Good / Better : Why / Why Not? custom video piece for Art on the Marquee, Boston, MA
Good/Better : Why/Why Not? is a visual exploration of a minor epiphany that has caused major effects in my life. Curious and cautious by nature, I have been well served by always asking why, but that eventually lead to over-validating all my decisions. I was getting bogged down by justifying daily minutia, choices in my art practice, and major life decisions. A few years ago, I made a hasty, ridiculous drawing to use as a postcard. Anticipating a confused reaction, I added, “Sometimes it’s better to ask why not?” and dropped it in the mail. This revelation became a breakthrough in and outside the studio. By inverting the Why?, our patterns are disrupted and analyzed, and new actions are provoked. Why not? gives greater flexibility in responding, deciding, and creating. Also, listing reasons why something should not be often reveals clearer and fewer choices, leading to quicker and more instinctive resolutions.
In Good/Better, this playful but profound dialogue unfolds. The lively, metaphoric video demands attention. Why? fades in slowly and is prolonged; it is the mental rut we unconsciously trace again and again. That line of thinking is cut, there is a dark pause, and finally Why Not? replaces Why?, attacking our query from the opposite direction.
To develop this custom marquee piece, I teamed up with Ben Pender-Cudlip. The imagery in Good/Better is previously unseen footage from our ongoing film series Chromatic Aberrations. The HD video was shot live and uses no animation or digital manipulation except for speed adjustments. I hope viewers remain mentally engaged with Good/Better’s broad implications well beyond its short duration. At the very least, the piece substantiates itself in a most literal way: A passerby may wonder, “Why? Why is there such a strange video playing on these enormous public screens?” The simplest counter is, “Well, why not?”