This is a going to be a hodgepodge of a mess. I'm rocking Olive with my foot. There is music playing. And my children are bathing. They stink and we have a wedding to attend tomorrow. So I'll cut to the foundation of this post: my house loves music. I am not sure I can say that with any exaggeration. My house REALLY loves music. Music quite literally runs through the veins of both family lines. My children were doomed to obsession with music. Every day I watch my children interact with music and I reflect on the art behind music. What I am offering here is little more than some passing thoughts in a realm I have no right to speak to but it would be interesting to see what some of the other TG writers think about this subject. Perhaps more than one of them can set me straight.
- At the risk of oversimplification there is static and dynamic art. Both static and dynamic art initiate emotional, psychological, and even physical movements within the observer of the art. But the two types of art do so in different manners. In static art, movements occur internal to the appreciator of the art. In dynamic art, movements occur both internal and external to the appreciator of the art.
- Static art is best represented in photography and painting. These arts are created and stagnant in their ontology. They create movements (emotions, thoughts, etc.) in the people viewing them despite no change in the original state. A picture stares back at you. It is this unchanging quality that is quite unnerving sometimes.
- Dynamic art is best represented in music. This art is, typically, recorded and thus in a sense stagnant in its ontology. Yes, music can be represented in paper form but the art itself is in the creation of audible waves. By necessity this requires progression. The art must move when appreciated by a listener. A song cannot be merely stagnant. It must move on its own to create movements in a listener. Though a song can be replayed in exactness (hence a definable ontology that does not change), it is impossible to "pause" a song and appreciate it stagnantly (any given point of a song is not the song in its entirety).
- Blurring the lines between these two types of art are movies and books. Both to varying degrees are capable of static and dynamic forms. Movies can be paused and experienced visually. Books can be read without stopping but can also be reflected upon in abstraction to the flow of the material.
- The purely dynamic arts, in particular music, are intensely existential. There is less reflection (though a good song can induce post-listening reflection). Children are thus glued to music quickly since the progression exists beyond them but creates movements in them. This also is why we feel the desire to play our favorite song over and over again. The existential moments are fleeting and re-listening is the manner of maintaining the experience.
- The static arts are intensely intimate. There are emotions, thoughts, etc. that can not be rushed through. They must be moved slowly and with patience. For those who are mature and open, a picture or photograph can bring them to knees in a swelling of emotion that is purely internal. The art does not move them past this swelling like music does.
- Between these two are the beauties of books and movies. Though movies are certainly below books in their ability to be static, they present much more in the visually static arena. Though there are progression in the art (it is truly dynamic), the viewer is allowed to swell and move both in what they hear and see.
It is obvious that in the last few decades TV shows and movies have become the "next great American classics." Forget about it coming from an book author. This generation is more moved by a show that reoccurs weekly than anything in print. This is not inherently bad. In fact, I think it speaks some good things. But it does prompt me to ask questions about our ability as consumers to sustain internal interaction with static art. To what degree does dynamic arts provide all the provocation necessary? How does this effect human creativity or our satisfaction with our own lives? These are some of the thoughts I have.