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The Triumph of the Quiet Style - The Awl
"The clearest demonstration of the quiet style—the dominant, most provocative, most interesting aesthetic of our time—is in theater, where Annie Baker created a revolution by slowing everything down, inserting long pauses, setting plays at room temperature. Baker is, in America and for straight plays, the unquestioned superstar playwright of her generation. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 and a MacArthur Grant in 2017. Her success is so sweeping that it’s almost hard to remember how weird her style seemed five or ten years ago, and how much it ran against all the prevailing headwinds of playwriting, which, for decades, had been all about making plays faster, more shocking, edgier.

American plays were already fast-paced (quick cuts, overlapping dialogue) and then, in the 1970s, David Mamet figured out a syncopated style that made them even faster. (“Arrive late, leave early,” is his prescription for writing scenes). Neil LaBute, Mamet’s heir, starts his signature play, Reasons to Be Pretty, with the stage direction: “Two people in their bedroom, already in the middle of it. A nice little fight. Wham!” Edward Albee, the reigning granddaddy of American theater, admitted that he wrote The Goat, a play about a man’s love affair with a farm animal, more or less because he couldn’t think of any taboos left to break.

For Baker, studying playwriting at NYU, the contemporary approach to playwriting was a nightmare—a formula to get your turns and reveals as plentiful and as high up in the script as possible, and all of it about as artistic as working in the pit at Daytona. While in graduate school, she had a breakdown (by her accounting, one of many) and, stuck, declared to her mentor that what she really wanted to do was to write a play about her mom and her mom’s “hippie friends sitting around and talking about spirituality for two hours,” which, to Mamet and her NYU professors, would have been like saying that what she wanted most as a playwright was to make sure that her audience had the right atmosphere for a nice, peaceful nap."



"But it’s not as if the quiet style began ten years ago. Chekhov is quiet. Our Town is quiet. Beckett is quiet. French New Wave is quiet. Probably, in every era, ‘serious’ art is quieter and slower than commercial. What I am saying, though, is that something distinctive is happening, and it’s clearly resonating with audiences since the same tendencies are dominant in all these different mediums, producing what for years has been the the most unsettling, most challenging, most talked-about work.

The key figure for the quiet style, the one who lays its sociopolitical foundations, is J.M. Coetzee. In Coetzee, the ruling class relinquishes—reluctantly but voluntarily—all its entitlements and, in humility and debasement, acquires a kind of beneficence. “The alternatives [to the power structure] are not,” he writes in the Diary Of A Bad Year, “placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.”

For the protagonists of the quiet style, most of whom descend from generations of easy living (their privilege is so patent and so internalized that they rarely deign even to speak of it), institutions no longer have anything to offer them and need nothing from them. They tend to be very willing to relinquish whatever societal power they have to those who want it more than they do. It’s characteristic to be an ex-pat (as in Lerner and Greenwell) or to be in some sort of internal exile (Vermont in Baker’s plays) or to be adrift in the ghettos of the unpublished, unproduced artistic underclass (as in Jarmusch, Baumbach, Heti, Dunham, etc). In other words, to have opted out.

What’s crucial—and, ultimately, what defines the quiet style—is the gesture of abnegation, a recognition by its heroes that success either is not for them or doesn’t matter to them. In spite of its heavy use of naturalism, the quiet style is not realism. Fundamentally, the quiet style is a mode of religious expression and it leans heavily on its confessional aspect, its blind faith that the moments of most abject, most senseless humiliation are also the moments when we are at our funniest and truest and (ultimately) most divine. For me, the great attraction of the quiet style is that it takes the attributes of my much-maligned generation—our restlessness, fecklessness, envy, solipsism—and turns them into something like a prayer."
quiet  quietness  slow  pause  pauses  art  film  theater  samuelbeckett  frenchnewwave  jmcoetzee  2017  style  playwriting  writing  davidmamet  anniebaker  abnegation  restlessness  fecklessness  envy  solipsism  naturalism  realism  antonchekhov  jimjarmusch  sheilaheti  lenadunham  noahbaumbach  filmmaking  taolin  benlerner  mumblecore 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Juxtapoz Magazine - Red Bull Arts New York Produces “RAMMELLZEE: It’s Not Who But What,” Examining the Groundbreaking Artist
"Elaborating on the ornate and abstract visual language of wild style graffiti, Rammellzee decided to create his own Alphabet, arming the letter for assault against the tyranny of our information age. A visionary, polymath and autodidact, Rammellzee infused urban vernacular with a complex and hermeneutic meta-structure that was informed equally by the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, the history of military strategy and design, radical politics and semiotics.

A persistent and formidable figure in New York’s Downtown scene since he moved from his childhood home in the Rockaways and relocated to a studio in Tribeca in the late ’70s, Rammellzee garnered a legion of followers (notably including A-One, Toxic and Kool Koor) to his school of Gothic Futurism and stormed public consciousness with his performances in films like Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style and Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. His most famous collaboration, however, was with his one-time friend and life-long nemesis Jean-Michel Basquiat, who immortalized him in his masterwork Hollywood Africans and produced Rammellzee’s signature single “Beat Bop,” releasing it on his own label, Tar Town Records. To this day, it is considered one of the foundational records of hip hop. After enjoying much success in the art world in the ’80s, Rammellzee would turn his back on the gallery system and spend the rest of his life producing the Afrofuturist masterpiece The Battle Station, in his studio loft.

Guided by his treatise on “Ikonoklastik Panzerism,” the first manifesto he wrote while still a teen, Rammellzee was at once the high priest of hip hop and a profoundly Conceptual artist. In his expansive cosmology, born of b-boy dynamics, the wordplay of rap and the social trespass of graffiti, Rammellzee inhabited multiple personae in an ongoing performance art where identity and even gender became fluid and hybrid. Over the past two decades of his life, increasingly focused on his studio practice, he created a mind-blowing universe of Garbage Gods, Letter Racers, Monster Models and his surrogate form, the vengeful deity of Gasolier. Though his art, working with toxic materials, and lifestyle brought about an early death in 2010, his ideas and art remain a legacy we’ll be trying to figure out for generations to come. —Carlo McCormick"

[video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjAfVHSeIvY ]

[See also:

"The Spectacular Personal Mythology of Rammellzee"
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/28/the-spectacular-personal-mythology-of-rammellzee

"The Rammellzee universe"
https://boingboing.net/2018/05/23/the-rammellzee-universe.html

"Art Excavated From Battle Station Earth" (2012)
https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/arts/design/rammellzees-work-and-reputation-re-emerge.html

http://redbullartsnewyork.com/exhibition/rammellzee-racing-thunder/press/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rammellzee ]
rammellzee  via:subtopes  nyc  history  art  music  1970s  artists  video  basquiat  afrofuturism  jimjarmusch  charlieahearn  gothicfuturism  autodidacts  polymaths  jean-michelbasquiat  middleages  illuminatedmanuscripts  streetart  graffiti  edg  costumes  performance  glvo 
june 2018 by robertogreco
The Seattle Review of Books - Here is a movie to remind you why you love reading and writing
"A lot of great movies adapted from written works have been released over the last month or so. Silence is a complex and challenging and ultimately rewarding adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel about the demands and responsibilities of faith. Fences is one of the most harrowing family dramas I’ve seen in years, with career-best performances from Denzel Washington and, especially, Viola Davis.

But one original movie in theaters right now, not adapted from a book or play, is a surprising tribute to the importance of the written word. I’m talking about Jim Jarmusch’s new film Paterson, and I’m telling you: if you love books and poetry and writing, you have to see this movie as soon as possible.

Paterson’s premise sounds like the setup for a limerick: Adam Driver stars as Paterson, a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey. The film follows a week in his life, and not a whole lot, really, happens. Paterson is a man who likes his rituals: he walks the dog to the bar every night, and he writes a few lines of poetry into his notebook in the morning, and he likes to sit in the same spot and watch the water go over Paterson Falls. He and his girlfriend Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) live a quiet life that is mostly content. They could use a little more money, sure, but who couldn’t?

Paterson is a film of echoes. Certain themes repeat themselves over and over: fire, twins, rain. Paterson admires the poetry of William Carlos Williams, the city of Paterson’s most famous literary resident, and Williams’ work reverberates through the film as well. (Williams wrote an epic poem about the city also titled Paterson.) These little instances accrue into a fuller portrait, a pointillist masterpiece.

Paterson doesn’t write his poetry for the sake of immortality. He writes poetry because it’s how he processes the world. Driver reads the lines over and over in a halting voice as Paterson writes in his notebook and the handwritten words appear on screen. We see him sitting in his small office, lined with books by Williams and David Foster Wallace and Frank O’Hara, as he struggles to get the words just so. He seems to meet poets around every street corner: everyone is recording the universe in careful handwriting on lined paper in secret notebooks.

Paterson made me happier than any movie I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s a movie about art for the sake of art, a movie about writing and reading for no reason but for the pleasure of writing and reading. Paterson’s life inspires his art, which in turn inspires his life. There’s probably no big break around the corner for him. He’s probably not going to get a big thick hardcover anthology of his work. But he does it anyway, because he has to, and because it makes him better.

Trust me: you don’t want to half-watch Paterson on your couch while idly flicking through your phone. This is a movie to watch in the theater. Afterward, take public transit home. Bring a book of poetry to read on the bus or the train. Eavesdrop on some conversations. There’s art everywhere — you just have to be ready to receive it."
paterson  jimjarmusch  fil  towatch  poetry  everyday  notebooks  attention  mundane  paulconstant  2017  williamcarloswilliams  understanding  thinking  whywewrite  happiness  howwewrite  writing  words  notetaking  observation  listening  art  life  living  reading  artleisure  leisurearts 
january 2017 by robertogreco

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