Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Interpretation and Conversation

Never Bring Your Pet To A Devil Vet! has an interesting thing to say about interpretation:

Do not label the artobject. Rather allow the artobject to inspire investigation of oneself.

The goal of interpretation should not be the attempt to reach a hidden meaning within the artobject or to approximate an elusive objective meaning either.

The goal of interpretation...of meaning... should be the facilitation of conversation between two or more individuals so that they learn more about themselves rather than the piece of art.

Very true. I had read some other minor dissents against theaterfolks (and other artfolks) refusing to talk about the meaning of their work. That is how I used to interface with the work. I cite this little block of text (it's not an exceprt--it's the whole post) as having converted me. The meaning of the work should be discussed. So what if it makes the piece feel flat and explainable? It's how the artist starts a conversation about the work.

Now, the artist can't be tyrannical--if he says this is the one meaning of the work, then there is no conversation. So that's just as bad--maybe worse--than refusing to talk about the meaning.

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