Shulie: Shulamith Firestone (1997 reenactment of unreleased 1967 documentary)

Shulie: Shulamith Firestone (1997 reenactment of unreleased 1967 documentary)

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Shulamith Firestone’s Dank Audio Stash

Shulie: Shulamith Firestone
(1997 reenactment of unreleased 1967 documentary)

[Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] my name is Shubham Firestone and I'm 22 years old during the shooting of this film I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in painting and drawing from the Art Institute of Chicago I don't like Chicago I never liked it from the beginning and I don't feel that I belong anywhere else and New York is the place to go when you don't belong anywhere because nobody else does either there I've learned like a certain grandmas fear about Chicago that in the beginning I didn't like but it's sort of brought on me it's kind of a Van Buren Street quality you know kind of a gray windy day sort of a quality that's good for photographers but not for painters you know all the little men wandering around being kind of vaguely dissatisfied that's the quality I want to get that is probably everywhere but only Chicago will have a certain brand that I like I always like the way phones and don't really make you feel the presence of the director I've always like to feel that I'm I'm peeking into things that I wouldn't see otherwise and I hate to see that [Applause] as one category of documentary I think it's a good thing I wouldn't be against that being done but I don't think anyone should say that all documentary filmmakers should relate personally to what it is they're dealing with you know it's it's something I deal with a lot as a as a photographer when I'm taking photographs I was I was taking a photograph of this woman and this old woman she was sitting in front of this restaurant window and she was wearing the old furs and she was sort of dried up and she was she was picking apart at this chicken leg you know I just I felt ashamed of trying to take a photograph of her it would have been a really great photograph but she just kept looking at me and I felt horrible I couldn't take the photograph and I think sometimes you just reach a point where you can't use people's situations and subject matter when I was about well you know I started having a lot of religious doubt and I remember I was sitting class and think there is no God and I'd have a wave of guilt feeling it would just come rushing over me almost physical pain you know and and then I would think and I would sort of torment myself with these things I try to block them out and you know what boys would say oh you know that's all rubbish and the other boys would say don't think about it don't think about it and and this went on for a month I was just completely eaten up by it and I just tried very hard to block it out and I softened if I got my way to school and I knew what those schools were like to some extent that you know they would brainwash me and that's what I really wanted I wanted someone to completely eliminate those doubts so that I'd never be tortured again [Applause] now even though I'm not religious I still feel that the religion has gone into other channels but it's still there I mean I still have a basically religious outlook and maybe that's what makes me feel not very contemporary I tell myself that you know as long as I'm working I don't care about happiness as long as I'm working but you know of course as long as I'm working I don't I don't really have to worry about it you know what I'm producing I'm afraid I guess I'm afraid of getting trapped in a kind of day-to-day living I want I want to somehow catch time short and not not just go go along or just riff along in it the essential reason for for anyone to make an artistic creation is to surmount the fact that they're constantly an animal organism that's just sort of going along in time and and growing older at with a past and a future and and so on and to to somehow transcend that in an art world you can do anything you you can make the world exactly the way you want it I mean as as far as God is concerned I'd like to be I don't really worry about someone out there except insofar as it pertains to me because if it doesn't pertain to man then it doesn't pertain to anything and then I don't really care about it I am but I think I've been put down so much because I used to be so completely wrapped up in my own problems and my own affairs and I would talk to anybody about it and I would analyze endlessly and people hate that you know and I don't really blame them so I made every effort to shut up about it and you know now I find that when people ask me about it I have to get over a lot of hesitancy about whether they really want to hear it you know I don't I don't really feel the need to talk to anybody who's interested in listening to me and you know I sort of worked through things I'm not 18 anymore and so I don't have to talk to everybody who will listen and just sort of find it a lot nicer to keep things to myself I've become immeasurably more inarticulate since I started I mean in 40 years I've become completely inarticulate what four years since I started art school I mean even at 18 I was more articulate than I am now and I find that I'm but less and less I'm able not able it's that I don't even bother trying to sing it anymore they're not you're not concerned with the words anymore I am it's just I become so defensive about being verbal I mean you know people people act as if it's some sort of flaw you know in art circles like your verbal and you know you go well I better get it rid of it fast and you know I've become so defensive about it that when somebody accuses me of being verbal I immediately shut up or something I work at the post office part-time and even though the pay is pretty good when you have to get up at 6:00 and you're the only person on the subway you feel like some sort of derelict the catches please sub number 24:56 s Firestone report people all around are just waiting to take their hostility out on someone it's really frightening like at the post office the supervisors are just little guys they've been there 30 years they started in the depression or something and some of them are really nice I have to give them credit but most of them are petty little bastards and they're standing there waiting to nab you and to show their power and it's really annoying because you know these were just the kind of little people who got into power and you know it's not a Germany and you know just what they can do when they have a position to back them up it's frightening let's manage of Negroes there is very high which would automatically make you wonder about what kind of job it is first of all Negroes can't get anything except for a federal job so that would account for the high rate of Negroes if you meet a Negro and you want a subject of conversation the first thing you ask them is how long did you work at the post office and then you have something to talk about it's like this giant paternity of people who work at the post office at some time or another and once you've worked with them it's like having gone to jail with them it's kind of a brotherhood you know [Applause] [Applause] I don't know about our school I really I think it was a waste mostly but I don't know what else I would have done under the circumstances I mean at the point that I thought of dropping out which was very frequent there wasn't really any alternative you know I didn't know where to go to get the same thing even though it was so little and so bad I might have wandered around in search of direction or or gangs as long as I was in art school so I don't know if I made the wrong decision it was a hell of a long time though I was on independent study this year which meant that I did all my painting at home but I did have to bring it in every semester for critiques did you explain the compositions a little bit more and RiRi side I'm interested in dealing with those solitary quality it doesn't really matter what it is any any classroom situation is there anybody involved in these yes anonymity and a certain dehumanization an alienation that people have to go through in their work yeah because shape much better figures seem to work much better together the other one seems to be a verdant and decisive today so far away yes it becomes symbolic or something whereas this one is just what it is it's very strange I'm not criticizing I'm observing what you've done there consequently have done new female female news with the exception of Michelangelo and the Greeks who are saying is that there's a certain strange quality something that could be strengthened that sort of mystery the grotesqueness about the behavior I'm interested I'm very interested in furnace and I think that's something that comes through in each of the paintings interesting comparison between the photographs and the paintings because the theme behind all of them is the same is this your interest in people in the lives and the lives of people lead and it seems much more direct through your photographs even even though even though you don't like the medium it seems easier in a more direct way of working for you than paint and in the painting I think I think in my opinion the most successful painting is the one that goes beyond this and has a more poetic symbolic quality as opposed to the photographs that I think try and reach this to more of a realistic representation of the things as so why do you use photography and the camera and still indulge yourself to get through to Wow I really just never connected with the camera Shirley try new things [Applause] is the painting of the male figures seated on the chair is that complete is that a complete statement to your mating the questions surely so much do I feel it's complete yes can you answer that it's not a difficult question if not fine wine don't you feel that there's some spatial and acuity between the relationship between the seated figure and the relation to the chair don't you think that the chair could have been brought forward more it looks as though they're so unrelated and getting physical placement they're very related tone and color like in you have this feeling for personality for person people that I think cinema is the best way to go about what you're trying to do [Applause] if you worry about technique you could do it if you find yourself in that position you could read someone else and let them ensure you have the ideas and the vision that could make it work I just generally identify with minority groups as opposed to the large masses you know the large homogeneous mass of people I just automatically feel a bond with those who are who aren't exactly in things but I just as soon connect with those who are perceptive to see through things and not just outside them you know who aren't just outside them and how would you relate that to this this question of being generation which generation generation how would I relate this to being part of a part of my generation yeah I mean this is something that is very strong innate so many people of your age that they see themselves very well I wouldn't say that there are so many who feel alienated from it you said that they feel part of it right and I said I didn't right well yes you know that's true I know that's really not very hip I'm sorry it just happens to be true then say it wasn't hip but it isn't it isn't it's very hip right what's what's hip what's your conception of him to live in the now so live in the now where's that the now right here and now don't worry about yesterday don't worry about tomorrow living the now there's this big fear of society so structured and everyone's being you and whipping you to get somewhere and do something what for just enjoy the now life is fun life is pleasant we enjoy friends and drinking and smoking pot why should we worry about anything sure that's that's fine it's good for them I don't care I want to give it some form otherwise I don't leave any imprint and it doesn't you see I think reality is a little chaotic and meaningless and unless I give it some form it doesn't have enough static control [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] I mean I care about the now sure after a good day of work I wouldn't mind going for a while I mean it's just when it's not enough for me to live in the nail and any day that goes by that I haven't made some kind of landmark because it just goes by so fast and it just sort of it just drifts on by and I hate the shape no I don't think so of course it depends on who you are in a relationship with if you if you get involved with a man who doesn't agree with you on this sort of thing then it's going to be very energy consuming because you're constantly going to be arguing with this person about what position that you're in in relationship to him but if you get involved with someone who will breeze with you on this these sorts of things then I don't see why there should be any problem but I think it is very difficult because many men have these strange standards of course any intellectual woman or any person who's involved in the arts is going to have problems with men because they don't agree with this I think they should be doing anything they don't say that they wouldn't come out and say that but really that's what it boils down to you should be interested in them first and then when you get older of course there's this element of children that you're not feminine if you don't have babies or they're not masculine if you don't have babies this whole fertility idea I don't understand why there's such a hang-up about it if anything I'm worried about being too feminine it's too dangerous I'm always tempted in the direction of becoming physical I'm not saying that it's meaningless to be a mother in a way it is very limited because you're concerned with one baby and taking care of its needs and that can be very absorbing you know I've had a couple of friends that have had babies and they're so absorbed you know for at least five years they're completely absorbed with this with this baby and they feel that they don't need to do anything else it is very limiting because if you are not interested in this particular baby then then you have nothing to talk to them about [Applause] I think the only thing that can really save you is some sort of activity or project no matter how foolish I mean as long as you care about it it's something you put your love into the only thing that can save you from what from having a meaningless life because then who cares about it I mean sure you care and then you die and then nobody cares you're just another person and you live and you die and nobody cares I want to be a master of time because it's not enough for me to just live and die I don't like it enough it doesn't matter I just keep thinking I'm 22 what have I done I want to do something instead of beauty and power occasionally I want it all the time to achieve a world where it's there all the time in every word and every brush stroke and not just now of them

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