No, this is not my tribute to all things Tori Amos. This is about value in our culture and how it relates to art.
But first, Happy Birthday Cristina! I value you.
Currently I'm digitizing my music, which involves a lot of CDs that I have never listed to nor purchased myself. I do the digitizing in a nearly trance-like state, vaguely wondering why I'm going to so much trouble overheating my little iMac to create an expansive library of songs that I'm not sure I will ever listen to.
An aside: You know when you look at the bottom of your iTunes library and it's like, 7.2 days of music? I always imagine pressing play and just having the music go, creating a soundtrack for a week of my life. What will play when I sleep? What will play while I have a friend over for dinner? How will what is playing determine how I'm feeling about what is happening? How many songs and compositions will I even like? What if Def Leppard comes on during a Schubert moment?
Anyway, recently I was asked if I listened to Neko Case and I didn't know the answer, which is weird. I recognized her name and even thought I had seen her in concert when she was pregnant, until my friend told me she's never been pregnant.
So. I plan to buy her music this weekend because the little research I've done reveals that I will totally dig her because I love anything just a little bit country. Or a lot, for that matter. Also, I love Greg Brown.
Wow, I'm taking a while to get to my point about value here. Hopefully I can tie all this all together; please stay with me...
Value is easy to dismiss and hard to hold onto. In Mixed Media last night, James was telling us that we needed to choose a material that had some gravitas to it because he wanted us to value our work. (This was in response to a student who was wondering about using illustration paper as a foundation.) Choosing something cheap and flimsy for a four week collage assignment wasn't going to do our time or our art any justice. He wanted us to invest in what we were making, to create something to be framed and shared. Simply, something to be valued. Why it's so easy for us to downplay the value of our work (and in turn ourselves) is a symptom of something larger I think, but if I start theorizing on that this post will really lose its way.
Yet it's easy to not value much when we live in excess. Do I value my 7.2 days of music, lots of which I didn't buy myself out of love or fandom, but instead came my way through sharing or, frankly, theft? Buying Neko Case's music will be more meaningful because I'm making a conscious choice, it was recommended by someone whose opinion I value, and it has an association for me. Yet I know that sometimes those opportunities, to appreciate and potentially value that which someone else does, are also easy to miss.
As for my first collage, I'm using elements from my past, pieces that have emotional value on their own that cumulatively, through my time and work, will perhaps accrue more value. This investment means that I will get involved with this thing, we'll start a sort of relationship I guess. Which may be why people are afraid of making a collage on a hearty foundation or really giving something a lot of time. Because it still may not work out, which then means you've got to value the process and not just the output.
Okay, I'm going to stop before this gets even more unwieldy.
1. Today is Cristina's birthday.
2. I have mixed feelings about my music library.
3. What James said in class got me philosophizing.
4. I'm totally into making collages.
5. Value is important and I like to value.