journalist: could you tell us about the social usage of film? what is the value of films for society?
werner herzog: who is society? i don't know. less i have kept wondering ever since i've been in contact with audiences and i've wondered what the value of films was. and i think, i dont know, it gives us some insight. it doesn't change people, i thought it would, films could cause revolutions or whatever and it does not. but films might change our perspective of things and ultimately in the long term it may be something valuable, but there's a lot of absurdity involved as well. as you see, it makes me into a clown. and that happens to everyone. just look at orson welles, look at people like (unintelligible), they have become clowns.
j: is it the film or is it the publicity involved?
wh: it's because what we do as filmmakers is immaterial. it's only a projection of light, and doing that all your life makes you a clown, and it's an almost inevitable process.
j: i would feel the same way about still photography.
wh: yes, a little bit. it comes close to it, it's illusionist work. and it's just embarrassing to be a filmmaker and just sit here like this. i mean, thank heavens i don't sit here for my own films, i'm sitting here for a film that was made for a friend of mine.
“I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end.”
— Michel Foucault
Really I think the only way to do anything is to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. And then be ruthlessly analytical in figuring out why the sticky things did indeed stick. Rinse and repeat.
“For the young scientist, this question of choosing the right question to spend your valuable limited intellectual resources on is critical. I often sit for months and do no productive work that anybody can see, because I don’t feel I have a good enough question to work on. Rather than take on some lesser question, I would prefer to read a mystery novel. The point is, sometimes it’s important to lie fallow for a time waiting for the ‘right question’ to appear, rather than to engage in uninspiring work and miss the important opportunity when in comes.”
— Leonard Adleman
“Poets and artists live on frontiers. They have no feedback, only feedforward. They have no identities. They are probes.”
– Marshal McLuhan