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Posts tagged "genius"

Jun 09, 2013
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We must strike down the insidious lie that a book is the creation of an individual soul labouring in isolation.

Nov 27, 2012
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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (cf. Brian Eno: “Instead of shooting arrows at someone else’s target, which I’ve never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow happens to have landed. You shoot your arrow and then you paint your bulls eye around it, and therefore you have hit the target dead centre.”)

Oct 05, 2012
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Against recreativity: Critics and artists are obsessed with remix culture

Over at Slate, Simon Reynolds lumps a recent crop of books on remixing and artistic theft (mine included) into a field called “recreativity.” His final point:


  The stealing and the storing is the easy part. The much harder—and forever mysterious—stage is the transformation of the borrowed materials.  Recreativity has nothing to say about this stage of the process, the bit where, every so often, genius comes into play. It’s not the fact or the act of theft but what’s done with the stolen thing that counts: the spin added that “makes it new” (to twist slightly the modernist injunction of Ezra Pound, a major exponent of quotation and allusion himself).  The hallmark, or proof, of genius, in fact, is not merely transmitting or remixing. It’s fashioning something that others will someday want to steal.


Not sure if Reynolds made it to the end of chapter two in my book (all the pull quotes he uses are from chapter one) but here’s the last paragraph:


  In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.


Or, stealing a bit from Coppola, how I usually end the Steal talk:


  Take [the thing you’ve stolen] back to your desk, combine it with your own ideas and your thoughts, transform it into something new, and then put it out into the world so we can steal from you.

Against recreativity: Critics and artists are obsessed with remix culture

Over at Slate, Simon Reynolds lumps a recent crop of books on remixing and artistic theft (mine included) into a field called “recreativity.” His final point:

The stealing and the storing is the easy part. The much harder—and forever mysterious—stage is the transformation of the borrowed materials. Recreativity has nothing to say about this stage of the process, the bit where, every so often, genius comes into play. It’s not the fact or the act of theft but what’s done with the stolen thing that counts: the spin added that “makes it new” (to twist slightly the modernist injunction of Ezra Pound, a major exponent of quotation and allusion himself). The hallmark, or proof, of genius, in fact, is not merely transmitting or remixing. It’s fashioning something that others will someday want to steal.

Not sure if Reynolds made it to the end of chapter two in my book (all the pull quotes he uses are from chapter one) but here’s the last paragraph:

In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.

Or, stealing a bit from Coppola, how I usually end the Steal talk:

Take [the thing you’ve stolen] back to your desk, combine it with your own ideas and your thoughts, transform it into something new, and then put it out into the world so we can steal from you.

(Source: )

Sep 12, 2011
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Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity

On the trouble with *being* a genius instead of *having* a genius:

…and all you have to do is look at the very grim death count in the 20th century alone, of really magnificent creative minds who died young and often at their own hands, you know? And even the ones who didn’t literally commit suicide seem to be really undone by their gifts. Norman Mailer, just before he died, last interview, he said “Every one of my books has killed me a little more.” An extraordinary statement to make about your life’s work. But we don’t even blink when we hear somebody say this because we’ve heard that kind of stuff for so long and somehow we’ve completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish.

And the question that I want to ask everybody here today is are you guys all cool with that idea? Are you comfortable with that — because you look at it even from an inch away and, you know — I’m not at all comfortable with that assumption. I think it’s odious. And I also think it’s dangerous, and I don’t want to see it perpetuated into the next century. I think it’s better if we encourage our great creative minds to live.

Great talk. Don’t miss her profile of Tom Waits.

(Source: youtube.com)

Feb 23, 2010
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This is how geniuses are supposed to work: They are epiphany machines, pulling breakthroughs from thin air. Once the epiphany arrives, the artist immediately recognizes its importance, and rushes the idea into paint or verse or melody….But here’s the thing about conceptual innovators: they tend to get less productive with age, as they exhaust their store of revolutionary ideas….

Jan 04, 2010
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Nov 16, 2008
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