The reaction to the recent release of a special edition of Hysterical Literature for Sandy relief has been overwhelmingly positive, and has already resulted in hundreds of dollars of donations to support both the project and relief efforts for survivors of Hurricane Sandy. Keep them coming, and when I’m able to disburse the funds I’ll keep you posted on how and where they help.
But I’ve also received a few emails from a small but very vocal group of fans that are not at all happy with the aesthetic I chose to employ for this session. Let’s call them the "Dylan Goes Electric" contingent. I’m quite happy that many of you have been so taken with the series that you’ve taken the time to bemoan this recent visual diversion, your complaints are taken as a sign of your deep affection for the mainstream sessions.
I could spend some time talking about the reasons for my aesthetic decision to make this fundraising effort look apart from the main series. I could talk about how the aesthetic relates to creating an emotional state of chaos and obscurity, of dreams or nightmares, of seeking what’s lost and finding what remains, and how this relates intimately to what the survivors of the storm are feeling. I could talk about how this aesthetic calls back to some of my earlier projects, most notably the Dreampod Sessions I launched on Nerve (2003), and the Magic Interview video piece (2009) which was a kernel of inspiration for what later became the Hysterical Literature project. This won’t make sense to shallower followers of my work. When I say shallow, I mean those who only know me for this one project, not as a judgment on their aesthetic taste. But I also mean shallow in the sense of those who are only salaciously interested in these for orgasms, which are only one aspect of the concept.
But that won’t matter, because on some level, the negative reactions are essentially just hating New Coke. And that’s fine. I’m not the type of artist that feels the need to do the same thing over and over again, and visual and conceptual experimentation is core to my artistic process. In this sense I’m more like Araki, and less like Helmut Newton. More like Nick Knight, and less like Herb Ritts.
But I’d love to give those who love Hysterical Literature but hate the Sandy session a chance to put their money where their mouth is. So, I’ll make you a deal, if you can yourself donate, and share this link with enough of your friends that we’re able to raise $2500 for support of the project and Sandy relief, I’ll happily release a traditional black and white session of Amanda. You can follow me on Twitter for updates on donation totals.
Talk is cheap. Support the project, do a good deed, and satisfy your taste for the original aesthetic all at the same time. Donate now!