How Do We Know When We Are Done?
Something about the Making Things Tangible episode began to congeal and I started to really like the idea of using a question to guide each episode; to use interviews and research as a way to attempt to answer a question.
Months before (after the Hacker Dojo episode) I interviewed my friend John Miller while he was in town on tour. In the time since the interview I kept remembering one of the questions that I had asked him: "How do you know when an album is done?" and I began to think that I was an interesting question. It reminded me of Walt Whitman a random interview with Kurt Vonnegut.
I pulled Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut off of the shelf. In the interview Vonnegut joked that they used to catch painters touching up their paintings in the Louvre. Was that true? I wanted to know. I didn’t just want to pass on a third-hand story, so I emailed the Louvre—not really expecting an answer.
I also wanted to talk to a Whitman expert. So, as I have done with the Vonnegut book, I took The Essential Walt Whitman off of the shelf and re-read the intro. The editor Galway Kinnell was the man I want to talk to, but when I looked him up online I found out that he had died. So, I emailed another Whitman scholar. I never heard back, but, to my surprise, I did hear back from the Louvre. The head of press Sophie Grange had sent me a very kind email discounting the Vonnegut story.
This was great! It actually enriched the story. I had to include it. But I knew that I would have to read the Galway Kinnell quotes myself, so I didn’t want to read the note from Sophie myself as well. I wanted a woman's voice; someone who spoke French, and could read Grange‘s title properly. I immediately thought of my friend Gisella, who has a raspy, sultry voice that I love.
Lastly, I wanted to go back to this idea of painting for the end of the episode and who better to answer the question of "When is something done?" than an abstract painter. And I knew one. I had, years previously, interviewed Lou Bermingham for Content Magazine. I think he rounded out and closed the episode very nicely.
How do we know when something is finished? This episode, I look for the answer the idea of completion, and I talk to musician John Miller (The Holy Dark) & artist Lou Bermingham.
Extra special thanks to Sophie Grange at Musée du Louvre.