A Serbian Film: Garbage Art

I’ve seen a L O T of what I call ‘garbage art’ in my day.  I’ve sat through some really horrible punk bands at the Metroplex in Atlanta.  I’ve performed in a pretty bad band myself (though we got better).  I’ve been to a lot of gallery openings and shows for artists (we used to play at a lot of these events, giving me unfettered access into the snobbery and dull wit at work in the art world).

And I’ve seen a lot of utter nonsense–be it art, film, or music–heralded as “genius” when it should have been heaved into the garbage.  Preferably shoved down deep in a dumpster, under moldy coffee grounds behind a Starbucks (where pseudo-intellectuals meet to impress each other with how many times they can fit the phrase “dystopian postmodernism” into conversation).

But the Internet allows pretty much anyone to do anything, film it, and upload it for mass consumption.  So it is online where most of the Garbage Art I have come across has wasted precious seconds I will one day wish I’d reserved for drooling.

I have seen a short piece of film from somewhere in Asia (though the “artist” was careful not to be too specific, lest her “critics”–the cops–were to drop by to chat about dystopian postmodernism at an inopportune time).  In this film a well-dressed young woman (presumably the artist, but who knows?) wearing high heels kills a small mouse by grinding it under the spike of her footwear.

Now, I’m not a member of PETA…and I myself killed a number of mice (without using heels) that had infiltrated my home one winter, mainly because I was in poor health and these were a species known to carry various nasty viruses.  Then I learned you could simply use peppermint oil and drive them away.  No killing necessary.  And my high heels didn’t get gummed up in mouse guts. None of my actions were artistic (unless you count that I had a canvas drying inside during one of my mice murders).

Also online, I have sat through the infamous “Two Girls, One Cup” incident.  For the three people who have never heard of this, I am not going to even describe it because that would give these “artists” MORE publicity.  Do yourself a mental health favor: DON’T try to find it online.  You will eventually come across it, and there are things you can’t “unsee” once you’ve seen them.  Let’s just say that the cup is NOT filled with champagne.

One might call either of these videos “performance art”.  Genesis P-Orridge may call it “tame” performance art”.  S/He may be right (sorry G–don’t know what you prefer).  Personally, I can’t see Genesis having much to say about either for various reasons, but this is not a piece of (or on, rather) Throbbing Gristle.

Finally: I wasted even more precious time (I could have watched a couple re-runs of “Full House” and gotten more “art”) on “A Serbian Film” which depicts (among other things) a newborn infant being raped.  Now, maybe Sting will record a song called “Do the Serbians Love Their Children Too?” and THAT might be art…though the answer, at least in this film, is CLEARLY “no”. No, they do NOT love their children.  And THAT was the most artistic thing I could think of to say about this hunk of garbage.

I DID waste a bit more time reading some critical responses to the film…which basically made me decide why bad art and those too stupid to make it (critics of bad art) are too good for the dumpster behind Starbucks.

P.S. WHY DID I WATCH ALL THIS? That’s the catch, isn’t it? This stuff goes viral (an excellent name for it) not because it is worthy of respect.  I can name a dozen “starving artists” (writers, filmmakers, photographers, etc.) that are REALLY TRYING to produce something of worth.  And really deserve attention.  Not all of it is stuff I like, by the way.  And though I suppose as an American I should add that “…Serbian” does not appear to use an actual infant for the rape (or I presume what passes for law enforcement in Serbia or wherever it was filmed would be around to talk about dystopian postmodernism with the filmmaker), it looks like they DO “use” an infant for part of the filming.  Which is pretty bad parenting considering the overall context of the film.  Even if it is a total animatronic kid (yeah, because Serbia is a hotbed of animatronic special effects, as we all know), my point is this: blah blah first amendment, blah blah right to blah your type of blah whether it is really art or just blah to the rest of us blahs.

I watched to see if it was hype.  Which makes me no better than someone who follows the Kardashians.  Worse, even. So bad art is art, in a way.  It is a reflection of us, like all art–and the worst in us.  Unfortunately, Mister Artist, I know that you know that I know that you know that you didn’t make your film to point this out.  Most of us can figure that puzzle out for ourselves.  And the rest think art is a picture a kitten hanging from a tree branch with the words: “Hang In There!” underneath.  Which is probably better art, sad to say, than any of the examples I’ve used in this blah.



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