From: Marilyn Brakhage (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 02:44:26 PST
On Saturday, March 11, 2006, at 10:44 PM, David Tetzlaff wrote:
> For most people, hobbies are more than a diversion, they're a form of
> deeply elaborated cultural practice,
Well sure -- LIFE is a form of deeply elaborated cultural practice.
But surely some distinctions can be made between different orders of
> It's clear to me that for a lot of the people I've met with serious
> hobbies - record collecting, for examples - is a kind of artform
Words can become meaningless. All is art/nothing is.
> And, and I mistaken or aren't we arguing over semantics,
> and everyone here thinks filmamking is a worthwile activity whether
> one gets paid for it or
> not - given that we can control our art, but not control the market
> for it
> (and yes, in strict eonomic terms, there is no income without a
> Ctreative work does 'profit' us in non-economic ways, no?
Semantics, of course, can be very revealing, just as there are
subtextual meanings suggested by the words, "everyone here thinks
filmmaking is a worthwhile activity . . . " Again, the artists I know
don't make films "because they think it's a worthwhile activity." That
doesn't sound like the motivation of an artist. I mean, I help my kids
with their homework because I think it's a worthwhile activity. I read
because I think it's a worthwhile activity. Or whatever. But there is
a kind of artist -- filmmaker or otherwise -- that is not an artist by
choice, but of necessity. (Some would argue for that as necessary to
the definition of "artist," in fact.) And I think that the original
point of this discussion was that a lot of people benefit financially
from organizations and activities that depend upon art works, without
there being any compensation to the artists -- and whether or not that
is ethically supportable.
Presumably, teaching people profits one in non-economic ways too. Or
performing life-saving surgeries. Or building good houses for people
to live in. Or any number of other worthwhile and rewarding
occupations. But if the work of an artist is wanted, why should it not
be paid for by those who want it? After all, that artist also has to
live and eat -- just like the teacher, and the surgeon, and the house
builder. When you are ready to do all your teaching for free, then you
might be in a position to suggest that artists should do the same. . .
. Of course, whether they get paid or not, artists WILL go on being
artists. That is their fate. But the question is whether or not other
people taking financial advantage of that is acceptable. . . . If your
university stopped paying you, would you go on teaching there?
Probably not, unless you are totally obsessed with teaching and
couldn't live without it. But if that were so, would I then call your
teaching an "artwork"? No. It may be a deeply elaborated cultural
practice. It could even be an obsession. Or perhaps if you were
financially independent and could afford to do so, you might even do it
as a "hobby." And it might be extremely worthwhile. But it still
wouldn't be an "artwork." -- And that need not be interpreted as a
value judgment. It is simply a distinction -- which I believe is one
of the inherent purposes of words. . . . I mean, one could talk about
the art of teaching, the art of fishing, the art of record-collecting,
the art of cooking, the art of war, or what have you. But surely,
then, there is also that something that artists make.
For some people on this list filmmaking may be a hobby. For some it is
not. (Professional craftspeople aside), there are Sunday afternoon
painters, and then there are artists. Surely we know the difference.
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.