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June 14th, 2013 / 5:06 pm
Excerpts & Film

“HIS LAST DAYS AS AN ARTIST”

“HIS LAST DAYS

AS AN ARTIST”

Slash Lovering

60 min

[2011, partial, unpublished bootleg - Erik Stinson, 2013]

 

Characters

 

CARL – male, 29

LINDA – female, 24

ROMAN – male, 29, work friend of Carl

SOPHIE – female, 22, a reveler

 

1 EXT Bushwick, Monday night, in the quiet of the early

work week, walking from the train, then INT at CARL’s

apartment.

(CARL walks down a long street at sunset. he

carries a work bag. He wears business casual. He is out of place in this environment. The street and the sidewalk are dirty. His business is elsewhere. This is his comfortable escape.)

 

(CARL in his apartment seems relaxed. His life

appear to be in order. There is no sign of a plot, a great love, a passion. We only see evidence of a work life.

 

2 EXT, Broadway, morning. His “audit of civilization,”

walking the length of Broadway on a Saturday (first

sighting of woman).

 

(We see CARL’s ritual walk down Broadway. He is

familiar with the landmarks. He passes an art store, several banks, department store displays, showrooms. He looks at everything with a mixture of indifference and fatigue. Finally, LINDA catches his eye, but he loses her in a crowd. He wants to find her.)

 

3 EXT. West Side 20s, 30s, early evening, walking past

galleries to sit and look at the water. Carl sees Linda

again.

 

LINDA

(To someone off camera.)

There’s nothing left that I want to look at.

CARL

(Passes her, catching these fragments of

conversation)

 

LINDA

I can’t spend my hours in the computer. There’s nothing left. I spend my days in the sun and my nights out, wherever.

 

CARL

(Carl leans against a wall, listening.)

 

LINDA

The best thing to do is to control the people in control. It’s a system of creative direction. Do you know about creative destruction?

 

CARL

(He moves away in the direction of the Hudson,

missing the rest of her conversation)

LINDA

Men who are not artists miss the point, but they do not miss art. When men deny art, they are becoming artists of a bigger reality. The man I want is performing his life as an unconscious act of art that exceeds death. An act of art that defines life.

 

(CARL relaxes on bench, viewing the Hudson

river.)

 

Later outside a different gallery.

 

LINDA

You look familiar but I think it was a dream.

 

CARL

I was definitely a dream.

 

LINDA

Who are you here with?

 

CARL

I come to things alone sometimes.

 

LINDA

Yes, me too, me too.

 

CARL

Do you want to see about the wine?

 

LINDA

Yes.

 

4 Chinatown, weeknight, CARL drunk, explaining dark pools

of capital to a friend.

 

CARL

This issue of dark capital is hard for you yeah?

 

ROMAN

It’s not obvious. And the way you use social data. I

don’t understand.

 

CARL

The markets are like desire without an object. They are pure wanting.

 

ROMAN

I don’t understand.

 

A general pause.

 

CARL

This woman. She doesn’t work.

 

ROMAN

For you? Why would she?

 

CARL

No, she works for me. It’s about how she doesn’t pass her time. She prefers nothing to something.

 

ROMAN

This generation needs is 3-5 years of experience for job titles that have only existed for 1 year. She doesn’t want to play along.

 

CARL

She doesn’t like my work.

 

ROMAN

Who does? Money for money’s sake? Why?

 

CARL

Money for the sake of the world moving, for the sake of liquid, food, birth.

 

ROMAN

Power. I see.

(He looks tired)

 

CARL

Banking is OK. Being a banker is OK. It’s not really something I thought would be possible. I didn’t think that people like me worked at banks. I thought everyone would despise me because I would rather avoid their happy hours and weddings and little personal dramas of meaning and failure. I’m just… I just can’t involve myself. But being indifferent at a bank isn’t a problem anymore. The culture of business has merged with the end of all culture.

 

ROMAN

Does she know about the painting?

 

CARL

She’ll never know about the painting.

 

5 UWS river park, weeknight, drunk, urban primitive, very

long shots, romance scene

 

LINDA

Life could just be the hours of confusion between work and sleep.

 

CARL

All this is confusion.

 

LINDA

No, this is the quiet.

 

CARL

If I stop moving, all the lights in my office will turn off. That’s how it is for everything. That’s why we are sleeping together. To keep the lights on.

 

LINDA

The lights are on?

 

The scene changes dramatically, within the park.

 

CARL

How could you make more money than I make? I make all the money. I am the money. Don’t feel bad because you make less money. Feel angry or feel nothing. That’s how money makes us cold.

 

LINDA

Yeah. I guess I just don’t understand. I’m only good with people.

 

CARL

This, for example, you want power over just one man? Somehow, this will be enough?

 

LINDA

I don’t know.

(A pause)

Where did we first meet?

 

CARL

At a party.

 

LINDA

Really?

 

CARL

Wait – no. Do you like, believe in streetwear?

 

LINDA

What.

 

CARL

I think I saw you walking somewhere.

 

LINDA

Where?

 

CARL

Broadway maybe.

LINDA

I’m uncomfortable. Are we going to dinner?

 

CARL

I think so, yes.

 

LINDA

Where are we going to dinner?

 

CARL

Just come with me.

 

6 INT, Midtown, morning, a photo studio. a demonstration of

the artful economy, the concessions of finance office

life, abstracted away from the office “chrimatistikos.”

 

CARL

(To the team assembled)

I’m here to oversee the shoot for this brochure.

 

CARL

(To the photographer)

I fully support dumb art. Finally. When I was a painter, I tried to do that, but I failed.

 

CARL

(To the photographer)

I’m unable to continue producing the mythology of my own life, I’m giving in to the easy purity of finance work, the pursuit of order. I have achieved calm.

 

CARL

At first I thought of my job as a shift in the way I

practice, but now, it just seems like unconscious

living. More than just a small change, I fear.

 

7 EXT. NIGHT. Outside of a club in Tribeca. SOPHIE and CARL stand close together at the edge of the light.

 

CARL

It’s not a question of my personal culture.

 

SOPHIE

Everything is culture.

 

CARL

(Looks at some suited men getting out of a luxury car)

SOPHIE

Why do you look at those men?

 

CARL

I just wish I could be more like them. They are better Americans. They are pure.

 

SOPHIE

You’re crazy. You are not a banker.

 

Much later.

 

SOPHIE

I want to say that you are in film?

 

CARL

No. I’m a banker.

 

CARL

Maybe I used to be kind of an artist. Those guys back there (points), we all had a studio together.

 

SOPHIE

How did you stop? she asks.

(She’s drinking a whiskey he paid for.)

 

CARL

I just stopped trying to make things that came into my mind. I let go of that. I didn’t touch the paint brush. And slowly, I just kind of stopped needing it. Maybe I won’t need it again.

 

SOPHIE

You can’t give up. You won’t.

 

CARL

I just did.

 

8. INT, night, LINDA with friends.

 

(LINDA moves around in a crowded bar. There is

no sign of CARL.)

 

The camera moves out of the bar, to the street.

 

CUTS back to LINDA speaking to a friend.

 

LINDA

It’s stupid when they just stop calling. It’s one

thing to have a conversation, but this guy was so

wrapped up in his work – he said he was a banker, but I don’t know – then he just disappeared.

 

CUT to CARL looking at the Hudson.

 

CROSSCUT to business stationary describing a new ETF fund called “LINDA.”

 

CARL VO

With the approval of key investors, I’d like to begin selling LINDA on the closed markets within the month. The model fund is charting well and traders are demanding a product that trades on consumer sentiment, in real time. Gentlemen, this one could really be what the company needs, now, and going forward.

 

[Continues... - Erik Stinson]

 

TREATMENT NOTES

“HIS LAST DAYS AS AN ARTIST” IS A VIDEO NARRATIVE THAT IS ESSENTIALLY FLAT, AND AS NUMBINGLY UNGLAMOROUS, AS THE AESTHETICS OF A CERTAIN DEPRESSED AMERICAN LIFESTYLE, TAKING PLACE IN NEW YORK CITY. THE EXPERIENCE IS A VISUAL EXPLORATION OF DULL DIGITAL TEXTURE, DEFEAT, BOREDOM, ANTI-FASHION, AND SUPREME MEDIOCRITY UNDER HARSH CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS AN EXTRAPOLATION OF NEW MEDIUMS OF DIGITAL DESPERATION (INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, OKCUPID) INTO A LONGER WORK, A MASSIVE PERSONAL ARTIFACT OF AN IMPERSONAL TECH CULTURE BENT ON HUGE INFORMATION SYSTEMS, EVERYDAY DRONE WARFARE, AND A HEALTH CULTURE LEANING INTO THE CHEMICAL VOID. IT IS A CYBER ATTACK ON SICKENINGLY-SLICK CONVENTIONAL HD STORYTELLING.


References/concepts: THE ABSTRACT FEATURE, FAKE DOC OF SECRET ONLINE COMMUNITY OF FINANCE PEOPLE, THE IDEA OF “MADE FOR YOUTUBE” SECRET DOCUMENT, STORY OF BUSINESS / FINANCE, FAKE INTERVIEW STYLE, WORKSHOP, TEXTURE STORY, CLASS STORY, LINES READ FROM NEWSPAPERS, WEBSITES, THE MOST ALTERNATIVE PLACE ON EARTH AS AN ALGORYTHM-RICH PLAYGROUND, MAKING CULTURAL TRENDS INTO TRADING, ALGORITHMS , BECOMING EVERYTHING YOU HATE, QUITTING JOB, EXPOSE OF A FINANCE CULTURE WITH TOTAL CONTEMPT FOR HUMAN LIFE, SOURCE DIALOG FROM TWITTER, LONG SINGLE TAKE DOWN BROADWAY, REMOTE SCREENING KNOWN ONLY VIA A LOW-RES RIP TO YOUTUBE, 4 CHARACTER DRAMA WITH TWO LEADS AND ONE SUPPORTING FRIEND FOR EACH DARK POOLS OF CAPITAL THEME http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_liquidity