f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: What I Did Last Weekend: Part II - Stop Making Sense

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, February 24, 2006

What I Did Last Weekend: Part II - Stop Making Sense

So I saw a play the other night called Amerika: Or the Disappearance. It was based on an unfinished novel by Franz Kafka of the same title and the plot followed a German immigrant's arrival on the nightmarish shores of a fictional "Amerika."

It was, how do you say, "weird." It was the kind of thing to noodle over afterward with some slim finger of good, warm brandy as it was about minus-fifteen outside.

It made me wonder about the place for art that defies easy comprehension. Because I sense, though I may be wrong, that popular art (of all forms) is getting "easier" and difficult art is vanishing.

To me, this seems to defy some of the very reasons for art (novel, play, film, etc) in the first place. But now we engage art mostly on whether we agree/disagree with its points. We tend not to debate the very meaning of the work itself. Or are puzzled when a work may hold multiple interpretations.

Two causes may be: 1.) Increasing cultural isolation. We're sheltered in our homes more these days talking about television/sports than art. 2.) Increased choices. There are a million and two things clamoring for our attention. The likelihood of any of us actually reading/thinking about the same piece of art is more and more rare.

The Internet, yes, has broken down some of the walls of cultural isolation. But the major discussions are still focused on television and film. Yet, shows like "Lost" seem to be creating a forum for discussing things beyond like/dislike. (Though I'm unconvinced there's much beneath Lost's surface.)

I do hope the difficult work doesn't vanish. Perhaps we should even take the opportunity to discuss one here. Wise Blood perhaps. Tax ourselves like I imagine (quite wrongly, perhaps) our more curious and inventive progenitors did long ago.