“What is the meaning of art?”, the professor asked.
To me, this query seemed the kind of bait and switch question so commonly used in classrooms everywhere. What is the cubed root of nine? What is the function of memory in a computer? What is the color of George Washington's white horse? The kind of question where it at first, seemed difficult but when was pondered, was laughably obvious. My classmates were thoughtfully silent, however.
The meaning of art, I thought, had an answer, a logical pathway paved by what was already known and theorized about art. If art reflected life, as proposed by the classical masters; if art reflected the artist, as proposed by the contemporaries; if art only reflected the audience, as proposed by Dadaists, than what was art all in all? I had concluded long before this moment in time, that if all of those theories proposed were all valid, than everything was art; everything is art, every thought, every note, every conversation, every leaf and beam of sunlight, every thing.
I was dismissive, then, about the usefulness of this discussion in my education. If this class did not further my education,then, perhaps, I was not the one being taught.; and so could just watch the expressions of the others as they came to the meaning, and, voyeur-like, partake of the joy of discovery. But when the discussion raged on past the ten minute mark, I questioned myself.
They raised questions about the different aspects of art: the idea, the expression, the money. They talked about commissions, classical painters, Dadaism, the modern philosophy of art and what they had heard from others. But for all of this time and questioning, all the people in the classroom had a hesitancy about their voices. They seemed to be questioning the idea within themselves like it was the first time. Maybe it was the first time for many or all of them, an unwelcome revelation.
I became filled with a slowly overwhelming urge to speak out my passionate philosophy. I wanted them to stop questioning. I wanted to know why this idea so based upon a logic was so foreign to them. I wanted to feel like my idea, which seemed so sensible until now, was not the looming revolution. This felt purely selfish, to bring upon them this strange idea, but I couldn't constrain myself.
I raised my hand to be called upon for an opinion. I kept it raised at every opportunity. I left it laid upon my head, to reach the air faster. I switched hands when my arm became tired. I was impatient to be called, so when the professor said “One last opinion before we leave,” I hoped I would finally be called, finally have everyone understand something at least. I hoped.
But another girl whose had had caught the professor's attention, even though mine had been raised all this time, was called upon. I do not remember her remarks in the growing murmur of people packing, and perhaps mine would have been remembered the sameby others. I was dejected all the same, I had given up my moment to connect to them and no time would have been as perfect as that time, perhaps my philosophy was wrong, perhaps if it was right, it would have been heard.. I couldn't even grudge the energy to speak to my professor about the idea I hadn't been able to share, that he could at least, hear. So I kept in within my now questioning self and left for home.
This I made for my creative writing class two weeks ago about an experience I had the week before. Hopefully this didn't come away as sounding too uptight or superior, I really wasn't, it was mainly just an alienating experience. . . .
I have some older stuff, but as I cannot access it, (curse you, Microsoft and your proprietary formats) it is going to have to wait. Which I don't know if you can, because I wrote this awesome. It is a fascinating topic, despite what you may think.