Kinetic Painting, a major retrospective of the feminist artist Carolee Schneemann, is showing in New York City at MoMA PS1 through March 11. Spanning six decades of raucous, political, personal, sexually and formally complex art work across a range of media including film, performance, painting, installation, assemblages and, famously, her own body, Schneemann’s work addresses themes as diverse as war, heterosexual pleasure, goddess imagery and history, women’s place in art history, beastiality and (her) everyday erotics.
According to MoMA, the show celebrates a career of profound importance—an honor bestowed to only a small number of female, let alone feminist artists. “As one of the most influential artists of the second part of the 20th century,” the museum writes, “Schneemann’s pioneering investigations into subjectivity, the social construction of the female body, and the cultural biases of art history have had significant influence on subsequent generations of artists.”
Twenty years ago, I interviewed Schneemann about her life and work as a feminist artist, filmmaker and icon as part of a larger historical project on feminist media history. (You can watch an edited video of that longer interview here). Even though already beloved by several generations of feminist artists and educators, Schneeman in the 1990’s was yet to receive the cultural attention due her—not to mention already bestowed upon her male peers, lovers or colleagues. That interview was framed by her anger and disappointment, as well as her cutting critique of the patriarchal institutions—the art world and art education, heterosexual marriage, certain streams of feminism—that had blocked, slowed and stymied her success and productivity.
20 years later, Schneemann has received much of what she deserved and desired two decades ago, but this recognition is not all she anticipated—given the election of Trump and its linked and increasing patriarchal violence, given her own motivations and practices developed over decades of deprivation and isolation as well as pleasure, domesticity and a life connected to the land, and given the realities of aging within a patriarchal culture.
I took a bus from New York City to visit with Schneemann in her hundred-plus year old upstate New York home, a place where she has lived, made art and tended land and animals while living with varied lovers and/or cats for over 50 years. There, we considered what can be learned by seeing and showing what is hidden to and of women in our “vicious, hyper-masculinized” culture—and the role of this feminist artist as a vision and envisioning body—as well as the connections between pleasure and pain, loss and love across a productive, devoted life as a feminist artist driven by a definitively personal, political, and uniquely female aesthetic, language and body.
Hi Carolee, it’s so nice to see you after so many years. I can’t wait to talk with you about your large and significant retrospective, Kinetic Painting, currently showing at PS1 in New York City. That’s huge, it’s a lot to talk about. I also want to use this as a chance to revisit an interview that I did with you 20 years ago because 20 years seems the perfect amount of time to reflect upon your ongoing work and life as an aging, powerful feminist artist.
It’s curious because Lilah Dougherty, my assistant, just had, what was it, her 23rd birthday last week?
So, I last interviewed you around the time when she was born, a different moment in America, and in American feminism, to be sure. Given the magnitude of your retrospective, literally how much space it takes up (10 rooms), and how many objects are there—
It’s 300 elements!
…and also the amount of time it covers (over sixty years), how do you think it affects our understanding of your work to see it in such an expansive context?
It enlarges understandings of my aesthetic motives. Absolutely! Because this exhibit broadens my context away from the suffocating, annoying two works for which all the other works have been mislaid: the performances and their subsequent documentation Interior Scroll (1975) and Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions for Camera (1963). This is very curious for me because I found the adulation of these two works to be hostile to my larger feminist project because it sexualized the whole body of work.
So you are saying that even though your work was eventually, if perhaps belatedly canonized within art and film history, it was appreciated for only a small prism of your feminist activity, that which focuses upon the representation of your own sexuality and body.
Yes, a very narrow prism: the ghetto of feminism. You can have this erotic, even prurient dynamic in your work that we are going to pay attention to, but the rest of it is too astonishing, complex, and beyond our need to control how we characterize women’s work.
That was my experience seeing the show where your extensive output across media and time was clearly working through a much larger set of linked questions including patriarchal state violence and the role the media plays in it, loss and mourning, feminist ecological politics and power, bestiality, and then formal questions about kinesis and collage, as just two examples; not simply questions about your body and sexuality, which is where your work has been celebrated but also pigeonholed and reduced.
You said twenty years ago something much more complex about your motives: “I was negotiating a universe that denied me authority as an authenticating voice, and denied me the integrity of my own physicality. This declivity, ‘No Pronoun, No Genital,’ became the tripod upon which my own vision would be balanced.” So it seems that the genital has been given to you, but the pronoun perhaps not.
Yes, but both of them were conflicted. The genital was definitely a marginalized, hyper-feminized aspect of what I could show and bring forward. The problem there had to do with a certain feminist critical determinance where all the genital work was considered prurient and playing back into male hands. It was quite awhile until it became okay to be a feminist-centralist. I was said to be lacking so many things: the abjections, the masquerade, Marxism. So the work was highly suspect in many feminist domains where I felt it would be accepted and of use. That was very painful. I was used to the macho stuff, but I was always astonished at the punishing exclusions of a lot of feminist criticism.
You talked about that 20 years ago. But feminists are embracing you now.
Well, the larger questions that have always been central to my work—about gender, ecology, and militarism—have increased in our world. They are bigger, and more monstrous, and more suppressive, and also more diverted in this culture of consumerism and confusion. While there is now a plethora of women working with the body, and many of them young female artists, that’s not enough now. We’ve been there. We’ve done bad girl, cunt, clit, maternity. Today, underneath everything, there’s this vicious, crazed, hyper-masculine reactionary stance: an underlying monstrosity that brought us to the political position that we are in right now.
My current body of work, engaging in a similar analysis, is about fake news. For my #100hardtruths-#fakenews project I wrote “virality is virility,” which points to the same monstrosity you mention.
Oh! I love that association of the viral and the virile!
…of the inevitably of a weaponization that comes with the growing of scale supported by social media leading to real-life brutality. With this on my mind and weighing down my spirit, I found that I was more drawn to your work in this show that was about violence (like your video installation Devour, 2003-2004), and our distanced relationship to violence through media then I had been previously when the body work felt so critical to me. What more do we need to see and do as artists right now, by including and building upon the place of a feminine/female body?
During the period after Rump was elected, people called me as if I had some kind of insight and I said, “everything fragile, exquisite, dependent, every aspect of imagination, and empathy, and desire, it’s all more than at risk.” We have no way to project anything positive for the future when the present destructive energies are controlling everything. I don’t have any optimism.
I don’t either.
No, not really.
Sorry. I’m sorry.
That’s not our job.
A lot of younger artists and theoreticians come to visit me and they want to have that little token of, “Well you guys went through the 60s and 70s, and so how are we going to get out of this one?”
I really was moved by a number of your works produced around the Vietnam War and the responses that you took inside your community by creating performances, films, obects and installations that marked your horror and will to resist, for instance the films and performances Viet Flakes (1965) or Snows (1967), both responses to the Vietnam War. What do they mean to you now?
Those films remain really painful and crushing. I dearly miss the simple polarisation of the 60s where there was Vietnam and then there was everything else. Civil Rights and Black Studies and other forms of resistance all lined up with that major resistance. They shared one analysis of how the government was militarized and in this way fulfilled its always rather mysterious need to invade, possess, destroy and dominate relatively fragile cultures, cultures that are not part of the white commercial Western privilege. We look for them! Some sacred fragile native place is always going to be next because we want their trees, their water, their oil, their rocks.
What do younger people want when they say, “you’ve lived through something terrible and what can you tell us?” A lot of your work comes from pain, anguish, suffering and loss. There is pleasure in your work as well. You often counter loss with pleasure. I feel like young people now want remedies. Can you talk about the tension between pleasure and anguish?
That is a personal flexibility that I’ve always had. It’s a balancing between what threatens domesticity and harmony and scholarship and ecology and this looming lurking threat that our culture is built on, having begun as an assassination culture and having consistently denied that history. Not just out of shame but out of righteousness! So what I did with Terminal Velocity (black and white computer scans from newspaper coverage of 9/11, 2001-2005), there was a ferocious reaction to this from people who aren’t really acquainted with the history of art. They felt it was a broad, a female, trying to take advantage of this vulnerability and make money from it. The reactions were so severe that I began to see that this is all about male righteousness. That they always have to come out and attack female artists, no matter what brutality is systematized in the work. This is just required. In the way we used to say we were destroying Vietnam “for their own good.” It’s still that principle of Americana. The cowboy has to ride in and shoot everything up that isn’t part of his domain, and then assure while standing on the corpses that this is better.
Can you talk about the oscillation in your work from considering the function of the shoot-em up patriarch in culture to the role of particular men in intimate heterosexual relationships with you? That was what was really remarkable to me in the show, this movement from the domestic to the international and political, from the private to really large claims about brutal systems.
The thresholds that bring these contradictions into an available dynamic for me, they are so personal and have to do with very forbidden aspects of being able to see. Insisting and looking at what the culture wants to suppress, from war to sexuality, to stealing seeds and poisoning organic systems. Just looking at it. Part of it has to do with growing up in the country, and having a country doctor dad who let me look at his anatomy books, and look through the keyhole and see what he was asking women who were lying on tables. It also has to do with the good fortune of teaching. I’ve done a Rape Crisis Center for a class I had in Austin. Young men, young women, who were especially marvelous because they had no assumption of privilege or self-importance. Although they were nearly all Anglo-American, there’s a sense of life and death and energy and music that came in with a religious sacred vitality from Mexico into Texas. So when one of my students was brutally raped, another student was crawling into the window with a knife [as part of a performance in class], and the vulnerable student disappears from class, and then she comes back. She’s dressed in an army outfit with boots and khaki. Then one night we had a potluck. It was kind of late. We were talking about male violence and rape and all the guys were utterly bewildered and every one of the women had been assaulted, raped, except for me. But I forgot. And suddenly I remembered my own rape, the date rape, the concrete floor, the icy windows, the winter cold, and my dress being pulled all over and having been given pain medicine which was knockout drops.
That confluence is so misunderstood and so huge and right now all these male perpetrators that are really assassins of the psyche, assassins of the Integrity of our bodies, are coming forward. It’s like an amazing unpeeling. It’s like a vegetable that’s exploding everywhere.
You say to me as a girl growing up, as a young woman and well into your career, that you weren’t allowed to see and you needed to see. Do you think that one of the legacies of your work is the permission to see?
Yes. Absolutely. Just go absolutely where they tell you you should not be, but protect yourself because you are always prey. Always.
That’s how they’re going to continue to attack our psyche, and they can.
It is being systematized in our government. It is becoming even more suppressive and hostile. The first things that Rump did was to take away the rights to Planned Parenthood, to birth control, and on and on, down to wages and job availability and of course he’s in line for having raped a thirteen year old at a party!
Earlier you said that part of your project—to own and manifest your own sexuality—gets turned back on you even by the people who love you the most. In this way, by only ackowledging you through your sexaulity, you are minimized.
No, not by the people who love me the most. The people who love me ambivalently.
This is such an important insight about your feminist work and legacy; and a very painful one. Is it possible to not diminish or simplify that part of the project, the body work, the representation of femal sexuality, which is so essential to your work and so essential to the needs of women?
It is as variable as women’s experience. There are aspects of sexuality that I’ve always had to fight for that are not available erotic experiences for lots of women. There’s just so much variation that I cannot represent more than the area that I know well.
But in the show, I saw for the first time your Sexuality Perameters Survey (1967-1971 + 1975) where you you “attempt to note main parameters of lovemaking. Only from a woman’s point of view” by interviewing scores of women and documenting their detailed, intimate answers about sex and sexuality on handmade typewritten grids. I love those charts! The PS1 show highlights work you made that catalogs your relationship to other people’s sexual and relational experience as well as your own sexual and domestic intimacy with male lovers and companions, and with your cats as well.
In film I was able to most clarify this area of contradiction. The films are constantly talking to each other. The ideality of Fuses (1965) gets impinged next with Viet-Flakes (1965; a compilation of Vietnam War-era horrors garnered from magazine and newspaper clippings) and the surround of that morbid suppression of life. I still get very upset when I look at it. Then, the destruction of Palestinian culture overwhelmed all my considerations of the mid 80s into the 90s and that has no resolution. No formal political clarification. Actually it’s more repressive than ever. Now, Palestinians have no right to represent themselves in any aspect of the U.S. government. That’s just been put through as a law.
Your interest, your anger, your despair about Vietnam and Palestine, in the film work and the installations around it, we learn that you had to distance yourself, through repetition and the copying of found images, then repeat them again, all the while moving your camera closer in. What can we learn from your mediated relationship to images of international violence and how we all do that now with our computers?
If you go upstairs to the studio in my house you’ll see that I’ve been working with corpses from Syria for the past two years. They are full of connection to a kind of gestalt of other physicalized images of destroyed people. They are all ordinary men, they are not military men, they are husbands, brothers, men that were just grabbed and taken to be tortured, starved and to die these ignominious anonymous deaths. I attempt to catalogue the bodies, to put on labels, numbers, to count them, but it’s impossible because there are thousands.
There is a leering face leaning over a couple of corpses that looks exactly identical to the leering face of that woman in Abu Ghraib who is pissing on one of the captives. So, I’m always looking at all the psychodynamics that are so perverse, and I’m always reading, and trying to study aspects of male violence. And I end up in a pit with the corpses. I end up in a dead end. In a place where there’s no exit except through the inherited culture of further research and artists that have been able to look at and examine violence.
You can start with Goya. Or, I go to Paleolithic sculptures some of which are at such peace, or cycladic figurations [Early Bronze Age culture of the Cyclades, Greece, spanning 3200–2000 BC]. And then a thousand years later, all the sculptural reliefs are showing women attacking male invaders, horses running over women with swords who are defending themselves. These are all very suppressed ancient sources of resistance that a feminist would recognize but that male culture has completely deformed. These women warriors are called “godesses,” and the prostitutes are deprived of their original power, which was not to cohabit with men but to form their own cultural society. Today this resembles Kurdish political women who are reorganizing as armed soldiers, creating an equitable society, bringing the men into it. And it’s very fragile and it’s usually endangered. So I cling to these rare examples—
And they give you relief?
No, it doesn’t give relief, it gives more information about the lost complexity of gender and ecological alternatives. The ways in which societies have really fought to maintain their integrity and have usually lost.
You say that research into earlier practices where women have combated patriarchy and patriarchal cruelty is as essential to your work as is your pursuit of pleasure and community. Is that an Insight that you can give to young people?
My insight is to join the French Service Committee if it still exists; my insight would be to just get out of here and go to a place where you can dig in the dirt and help people who need assistance for water.
Your retrospective, your body of work, evidences that the function of the feminist artist is critical, not just the people with their hands in the dirt, not just the people helping individuals on the ground. The function of the artist is to see […]
I could not have done that if I hadn’t had my hands in the dirt! I do not think I could have maintained my determination within resistance, isolation, and non-support if I had not been—I don’t know if this makes sense—shoveling manure three hours every morning, turning hay, mulching strawberries, and raising and slaughtering chickens. It’s the sort of primitive history of visceral senses.
Certainly a technophilic postmodern digital culture produces the possibility for humans to be completely isolated from their material surroundings and from each other.
Yes! Exactly! You see them at their parties, and they all have their Google toys, and their fingers are moving, and they’re feeling for each other, like a huge question mark with some moments of breakthrough. But it’s not presumed.
Communities originally in this country, those that were coherent, were all agricultural. They were farming communities, they were self-sustaining. The position of women was not good. Women were breeders, we were part of the husbandry, and you had to make children, and cook, and clean, and take care of everything that supported the male structure. And if the mother died, then the eldest daughter became the wife responsible for sex, and cleaning, and cooking, and making more babies. There was no birth control. To not have an awareness of that is a common experience now. The young women today do not get pregnant every nine months or every year the way some of us used to until we got contraceptives.
Much hasn’t changed, but many things have. For instance, today women can see. There’s been so much good work by women preceding them. You say, in our previous interview, that you are looking for “historical precedents,” the women who had seen before you. And now, young women come into a culture where that’s visible to them because of you.
You see, I don’t get that! I don’t understand that I’ve done anything that’s helpful.
No, it’s just the way I am. And I’m having a lot of trouble with this appreciation. I can’t work.
You have to explain that to me.
I go up into the studio and I think, “This is interesting. This is wonderful. We really did a lot! Okay, I think I’ll go wash the dishes, go take a nap.”
You wanted the appreciation when I spoke to you 20 years ago.
What did I say?
I said, “I would like to talk to you about the legacy of your work I want to know what we owe you” […]
Oh! I love that part!
You respond: “You owe me the vulva. You owe me beastiality. You owe me the love of the presence of the cat as a powerful companionate energy. You owe me heterosexual pleasure and the depiction of that pleasure. And you owe me thirty years of lost work that’s never been seen. That’s what you all owe me. I guess what I’m also owed is a living, an income. I am owed the chance to produce the work that I have envisioned, that I have never been able to do. I am owed the chance to preserve the work that already exists. I am glad that you asked. No one has ever asked me. And you can see, I’m fuming underneath.”
Carolee, now all that has happened. But it seems the outcome is not exactly what you had anticipated or wanted.
I’m thrilled. I’m grateful. I’ve had wonderful assistance and amazing teams at the museums: the confidence, the devotion of the institution. It is just amazing. But part of me isn’t there. Part of me is like, “what happened? I can do anything and they like it now? This matters?” I’m very divided. Because once I am in front of a group I have this mysterious complete spirit to communicate with them, and to raise issues. But here on my own, alone with the cat … oh, I don’t know, it’s just so different, so other.
You said previously that the history of your work is one of anger and frustration, and also loss, tremendous loss. You say, “Personal loss, partnership loss, the underlying secret conflict in my lovers between the pleasure and excitement and equity of being with an artist and with their final decision always to move farther and have a traditional marriage. That’s a big layer of loss. Of course we lose everything sooner or later, but one would prefer later.”And then I say, “And anger?” And you you say, “well anger always has a lot to do with human pleasure.”
So, if loss and anger and pleasure have motivated you, and then the world comes around and says now we support you, it seems like there is a new conflict for you.
Partly, this is because I receive the work. I’ve never done work with the world in mind. It’s all lived experience and lived experience is impermeable. I’m not like a conceptualist who sits down and says “well, my gallery wants five of these, I can do that.” No, I won’t do that. I can’t do that. My relationship with my materials is full of uncertainty and mystery. Once I’ve done a whole sequence of an installation or print or drawings I have no idea how I did it. I look at them and wonder, “Whoa! How did that happen?!”
We would love to know that, too! When I interviewed you before I said, “Tell me about your career in film and video.” You answer, “I’m glad you said career because I never considered that I had a career. I don’t know what a career is. I imagine that it is something one chooses to do and advance in a certain way, going through certain disciplines.”
I am a visionary artist. I wait in a state of receptivity to what is most exclusive or most horrible. As those potential elements build towards a material engagement, then I can work. Then I am very satisfied, even if it’s heartbreaking miserable work. When I was doing Viet-Flakes, I was living in the country in this very house and I was smelling bodies burning in the oven and seeing corpses out the window. That’s the degree of penetration that the world can bring in for me, just as it can bring in the exquisite detritus of dailiness. The whole premise of Kitch’s Last Meal (1973-76) is that prolonged examination of how long I can feed this cat before she dies. And she lived for a very long time. People who know my films somewhat often ask me if I had a lot of cats named Kitch, but it’s just the one. Kitch does the sound in Plumb Line (1971). Kitch is the motive to look at our erotic bodies in Fuses (1965) and then Kitch has her own film in which she dies. So how to balance that extreme: the ordinary brutality, the ordinary war, the ordinary pussycat?
You told me a story about “a missing $400.”
What was that? I don’t remember that at all.
You said that your career, that your work, that your life as a woman and an artist has always been about not having what you needed and having to make do. You said, “I’m trying to get a computer. I still work with a typewriter. My friends are saying you have to get a fax, you have to do this, you have to get a this and a that. But, I do it at the bare bones because the culture does not support my work. I don’t have a gallery now, so ‘it’s a case of the missing $400.’” The $400 was what you would have needed to have bought a camera. Do you still feel that missing support? We are circling around how suddenly having support has altered your experience of yourself as an artist.
Yes! Having support is completely an utter bewilderment and amazement! Also having being ill so that I can’t just take the bus to New York City and move around freely because I’m too fragile for that. So Lilah has to remind me, or I remind myself, that we have to hire a car to go to the city, but that’s really expensive. Lilah thinks I should get rid of this old broken couch. I don’t want to be one of those weird eccentric old people who have everything broken down all around them and their clothes don’t smell fresh. I have to think about the old age aspect of everything. Propping myself up and getting my disguise organized so that I can go to my public. So that they think that I am forever vibrant and present.
Do you think you need to do that for your public?
Why does the public want that? That’s another abusive relationship to old women, another form of—
No, no, no, that’s okay! It’s fair enough. My whole age group is dealing with death. Like half of us are gone. The party is spoiled. All of our events have this sense of terminus and we are very concerned, like little animals, for one another. Seeing one another lose the physicality that we thought was theirs forever.
But you just told me that you needed to see what you weren’t allowed to see. Part of your gift as an artist has been to see and to show us what you see. Most women, or people for that matter, are not as courageous as you, they are not as strong as you, they are not as driven as you. They don’t do it: look at the forbidden and then show us what you see. You are doing that for us, and we need it. And that would also be true about your experience as an aging powerful woman. The honesty of that depiction is a gift because we live in a culture where so little art is made about aging and so little art is made about aging and illness.
It is too personal. I have been hospitalized intensively. And when I was in rehabilitation after the hip replacement, I was desperate for a camera. It was so interesting, the fact that I couldn’t raise my hips to pee, that I couldn’t walk. The big thing was to get into the wheelchair and make it to the bathroom. That was wonderful and so astonishing. All the details of the medicine, and the food tray, and really living like a privileged little animal reading about the lack of medicine or that the doctors were being blown up in Syria. That the hospitals had been blown up in Iraq, and here I am in this lovely rehabilitation place in Rhinebeck. So lucky.
But you didn’t make a movie?
I couldn’t find a camera that seemed okay for it. Or it was just enough to sleep and wake up.
I talked about this with Barbara Hammer in another recent interview about her restrospective also recently up in NYC, Evidentiary Bodies. Your work, her work, other work of woman of your generation has permitted a visuality and visibility of female sexuality. Seeing women’s sexuality is now permitted. But other bodily experiences of women, including illness, aging, not yet so visible or so permissable. Everyone ages and everyone gets ill.
Barbara was able to work with it?
Yes, Barbara has produced several bodies of work around her cancer (for example, A Horse is Not a Metaphor, 2009).
I have a big cancer work, the video installation “Plague Column“ (1996). It works with a whole realm of imagery from medieval church depictions. They are very fierce; the woman depicted are witches and their breasts are being stabbed with swords by righteous Christians. That work has not been carefully examined and looked at.
What you model is the uncontained power of being a woman who is constantly being diminished by male violence and who nevertheless stays the course. Yes, everything in patriarchal culture is trying to suppress the power of our female bodies and intelligence all the way through our lives. Your work shows it over and over and over again, and yet you continue.
Well, I am allowed to lie down. I have to take a lot of naps.
That’s why I said, “perhaps it’s okay for you not to have to put on the costume”—
My costume is to wake up to see how much pain I’m in, and what I can I do about it. My costume is to take the bowl beside the bed that I have to pee in several times in the night and empty it so that I don’t share it with somebody who’s coming in or out. To get in the shower, that’s wonderful and amazing, to get washed. Not to examine my deformed body so much. To get dressed. Only then am am I in my costume. I don’t feel that I’m at an obvious disadvantage getting older in my costume.
Maybe. Here’s part of my costume. [Carolee pulls a pink furry object from one cup of her bra and shakes it at Alex.] It’s a cat toy. I don’t want to share that with everybody.
You don’t have to.
I don’t, right. I’m not. Every now and then I share it. I have one sweetheart lover who lives in Europe. We were sweethearts twenty-five years ago, so we don’t get a chance to be together very often, but he still sees the perfect early body. Whatever I do he still sees the perfect early body and it’s wonderful.
I’ve also seen your perfect body because it’s in your films. It’s certainly glorious and a delight to behold. And I’ve seen your body today, and the cat toy prosthetic. But that body is not nearly as important to me as the perfectly lovely brain in there. The work is so much more about that than it is about beautiful bodies: yours and your lovers’.
That’s why I’m so happy with this exhibit, because it’s full of a variety of work that includes but goes way beyond just depictions of physicality, which was essential to do in those early years when we had no real body to see whatsoever. It was only Barbie and pornography.
We don’t want to miss that aspect of your work—your courage and pleasure and power in depicting your own body and sexuality—even as we don’t want it to be the only way to understand your work. But, your work always did, and always will, return to your female body and your experience as a thinking, passionate, political person who sees through that body.
I’ve already worked so much with the body, now I need to continue with the very remarkable things I can do with kinetics which I started in the 60s. It’s funny, this request to go back to the body. It’s kind of like I did that, I’ve been there. I no longer need to depict the daily physicality, but I still need to make something that I’ve never seen before.