you can’t always get what you are

Something of a perplexing look at the human condition. A mish mash collage of raw emotion, neuroses and the ups and mostly downs of alienation and marginality. It defies simple categorization and meanders through a cross-hatching of multiple narrative structures, shooting out across multiple contexts simultaneously. The primitive style of David Shrigley recalls the Art Brut of Jean Dubuffet, something of the collapsing of form found in Annie Leonard’s The Story of Bottled Water and the prodigal drawings that Perry Chen did for Ingrid Pitt: Beyond The Forest by Bill Plympton.

---...and David Shrigley and Chris Shepherd explore the darker recesses of the human psyche using simple pen lines to illustrate a sordid and hilarious tale of a lost soul in search of his identity.--- Read More:

The animation medium permits the representation of  violence of all stripes here in this collaboration David Shipley and Chris Shepherd of Who I Am And What I Want, ostensibly about desire and identity with x-large doses of death and sex pitched into the mix.Its been termed a representation of the Dada ethos but this style of work seems to be of a kin more in proximity with Walter Benjamin’s The Storyteller. The difference between a story and the novel in fiction form, on the communicability of experience- here within post pop culture- on the role that death exerts on us in modern life, on the nature of what wisdom consists of, the relation between the individual and nature and a few other subjects.

Benjamin: A story always has its own practical use; the story-teller is someone who has counsel for his listeners. If “having counsel” sounds old-fashioned, this is because the communicability of experience is dwindling. We have no counsel, either for ourselves or for others.

Counsel is less an answer to a question than a proposal concerning the continuation of a story which is just unfolding. To catch up with this counsel one would first have to be able to tell the story. Counsel, woven into the fabric of a lived life, is wisdom….

…Story-telling is dying out because wisdom, the epic side of truth, is dying out.

The decline of the story is the rise of the novel. Where the story-teller takes his stories from lived experience, either his or that of others, to change it into experience for his listeners; there the novelist is the lonely individual, no longer able to speak exemplarily about his most important concerns, unable to give or receive counsel. In the midst of life’s fullness, and through the representation of this fullness, the novel gives evidence of the profound despair/perplexity  of the living. Read More:

The theory was that mass madia has produced a new form of communication: information. But information has been so punditized and shot through with psychological interpretation that it is rendered antithical to the story, and almost instantly obsolete. Half of the art of storytelling is to keep the story empty and liberalized from explanation and the other half is to provide the cues and incitation so that the reader/viewer/listener will arrive at a personal interpretation.


Shrigley’s drawings and hand-rendered texts are dead-pan in their humor and reveal chance utterings like snippets of over-heard conversations. Shrigley’s voice is ever present in his artwork, using a disjunctive form of narrative that recalls the nonsensical and anarchic writing of Spike Milligan or the haphazard comedy of The Goon Show — the famous comedy troupe that introduced a Dada sensibility to a depressed post-war Britain. Reccurring themes and thoughts pervade his story-telling capturing child-like views of the world, the perspective of aliens and monsters or the compulsive habits of an eavesdropper shouting out loud….

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---David Shrigley, film still from Who I Am and What I Want, David Shrigley and Chris Shepherd, 2005, 7 min 23 sec.--- Read More:

…David Shrigley’s art frequently asks questions about the nature of contemporary art and its audience. He parodies the excessive and ridiculous aspects of the culture market and his rapidly executed and sometimes crudely made art suggest a compulsive desire to exploit and question the logic of contemporary art. Expressed in an extensive and expanding range of media, David Shrigley consistently seeks to widen his public…. Read More:

The stories that linger in memory are the ones free of psychological analysis. This process of memorising stories, however, is becoming less and less common, because the situation in which it most easily takes place becomes less and less common: boredom. It is the hearer entranced in the rhythm of labour – such as weaving or spinning – who most naturally assimilates the story. As craftsmanship dies out, so does the story.

The storyteller does not try to convey dry, impersonal information; he sinks the story into his own life, in order to bring it out of him again. Story-telling itself is not a liberal art, but a craft. The great story is therefore a carefully crafted thing, the “precious product of a long chain of causes similar to one another”. It takes time, a lot of time, to create such a story; and this is why story-telling is dying out. “All these products of sustained, sacrificing effort are vanishing, and the time is past in which time did not matter. Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated.” Read More:

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