Art is Language... (Art)

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Thursday, June 11, 2009, 14:23 (5227 days ago)

Art is Language - dhw, - Art in whatever its form is only another form of communication between one person to another. Art fills a very special and precious place in my life, and in the grand scope of things I'm probably even more qualified to discuss this than any other as I've been a practitioner for over 11 years, primarily vocals, but playing guitar and keyboard ranging from classical to black metal. - For the moment, we shall set aside the idea of inspiration, as I will show shortly that inspiration is a process, that while we don't know the mechanics—I don't have a particularly compelling reason to think it has a divine origin. - When you analyze art and music, the connection between culture and art is absolute. Art at large makes up the majority of a nation's culture, as it encapsulates everything from ideals to stark reality. My favorite baroque painter, is Caravaggio. - - Here we have an ideal, as well as the reality. - When you look at this painting, note that it communicates a scene that is instantly recognizable to virtually anyone raised in a "Western" nation. However, show this same masterpiece to natives living in aboriginal Australia, and I promise you they'll think the painting is interesting, but they won't be able to tell you why the painting is significant, or why it was so controversial when it was painted. In other words, paintings (and therefore music) needs some kind of context in order to be properly interpreted. And it can indeed be interpreted incorrectly! The song "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi - "O Fortuna" " from Carl Orff is typically used to portray very ominous or even evil events in movies and TV but the lyrics are about the joy of the coming spring! - A symphony that causes a person to come to tears does not universally do so. The only reason that it does so to you or I is because we have assimilated the language of music just as much as we have assimilated our native tongues. We learn early on that certain tones sound "sad" and certain tones sound "happy." When a composer writes a piece of music, he plays with these ideas and weaves sentential structures with them, deliberately playing with our latent musical vocabulary to elicit a desired and specific response. It is in this sense that music is simply another form of algebra. - To further my position that art is communication, music and art both suffer from the same kinds of noise associated with all our other channels of communication: when Stravinsky first played his "Rite of Spring" it caused a riot. This most certainly was NOT what he had wanted his audience to do. So obviously, there's enough personal subjectiveness in music to say that there is little that is truly 'absolute' about it... just like ideas communicated with 'normal' language. But usually, the composer does relay his message appropriately. You mention awe that you can feel anything at all when listening to a piece. Well, by and large the idea of the composer is to make you feel what he wants you to feel. Where is the magic in that? It's like the physicist who is shocked that math explains the world so well. Should it be any surprise that the most precise language describes the world precisely? Really? - Now on the topic of inspiration, to put it bluntly, if we are to remain truthful to ourselves we do not have a single instance in all of human history where a person thought of something that was completely novel. I tell people that my music is my own take on everything I've ever heard before, but this mental algebra also applies to painting, writing, and anything else. Writers often say that they "write what they know" but this is the same for any other artistic practitioner. No one wakes up with a theory of calculus who has never done math. This means inspiration has a very real and hard limit. - Now your primary objection to me is likely to be, "But Matt, at some point there had to be a first painter, first sculptor, first musician, etc." Right, but the earliest cave paintings are of animals and people. Nothing... too spectacular about that to me. Man looks at his surroundings and—writes what he knows. 
When I write, I will tell you that inspiration indeed comes when it wills, but I can make it more likely to happen, and when it does it is the same exact feeling I get when I get an incredibly good idea that I have to go share with someone. Innovations are invariably different perspective on something that already exists, or a progression such as "Idea 'x' leads to idea 'y.' This is also, incidentally the general process of how ideas build upon each other—not just in the fields of art. - This means that our proper topic should be consciousness, not art.

Complete thread:

 RSS Feed of thread

powered by my little forum