Tag Archives: entertainment

Art and Ants

Post a 6 second video on youtube and nobody cares. “Why is it so short? They could have done so much more.” Post a 6 second video on Vine: “Wow. Look what they did with only 6 seconds!”
It’s funny how something like Vine can take off so rapidly. Youtube and video sharing has been around for quite some time. Have our attention spans gotten shorter, or are we just more efficient about filling our down time with entertaining snippets and having the ability to share them with anyone around the world with the touch of a screen?
…or is there an artist in everyone?
I’ve come to notice, through personal experience, as well as impersonal experience, that if you place a creative person in a big open room and tell them “you can do whatever you want as long as you reach the wall,” they won’t know what to do. They’ll start with an idea and walk one direction, like that band, and then maybe get another idea of equal merit and head off in another direction because “it might be worth exploring.” that phrase is the sappy goop that bogs you down.
From an artistic/creative point of view, literally everything is worth exploring, which gives you no better reason to go one way over the other. But the artist doesn’t know that, so they run around in circles going from one place to the next, running toward the wall, but never reaching it because they obtain this strange sense of empathy with the wall, that by touching one part of the wall they are also not touching every other point on the wall, and thus the artist is not living up to their potential.
The metaphor isn’t perfect, but it’s like an ant wandering around in search of food. It doesn’t know where it is, so it could be anywhere, so the ant goes anywhere. It cannot go everywhere — that is impossible — but the point is not to go everywhere. The point is to go somewhere. This is where Vine comes back into the equation.
What every artist needs, and may not be willing to admit, are restrictions. Restrictions are what force you to move with undoubting purpose. Restrictions are what force you to think creatively. The most common restriction we have are deadlines, and then of course you can go from there. Some people complain about them “…Ugh, and the whole thing has to fit on a 6×6 inch space! Can you believe that?” Yes. Yes, I certainly can. I enjoy these little restrictions because they provide a challenge, but even better yet, they provide a direction and get your mind to tick a way it wasn’t ticking before. Whether you like it or not, that’s called being creative. So as is the case with this whole sicks second video Vine thing, people might not know how to express their thoughts in video form about something ‘trivial’ that may be very funny or insightful, but doesn’t warrant ‘a whole video just for that.’ But then a 6 second restriction comes along, and here you are thinking about how can you condense your rambling, yet insightful, thoughts on breakfast cereal into a succinct and witty snippet. And best of all is when people normally wouldn’t do something creative, now feel as though they have an outlet for it that didn’t exist before, so they start making videos. It’s not that videos didn’t exist, but rather that that way of thinking about videos hadn’t existed to them yet.

“Get from A to B.”
“Okay, I’ll just walk.”
“Between A and B is all water.”
“I’ll take a bote.”
“You need to get there in 3 seconds.”
“I’ll take a jet powered hydrofoil.”
“Now that’s something I want to see.”

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, as I don’t know why I started writing it, but for some reason I want to end on the image of the wandering ant, and then you put a piece of food in that room and the ant heads straight for it. It’s a closed room with walls, solid construction, and locked doors, so you have no idea how a thousand other ants came out of nowhere and started helping this ant carry the food. It’s not that you gave the solitary wandering ant some food, you gave it a goal. Before, the ant traveled an aimless path leading nowhere, but now you can clearly see a stream of ants winding across the room, like a vine, showing you where it’s come from, where it’s been, and where’s it’s going next.

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Baggage

You know at baggage claim when a bunch of the people from your flight are all waiting around because your bags haven’t come yet because maybe one of the baggage cars got unhitched and meandered onto the runway or something. Either way, everyone’s kind of in this daze, but not because they don’t have their bags–I think it’s because there’s always that one big bag that looks kind of old or is a bright gaudy color, that keeps doing laps around the carousel. And so everybody just watches it, licking their lips, half jealous to the point that they consider grabbing it so they have something to go home with, but really you just can’t help but wonder, “what’s that guy doing?” I know they didn’t miss the flight ’cause it was full, and it’s been a half hour, did he get stuck in the lavatory or something, or did he have to finish his in-flight entertainment ’cause he just had to see how Lincoln was going to end. And they couldn’t have taken someone else’s bag because there’s no possible way two pale green corduroy suitcases were ever made. This one was certainly a mistake. Maybe that’s why it’s been abandoned. There’s probably nothing in it. The owner probably just checked it so they could leave it at the airport and not have to deal with it anymore. If I ever try to leave my baggage at an airport like that I’ll at least have the decency to tape a “4 Sale” sign to it so someone else can grab it.

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Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is really beyond art at this point. It’s kind of turned into a monster, or rather, turned the common viewer of art into a monster. You can’t even see the Mona Lisa anymore because it’s behind so much glass, and you can’t even take a picture of it because they’ve put some sort of anti-picture technology in the glass… that is to say if you can even get a decent view of it and manage to hold the camera still amongst all the elbows that are bumping into your elbows. There is a huge crowd around the Mona Lisa fighting their way to look at her that she has to be put behind bars in order to be kept safe. That isn’t art. She can’t even be seen anymore. How is that art? Or at least, now she isn’t even being used for her intended purpose, or being seen in the same way the artist imagined. Other painting in the Louvre you can just go up to and even touch if no one is looking, but the Mona Lisa is trapped; with an armed guard even! Now she’s a freak show–some sort of sick performance piece. People don’t want to take the time to appreciate her anymore, they just want to get a glimpse of her just to say they have.

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