You know what’s better than coming up with New Year’s Resolutions? Adopting an obsessive compulsive disorder and disguising it as art.
As someone who spent the first two days of 2012 spending more than she could afford on food and alcohol, I can support the gesture of giving significant slack to your best intentions, championed here by Gothamist. Why should I be ashamed of my undesirable behavior when I can justexpect less of myself, as Oprah suggests? But to be honest, I’m just not interested in improvements that are so damned reasonable. Achievable resolutions feel like the boring tedium of becoming someone who is well-adjusted.
In my quest for a little New Year’s something to tickle my fancy—to take advantage of the promise and optimism inherent in a brand new year—I ran across a tidbit in Ruth Franklin’s Literary Resolutions in the New Republic that left me utterly inspired. Peter Dreher is an artist who paints the same water glass every day and now has over 2,500 paintings of this water glass. This exercise has incredible artistic and philosophical consequences, much of which is discussed in this interview with Lynne Tillman over at BOMB.
For me, the repetition and the obsessive nature of the exercise (the water glass is always on the same white table in a white room; the perspective and frame are uniform) make the perfect grounds on which to perform awesome, if not meaningful, resolutions.
Instead of resolving to keep in better touch with family and friends, why not resolve to write a letter every day to the same person you don’t know very well? Instead of resolving to hear more music, why not resolve to listen to the same song every day at the same time of day? Instead of eating healthier, why not try to draw a piece of crumpled white paper that you then re-crumple and draw again the next day?
The possibilities are endless. What’s important is to do something obsessively, with precision and care to maintain a particular sameness, every day. The accumulation, whether it be of particular objects or simple experience, would inevitably reveal something. And even if the exercise fails artistically, there is still the pure satisfaction of daily work.
Photo: Monique Knowlton Gallery via bombsite.com