Thursday, June 9, 2016

Trash - When an Artwork Is So Bad That It's Good

"Good" trash wouldn't let go of you and it will haunt you in your dreams and everyday life.

The internet ... A place where you can find everything from the greatest crap to the most wonderful masterpiece ... A place where I found stuff that both amazed and traumatized me, that made me a better artist and that turned me into a little devil at the same time. I've been "living" online for 12 years now and I slowly but surely ended up developing a strange liking for trash.

Don't get me wrong, though. There's a big difference between creative products (I struggle to call them artworks) that are just bad and masterpieces that are so bad that they're actually good. While pieces that are "just bad" are simply plain boring trash has something fascinating about it. "Good" trash wouldn't let go of you until you finish reading or watching it, and afterwards it will haunt you in your dreams and everyday life.

This is exactly what happened to me after I started watching an illustrated dramatic reading of My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie on the Bad Fics Illustrated channel on YouTube. After I failed to read the infamous Harry Potter fanfiction myself because of the bad spelling a dramatic reading with hilarious illustrations was the best thing that could possibly happen to me. I couldn't stop watching the series, it robbed me of my sleep and it keeps influencing my own writing to this day.

Why do I and many other people like trash? The first guess might be that people often feel better about themselves when they watch other people fail. But why don't we enjoy pieces that are "just bad" then? Maybe there is something about this explanation, but I don't believe it's the complete truth.

What makes trash so great isn't simply the fact that it's bad. It's that trash often contains ideas no sane person would ever come up with. Seriously ... Whatever worries you might have, just go to YouTube and watch the trailer of Robogeisha. Doing so will definitely help you, since the only thing bothering you afterwards will be the question what kind of mushroom you have to eat to come up with ideas like a tailbone katana. Ideas used in trash pieces are often so mind-blowing that personally I feel inspired by them.

Reading many bad fanfictions and My Immortal in the first place didn't only inspire me to write parodies, but it also trained my ability to come up with crazy original ideas of my own, and it even changed my whole attitude towards art in general. While I used to take it very seriously for many years trash taught me to see art more as a game. For me, writing turned from a parade ground into a colourful playground which eventually led me to have even more fun with my art.

So what I'm trying to say is: Craziness is awesome! It fills our minds with amazement and questions. In a weird way, it's closely related to mystery. It's something out of our grasp, something we can't fully understand. For me, this is the truly special thing about trash: It has no limits.

"Good" trash is both an ingenious parody of itself and an ingenious piece of grotesque. It is art, no matter whether it is so bad on purpose or not. And it is a genre I genuinely enjoy. What about you?

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