Lizza wrote on Robert Sloon's Wall "I'd like to respond..."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I'd like to respond to the discussion below, which I think is very interesting, and has made me try again to understand what Bridget is up to. I have even been involved in this work to a tiny degree, as I storyboarded a lot of it, including the movie on this show, but at the end each briefing I find myself flummoxed. The only clue I can think of is that I remember her once saying that one of the people who really appreciated the “Blue Collar Girl” work was a labour lawyer, so the ideas I'm proposing here are based on this smattering of information.
I think that when Bridget had to start working for a living, in a hard-core long-term adult way, it really made her think about the extreme and little-discussed realities of the working life. People respond differently to the shitty reality of having a meaningless job, but for people with a strong creative impulse it is incredibly hard, because the time and money and freedom to be expressive disappears from one's life. This is a very different thing from being something like a university lecturer, which encourages a life of the mind. The commercial world of factories and businesses is very antipathetic to thinking. To have to live in it is very like realising you have been given a life sentence in jail, and while you scurry away paying the bills you watch yourself die a slow death. I think that understanding this gave Bridget a fresh insight into the profound cruelties suffered by working class people, just on account of this one aspect, the erasure of their creative freedom.
Bridget works in the TV commercials industry. It's not annihilating the way factory work is, but the hours are gruelling and jobs last for months on end, during which time one has no life at all. The way most people respond to this is to switch off their minds and sink into the consumer aspirations that are easy to come by if you don't have time to think : buying an SUV, extending their house, and generally turning into a highly paid hamster going round and round on its wheel. I know lots of these people and I hear their stories over and over.
To get out of this cycle for long enough to make art is a Herculean task easily comparable with climbing the Alps. Not many people manage it. I think Bridget's work is an empathetic call to those millions of people in this kind of situation. I think the Blue Collar Girl is also so named because she is a worker.
The movie (this I've been told) is a prequel to the saga of the Blue Collar Girl. I understand that she is a potentially heroic woman, modelled in part on Amelia Earhart, who disappeared during a flight across the Pacific and was never found. I imagine the movie is about the powerlessness of being lost and the will to regain one's agency, expressed in the slogan “Only you can”.
Labels: bridget baker