Sunday, November 27, 2011

120 Days of Sodom A Seribian Film and the role of the artist

I am not sure what I want to write about today on my lunch period. I do have lots of little topics in mind. However, today I want to kick around the idea of what it is to be an artist. I am not an elitist when it comes to the word artist. For ease I'll include writers, poets, painters, dancers, sculptures, 3d modelers, miniature painters, and many others. The actual production is unimportant. What is more important to me is the act itself and the outcome of the act. I'd like to say right now that I am typing this during my lunch time and I am on unsteady ground so I might roll some or all of this back in a little bit.

Right now we are going to head over to A Serbian Film, and 120 Days of Sodom. Lets set aside the shock and horror that is inherent in these two works. That isn't to say that thous aren't valid responces because they are but both movies contain works within works and both of them leave a pretty interesting comentary on the idea of art itself. For a Serbian film it is the film within the film and while the movie is about the making of a movie most of the movie's most shocking moments comes from a film within the film. I am not just talking about the infamous birthing scene but also, the toothless blowjob scene, and while I am not sure of this I beleive that he sees what happened to his family though the camera but then the scene becomes his memory. I need go review to verify. Still at the very least 1/2 of the films most shocking moments comes through the mediated lense of another film.

120 Days of Sodom gets its art fixed through the oral tradition something that is sadly limited to roleplaying games in our current age. The idea is that they hire 4 prostitutes who will tell the men stories and as the stories get progressively more and more lewd the men are are allowed to visit more and more horrors upon the children they have kidnapped. They do this mostly so that they don't burn through their charges to quickly and partly because waiting can be lots of fun. Now the thing about 120 Days is that it almost reads like an encyclopedia of perversion. It starts with urine, goes to fecal matter, and then it stays there FOREVER before it blissfully moves onto other things. Almost 75% of the book is the prostitutes up there on their little pedastles telling the stories of their most infamous tricks. Summery aside the 4 men use the stories to get themselves all worked up before ravishing their hostages.

In both of these works are near the platonic ideal of perversion and I'll be perfectly honest they are both unusually hard to stomach. However, both them point the fact that art can and often times does swing both ways. That brings us to where I want to start talking but I am not sure where to go with this.

So lets start with my beliefs. I believe that art, all art, is inherently inert. Art only takes on meaning when we look at it, think about it, or give meaning to it. Kind of the same way Saussure believes that language is formed. If you look at a chair their is nothing about the shape of the chair that indicates that it should be called a chair. We knows this because the word for chair is different in every language. Art goes the same way. Ergo a certain art piece isn't degrading to women...umm oh I got one Highschool of the Dead isn't degrading to women despite its jiggletastic all encompassing fan service. I as an individual degrade women when I treat them a certain way. Now I can draw my insipration from the art I consume but I could also do it all on my own. The point is that we are ulimtatly the masters of our input even if we don't always choose to be masters of our imput and we just go with the flow.

Going with the flow is dangerous.

I think I am getting away from the topic at hand though. So lets dial it back a bit away from my pet issues. I think the fact that both of these works about art gone mad by artists is increadiblly telling. I mean we get warnings about art gone mad all the time from preachers, politicians, police okay well not the police but I had a list of p words and I wanted to keep going. Yet no one seems to be more clearly aware of what art and artists are capable of. I think the visual nature of A Seribian Film gets this point across very well as it forces you to look at the imagry instead of just glossing it over in your head. I also think that on this point the two works disagree with each other but both sides of the argument are really interesting.

I am also out of time. So in short. A Seribian Film maintains a sort of horrified awe at what the artist is capible of wheres 120 Day of Sodom is pretty much flat out boring. And through the boredom comes the true horror.

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