But Do You Really Need to Know?
I have been an avid “So You Think You Can Dance” fan since the show started years and years ago. And while I am not one of those fans who has watched every episode 40 times and continually watches the pieces on YouTube all the way leading up to the next week’s episode, I truly do like the show. However after a particularly poignant piece last week there was great discussion about the theme of the piece and what inspired it. Because I am that kind of person, I then did a little bit of searching on old SYTYCD videos on YouTube to see how many of them fun comments like “What is this piece about” or “I wish I could have heard what the choreographer was thinking”. But why does it matter? From the dawn of time (I thought about using ‘since time immemorial’ here but it seemed a bit too preacher-y) people have been making art. In fact some scholars argue that the first ever form of communication was a form of art. Sidebar: I want to know 1) who these ‘scholars’ are, 2) why are they always saying things and coming out with various reports, and 3) how do I become one of these ‘scholars’. So if art is so inherently imbedded in our society then why is it suddenly such a massive trend to need to know everything about everything we observe? Mind you I don’t know, but I have a strong feeling that people weren’t lining up at Johannes Vermeer’s door and persistently asking what “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was about or why “The Girl with the Wine Glass” had to be wearing red.
So why can we as modern consumers of media not feel ok with simply liking or disliking something? Why can we not simply observe something as art and nothing else? There seems to be such a deep desire to understand the inner-psyche of an artist that we completely forget the original intention of art: to be viewed and enjoyed. So I challenge everyone with a task. Watch a dance piece on YouTube and don’t Google what it is about. Walk through a museum without going through the gallery guide with a fine tooth comb. Even listen to a love song without looking up if the artist is in a relationship and whether or not they are happy. It will be fine. You’ll survive. Just sit back and enjoy.