Boxes + Clutter

This morning I serendepitously came across a review of Peter Walsh’s book on decluttering, It’s All To Much and got the chance to catch More4’s documentary on Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes – each work ostensibly a stark counterpoint of the other.

Walsh’s book argues that we generate false relevance by constantly organising things we don’t
want and will never need, occupying not only physical, but emotional and mental space.

Jon Ronson’s wonderful documentary is oriented around Kubrick’s 1000-box archives and the many years that passed between his works, appearing to confirm Walsh’s position; that Kubrick’s obsessively indexed memos, photographs and scripts ultimately obscured his brilliance, constraining his latter years to less than a half dozen movies. Indeed, Kubrick’s brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, relates that Spielberg wrote, produced and released Schindler’s List in the same time that Kubrick was simply gathering pre-production photographs!

KubrickIn reality, what appears to be the physical detritus of an obsessive procrastinator are the very tangible and palpable artefacts of Kubrick’s genius. His attention to detail, craftsmanship and precision on screen are the direct result of the precision he applied to indexing and archiving the moments, images and conversations which inspired him.

in looking for the item that would provide a final penetrating insight into Kubrick’s process, Ronson’s realises that Kubrick knew he had the ability to make films of genius and to do that there had to be a method…in Kubrick’s case this was precision and detail, manifested in the all the items Kubrick painstakingly collected. The Clutter Is Kubrick.

I wonder what Kubrick would have made of the Google-era, where every message, photo, phone call, song, book and movie can be recalled and shared in limitless quantity and the finest fidelity. When we can archive everything, what can be learnt from Walsh and Kubrick, in understanding that which must be retained and that which should be discarded…

{ Download or stream Boxes from Google Video… }


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