Hailed as the highlight of the Liverpool 2012 Biennial, Doug Aitken’s latest venture into the depths of interviewing is one of the most magnificent acts of cinema the artist has ever produced. No stranger to the act of conversation (see his past projects Patterns & Repetition and Broken Screen: 26 Conversations with Doug Aitken) Doug has hand-picked a selection of who he feels are some of the most important creatives working today and asked them: “What is the source of a creative idea? Where does it start and how is it realised?”
Just as a butcher would have a more in-depth conversation with another butcher about what he does rather than, say, a journalist, the fact that Doug is asking the artists these questions allows them to open up and give him a generous helping of answers. Jack White speaks in depth about the creative process and where it comes from. Beck meanwhile talks about the act of songwriting in such a way that it seems like a religious experience.
All the interviews are condensed by Aitken to four-minute snippets containing what he feels are the real juicy nuggets of the conversation. They are then projected inside an intimate pavillion next to the Tate Liverpool that can be visited throughout the day and witnessed from outside at night, when the then silent conversations are projected from the inside-out.
So why has Doug chosen this diverse range of people to interview? And why does what is generally considered a research technique constitute as an actual piece of art? Doug explained it as a kind of archiving process. When you look back at the years gone by, what often stays with you are tiny fragments of conversations that you have been lucky enough to be a part of. These gems of wisdom must be harvested and kept until later, when the fleeting information can be remembered and re-used.