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Friday, August 22, 2014

Art -Its evaluation and survival

Why we prefer “BIG BANG THEORY” over Bollywood nonsense?

We Indians suffer from unloving criticism, more virulent if it is combined with xenophobia, and uncritical love leading to hero worship of worthless fellows in Bollywood.

I have read lakhs of quotes on art and criticism but this one I feel is more appropriate here as in the very title the great Oscar Wilde injected both terms ‘The critic as Artist, 1891’ wherein he says, “Science is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon eternal truths. Art is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon things beautiful and immortal and ever-changing. To morals belong the lower and less intellectual spheres”.

Let us study art in very general terms based on mere observations rather than any expert analysis.

Any form of art is expected to provide entertainment, education, enlightenment [if that also can emerge].

What art is? How it emerges and how various art forms impact a variety of human beings?

In the process of doing this it manifests the attributes and attitudes of the society to various aspects of life in different ways trying to capture the various dimensions/facets of life and perceptions and the many methods through which human beings try to deal with different situations and contexts that they force themselves into or forced to face due to fate.

Art does these things broadly  through abstract representations; surrealistic presentations; exaggerated and/or twisted humor; if it is visual media visual comedy too;  either superficial or in depth critical analysis of many social practices and issues; aesthetic appeals, deep devotions, or sometimes produces unbelievable masterpieces  which are the result of revelations to the soul or through the soul of the some artists, we label them as prodigies/geniuses etc who are otherwise ordinary mortals in all other aspects like the rest of human beings; sometimes certain artists seem to come out with certain unbelievable creations in a state of trance to which they are transported either through devotion or drugs or other hitherto scientifically unexplainable and unexplained means [there are many examples and vast scientific literature too available for this facet of art].

So, in brief art emerges out of the emotional feelings, intellectual perceptions, spiritual vibrations [for those who are not willing to believe or accept such terminologies] or from realms beyond the physically tangible, emotionally felt and/or intellectually perceivable.

Art while doing these, sometimes soaks the sentiments and emotions through high levels of pathos through projections of insurmountable physical discomforts, emotional troubles and mental problems etc; sometimes transports the human spirit away from all seriousness into a realm of enjoyable humour that makes us forget everything and swim in the ocean of laughter; sometimes appeals to the aesthetic sensitivities of human beings; sometimes slides us into our basic sensuous sensations through great romance; sometimes strikes a chord with the spiritual dimension of human being wherein it takes both the artists and the audience/spectator/reader/fan into realms beyond the normal cognitive consciousness.

Human beings generally are easily attracted to various art forms or various standards of productions within a particular art form as the impact of art is piercing and powerful because art permeates directly into the three major aspects every of individual human being emotional and/or physical, intellectual and spiritual manifestations of three vital parts of human life body, mind  and soul/spirit [ this aspect of our life itself is abstract we can neither see it in mirror nor grasp it with our  intellect].

Art is able to do these because it is by nature a spontaneous expression of creativity/enjoyment/devotion so it neither tries to convince any intellectual correctness nor bothers about social/traditional acceptance nor overburdens itself with the necessity to synthesize with any ideology/specific culture/socio political view etc.

From these above indicated exalted inherent credentials of arts we are expected to enjoy it, get engrossed in it or engulfed by it, exported into aesthetic arenas, get enlightened etc.

Still nothing prevents us from evaluating, critically analyzing or trying hard to synthesize with our pet socio cultural perceptions. We shall now see why we do all these?

Why we evaluate art, critically analyze it and try to synthesize it with socio cultural standards/perceptions?

What has happened to art that we all try to evaluate it rather than enjoy it? What has happened to art that we subject it to critical analysis rather than getting engrossed in it? What has happened to art that instead of getting enlightened by it we try to synthesize it with our views and practices of life/life styles/cultures etc or seek syncretism with our various belief systems or social acceptance etc?

As in every evolution, in art too, there are many art forms which have evolved into something more polished and sophisticated able to withstand different onslaughts of socio-cultural changes and there are many art forms which have become extinct too.

The process of evolution throws everything to test, art being no exception, into the huge cauldron of all these:- socially emerging or constantly changing value systems, scrupulously strengthened traditions, petrified ideological indoctrinations and psychological conditionings, political power centers, commercial considerations, carefully cultivated and devotedly developed edifices of religious morals and belief systems, factors of basic human urges, impulses and instincts, the constantly  emerging expectations  of rational thoughts and scientific vindications, socio cultural acceptance, the ever changing trends , taboos etc

After throwing into this huge cauldron and subjecting it to constant churning there emerge or float lots of stuff, everything liked and useful for different set of people or sects of society with varying degrees and intensities of appeal, impact and/ or influence etc.

In the evolutionary churning process various methods are adopted ranging from the very sane to the incorrigibly stupid; from the profoundly philosophical to the silly superficial social engineering; from the time tested value system benefiting the human beings and the environment to the vacillating trends of vacuous inanity; from the very scientific methods to superstitious beliefs and so on and so forth.

In any age or era in the inevitable evolutionary churning process any artistic expression and/or creation or scientific discovery and/or invention has to necessarily and primarily to ensure its own survival then work towards or do things to attract attention and acceptance.

Why only some arts, scientific discoveries and sport events survive and are supported more and why?

Only those art forms and scientific discoveries/inventions that accepted this reality of floating to capture attention survived and sometimes eventually got glorified as well.

That is the reason many works of art, literature and science which survive and impact humanity were sponsored, supported and sustained by kings and emperors, religious leaders and political leaders for various reasons which again is a vast subject by itself and forms a major part of controversial history. Artist could create great arts; scholars could write great pieces of literature; philosophers could propound great truths; scientists could discover and invent many things; saints, sages and enlightened souls could spell out wisdom but all these required attention and support for continuation of survival.

So whatever great arts, scientific discoveries, philosophical thoughts, spiritual wisdom that exist, impact and influence us are not necessarily the best or the greatest but those that managed to survive and get supported.

The supporters and sponsors whether kings or religious institutions or leaders or political leaders had their own vested interests, prejudices, hidden agenda, lurking motives etc to which these arts and sciences had to necessarily confirm by making some compromises or at least minor adjustments.

In the present age the sponsors and sustainers are the economic powers, commercial interests and supporters are the products of prevailing socio-cultural trends.

In the present age, besides all these, arts and sciences have to cater beyond geographical, linguistic, national barriers to be more successful.

So it does not require a rocket scientists to know why Grammy award winning music albums have a greater publicity though they need not necessarily be the best music; Why Hollywood awarded movies have a greater viewership though they need not necessarily be the best movies; Why BCCI sponsored IPL cricket is the most popular cricketing event though it need not necessarily be the best cricketing event; Why European club football has greater viewership of all football events though it need not be the best football event; Why Australian Master chef is the most viewed culinary event though that need not necessarily be the best cuisine.

So any artistic creation or scientific discovery does not survive purely and/or only due to its inherent quality or greatness or utility but due to all these multiple factors explained above.

Therefore to make any dissection and analyze any work of art through any specific ideological bias, or moral or cultural policing or doctrinal discrimination or social engineering and worst of all media based judgment peddled by ultracrepidarian[A person who gives opinions and advice on matters outside of one's knowledge.] pretentious know-alls who revel more nowadays on scandals, sensationalism and gossip rather than on any concrete content based evaluation of anything on inherent merits.

So as an ordinary mortal aware of and taking into consideration all the factors I would prefer to continue to enjoy “BIG BANG THEORY” with all its purported bias and hidden agenda because beyond all these it offers great humour to those who have sense of humour.

These sitcoms are far more humorous, entertaining, educative than the stupid stereotyped Bollywood movies and sickening Indian teleserials imbued with mother in law daughter in law duels or the social engineering of victimhood portrayals, poverty parading and preaching on national integration and communal harmony.

Above all these sitcoms have certain inherent merits that one preferably need to look for in sitcoms and films or any audio-visual production in general namely good to great acting, good to great cinematography, crisp dialogues, curt replies, marvelous editing, many useful information of the subject that they deal with rather than masking everything with a masala mixture of veiled vulgarity and preaching with a long dialogue from pedestal even in moments like chasing and  shooting a villain as they do in Indian movies.

From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘House’ we can learn a lot of interesting facts about human anatomy and modern medical practices.

Serials like ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘Castle’ can be used in training sessions for detectives and police force.

Serials like ‘Friends’ have excellent and sharp verbal humour.

While discussing about pay check do not get distracted by passions, career satisfaction, dreams, ambitions, how far is your place of work, who are your co employees etc though all these are important not when you are bothered and discussing only about paycheck .

I remember a Chinese Proverb which says, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills”.

I would be happy to be one among these categories listed by you below, that you seems to mention with derision, in this part, “No wonder that shows such as The Big Bang Theory are talked about in social circles which include teenagers, newly adults and veteran adults, who pride themselves on being members of the global community having left behind their antiquated ideas and morals about right or wrong.”

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