25 February 2005

Showroom Dummies


A chance remark, pulled from Kidshirt on acting and later reinforced by a throwaway comment about authenticity on Blissblog got me thinking...

People review films and criticise acting; they say the actor has failed to come to terms with the demands of the part or that they've got an accent wrong or that, somehow, the part is too big for them to play, that they lack the depth of character required for the part, leaving the audience member hopelessly adrift, sucked out of the cinema's imposed reality tunnel and forced to consider what they're watching as an acting performance.

This is a bad thing. We shouldn't let reality in.

A similar thing happens with music, but here people search for authenticity; they want to keep it real. Artifice is tolerated but not desired and this crosses the genres from the arbitary boundaries of roots to urban to country to folk. We seemingly need to know that, for example, a singer-songwriter is singing from the heart, from the ghetto, from the street.


Should they really be robots?

But not just any street. It seems this street is an archetype of (mostly grim)reality, as if middle class, mis(managed) leafy suburbs and spa towns don't allow reality in some Baudrillard inspired fit of simulcra and verisimilitude...

But I don't want to get into authenticity in music, since there's better writers than me on this subject... what I'm trying to say is this:

Aren't there 'real' people who act themselves badly? Aren't there 'real' people who are wooden and unresponsive and lacking in the kind of quite catharsis that seems in movies to act as as representational standard of reality/ believability? I'm sure I meet these people every day, people who seem lacking in genuine emotional resonance, people who lack authenticity, people who couldn't sing a 'truthful' song about their own lives even if they tried...

There are people who are like bad paintings of themselves.

And if there are people out there who can't act in everday life in a way approximating our understanding of 'realness' then what does this say about the musicians / actors / directors etc who we criticise for failing to reproduce an accurate reflection of reality? Bad film acting to me seems more realistic than good film acting, if only because it represents more 'accurately' how people out there in the real world act. By extension, musicians who lack authenticity seem a more accurate reflection of the 'man in the street' (even if this street isn't necessarily the 'street').

My street, for example, has a very inauthentic, stereotypical feel to it: look! there's the cork bottomed junkie on a 9 AM methadone trawl; there's the UKIP crypto-fascist Conglomerate King on a late school run; there's the teenage Mum trying to remember the kids' surnames; there's the Town Councillor dragging the kids towards the Private School Bus; there's the thin line of Upper Middle Class tweeded Tory boys and girls heading for Family Service at the church...

Where's their music? The voice that speaks to them?

The conclusion is simple: I am the only authentic person I know. Everyone else is a tiresome fake, a cyborg, a scene-stealer, a leprous limb...

And then we come to Kraftwerk...

Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies


-saIN- said...

Art is an attempt to convey a feeling or idea. It all depends on what is trying to be conveyed but I think much of the criticism of actors is because they take away from the feeling that's trying ot be conveyed. They let too much of THEM through, or miss the point and it takes away from the idea that's supposed to be coming across in the art.
Music it would seem has a slightly differnt problem though. While the same exact same thing can happen it rearly does - or at least isn't often ackgnowledge (perhaps because of the more defined nature of music?) Anyways, People criticized musicians for being fake, or maybe mis-representing an idea. Singer-songwritier needs to be doing so from their heart because you can only completly understand something to that extent from your heart. When you are making something that's supposed to say something about something you don't understand you get yourself into trouble. Maybe you're just mis-representing, or maybe people get the impression that you're buying into something. Selling out. You're trying to say something because you want profit, and most importantly, you're doing it badly.

" It seems this street is an archetype of (mostly grim)reality, as if middle class, mis(managed) leafy suburbs and spa towns don't allow reality in some Baudrillard inspired fit of simulcra and verisimilitude..." Awsome way to say that; Kudos.
It seems like you're blending issues. An aversion by many people (may people=those critics that are looking for stuff 'from the heart') to 1. people that come from the middle class 2. the idea of art coming from that middle class and the issue of that criticism.

Lots of those critics may have an aversion to the middle class; because they do not understand (or simply that they themselfs may be selling out, buying in - being the very posers they [think they] are actually ciriticizing). But not only that, they don't like the idea of real feeling (from the heart) being able to come from there. And more importantly that people who come from that middle class setting actually understand their (proclaimed or actual) setting - their world - the street, in your example.
I think their criticism is often, but not always due. And while it may be hypocritical it's not necissarily wrong because of that.

"Aren't there 'real' people who act themselves badly? Ar........."

Again. Hypocritics arn't necissarily wrong, and more importantly it's a matter of what the art is trying to say. Art's point is to convey a feeling or idea - if they bad acting detracts from that it's not good. But it can also add to it depending on what's being portrayed. If you are trying to find the reality of the world and human interaction then it could be that mediocre actors and good casting is ALL YOU NEED to make a quality pieice of art.

I doubt everyone you know is fake to the same degree. The guy on the street and the girl down the street may be, but what about the person you talk to on the bus? Or your mom? Or your best friends? And how honest are you to yourself? And how much do you do without thinking, without real meaning and understanding; On a whim? Is that really being honest with your motives - whatever the scale?

I hope that makes sense, I'm a little high and far too lazy to do any sort of editing or re-structuring.

Loki said...

i am real and everyone else is faking or they are real and I am faking... my point was that when artists try and represent reality the reality they represent is not what they think it is...

My Mum, friends etc are necessarily 'fakes' because whenever I meet them they're playing a part, a social role etc and my point was that most of them play even that role badly

On the other hand, that point is almost entirely unrelated to the real me; who really couldn't give a shit what the fake me is writing about...

Helen said...

Is it like how Tom Cruise is a superb actor when he's playing a shallow arrogant little bastard?

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