I’m learning new software, Final Cut Express (FCE). Back in 1996, I taught myself Photoshop. My world changed. Over time, I departed the world of the printed page and disappeared inside of Photoshop. Forty years of drawing and painting gave way to a creative process that involved both my hands and the manipulation of a mouse and keyboard.
My dreams grew to reflect the amount of time I spent at a computer keyboard adjusting the products of my imagination by typing instead of drawing or painting. I sometimes still inked by hand. Yet, coloration grew to become totally digital. While sleeping, I began to adjust dreams using keyboard commands and Photoshop features. It became routine to stop a dream and undo a section, withdrawing to an earlier stage before the unfolding of a chain of events that was not desirable. I found myself frequently simply choosing to undo accidents in dreams, adjusting life with keyboard commands.
Final Cut Express, video production software, shows signs of another such evolution. Playing with iMovie for about four months, I quickly bucked up against its limitations, even with the relatively simple piece I was producing (The Conservative Left). Learning FCE is far more complicated and sophisticated. It will take time, but it will be worth it. It feels not unlike I’m producing dreams. I expect my dreams will change, eventually integrating how I use FCE to create and adjust what my mind creates at night.
Perhaps the deepest difference between producing video and creating static Photoshop productions is the visceral difference between creating in narrative format productions composed of the work of many other creators and creating in static format content from only a personal repertoire. What began in the 1980s with Hip Hop artists stealing copyrights from corporate-supported artists has exploded with Creative Commons licenses to borrow from millions of contributors sharing their creations with anyone for free. A net result is a profound change in creative process. Art has become a community endeavor instead of homage to the cult of individuality. Majoring in art in the 1970s was all about the individual creating unique content to push the boundaries of a particular medium. The Internet and the compulsion to share are destroying the modern allegiance to the idea that art is about an aesthetic survival of the fittest.
Video production–at home, on a computer, relying upon the works of millions of other contributors, working in a narrative format that tells a story over time, relying upon music, words and images–provides a profound opportunity to evolve consciousness in a direction that allows an obliteration of boundaries. That is what art is about, the exploration of conventional boundaries and then their violation in order to better understand what all a human is. This new medium, in combination with the contributions of others, who provide video, sound, words and photography, creates opportunities to integrate the community into the self, allowing an elegant, passionate dissolution of individuality.
I really like video. I had no idea that this would be the case.