Talking Dirty...

From a lecture by Brakhage for Denver Friends of New Cinema on April 2, 1967:

“Let my speech be titillation enough for the evening’s scandal-dogs—and if it hasn’t been enough, I’ll meet with anyone afterward and run through all the dirty words I know, okay?  I take each of these films to be at least an attempt at a work of art: and I judge several of them successful in that attempt, though I won’t tell you which ones because I know that judgment blinds (that is why Justice is always represented thus) and I would like to take this as one of those few occasions in Denver when the eyes have it!…know, anyway, that art is finally a very personal matter… and I would not, therefore, intrude upon anyone’s private vision.  Art is public in this sense: that is availability to anyone is a necessarily shared responsibility of everyone—like life itself.  A work of art requires a very fragile landscape in which to exist…a cough, let alone a riot, can disturb its continuities… a suppressed cough, or rioting imagination, even more so---for the subtlest feelings become attenuated while experiencing aesthetics: and I have known the impatience of a very few people (who had not the sense to leave an auditorium where they were unhappy) to spread like a plague throughout an entire audience simply because it was more attention-getting, as being easier to attend to, than the complexities of an aesthetic experience.  But the strength of art is that it is somehow so much needed by people that often and again they will provide the fragile landscape it requires for its existence and will even, tho' very rarely, attend that growth to shape the community at large, I have no such large-scale hopes for Denver environs tonight, but I will wish for the magic of that special occasion this might be: that it might be the eye of the social hurricane I’ve experienced lately and, as such, be focused upon something beyond all that.”

The above is included in Brakhage Scrapbook: Collected Writings 1964-1980 edited by Robert Haller, which is unfortunately (at the risk of sounding overdramatic I’ll refrain from using tragically there instead) no longer in print.  It includes various letters to peers, writings on topics ranging from television to poetry, interviews, lectures on luminaries, just to name a few, and is one of my most treasured literary possessions, something I often turn to for solace, illumination, and much, much more.  If there were ever a reason to take advantage of the inter-library loan system, it would be for a chance to spend some time perusing these pages. 





(all stills from 'Brakhage Scrapbook...)

(((A portion of Brakhage Scrapbook is included in Essential Brakhage, which includes samplings of Brakhage’s writings from a wider variety of sources)))


Paul Taberham said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing

Jacob W. said...

Your very welcome, glad it could be of use...