05 January 2007

Footnotes Are Not Designed to Affect You

Designed to Affect You Part One

My opponents in the debate argued that adding footnotes does not 'kill the whole thing' as Steiner suggested.

I argued (and still argue) that footnoting does not destroy the artwork; it destroys the EFFECT that the artist created.

Art communicates through effect. We 'experience' artwork.

Roncevaux was a symbol that Hemmingway used to slowly create the effect of deceit and betrayal.

It would not be ART if the writer simply said, "This man, who is going to betray his friend later in the story ..."

A person achieves a certain effect by directly 'explaining' something to his audience.

BUT, there is a completely different effect generated when artists use symbols to slowly reveal the picture they are painting.

Another example:

I went to Igor Stravinsky's opera, the "Rake's Progress."

At the intermission, we were commenting on two scenes in the first half that took place on rooftops.

The first scene, between the young man and his girlfriend, took place on her home's rooftop.

A few scenes later, the young man danced around the top of a building in London.

Realizing this was probably not coincidence, we were curiously watching for rooftops in the second half.

Well, there weren't any.

So we completely forgot about the roofs and got caught up in the story which was: young foolish man gets seduced away from his 'true love' by money, power, prestige and in the end he loses everything and is insane and alone.

The story was well told, with humor and beautiful music, but it wasn't until walking home after the show that I 'got' the rooftops.

The story was about the 'fall' of a young man.

The rooftops were a sort of subconscious symbol off of which he would fall, during the second half, to his demise.

I would hesitate to say that the rooftops were the 'genius' of the story, as Steiner said of Hemmingway, but symbols are often part of the artist's craft and I would not like the 'rooftops' effect to have been 'footnoted' in my program.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey jen, like the tv series that change direction in style and content after a certain point, your blog seems no longer to be very much about urban camping or the philosophy behind it. keep it up anyway..

your loyal fan, hik.

Saturday, 06 January, 2007  
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Sunday, 07 January, 2007  

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