One of the big ideas that fascinates me is that we know how difficult-to-impossible it is to define or label a person accurately, but we insist on defining them anyway — and we insist on trying to provide easy definitions of ourselves, too, reducing ourselves to very little, because if we don't summarize ourselves then other people will summarize for us, and we'd like to be summarized in the right way.
I struggle with this. I believe we ought to communicate respectfully with one another, and that means expressing ourselves simply so that other people may understand us. I love branding and advertising. But I sucker myself into believing the images I present of myself. I'm an idiot who believes everything I say.
I am not the things I say or do or make. I am not the things or the people that I love. Instead of build an identity for myself, I'd like to think that I'm dancing, and each thing I do or say or love marks my position for a split second, perhaps indicating where I'll go next, perhaps not. I dance high, I dance low, I trip and fall and roll on the ground instead of springing back up. This frees me from always needing to have good taste or do good things. It lets me be whimsical. And it frees you from having to care too much about the things I make or do or say, unless you're feeling like it. This is the goal of the dance.
Something else I think about a lot is what stages we go through when we create new things. In my mind there are three basic states of mind in which we make. First there's play, when you do things just to see what'll happen, or just because it's fun to do. Then there's science, when you want to test specifically what'll happen when you do one thing in particular, and you aim to learn something from doing. Finally there's production, when you take the things you learn and apply them to make a specific thing.
All these are good places from which to make things. (I mean, most people arguing whether you're making things in "good" ways are buttholes anyway.) I think that it's useful to know where you're coming from when you're making things, partly so you can know what expectations you can hold yourself to, partly so you can let other people know what you're doing so they can decide if you're what they're looking for. A lot of discussions get bogged down defining whether something is "pretentious" or "meaningful" or "worthwhile" because people either can't figure out where a piece is coming from or else they don't want to take the time to understand.
That's a little white lie: it's almost always that they won't take the time to understand. But I think that's partly because we don't get taught how to look levelheadedly at things, probably cos a lot of people who make things are kind of doofuses themselves and they've never sat down and worked out exactly why they make things in the first place. (Possible answers: "It's easy and I have the attention span of a gnat", "I'm unhappy with myself but I don't want to take up jogging", "I enjoy pretending to be a superior person".) Instead they just do whatever, and if it's hard to get, it's because you don't understand, man; and if it's ridiculously simple and shallow it's because "deep" is a word for hippies and stoners. There're a whole bunch of people who do make things that are both accessible and deep, but because they tend to be hardworking and successful and don't feel the need to constantly hunt us down and defend their work, we just assume they're either geniuses or assholes. Probably both.
Sometimes I'm being playful when I make things. Other times, I'm working with a final product in mind. I'm striving for the patience and discipline to work in that middle place where moments of playfulness are woven into something more meaningful. But I keep trying new things, with language and visuals and music and performance. I'm curious about everything; I want to try it all even before I'm good at it. So a lot of the things I make are "unprofessional" or "really really crappy", and I hope that doesn't frustrate you.
I tell you all this so when you look at the things I make you don't think too hard about where they're coming from. I make things from a lot of places for a lot of different reasons. If those reasons aren't inherently understandable, then either I'm not working with an ulterior motive or else I'm not doing it right. But I also want you to know that I do think about these things, and I do strive to create things which are good and satisfying and meaningful and deep. It all starts with play, but hopefully it ends somewhere profound.
Books and poets; terrible films about people with long greasy hair; flamenco dancing; forests with chapels hidden in their hills; fairy tales; green and blue and pink; Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones; the game companies Valve and Nintendo; the online magicians Ze Frank and Brandon Hardesty and _why the lucky stiff; Greek and Norse and Egyptian mythologies; an English band called Cardiacs; the color of grass when it's so dark you can barely see what it looks like (and the color of a black sky fading behind a black mountain); playgrounds; an old video game called Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon that had its own laugh track; Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick; The League of Movable Type; the playwright David Ives; playing the flute and singing and whistling; minimalism (but not please not always); Louis CK and Norm MacDonald and George Carlin and Bill Cosby and Maria Bamford and Tim and Eric; a recipe I have for a delicious tomato-cream sauce which you pour over pasta; the Mike Oldfield composition Amarok; the French pianist Charles-Valentin Alkan; the Fibonacci sequence; linen shirts; the book-sculptures of Mark Z Danielewski; James Joyce and Samuel Beckett; Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, Jon Ive, and John Gruber; the poems "How to Like It" by Stephen Dobyns, "Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out" by Richard Siken, and "Spice Night" by Catherine Bowman; Lemony Snicket; Arrested Development; Joanna Newsom; Mom and Dad and Scott and my grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins; Tony Horton from the P90X workout videos; New Jersey; Nicolas Cage; David Lynch; Pokémons Red, Yellow, Gold, Sapphire, and Diamond, in that order; the words "napiform" and "gongoozling"; Ida Maria and Tally Hall and Fountains of Wayne; Tom and Liz and Laura and Nick and Chris and Steve and Greg and Mike and James and Jeff and Michelle and Matt and Taylor and Bill and Max and Avery and Tim and Laura and Tim and Jeff and Chase and Yevette and Alex and Adam and Katherine and Amelia and Chris and Eddie and Celia and Cornelius and Sam.
Assorted places, times, ages, weights, and fashions: In the middle of a foggy night; in a homemade pit of balloons; self-shot and silhouetted; at a family Christmas party; dancing and having a good ole time; as Severus Snape; on a swingset; on the streets; being snazzy; eating at a behind-closed-doors conference; throwing a yellow frisbee; being a baker; being a caring cousin; being a living statue.Return to Rinich.com We shall employ every device we know in our desire to divert you