Monday, November 25, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

As usual, by Friday morning.  This week's contenders:

Student #1 left a new comment on your post "Fightaturgy: Towards a Dramaturgy of Stage Violenc...":

"It is my own feeling that consistency and dramatic effectiveness trump historical accuracy, but specific choices must be made by the performers and production staff."

This quote is fascinating, because as I was reading the article, I kept thinking, yes, it's interesting that it means different things when an actor has his japanese sword on the left or the right, but will the audience really understand that? Perhaps it will help the actor psychologically, but if it doesn't, then does it really matter? The quote above clarified this for me, because it points out that while we should aim to put on historically accurate productions, the most effective choices on stage may not be congruent with historically accurate details. It's a trade-off. In most cases, honestly, I doubt that the audience would even notice.

I appreciate this author's efforts to explain why violence is more than violence itself. The intentions behind violence and the cultural implications of different violent acts can have a huge effect on how actors play the violence and how the audience perceives it. I'm sure that playwrights would appreciate this article, because they don't just put violence in their plays because they can. (I'm not sure that the same can be said for movies, but that's a whole different story.) This is a great example of how thorough dramaturgical research can enhance a production for both performers and their audiences. 
Student #2 left a new comment on your post "Some Art Institutions Deserve to Fail":
With the increase of digital downloads and personal access to art I think it is important to draw the line to or redraw a line to the question "what is art?". Surely it would be wrong to discount pop art as something that is not art however maybe we are experiencing an access to the arts that allows everything created to be popular and therefor subjected to personal objectification. However I do not want to delve into that but instead I wish to talk on the idea of art in the mechanical age of replication and reproduction. This idea that I am drawing on come from Walter Benjamin the author of "The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". He wrote that art's level of exact replication has been growing to greater and greater levels to the point where there are only on characteristic that can separate an original copy to that of an imitation. He writes "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element:its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." (Benjamin 2) So yes as art ordinations begin to fail probably because of the ability of technology to replicate that time and space it can still never replace the original time and performance. Perhaps that would mean for a call of new works of art. Where the time and space of that work is contemporary and with a great influx of original work, the recordings of classics will stay recordings. We can no long view the original performance of Handel's "Messiah" However we can travel to and original run and performance of a brand new musical. If arts organization keep preforming the classics than failure could be inevitably the end of that organization, however new works could also run an organization into the ground with lack of marketing and interest. Either way failure still presents it self as an option despite technology and poor management. We as a culture decided what is valuable and invaluable art, and therefor which ordinations will succeed or fail. 
Student #3 left a new comment on your post "Finding Common Ground":
As someone who's partner is a computer scientist while I am an artist I'm obviously on the side of thinking that artists and scientists make good partners. I never thought I would fall for a scientist, but despite focusing on different subjects, we both have to think creatively about our work and we meet in the middle when it comes to playing music. At any rate, I kind of think it could be a little boring to be with someone who did the same thing as me, though I know there are many people who do the same thing and it works out beautifully…so, it totally depends, but I know my world is constantly tweaked and expanded through talking with him and it has a big impact on my work. My partner and I always have things to teach each other about our separate focuses, and through it I think we both learn a lot, gain different perspectives and ways of looking at our own work…through each others work. I think that people who don't have this opportunity are missing out. I have met scientists who are so extremely entrenched in what they do that they have no concept of what I do and honestly look down on it. But, they haven't given a chance to really listen and look. I'm sure there are scientists too that have met artists that refuse to even accept the scientists world. It definitely depends on the open nature of the relationship. I think this salon sounds amazing -- what a great way to create communication between the arts and sciences and work toward better understanding and collaboration between the fields. 
Student #4 left a new comment on your post "Here’s Lady Gaga in a Flying Dress Because Okay, S...":
I think there are two definitions of flight: physical flight and mental flight (freedom and escape). I had recently watched Lady Gaga wear her new flying machine, Volantis, and I was not impressed. She chose physical flight with absolutely no mental flight. Yes, she physically flew, but she was bound to the machine. She was imprisoned and petrified by the machine. It is interesting in that the machine is controlling the human’s actions, but still. Perhaps this is saying something about technology overpowering creativity. I didn’t really find the idea interesting either. After all, do we not see physical flight with planes? Haven’t we seen this before? This is an old idea. We have seen man try to accomplish physical flight for the self in Icarus and Franz Reichelt, both of whom failed to achieve continuous flight. Mental flight has a much deeper meaning. It dives into the human mind, which is already a fragile labyrinth, and releases our inner desires. A desire to escape society’s confinements. A desire to free one’s self and soul. Unfortunately, this is very difficult to show through physical flight. One reason why it is so difficult is that man doesn’t really know what his desires are. His desires are biased and limited to what he knows. How does he know he does not want something he does not know? Another difficulty is transporting your interior thoughts (that is, if you think you have found them) to your exterior figure.
I think flight needs a pulse or at least a breath. When I think of flight, I think of an inhalation after a brief suffocation showing that release and escape. Lady Gaga was trapped. She almost looked like a stone statue with no life at all. She had no breath. 
Student #5 left a new comment on your post "The Catwalk of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire":
While what Trisch Summerville did for The Hunger Games might not be technically "costume design," I feel it might have been the best way to make this movie. I never even realized that every costume in a movie was personally designed by the costume designer- I always assumed that, especially for minor characters, there was a certain amount of "farming out" that happened. Since movies usually have such huge casts and cover so many different days, each with a different costume, it seems ridiculous to demand that for a person to be qualified as the costume designer they must have designed every item worn by anyone in the movie. especially in a movie such as this, which is supposed to be set in a sort of dystopian near-future, it can be even more effective to use modern clothing, rather than constructing it all. I also find it odd that the author described the use of McQueen pieces as a "risky choice" of fear of spoiling the "illusion" and implying that "high fashion may well be art but, as with Effie herself, is also vacuous and trivial." This doesn't sound like a random choice that has unfortunate and unintended implications- this sounds like a deliberate design decision which was meant to convey just that. There is a lot of design that can happen in the choosing of clothing for characters, and the choice to use clothing from the "real world" can be as much a design decision as choosing to make them all from a certain kind of fabric, or using a certain color palette throughout the movie.

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