Random ideas and observations from Rob Watson as he travels about and does mostly mundane and ordinary things. The anti-influencer!
Distraction Therapy 077 - Inspiration Beyond the Merch
For the first time in ages, Ryan and I met up to chat and discuss what we’ve been up to for the Distraction Therapy podcast. This was the first time we’d met on a Sunday morning, though the coffee was on hand as ever. We spent some time discussing Ryan’s visit to the Thought Bubble comic book convention in Harrogate, which he found inspiring and thought-provoking, both as a fan and as a writer.
This gave us the chance to think about what it is like to explore an aesthetic form with the merchandise stripped away from the event, and the creative form is allowed to occupy the centre of attention. We wondered what our culture would be like if we were able to do this more often? What would we be able to aesthetically appreciate and achieve if we could strip the layers of brash commercialism apart from our experience of art, media, culture and intercultural social experience?
It was inspiring hearing Ryan describe the creative process that is part of the form of graphic novels and comic books, and how a focus on the process and practice of developing that form can be deeply fascinating. I’ve never really held an interest in any specific forms of media and culture. I’ve always been a bricoleur, grazing across the mediascape, and appreciating art, media and culture from the surface.
I’ve never done a deep-dive into the process of any specific form, and become an expert of the way that mediated or symbolic form is put together and functions from an aesthetic point of view. Having grown up in a world of disposable popular culture, I’ve never made the investment in any single type of form to the extent that I can relate to others why and how it works.
I got bored with film studies because of the pseudo-seriousness that I found was attached to so much of the writing around cinema studies. I’ve found that anything that requires an encyclopedic knowledge of names and dates, just to appreciate what might otherwise be felt as an aesthetic form, is rather missing the point.
I’ve never been able to recall lists of artists and producers, so continue to fail to understand how artists and creative producers might be contextualised and understood within a particular mode of cultural occurrence. While I’ve built up an appreciation of some forms of music and art, I would be embarrassed to think I could lead a conversation about any single example of creative media and art. Perhaps I need to focus on something and start to geek out about it?
Ryan and I wondered if this is class-related, and the challenge of dealing with imposter syndrome? It doesn’t matter how old you get, or what your social experience has been, but if you are from a workingclass background, there’s always that nagging doubt that tells you that other people’s contributions are worth more than yours! The world will continue to be full of middle-class bullshiters, it seems, if we don’t do something about this. I wonder how other people cope with that?
Distraction Therapy 076 - Bikram Yoga and Symbolic Resonance
Ryan and I met up on Saturday morning for our regular coffee and chat. Ryan came hot-footed from a bikram yoga session, and was super energised. We chatted about the after-effects of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, and how narrow many of our cultural options have become. It turns out I was a few hours away from coming down with a virus, which resulted in me sleeping for the rest of the weekend and watching classic Star Trek movies back-to-back.
Distraction Therapy 075 - Emergent Arts and Media
Ryan and I caught up for a coffee again this morning, to find out what films and books we’ve been reading. We chatted about how forms of media can be thought of as emergent, and considered what a metamodern radio station might feel like. Ryan mentioned Arrow Cult Films, the films of Anton Tarkovsky and Gaspar Noe.
Distraction Therapy Podcast 074 - Surviving the Heatwave
What was the heatwave like for you? That was our starting topic in this latest episode of Distraction Therapy. Ryan and I chatted about what insight we gained about climate crisis, and what manifestations of anxiety we might see emerging in films, songs and creative media, that compensate for the need for urgent action? We’ll see responses of one form or another coming through in our popular culture, beyond the antagonism of the news cycle, so what should we be looking out for?
Distraction Therapy 073 - Distracting Ourselves To Death
The degree to which we need suitable distractions in our lives, is in direct proportion to the level of anxiety that we experience as a result of modern culture, working practices and social expectations. The more media and stuff that we try to cram into our heads, the less we are open to the experience of contemporary living. Ryan Clayton and I sat and chatted over a coffee about what we’ve been distracting ourselves with, and to what extent we can ironically distance ourselves from a culture that is seemingly dissolving and de-socialising around us. We chatted about the prospect of being trapped for a lifetime in routines of business administration and performance management, with expectations of loosing ourselves in the herd. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because as other generations have figured out, there is always a way we can plot an independent and individuated pathway forward, this time through utilising metamodern ideas of sincere and meaningful aesthetic experience of culture.
Distraction Therapy 072 - Transcendental Coffee
Ryan Clayton and I met for a coffee, neither of us knowing what we wanted to discuss. It was an experiment in seeing what might emerge! In the end we tried to discuss Kant’s transcendental philosophy, and what it’s implications might be for engaging with metamodern culture? What does a symbolic experience help us to understand that goes beyond our rational and sensory type of thinking, and how can the aesthetic provide numinous experience?
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