John Baldessari is a total badass, and one of my favorite artists.
In 1970, he decided to formally end his career as a painter. He was just over it. So as part of his Cremation Project, he took all the paintings that he’d completed before 1966 and BURNED THEM ALL. That's him above, overseeing the fiery elimination of his painterly past. Some of the ashes were preserved in a book-shaped urn. The rest of the ashes were used to make cookies. For reals.
I’m constantly updating hard drives, and making terabytes of data triple redundant —- as if losing my past work will erase me from existence. Baldessari’s awesome feat makes my hoarding of zeroes and ones seem ridiculous.
What if I took my precious hard drives and baked them into a nice pie? Or tied a cinderblock to them and threw them in the Hudson? Would it be liberating? I'd probably have some sort of identity crisis -- so much of who I am is what I do, and what I've done. But it would also be incredibly liberating.
What is the point in looking back?