Artists are known to be obsessive. They collect things for the reason of adding to their collections, and they also become enthralled with ideas and themes which find expression in their work, which then probes and investigates these ideas, that don’t always make sense to other people. Often times, it is also not as if the reasons and end-results of their activity is done specifically for anyone other than themselves.
Adam Savage’s talk for the EG Conference, posted up by TED, illustrates this obsessive mania. It starts with being obsessed with a story in the paper over Dodo bird bones, to figuring out how to sculpt the entire skeleton that then ends up fully painted, mounted and made complete with an information piece at the base.
Savage wasn’t going to complete the entire skeleton, but one thing led to another, and it was done. In doing this, the new found possibility of sculpting because open to him and his obsessive quirk opened the door to more creativity and innovation with the project of recreating the Maltese falcon from the movie entitled, The Maltese Falcon.
All objects have stories to tell, this is what Adam is most interested in, in objects and their stories, from what I took from the talk. His falcon replica in completion, has its own story from its humble origins in being sculpted in clay, to being cast in resin, to then being cast in bronze, but even then, full satisfaction was not found when its creator realized it was a few inches smaller to the true-sized clay model he made earlier, because of a technical oversight.
At the end of the talk, Savage speaks out his next potential options of what to do next, in order to bring to an end to this project; only to admit that achieving the end was not really the point of the exercise.
What is the point of the exercise then? What is the worth in giving further life to an obsessive activity? For surely not all obsessions are healthy and can be detrimental.
There will always be routine in life, and tasks to be completed in order to get to the next day. Work must be completed, traveling and commute to get to work, and schedules to follow through in order to start the day once again. Processes and lifestyles build up to the greater picture to the person you are and it is also often easy to lose track of what is it that makes people who they are, and a part of it is their passions and obsessions. They can be illogical, except for the self, but in attending to them, to things that are enjoyed and are processes unto themselves, the end is not the point of the end and can lead to greater things.