i am going to respond in fragments bc thatís what i do.

 

re: clerks

 

it doesnít challenge renoirís notions -- as i see it -- because you KNOW the clerks guys had no choice -- they use the cheap black and white camera bc thatís what they do -- the style is congruous with cheap equipment -- thus -- there is no contrivance there

 

with manhattan -- there is contrivance -- however you are correct in that the film overcomes this by being good enough -- so itís beautifully shot -- and so on -- and the story compels -- and so i agree itís ok manhattan is black and white -- but it is open to criticism on that count and some people do find woody allen pretentious -- i donít mind it myself -- but some do -- also -- manhattan (the city) is about the most conducive city i can think of to black and white film stock -- so thatís another factor Ė whenusing obsolete tools, oneís subject matter becomes more limited -- meaning if someone shot a film about greenpeace actions in the pacific in 2007 -- and shot it in black and white -- it would be like, huh?

 

>why should we treat obsolescence as a sign that we should limit our creative choices? shouldnít we just allow ourselves to be limitless?

 

i am not suggesting that we should eschew old techniques just because they are old -- but i am not sure it is accurate to say that if we accept the notion of obsolescence we are therefore limiting our creative options in any significant way -- i.e. there is still essentially unlimited creative options from here to eternity even if we do disallow certain older tools. ha! of course thatís silly to propose -- but iím simply saying we must not embrace or maintain old technology for fear of lack of creative options. also one could argue that the capacity to use old technology (super 8, etc.) is just as much a creative limitation in that the more people rely on existing technology, the less they strive to create new tech/tools/etc. in other words, relying on existing tools = complacency; making new tools = creation // if i paint a painting which looks just like the mona lisa, is that really as much of a contribution as if i invent a new kind of painting instrument and do something totally unprecedented?

 

>Robert Frank, the guy Iím supposed to be writing my dissertation about, would be really impatient with the get over it idea. He embraces new media- making music videos even- but he privileges the aesthetic effect over all.

 

bah. aesthetic effect? i bristle. i donít like the word aesthetic. i prefer to talk about people. and relationships. experiences.

 

>Heíll knit color video and black and white film in one art text.

 

again, this is different that shooting a black/white super 8. knitting them together = new thing

 

> Heíll shoot Patti Smith on black and white film only, because it is more suited to her personality. Why be so limited? Why look only ahead?

 

again, this is in the context of his body of work. you are expected to see his use of black and white for patti smith in the context of his using different things (presumably he uses color for other people?) so he is making statements about these things together. again, not unlike his other "knits" -- only the overall framework is his whole career and not just one stand-alone piece.

 

why look only ahead (you asked)? an artistic method is appropriate for a certain context, time, etc. // another set of tools is appropriate during another context // so if some tools remain in use within that newer context, then fine, but then that is genuine creation of art from within oneís own natural context // to seek out tools which are now obsolete merely because they are obsolete or as a  rejection of what is known or not yet known seems to me a contrivance, and there must somewhere be a tolstoy quote for that. but on the other hand, as lenny bruce says regarding using profanity in comedy, if itís for shock value, then itís bad, but if it swings with that character in the story, then do it.