Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 | By Gautam | In artistic freedom , freedom of expression , speech
Disclaimer: The following post is very harsh on 'artists'. Feel free to feel offended.
- Is artistic freedom everything?
- Doesn't the audience count for their presence?
- Does being narcissistic and claiming I-do-it-for-my-happiness-only not amount to insulting the audience?
These are but a few questions that come up inadvertently between artistes(?) and audience alike when one is defending his/her work (crap in some case) and one is criticising. We've all been privy to 'art' and the lingo and air associated with the artists. The stand that they take. The way they (mis)behave. The way they question the intelligence of the audience when it comes to understanding their masterpiece. Yes, the same audience who would wait patiently for hours before these artists would start their performances, would sit through their tantrums, would stand their arrogance and believe me you, some of their so called performances are a tolling on the senses of a common man. But then we are dismissed as not having that knack of understanding art. Lesser mortals, us commoners.
But who are these people performing for? Who are these people displaying their talents to? Why do they want to be recognized, receive awards, be cheered at? Ego. As much as anyone on this world may like to deny, ego is the underlying reason for many of our endeavours. It may take different forms, it may be dubbed as inspiration by many but one cannot deny the existence of ego. For me, my self esteem emanates from ego. For someone else, ego may mean something else. Appreciation is something we all crave for. As kids, we would be more than happy when we'd be patted on our backs. We all like it when we're appreciated and appraised. It's the basis of a meritocratic society. It satisfies our egos. Maslow wasn't kidding when he proposed the need hierarchy theory.
Then why such despise for the common man? Why differentiate stuff as artistic and non-artistic? The so called performer who revels in his own glory after taking a higher moral ground when he says I perform for the love of performing, wants to see the auditorium/ cinema hall/ art gallery brimming with people. Why does he/she crib when not selected for a national award or some sort of recognition for that matter? The answer is ego.
The notion of some people being gifted with a heightened sense of some form of art is the basic premise that gives rise to what I shall term 'art-feudalism'. Similar to feudalism, some minds (demented in some case) take unto themselves the onus of saving the world from the absence of art. Their works are critiqued and applauded within their own fraternity, given fancy names such as neo-progressive, cubism (Picasso. See I know my art!!!), et all. What do you and I understand? What do you and I care?
If it was not for the common man, whose senses and intelligence are sometimes loathed at by artists, thronging the cinema halls, theatres and art galleries, these people would have been jobless. Fancy gimmicks apart (like roaming barefoot and all), belting out crap in the name of art, innovation and invention cannot be a valid logic. We all can tell how something is pathetic. Instead of taking in the criticism and improving upon, some artists sit back and blame the public on their lack of sensory perceptions.
Art isn't running around the trees but it isn't for sure, capturing scenes form weird angles wherein one has to tilt his/her head 120 degrees to make sense. Art isn't being so damn abstract that only the one conceiving it understands. People, universally, can make out what appeals to their aesthetic senses.
It's not always about exclusivity, it sometimes borders around abnormality.
Artistic freedom is epic fail when one does not appreciate the audience.