Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Do your homework

This article in the Guardian: Book now to enjoy later addresses a problem in all of what we consider to be the "high" arts - how much study and foreknowledge should we expect an audience to have coming in? If you can only appreciate a play with an encyclopedic knowledge of Russian thinkers, or a piece of music with complete comprehension of set theory and atonality, is it just that the audience is too dumb, or is the piece poorly written?

With all the talk of art being a "universal" language, it seems that the answer would automatically be that anyone should be able to comprehend it, at least on some level. I have no problem with making people think, but creating a work of art that is totally inaccessible to 99% of the population seems to be beside the point - it's about the communication of an idea, however abstract. You'll never get EVERYONE, but trying to get more than just the people who have a PhD in your particular brand of geekish knowledge can only spread a good idea further.

Then again, maybe we don't WANT to get what they're saying...

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