deeply interesting about this whole exercise is that they all have their own voices and identities as creatives, and have not only embraced me as a central character in their narrative, but have also managed to write in a single voice.

What follows, more than a symphony, is a lied where the poetic instance declared by these authors illustrate the existential context under the perspective of who is living.

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