Ketchup and Artistic Effectiveness

When we say art is “good” or “bad” what we mean is that it is “effective” or “ineffective” at things that are better or worse to be effective at.

This “effective at what” thing divides art up into species. Maybe phylums. It’s a bigger category than genre, because it doesn’t have anything to do with superficial content, it has to do with priorities and methods.

Continue reading “Ketchup and Artistic Effectiveness”

How We Frame the Value of “Experimental” Art Badly

Gabe and I were talking about the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab the other day. For context: the HSEL is an experimental form of documentary-making. Each film places you, without narration, into some unfamiliar situation, about which you become educated, ideally, solely by the power of your own observations. It’s as much experimental anthropology as it is experimental art.

I’m not about to say that experimental art is inevitably shitty nonsense and shouldn’t exist. Experimental art should definitely exist. But the fact that it is experimental should not be grounds to claim that it is better than other art. In fact, I find the idea of expecting experimental art to be good or complete to be totally crippling of its possibilities. The point of an experiment is the potential for failure. Continue reading “How We Frame the Value of “Experimental” Art Badly”