I’ve touched upon my ideas on communication in the arts before in my blog post ‘Objectivity in Art’ last December. Among other related ideas, I talked about the use of objectivity to enable an artist to see their message from the outside. I believe this enables efficient targeting of an audience and therefore efficient communication.
I still see art as a method of communication and art’s main purpose, whether you are communicating the beauty of your subject or, for example, some kind of abstract message on nihilism and it’s relevance to today’s society: if the message is lost then what has been created is just an object or sound like any other and therefore deserves the same amount of attention as any other sound or object.
However, I don’t think that poor communication is always the lack of ability to see the bigger picture. Sometimes people use the arts to just make money or gain respect among their peers and, for me, this is an area where a message can get confused: intentions become part of the message no matter how far removed they are. I think that it is hard to hide the real intentions behind any action, and even if this intention is being cloaked by an artistic ideal, the real intention will still be subtly visible. Those looking for inspiration or just soaking up experience will take all aspects of a revered source on board, and such aspects will only serve to detract attention away from the real message that is being given. Such aspects may even harm the production of future art if, for example, people start to see money-making as a factor in the making of relevant art.
I cant really comment on why she started out but take Lady Gaga as an example. The image she seems to project is one of sticking to values and not caring what others think of you while saying that it’s OK to be yourself. These are very worthy ideals but the message is mixed: is being yourself continually re-inventing yourself? A cynic may say this a great way to keep your brand fresh but a fan may say that’s just how she is. If this is ‘just how she is’, her music, her main method of communication doesn’t seem to follow the idea of reinvention. The ideas may be in her lyrics but her craft is song-writing, not being a lyricist. This leads me to not being able to take anything at all from her work, as the message given is not very consistent at all.
These very issues are part of the reason why I don’t really follow much music at all. A little strange for a musician, but it seems that most of the time the image comes first. Once the image is set in place, some music is made but this generally follows taste and not whatever message the image is striving to portray. Sometimes it is the other way around, some great music is made but to make it saleable an image is created on top of this. Again this generally seems detached as the music and image are two are separate entities. This could very well be an odd quirk of my personality but I believe that if you should have something to say, every part of you should be saying it, otherwise all you give out are mixed messages. Of course, not all bands and singers (and artists etc) are like this and many marry all aspects about them to enable great singular communication of their ethos. Personally, it turns out that things interesting to me generally aren’t attached to genre or a certain media outlet so most of the time, i just cant be bothered to wade through it all!
This shows just how these mixed messages could damage art: I am probably missing out on a lot great experience by not investigating further, and I may find that there are some messages out there that I could have a valuable contribution to. If I feel this way, I’m sure many others do too…