I’m beginning to acquire a practical understanding of just how futile artwork is in a vacuum. I believed it before. I knew it in my mind. But I now feel it sinking into my gut. Actually experiencing it is something else entirely.
Although I would likely dance on a desert island, and probably clang coconuts together, I would not “compose” music. I would scribble lunatic poetry into the sand with carefully carved sticks. I would roast clams with the care of culinary craftsman. If I had a piano I would play it, if I had a soccer ball I would kick it, and yet if I had staff paper I would likely burn it.
Despite my affinity for creation and particularly my penchant for musical expression, composition, to me, seems empty and pyrrhic without some lucid notion of how or when such a work will be realized into an actual performance. I find no solace in note-driven pencil pushing, or in the fastidious, isolated, and supposedly autonomous justification of conceptual self-referential architecture splayed out across note heads and ledger lines. I would gather no satisfaction from sitting back in my chair generating overly-mentated masterpieces on paper that have no relation to the physical and social phenomenon of music making. Dehumanizing the process dehumanizes myself.
The end of the work is what pulls my means along.
Interaction with and feedback from fellow creators in crime (choreographers, conductors, filmmakers, quartets, and oboists) is what both drives my work, and assuages my artistic needs along the way. I work for the joy of creation, and when it comes to actually writing my music down, that act of creation is not complete until my sounds are heard by another. I like to share. In this way, each and every work is a collaboration, and any romantic fable of artistic independence is a pretentious fiction.
It is my artistic and disciplinary interdependence that endows my work with meaning, and there is nothing I resist more earnestly than engaging in a work which is meaningless.
There is a reason why desert islands are deserted.