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How You Can Take Advantage of Art's Subjectivity

How You Can Take Advantage of Art's Subjectivity

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Published by K.M. Weiland
Experiencing art is like watching clouds. Two people can lie on the same grassy hill, watching the same cloud formations. But how they interpret the shapes of the clouds is an entirely individual experience. You may see a poodle on a leash, while in the same cloud, I see a drag race.
Experiencing art is like watching clouds. Two people can lie on the same grassy hill, watching the same cloud formations. But how they interpret the shapes of the clouds is an entirely individual experience. You may see a poodle on a leash, while in the same cloud, I see a drag race.

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Published by: K.M. Weiland on Sep 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/06/2009

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Anyone who doubts the subjective nature of art need look for persuasion nofarther than Amazon’s review pages. For instance, Stephen R. Lawhead’s
Hood 
received opinions varying from the effusive “Lawhead at his best” and “rip-roaring good story” to the insistent “no real plot, resolution, or drama” and “slow, uninspired and pointless.” How could the same piece of writing inspiresuch wildly differing reactions? You have to wonder if these reviewers wereeven reading the same book!For better or worse, art (like life) is subjective. Not one of us looks at a story, apainting, a movie, or a concert in the same way. We each see the samestructure; we each read the same words; but we all take something individual,and therefore indefinably precious, away from the encounter. Experiencing art islike watching clouds. Two people can lie on the same grassy hill, watching thesame cloud formations. But how they interpret the shapes of the clouds is anentirely individual experience. You may see a poodle on a leash, while in thesame cloud, I see a drag race.Part of the magic of the artistic experience is its endless evolution. It is neverstatic. Even once the writer has put the final touch on his piece, it continues tolive and morph and grow through the experiences of the reader. When we handour writing over to others, we’re unavoidably surrendering our control over it.We can’t sit at the reader’s shoulder and dictate how he envisions ourcharacters or how he reacts to the themes. If we could, it would largely defeatthe point of art, not to mention the enjoyment.
www.wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.comwww.kmweiland.com
How You Can Take Advantage of Art’s Subjectivity
 
Subjectivity is sometimes a hard notion to accept. Because we’re limited by ourown visions of the world, it isn’t automatic for us to realize that other visionsare not only out there but, in fact, they are
everywhere
. It’s a natural humanreaction for us to suppose that our own reactions and beliefs should be sharedby everyone. As a result, it can sometimes be quite a shock to realize thateveryone isn’t going to view our writing the same way we do.Despite its universalism, this is a truth that few of us manage to grasp right off.However, it’s very important that we do grasp it. Until we do, we’ll never beable to take advantage of it.Once we embrace the subjectivity of art, we can:*
Accept
that the painful rejection of our work by some of ourreaders is inevitable and even warranted, given the wide range of personalities who will read it.*
Realize
that bad reviews aren’t necessarily reflective on thequality of our work. Everyone and his mother’s uncle is entitled tohis opinion. And no two people’s opinions are going to be exactlyalike. If one person adores your work, then you can expect thatsomeone else will hate it with equal fervency. Your work can’t speakto everyone. The sooner we accept this fact, the easier it will be tobrush away the sting of negativity.*
Open our eyes
to the fact that differing opinions give us theopportunity to widen our scope and deepen our work. Occasionally(and sometimes more than occasionally) your negative reviewersmay just have a point or two. If you can handle the negativity, youmay just gain more from reading your bad reviews than you dofrom your good reviews. The varying vantage points of other peoplecan help you see yourself, your writing, and your flaws more clearly.*
Embrace
the wide variety of humanity. If everyone in the worldshared our opinions down to the last dot, it would be a ridiculouslydull place. Despite the drawbacks and occasional nicks of pride,subjectivity, at its very heart, is the only reason art is worthpursuing. It allows us all a broader canvas on which to paint,experiment, fail, and succeed.

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