My thought on Shia's rantings online (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/01/02/authorship-is-censorship-bleeding-cool-in-conversation-with-shia-labeouf/)
is that he reminds me of a line from "The Dead Zone."
To paraphrase, this turkey is dangerous.
I speak now to my fellow creators from all walks of life. And also to those of you who enjoy art in all its forms.
It’s very easy to read Mr. LaBeouf’s ravings and simply dismiss him as a badly reared sociopath, and shake our fists at the evil rich guy. The reality is we don’t need to worry about any sort of justice befalling him. People like him always destroy themselves.
No, what we need to worry about is that his theories about the non-existence of originality (and thus creativity itself), the falsity of authorship and that art is nothing more than editing and repurposing is all too commonplace and pernicious. It’s why every kid knows who the Avengers are but very few know the name Jack Kirby.
Let me state right up front that it’s all complete bullshit. And more to the point, it’s bullshit espoused by people with little or no talent, and people unwilling to do what talent requires to flourish into actual ART: work.
There’s no question that the creation of art, on some level, is fluid. It reflects and turns in on itself. There is a conversation that happens between works of art and the artists who make them. It can often be nebulous. If I have a basic concept and I tell a friend and they see something I don’t see and I fold it into my work, is it still mine? Am I the author?
By necessity, the answer has to be yes. Because without authorship, there is no art.
Let me state this again: without authorship, there is no art.
Art by definition, is the imposition of a distinct form upon nature that did not exist before.
A river is not art. A painting of a river is.
Whether or not it’s GOOD art is a matter of opinion. But the work to convert one thing into a DISTINCTLY different form is what makes it art.
When Mr. LaBouf made his short film, we all collectively, and I think rightly, agreed it was not distinct enough of a transformation from the original work of Mr. Clowse to justify calling himself the creator of the work.
George Lucas took the love of serial adventures to make a distinct and new thing called Star Wars that was all his own. There’s a difference.
No, repurposing isn’t enough. Shia thinks it is but he’s wrong.
And it’s up to us to tell him, continuously…ceaselessly and LOUDLY, he’s wrong.
There’s a lot of repurposing, reediting and reappropriation on the web, be it parody trailers on YouTube, reedits of films, and frankly we all know most of it is good for a minor diversion but that’s all.
Most of it is not art. It doesn’t plant itself in our brains and our hearts and say “I am here, and I am new. You did not know you needed me until you saw me, but here I am.”
Art doesn’t incorporate from the ether, parentless. It comes from women and men who impose their will on a formless void and give it form.
Shia LaBouf is wrong. Let him know.