Lizard King persuaded Blind Monk to return stateside with him. Undeniably, it was an easy sell. Our humble Thai acolyte is, after all, a product of the Bangkok streets. To spend a few months away from his disciplined community, and to re-connect a bit with his roots through Lizard’s world, felt right. And his Lama did not object. Anyway, how cool to visit the USA!
For Lizard’s part, he wanted to give back a little to this young man who had offered him a key to the veiled aspects of Pathome Asoke. What was it about Blind Monk in particular which facilitated this new kind of collaborative relationship for our usually independent, fully self-reliant Reptile? Lolita shared a theory.
Consider a blind boy, poor, and of the street. Here is a vulnerable urchin who nevertheless displays fortitude, an ability to overcome physical challenges, to establish his turf. He becomes a metaphor for the struggle of the street. The blind boy can see, can perceive most clearly the condition of his impoverished, desperate community. The connection to Blind Monk was the connection with one’s own struggle, was the hope to overcome, the strength to hang tough.
Collaboration in general, which is largely about establishing some mutual reliance for the sake of some effort, seems, ironically, to be nurtured by the very vulnerability of the players. We see that our partner has weak spots. We are a bit more inclined to reveal our own shortcomings. Once each partner’s Achilles’ heal is revealed, acknowledged, accepted, then trust blooms, and the collaborative process begins. Once weakness is revealed, the collaboration offers opportunities for growth and powerful results.
In the arts, there is no artistic discipline fully self-sufficient as an expressive vehicle. In each creative presentation we accept the limitations of a medium, and focus on what works. In certain instances, a multimedia collaboration can offer powerful leverage for the ultimate expressive impact of a work.
Portrait art might be seen as an example of an artistic medium with certain inherent limiting elements that benefit from the leverage of creative collaboration. Portraiture often relies on a subtle mix of only a few expressive elements, such as facial expression, posture, clothing, to offer hints about the subject. When these elements are treated in a less than subtle manner, the portrait takes on aspects of caricature. Music offers a unique opportunity to give resonance to a limited and subtly blended pallet of visual elements while avoiding the potential of making the piece a cartoon. The multimedia presentation of Chris Mackie’s Andy Warhol Portrait at Audio Sparks for Art offers an example. The music amplifies the subtle expression of strength in Andy’s face, gives us strength and courage to hold with his challenging and somewhat hypnotic glare, and carries us to a joyful ending.