can exist any more.
I don’t mean specifically original thought: every mind has original thoughts; and neither do I mean generally original, because that’s pretty self-explanatory, looking at the state of arts these days. I mean the originality somewhere in between.
To me, art is what you use to make sense of your surroundings: life. You write a book, paint a picture, stage a play, dance a…dance and shoot a film because somewhere in the process, you’ll (hopefully) answer a question that’s eating at you. Experiencing these forms as an audience can do the same, and it’s beautiful to think (idealistically, I guess) that art is maybe the only truly collaborative effort of the human race.
Somewhere along the way though, it seems we’ve run out of things to explore and talk about. I’m not sure when the last big philosophical movement happened- all I can think of right now is Kierkegaard and existentialism- but all the same, nothing has happened for quite some time. Pop music seems to be about epicurean belief now (pleasure is the greatest good), or aiming a little higher at immediate, common concerns. Romance literature floods the bookshelves, supplying the demand made by the mass of people hoping for a partner better than Dave in the Accounts department (though I think Dave is a better choice than a deceased sparkling vegetarian emo teen).
And that’s all right. Yes: we all want to find love.
Yes: we all want to know we’re not the only one in debt, or heartbreak, or addiction.
But are we any closer to understanding any of it- emotion, contemporary lifestyle- than we were twenty years ago?
Maybe it’s not that we’ve run out of things to talk about: maybe it’s that we’ve hit a colossal, species-wide writer’s block.
So here we stand, writing, singing, dancing and filming about something that continually eludes understanding- that perhaps can never be understood; or worse, about a society that can’t be changed without united effort. This is something I find frustrating in much of theatre: it only observes and comments on society, lacking the power to actually change anything in these times.
But at the same time, what else are we meant to do? It might be the characteristic of a “new wave” of thought- blindsiding society- but I honestly can’t think of where we can go from here. We’ve long since arrived at the question of “why are we here?” and, to be honest, I’m not sure there is much light to be shed on that subject.
It’s also a positive, this standstill. Maybe if we dwell on the issue for long enough, we’ll find the right way of thinking- the way to unlocking it all.
I just had an image of every artist on the planet being a sperm, and we’re all trying to push through the membrane of this enormous, mysterious egg.
What I’m trying to get at here, is the daunting feeling of joining the fray. What the hell can I write about that hasn’t been explored more creatively or intelligently scores of times already? It seems like nothing is an original idea any more. If you believe Joseph Campbell though, you’ll think this has been true of the entirety of human storytelling.
But whatever. I can complain until Jesus comes back to tell everyone they’re doing it wrong, but in the end the fact that truly original thought is a myth, or the fact that there are too many damn people on the planet sharing the same globalised culture- they don’t matter. What matters is putting my head through the grinder of creation, and hoping to hell something worthwhile can be squeezed out.
Or at least a new line of juice for Golden Circle to manufacture.