Rinpa Eshidan Collective and the Art of Letting Go

The always inspiring Rinpa Eshidan collective just posted a new video on YouTube, entitled CUBE:

(Via William Gibson and Pink Tentacle.)

Watching these guys do their thing is like drinking a beaming cup of liquid joy! Many of you will recall their video, 1 WEEK (which went ultra-viral back in 2006), and subsequent video offerings. R.E.’s creative philosophy seems to be one of cheerful detachment and organic/anarchic teamwork. They favor process over result, flux over permanency:

Instead of focusing on the finished project, we believe the process of creation itself is where art comes to life and our videos and live art aim to engage our audience in that process. Many people ask us how we can stand to erase the artwork we have worked so hard to create, but our focus is on the process of making art, not the end result. The good news is that the videos we make become a permanent record of the spontaneous artworks created during the filming.

This emphasis on non-permanency is reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy‘s “nature sculptures”, Julian Beever‘s sidewalk trompe-l’oeils, the SRL/Black Rocky City ethos of building epic artworks and destroying them upon completion, any number of public “temp installation” programs cropping up worldwide, and every perfect sandcastle ever built at the beach during low tide, only to be destroyed by the rising breakers.

A still from ROOM.

Rinpa Eshidan now offers a full DVD of their various time-lapse performance pieces available at high res, just email them for purchase info. Several more video clips after the jump.

On a somehow related note, I gotta say, apophenia’s really got me by the tail lately. While pulling together unpublished snippets of that Nils Frykdahl article from #03 (which had to be cut down due to lack of page space) for an imminent Coilhouse blog post, I’ve become preoccupied with ideas revolving around art for joy’s sake, and joy’s sake alone. Art that’s about the process itself, and about community, and communication… but not notoriety or staying power.

Here’s what set me off: during our interview, I’d asked Nils if he had any advice for young creative types. He said “don’t be afraid to be a total geek about your art. Just do it compulsively, repeatedly, without any results for a while, and enjoy the process of the work itself” and went on to talk about how monetary gain and fame should be the furthest thing from someone’s mind if they want to evolve artistically, let alone enjoy themselves.  A few days later, Paul Komoda linked to this awesome excerpt of an Alan Moore interview where Moore states pretty much the same thing. Simple enough, right? And yet I feel like that’s a tenet many of us ignore. It’s so easy to indulge that need for instant gratification, or to waste energy and time anticipating validation from outside sources, or to try to craft some magnum opus that will withstand the test of time instead of just… letting go, and being in the thrall. In a sleep-deprived haze, I spewed a lot of my ideas on this (as well as thoughts related to my own internet-born over-dependence on reassurance and recognition) over at Tumblr.

Looking at these beautiful Rinpa Eshidan art performances, I can’t help but feel like what they’re doing is deeply relevant to all of the aforementioned snippets of information, although nothing’s quite come into focus yet. Anyway, if any of this half-intelligible babble is at all interesting to any of you, I’d love to chat further about it here. Or, ya know, you could just watch this crew do their thang, and crow with delight:

5 Responses to “Rinpa Eshidan Collective and the Art of Letting Go”

  1. tertiary Says:

    I really love these guys.
    Their work is an embrace of the beauty of ephemera.
    The art of letting go indeed.

  2. whelky Says:

    great post. i’ve been mullin’ these ideas over a lot recently m’self. there’s definitely a possessive impulse that loves to attach itself to culture, whether self-generated as artwork or catalogued as information and “knowledge”(as a weird sort o’ cultural currency), and that impulse is, at the same time, opposed to the spirit of creativity.. and certainly sure as shit opposed to the spirit of enjoying life. the obvious quote that springs to mind is william blake’s “He who binds to himself a joy doth the winged life destroy. But he who kisses the joy as it flies lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”. whenever i notice myself getting too pretentious about making art and lusting for finished products and better output, i have to mentally slap myself upside th’ head and realize that the sense of deep play is the reason i want to do any of this to begin with.

  3. Trishelle Says:

    Beautiful stuff. Don’t know what else to say about it.
    Anyway, to sort of go along with what you’re saying, there isn’t any point in doing something unless you enjoy it. Maybe I’m just naive, thinking someone can and should be able to do something they enjoy for a living, but I don’t think people can create good art unless they enjoy it.
    I’m still new at this whole Art thing, and perhaps someday I’ll lose the ability to have complete bliss from simply rubbing colored chalk onto a piece of paper, or running a brush with ink on the tip against a surface to see what kind of mark it makes. But if that happens, I hope I’ll have the guts to try something else and find something that makes me happy. I don’t believe art will ever lose it’s magic for me, though. I hope it doesn’t. I’ve seen enough people who forget why they love something and simply go through the actions to know I never want to be one of them.
    Eventually, kind words from others end. Eventually, if you’re doing your job right, the world will expect something amazing. It doesn’t matter, though, because no one can take away the magic of being able to put your mind and your thoughts on something that isn’t you. Even if it isn’t something pretty, the act of creating artwork is a sort of performance. Usually only the person creating the artwork sees the performance, but that’s okay. They’re usually the one who needs to see it.
    I’m really starting to wander all over the place with my thoughts here, so I’ll wrap it up. There’s way too many avenues of thought to go down. But before I post this, I just wanted to say your other blog post that was linked reminded me of something my favorite teacher always tells us. With all the millions of people that have lived on earth, and the millions that are currently alive, with all the thoughts every one of them has ever had, is it possible for us to have a truly original thought? He says no. I disagree to some extent, but I don’t think it matters. Like the random urge some people seem to have to yell, “FIRST” when they are first to comment something, it all fades away. The most memorable comment is the best one, the most enjoyable artwork to look at and do is usually the best of it. Prehistoric art really is kind of ugly sometimes. Being the “first” doesn’t make it better.
    I hope some of that somewhere made sense.

  4. Tequila Says:

    I’ve had it in my odd little head for some time now to do comics. Well more like a NEED to do comics. In pouring through my own comic book collection it’s hard not to be humbled by the vast amount of stuff that’s not really remembered. It’s fantastic work but it’s not the stuff you’ll see be made into Hollywood movies, praised as classics, or even found outside of pretty niche compilations or rare reprints. They are good, weird, or just plain fun work.

    We’re so fame/recognition crazy these days it’s easy to see why so many are scared of not being remembered. It’s as though you wasted your time or failed without it.

    Sometimes that desire has fun and useful if utterly daft consequences like say Twitter and social networking as a whole. Other times it just bleeds the fun out of even doing things you love for fear of failure or worse being totally ignored. I’ve seen more people give up because they didn’t think they could “make it like (insert famous person)” than much else these.

    It’s sad and no doubt related to the epic level of you’re only good at something if you’re famous for it syndrome going around. Look how many shows on TV alone back that sentiment up let alone the “inspirational” stories we’re all fed about the nobody becoming a famous somebody.

    Who knew doing things for the fun of doing them would be a lesson we’d have to re-learn? We knew it well enough as kids.

    @Mer…read your blog post. Oddly the desire of “I loved it first!” is what makes me read less and less blogs. Maybe it’s age but I don’t care if person X knew about artist Y before person Z. I thought the whole point of blogs were to share and celebrate information and similar tastes not get into pissing contests about who posted what when. If anything one should be happy someone else liked something as much as you did enough to write about it. After all would ANY of us trust a sole source about any subject?

  5. kolin Says:

    Rinpa eshidan call it “art in process”