How to become a contemporary serial killer?
Since a while I’m carrying around this film scene. Can’t really get it out of my head, and yeah – I think – it could be the opening scene of a sort of horror movie. If I were caught up in that situation myself I would definitely have to hold back. It would be a struggle with my inner serial killer. I’d have to put up all that cultural entrepreneur kind of strength as a last effort of will to maintain myself on the right side of evil, perverse and the unimaginable.
It’s contemporary times. A good son, say nine years old, in company with his father – could be an architect, artist perhaps composer – entering a proper North-American school. We see them in corridors, taking a corner and finally ending up at the teacher’s office. Yes, it is time for that talk. Oh no, this has nothing to do with misbehavior, relegation, class, nothing.Everything is cool. Seated, the female teachers, perhaps forty and an inch older than that the father, goes along outlining the general situation, touching upon some minor asymmetries, emphasizing the son’s attentiveness and proactive behavior. Everybody is happy and the session is coming to an end.
“-Well thank you then…” says the father with his hand on his son’s shoulder, about to stand up. Cut to the teacher.
“-Mr Smith, your son is very creative, so…
Cut back the father. We see his hand closing around the boys shoulder, his face cringe, hardening.
The father, in no time, barges over the table, tightens his hands around the teacher’s throat. The son curios yet surprised, frozen, as his dad with rage shakes the woman with ever more ferocity. His eyes black, hate pouring from his very being as the teacher with a final spasm – graceful like a Meg Stuart dancer – passes over to the dark side. She is dead, her body lifeless.
“-Nobody”, screams the father ”No-body, calls my son creative. No one, no one… humiliates my child like that, accusing him for being imaginative.”
Cut. And the film goes on, the father on the run, away from justice and away from creativity and imagination.
Admit it, you have felt the same. Closing up to the border where you might lose it following somebody saying: “-Use your imagination.” Fuck off, imagination is for pot smokers.
Consider the idea that there would be a rumor about you. Say, that you were very creative in bed. No, there is no therapy against that, only the Vatican could help you: endless celibacy.
To have your child be called imaginative equals saying she is completely mediocre, absolutely average and a total waste of time. You know what, I prefer psychoanalysts at least they shut up. Sociologists they promote imagination, they are the ones that come up with creative solutions. Help me, juzuz Christ. Obviously imagination and creativity are serious players in the movement where size doesn’t matter. Oh yes, imagination is always within the range, it’s already suitable and just a little bit eccentric. Creative is like another word for cute, or perhaps the more contemporary “sweet”. Holy fuckin macaroni. It gets even better, the creative, those that know how to use their imagination, they listen to house music. They know the title of the last Hot Chip album and say Swedish House Mafia as if friends. Yeah. Creative people have lunch with their parents and the pregnant girlfriend at the Moderna Museum and would like to ride single-speed but instead go to yoga. Ashtanga, bitch!
Slavoj Zizek mentioned something in a lecture a few years ago, that, you know, one sais that people have dogs because they can’t stand people. “-In fact”, he went on, “it’s the other way around, we spend time with people cuz we can’t stand dogs.” This obviously have to do with theatre, as long as we are with humans we are safe. As long as we are with people you don’t need to face who you are. The same goes for creativity and imagination, we use our imagination because we have something to say. It’s the other way around, because we have nothing to say we seek refuge in imagination.
What haunts the creative is the possibility that somebody else did something similar, that some other designer already had thought about that, or used a resembling angle. I apologize for psychoanalysis, but you know – the creative is sort of a contemporary hysterical, somebody that through all possible means will cover the fact that they are totally average, mediocre and are scared shitless about risk, change and off balance. The creative stands in front of a dilemma: I have nothing to say and I want to be loved. I have never had an idea and I want to reach people. Great, like a paralyzed leg insert creativity. Use your imagination, nothing is a problem. I’m fine.
Imagination is one of those words that over the last decade has changed into something of a monster. Not as bad as creativity, corrupted into a business proposal, a job and a class. Imagination resonates positively. To possess imagination is good and a sign of inner beauty, but is it really? Imagination in a more radical sense is nothing positive per se. My imagination is dark, dirty and probably perverse, but today it seems like imagination is just well-meaning, behaving, state subsidized or more often privately funded. Both general and individual imagination have been corporatized, it has become a commodity, but not as a thing manufactured by kids somewhere in China. You and me are the factories, everything and every time you use your imagination you are working for the big corporation. It’s clear, your creatively composed messages on your Facebook profile is you working as a volunteer for Mark Zuckerberg, but don’t worry you’re just one of 500 million laborers. Workers international suddenly got a new vibe.
Imagination is not free. What one can imagine is always already possible. Imaginary things might be weird and suspicious but they are without exception installed in representation. Recalling Roland Barthes, you are not the author of your imagination. At best you are the DJ of your mind.
Imagination is not enough, it will never change anything it will just make you feel comfortable. People complain that they dream too much, the dreams you have when you sleep are just there to boost your identity. Imagine that! And even then you work for somebody, your dreams, creativity and imagination are making somebody make a lot of money. It’s called financialization, capital dispersed into forms of life, individual and collective imagination.
We have to work harder, the only thing worth while imagining is the unimaginable. Shape up, we have to imagine what we can’t even imagine imagining. This is hard work and endangers the subject, but as long as we are sufficient with imagining; blondes at beauty pageants will still answer: peace on earth.
Creativity is not real it is realized and possible, it has nothing to do with the virtual and certainly no nothing with potentiality. Creativity is like James Bond, he might do it with excellence but he is only licensed to kill. Remember that scene in Fight Club where Brad Pitt gives his combatants a homework consisting in the permission to pick a fight and lose. The subject is given permission to expand what can be experienced, the moment is affective and “whatever”. But then of course, not even David Fincher dares to stay, keep the cool, but here comes the creative, things starts to change, movement, dramaturgy, scenes, silly costumes. Sadly and without any other option the permission to whatever turns into a license to imagine. The longer the experience lasts the more restricted my imagination, the longer it lasts the more stylized what I’m licensed to confirm.
The teacher that announced that your kid was creative – she is dead now right – has totally missed the point. Creative is like the centre-fold of well-meaning, good student. Creativity is a little bit crazy, but offers nothing else than healthy interpretation instead of insisting on production due no prior unity.
The end of creativity can easily backfire and come out like some sort of fundamental formalism or minimal electronica that operates as cover for some slimy romantic transcendence. To take on the task of abolishing imagination is immense, perhaps even impossible. The problem is that it’s damn hard to fail with enough dignity, to dare to set the things loose instead of bringing the ferry to the land of the dead safely over the river. Creativity is like a virgin consuming pornography. A teasing promise yet completely harmless, or perhaps better: a feel-good show for identity suckers that claim to, but aren’t into group sex.
What’s your choice: ashtanga three nights a week or serial killer 24/7.