AS- Is there a problem with a lot of people declaring themselves dissociationists? You don't distinguish between true dissociationists and people that have just jumped onto the bandwagon?

DAVID STONE- In any movement you'll find this problem. In any movement there will be artists who are more successful or less successful in their work. You can't blame the movement or the idea for that. I'm also not a critic. It's not for me to judge another artist's work and to say that this is successful, this is not successful. I support my colleagues and hope that they produce according to their own goals. This has nothing to do with dissociationism. This has to do with questions about quality of art that have existed since the beginning of civilization.

What you're speaking about is identity as a defense, and you might say that the 20th century has been one long history of the defensive use of identity.

AS- Are you saying that artists serve some sort of psychological function for the rest of humanity? Because the artists are just doing what they do and then they're applauded for being such individuals. Where's the defense?

DS- The rest of society is using the artist in a defensive way. The danger is to admit the dissociative state. To admit that this is what makes great art.


DS- Efforts to consciously construct an identity usually fail.

AS- And yet most artists, they'll find something that seems to have taken them further than anything else and then they will try and work with that one thing as much as possible. They'll try to refine it and extend it and whatever other interests they might have had usually go by the wayside.

DS- It's like that steeple over there, see what I mean? That green one in the distance.

AS- Yeah, it's like that. Yeah, I sort of see what you mean. The way it comes together in a peak like that?

DS- Nobody planned to put it there so that we could see it from the Prospect Expressway. But if we didn't see it right now, from the entrance ramp to the Prospect Expressway, then as it is it wouldn't exist. What we're seeing only exists because we're on the Prospect Expressway.

AS- For us.

DS- For us, at this moment. The effect of that visually, seeing that ramp coming like that and seeing the green steeple in the distance. But the guy who put that steeple there certainly didn't have that in mind.

AS- Oh, I'm looking at the wrong one. Now I see it.

DS- Which one are you looking at?

AS- There was another one.

DS- Oh, that one over there. Huh, see--now that's...

AS- That's dissociation.

DS- We thought we were talking about the same thing.

AS- I once had a long conversation with a brother of mine...