Sur La Jetee
by L.Stern, originally published in Satellite Issue 2, February 2011

I've already started this article about 4 times and everytime it starts to take a specific direction, the whole thing seems to veer off course and lose its point.

So, seeing as its the 'diy' edition of Satellite, I figured it might be worth trying to disseminate the artistic process in some way, to break it down.

We are all born artists, the joy and wonderment of creating, learning, pushing our boundaries filling our early years; paint, crayons, pencils, scissors. The system grinds this out of us, become useful, learn a trade, become a doctor, change the world. No careers advisor in their right mind would ever advise anyone to be an artist. I'm pretty sure my careers advisor in secondary school suggested that I go on to work in engineering or somesuch on the flimsy basis that I got decentish grades in a subject commandeered by a borderline mentalcase whose primary obsession was telling people the ways in which they could be mortally injured by his department intercut with surrealist non-sequiteurs about the varying degrees of intellect shown by myself and my peers. I definitely didn't move into engineering, had I, I might, by this point in my life had some sort of direction, disposable income and stability as opposed to the constant self-questioning state of flux.

Of course, process is a vastly personal thing, our approach to creation, the spark that ignites the chain of consequence. In thinking about sparks, my brain automatically defaults to the fairly surreal falsetto of Ron Mael singing 'this town ain't big enough for both of us', a cornerpost of my playlist of shame. One of those collections of things that you really shouldn't admit to liking in the face of being all austere and artistic but nonetheless, everyone has. That playlist over the years has become subverted from the initial joyful collection of random and terrible music into something much darker. A long standing tradition would be to get drunk, then get morose and then in an attempt to lift the brevity of the mood, stick on this collection of joyful, cringeworthy music. Unfortunately, extended exposure in this mental state and the subsequent falling asleep during its playout led to some of the most upbeat music in my collection becoming ingrained as the soundtrack to some of my darkest internal moments. Sometimes the most unexpected sources can end up having a pretty profound impact.

I guess where I'm trying to head towards is the idea of process and influence being arbitrary points on the same loop. All too often, when not actually doing research for a piece, I'll stumble across something so jaw dropping in its beauty or relevance, that I've already physically produced an almost identical variant of it myself in the past, under no obvious direction from this future first contact. Can some things be so influential that they literally ripple backwards in time and change our then, present before concealing themselves away again, lying in wait for the source of these future echoes to reveal themselves. You could almost argue that it's a Zeitgeist effect but then most of the things I've suffered this synchronous resonance with are usually very far removed from any current timeline fashions and are usually a little too obtuse to have simply bled into generalised consciousness. Sometimes I swear if you 'listen' hard enough and stay still enough, you can hear the Universe grinding under your feet and feel the current starting to shift, time rippling and creating whirlpools of causality and effect around you. Your future life creates the present as much as the past should, so whenever concept appears to start eating itself, embrace it, at some point in the future which has already happened, you've probably nailed it and the completion has sent back supercontext vibrations causing you to question the present.