Why Shoot?

An Interview with Director Ryan Mitchell About Saint Genet and Why He Decided to Get Shot in the Arm with a Rifle


It's all just a bunch of fluff.
Wanker. Dangerous my ass. I'm sticking with "privileged" and "sensationalist", thanks. And "uninteresting". But hey, you got your picture in the paper, so good on ya, mate.
I really wish I could find any of this compelling.
If it takes you 10,000 words to explain your art, your art failed.

Also, this?
"It’s that way if that’s all there is—it would be just an assertion of white heterosexual male privilege, basically. But to do it as part of this whole other thing, and to do it privately and quietly, it becomes about both, hero and martyr, and when those two things can occur."

Either Brendan and Ryan don't understand what "privately and quietly" means, or they're pretty fucking blind to the privilege of getting a 10,000 word rebuttal in print. Brendan, you're a smart guy, but if your goal was to make your friend look like *less* of a sensational narcissist, this piece is a miserable failure.
How does he have time to do anything after spending so much time sucking himself off?

At least we do not have to debate if he is a sensationalist and narcissistic windbag anymore, as this piece proves it.
I'm gonna stray from the pack and say I appreciate outsider extremists in our cultural milieu. I think it makes Seattle more metropolitan. I also enjoy the silly media dialogue. It's nice to see any art get 10,000 words.

But, this is pretty elitist stuff here. It requires a $50,000 art school decoder ring before you can interface with it. Ryan's claim that this piece has meaningful ramifications for socio-political problems seems pretty thin.

I think it's just entertainment for snobbish people; Know-it-alls who are bored and restless. That's totally cool but I'd never want to hang out with these dudes. It sounds exhausting!
@8, outsider extremists who copy 40-year-old stuff they read about in Re:Search? Huh. Maybe he'll get a band together next and do a cover of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue". I'm sure it'll be really rocking.
@9 Yes, and how is this different from any theater cover band in Seattle? Theater is a medium almost entirely made up of cover bands. Ryan just happens to be covering an incredibly esoteric and polarizing band.A band that's not my cup of tea. But, good for him.
I'm curious about Marina's "reproducible" argument, and how it would relate to "Shoot". Surely, the act of the shooting in "Shoot" was a performance, but isn't the video recording nothing BUT a reproducible form? On top of that, even the most precisely-directed theatrical performance has a zero-probability chance of being perfectly reproduced night-to-night. So by Marina's standards, wouldn't "Shoot" and a live theatrical production really be better put in the reverse categories?
@9, I think @10 has something there. I would personally think that, say, a Chrome cover band or a Nurse with Wound cover band would be doing something rather "extreme," if only by default; what's more, the reference would be obscure enough that it might even inspire a new generation of original art.

This is not to say anything regarding Mitchell's work in itself; I didn't see the OtB piece, so I won't pollute the conversation with too much speculation. But even if I were to have hated the project, I'm not sure that faulting it for reproducing something that already existed would make for a particularly useful critique. Canon formation relies on revival and appropriation to mark what continues to have relevance a generation or more after inception.
Of all the artist interviews I've read, that was definitely... one of the longest.
stupid stupid stupid stupid, has it come to this?
Yikes. Holy shit. I gave up halfway through. Shouldn't the work speak for itself? I like that this guy is pissing people off, but his notions of theater ("fake") vs. performance art ("real") reeks of him licking his own ballbag. What a total nipple. It's ALL fake. Performance art can be thrilling as a stunt, but it's never more than that. Theater actually tells stories, entertains, and connects us with the deeper truths of existence... at least I'd like to think, though I gave up on the medium long ago. But this???? This shit gets tons of ink in The Stranger? This utter cat piss??? Wow! He gets shot in the arm with a .22? Make it AT LEAST a .38 and I'll be impressed. A .22 is a gun, but the most impotent of rifles--a glorified pellet gun. Hell, even some of the pellet guns I shot as a redneck kid were .22 caliber. And I love #10's comment about theater groups in Seattle being mainly "cover bands." That was my take when I was in the scene, and I'm sad to hear that's still the reality. But fuck it... plays are very hard to make. Performance art? Not so much...
@15 - I think I probably agree with you more than I disagree, so it's possible I'm just following an instinct to play devil's advocate, but ... I'm not 100% sold on the idea that performance art can only be a stunt. At the very least, it seems to me that performance art can provide a laboratory for trying out new theatrical ingredients to save us from the doldrums of quasi-naturalistic narratives about people talking, which describes a bit too much of the theater that's out there.

Point well taken, of course, about telling stories, entertaining, and connecting with deeper truths; such are worthy, perhaps even necessary, goals for all art. How certain are you, really, that performance art cannot contain one or more of the above?

If anything, this particular "stunt" seems to suffer from a problem that plagues a lot of theater: it seems to betray a hunger for canon, to have written a name on history (if through the channel of the opposite value, the exaltation of the ephemeral and transient). Permanence and transcendence are, in my experience, generally accidents, side-effects of a pervasive desire to communicate something. But reducing the random and chaotic to an affectation of theory and a haphazard approach to execution really isn't much different, at the end of the day; it trades the communicative aspect of art for the merely expressive.

Still, I can't help thinking that the fact that we're even having this conversation means that the piece might have succeeded in a way that a lot of traditional theater doesn't ... though it could also have more to do with Brendan's article than with the piece itself.
I read this whole long thing and I still couldn't tell you exactly why he thinks this makes for good art. I suppose someone might claim that it's good art because it gets people talking about it, but it seems to me that it only gets people talking because Brendan takes him seriously and writes about him as if this is art worth paying attention to. If not for that I kind of think you'd get a few "Did you hear about the guy who had his arm shot and called it art? Ha! What a nutjob!" type comments and then people would forget about it. It seems really implausible that this piece is going to get anyone to think about themselves or their place in the world or about violence or ownership of art or... Much of anything. So I ask again, why does Ryan think this is good art? And if he doesn't have a good answer, why is Kiley giving this so much attention?
He does keep the dialogue going. I love that people love to hate him. At least he is doing something besides watching mind-numbing TV with a pacifier in his mouth! Keep covering him, I like what he does even if I don't fully understand.
If ever in Reno, I hope you will look me up.
Maybe the whole point of this piece is to make you think about violence and whether or not you have any control over it.