Monday, May 31, 2010

May 30, 2010

Today I found myself wondering about my personal and public identity. Many questions rose: what to keep to myself and what to share? Do I share my creative process, such as preparing a piece and practicing it, or only the final outcome, such as a recording or public performance? Is there a line between the two, the creative process and its outcome? Are we all interested in the so called final artwork, or in the entire process which leads to its creation?

To be honest, I have my answer to these questions. I don’t think there is a line between creating and a creation. An artwork, as masterful as it may be, is never finished. What you see in a concert and on the stage or hear on a recording, is just another practice session, only that this time it is in front of the public.

I have been using the internet to explore my boundaries in regard to personal versus public, posting video clips documenting my creative process, and sharing it with viewers who were supportive and made interesting comments and suggestions. I also have been writing this online diary. But all along I am also feeling apprehensive about it. Is it effective to share more than just the finished product? Is it the “right thing” to do to share the process with others? Why is it quite uncommon? And is it productive or counterproductive? Should one cater to people’s tendency to admire “greatness” or fight that tendency? The more I think about it, I realize that all of these doubts are my fears, and that the desire to share and the belief in the value of sharing, while respecting the privacy of others and myself, is real.

Early on, I realized that writing an open diary is very different than writing a personal one, and I can’t see how one can replace the other. The real reason for writing a diary is that it wonderfully serves one’s human growth. Once the diary is public, a lot of attention is given to the question of what can and can not be comfortably shared. When you write a private diary, you can commit yourself to the process of exploring your truth without having to be so sensitive to issues of privacy concerning yourself and others.

What is interesting to see is that the sense of boundaries regarding what can be comfortably made public and what is enjoyed kept personal was realized within myself and not imposed on me by any other entity, such as my readers or listeners. It reminded me how a few years ago I was playing with a child of a friend. The child was throwing things in the room, testing his boundaries. He expected me to stop him and forbid him to keep throwing. But to his surprise, I instead started also throwing things in the room with him, even more vigorously than him. That way I allowed him to experience his own boundaries. He stopped throwing the objects out of his own will, and felt empowered to make the decision to impose his own boundaries. For me this was an educational triumph.

I feel a little bit like that child now, questioning my own boundaries regarding what to share or not share online. But still, I feel that many times we are too apprehensive about privacy. If there is a benefit to more than ourselves in our sharing our knowledge and creative experience with others, we should do so.

1 comment:

  1. Here are some different thoughts about one of the topics you brought up - whether an artwork is ever finished.

    The creativity used when making art seems to be almost environmental, like the air we breathe, and so is continually in an energetic state, but I would insert a distinction into the question of whether art can ever be finished.

    In visual art there can be an end point when one says,"that's it, it feels right. I've completed that picture." Classical music is presented to us as finished. Stories are completed and books are printed.

    But your bringing up the topic led me to notice a distinction between "the arts" and "the performing arts."

    When you perform a play for instance, or play jazz or even classical music, even the same piece repeatedly, these performances are variations. Although the music or the play is written down, the performances are all different. So, this kind of art is living art -- it is fluid, it is a resource.

    I'm not even sure that our language provides specific words to refer to what I'm perceiving as different stages of art. One stage while the artist is creating it, but then with "performing" forms of art, the piece passes out of the artist's hands and transforms into a different stage with the participation of someone interpreting it. The result is the work of the orginal artist overlaid with the aesthetics of the current interpreter.

    So, I agree that in jazz the art is, as you say, never finished, with the construction of a jazz tune deliberately like a sketch so that many may try different possibilities for completing it.

    I enjoy your blog and your excellent writing. Thanks Rani for being willing to be publicly reflective, and for sharing your thoughts on the creative process as well as funny takes on the rest of life.