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Well done, Badly done, Not done

November 11, 2009

I still believe in tooth fairies, genius, originality and the auteur even though I know it’s a terminally modernist viewpoint. Writing, composing, art making of most sorts begins the same autoerotic way, all by your lonesome; totally in the dark. No standards except for your own personal impossibly high ones.

In his performance “And So On, End So Soon”, Robert Filliou set out the idea that Bien Fait, Mal Fait, Pas Fait (Well done, Badly done, Not done) are equivalent proposals.  These 3 equivalencies are frames of reference, a set of outcomes. For the “Good Enough” artist “Well done, Badly done, Not done” are potential endpoints, risks to be considered.

Over the course of becoming more jaded about other people’s creativity levels, I’ve done a lot of thinking about bad art, bad writing, bad music.  I’ve read reams of fatuous wall texts and captions.  I’ve been on award juries and suffered in darkened rooms thru hours of culling process, DVD after DVD.  I’ve watched endless videos; my aversion reflex now so strong I leave rooms where monitors lurk. “Badly Done” can be intentional (the mirror of well-done) in which case it’s a celebration of absurdity, illogic; it’s existential, its the good-enough flop.

‘Bliss-point’ is a term used to explain the eating behaviors of the overweight and obese.  Once you’ve eaten enough fats and sugars there you are, ready for seconds; food bliss achieved. It has nothing to do with hunger, it’s an autonomous process, the organism pleasures itself giving the brain a nice hit of yummy.

I think the concept of bliss point can be applied to the bad artist. Like having an eating disorder, the bad artist reaches bliss point through the process of makin’ lots-o-‘stuff’ without too much thought. This explains why bad artists are so prolific. It’s an ego-high with minimum effort.  Their ‘stuff” is generally based on someone else’s ‘stuff’, completely imitative but what the hell, they’re gonna make more. Imitation is not the highest form of flattery, it’s the flat- lining of intellect and effort.

‘Not Done’ may be the best strategy; who knows?


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