Is it the journey of a work of art that infuses it with meaning? Is it the dramatic telling of that journey? If we look/listen/feel it without knowledge of any of it’s stormy past does it convey or carry any of it’s former life inside it’s very structure, or should/can it simply stand on it’s own, with whatever qualities it has to offer to our personal sensitivity – moving, boring, annoying, exhilarating, good or not-so-good?
I struggle with these questions.
Do I tell everyone that I wrote the song ‘Chicken nibbles’ about my dead cat or do I allow people to decide how they feel about the ‘Chicken nibbles’ song without any knowledge about the situational or emotional reasons that caused me to write it? (Just to clarify, I’m speculating. I don’t have a song called ‘Chicken nibbles’ and I’ve never owned a cat). Does knowing the story make the listener feel more personally involved, and therefore have a more complete experience, or is it a detriment to a purer experience of art?
I find Zefrank’s ‘Pain pack’ to be a fascinating experiment, and one that personally brought all this questioning to mind. Is it the entire string of events that makes it compelling? Does the brilliance lie simply in the fact that he gave the artists a frame in which they could be creative? Does it matter that some of the songs are better than others, or that some could have possibly been written without all the back story and sounded the same? I found the string of human connection to be extraordinarily moving.
I really don’t know. You decide. Click here.