I attended a free exhibition at a local art gallery this past Saturday, which included a discussion following the tour of the exhibition. During this discussion, some of my fellow attendees claimed current media, like television and video games, isolate us from our fellow humans and numb us to the world, and parents and other authority figures aren’t doing as much as parents of yesteryear did to engage with their kids, and get their kids to engage with the world, by, for instance, sending them outside to play.
Granted, there is such a thing as too much time in front of a screen–computer, television, what have you. But I don’t see evidence that anyone who watches more than twenty hours of television a week or plays video games is deadened to the world; in fact, the gamers and TV geeks in my life are relatively normal. People, kids included, are not automatons; they are capable of consuming the media they do and still interacting normally with the world.
The discussion at the gallery also delved into whether or not any of the pieces we saw were art, and what qualifies as ‘art;’ one man stated artists should learn the rules of art before doing it. I took a continuing-studies course at Emily Carr University, which was an introductory look at form and composition in art; from that perspective, I agree it does help to have a rudimentary grasp of the basics of form and composition when starting work on a composition, as opposed to taking a haphazard approach. I’m now wondering if the artists whose work was displayed at the gallery this Saturday took any art courses or not, where they learned their craft, and what was going through their minds as they worked on their pieces.
The fact is, art and culture, like everything else, evolve. The criteria for what is considered art has expanded, and tastes have expanded with them. To state the painfully obvious–and what has been stated before–art, like taste, is subjective. It’s just a question of what stands the test of time, and what ends up in the ashcan of history.
And, no matter what happens, humans are a social species–evolution has seen to that; ergo, we will always seek company and community with our fellow humans.