Sunday, 30 May 2010

Create or Die - Dennis Hopper


Image from All Movie Photo. Dennis Hopper with Matt Dillon from the brilliant film Rumble Fish.

With the turning of time and the inevitable ending of life, at 74, Dennis Hopper exits the world. Rest in Peace? I somehow think not, perhaps Zest in Post would more aptly describe his future endeavors. My Web connection has gone to all buggery tonight so I'm Blogging this from my iPhone, not an easy task when there is much I can say on the topic of Dennis Hopper. His statement "Create or Die" being a kernal of core values adopted by any serious artist. The documentary he made of the same name separates the yolk from the albumen in the world of artistic design and practice. I shall write more on Mr Hopper when I can hook myselk back onto the network ...

Cont ... Well, if it isn't the Internet connection its my Power Boards. I bought some "eco friendly" Power Boards which turn off the standby current when the equipment I use is not needed to be on standby. However, because they calculate the energy usage for what plugs you have in, as soon as you change it they suddenly switch off. This has been a constant frustration when editing because sometimes I like to drift away from the computer and allow the work I am considering time for meditation - only to have things like the external hard drive shut down because the Power Board switch off.

Back to Dennis however, a vibrant actor who employed his actor's training as a craft rather then a red carpet parade. Then there was his photography, and I came across a stricture from a Photographic Magazine recently that stated "Then there is the work of Dennis Hopper, most of which was created before the advent of digital media.", well yes of course, do they think we are all a mob of Photoshop morons these days whose only method of creating something interesting or striking is by manipulating images on the computer. That remark is like saying "Can you believe it! James Whistler painted most of his work without the use of Corel Painter IX."

I liked Dennis Hopper's photographic work. I also liked his attitude to art, and I push the same doctrine to media practitioners, that in order to relate to one's own medium, you have to be involved with other mediums such as literature and painting. We still have this problem with contemporary video makers, the idea of reading books from last century and beyond is totally alien to them - they therefore are not engaged in the conversation of art but are instead merely reciting dribble and it shows in the shallowness and ephemeral nature of their work. How can you be part of a conversation if you have no idea what was said by others in other ways.

Below is a video of Dennis explaining his love of art, and I love how he begins by stating that whilst other people were going to the beach or skiing he was a gallery bum.

As today, a rare few of us rather then suck up the vacuousness of television or translate intelligence from the expulsion of physical energy do other more interesting and communicative activities. I have nothing critical to say about Gary Coleman, and I'm sure he did some interesting stuff and was a genuinely lovely guy but I thought it typical that on all the social networking sites I subscribe to, his passing away and the recounting of Different Strokes was more apparently accentuated then the acknowledgement of Dennis Hopper's achievements, which says something about the general depth of most people and the potential future of our creative culture as a tool for evolution.

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