Kitsch & Art

It’s quite possibly time for me to get off of the high horse here about what art is and is not, but for the time being, here’s a few more thoughts.

“Kitsch isnt necessarily evil, its just not great. Its moreso comforting and familiar, which is not inherently bad, it just isn’t truly life giving. Kitsch may have the capability to recall life, but not the ability to transfer new life. Kitsch is the stillborn child of craft. Kitsch allows us to easily understand and therefore never presses us into uncomfort, never questions our stance or thoughts. Kitsch merely confirms and affirms all that we already believe. Kitsch never forces us to be vulnerable, which means that we are never able to receive something new from it.

All of this is to say the for something to truly be art, it must be alive and life giving. Art make can make us uncomfortable, because it is creative and therefore an addition to humanity and culture. The vulnerability that art can create is precisely the reason that it can be so impacting. It is something beyond us and therefore something that we don’t already grasp or posses. It challenges us and won’t let us sit idly by. This challenge also leads to its disapproval. It requires something from us and for those not willing to give, from art they will not receive.”

This pre-bedtime rant – constructed entirely on my crappy Blackberry Bold no less – was spawned after thinking about creativity, vulnerability, and the death of Thomas Kinkade.

Incoming opinions and sweeping generalizations.

Art – the substantial kind – really separates itself from other forms of communication and making because of it’s innate characteristics of being semi-alive. Now this has no bearing upon it’s physical state, but rather has more to do with the idea that it possesses something of life. Generally this something comes from it’s creator, in some sort of transference. Regardless of means, this new thing embodies something of life.

Because of this liveliness, art cannot be treated as simply on object, an image, painting, sculpture, etc. There must be some sort of interaction that takes place and therefore there must be openness. The more openness from all parties involved, the greater possibility for impact, transference, and life. This openness allows for receiving from one another, but also requires vulnerability. I must be vulnerable enough to admit that I don’t fully understand something when I first encounter it. I don’t know what it means.

Prescribed meaning severely limits possibility. One of my good friends from school always harped on me about how I was always trying to prescribe meaning, and I had a hard time believing her and understanding; but I think I understand now, somewhat at least ;) The gist of what she was trying to help me realize was that if I tried to dictate – prescribemeaning, the potential – possibility – for sharing, impacting, altering is limited to my understanding and ideas.

So this was about Kitsch, right? My disdain for kitsch is entirely centered around the mindset behind it. Kitsch is nothing but prescribed meaning. It’s possibility for growth is non-existent, and therefore, so is the viewer/owner’s in relation to that object or idea. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be comforted, or feeling loved – these are good things. However, when we conflate these desires to a place of equality with art, then we ask to be shallow.

Art is challenging, because it is an interaction. But this also leads to its beautiful possibility.

Yay March Madness. Boo Bad Refs.

Today I partook in the glorious invention of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. It is quite possibly one of my favorites times of the year. Definitely better than a lot of national holidays. The beauty of the tournament is the combination of infinite possibility and drama happening simultaneously. 16 games in 2 days! It’s full of surprise and impossibility.

One of the most intriguing matchups of the day was UNC-Ashville (16) vs Syracuse (1). Obviously this is a tough matchup for the overall number 2 number 1 team in the tournament, but UNC-Ashville had their fair share of meetings with top tier teams during the season. Today they played a nearly perfect game. A few too many turnovers, and could have really used another scorer, but realistically, they played about of good of a basketball game as one could expect from a 16 seed.

Upsets are a big part of the tournament, and one of the reasons why its so exciting. A 5 pretty much always gets upset by a 12, and many double digit seeds have made it to the final four. While a number two team has been upset several times before in the tournament, a number one seed has never been upset, and has only trailed at the half 7 times in over 100 games.

So, as I was saying, UNC-Ashville was playing their hearts out and doing really well. Leading and the half by 3 (?) and then holding a slight lead for the majority of the second half. And then the refs got involved. Right before the end of the first half, the refs missed a super clear goaltending call that would have put UNC-Ashville up by 5 (?) at the half, and would have had the game tied, or down one, with a few seconds to go in the game.

Goal Tending Terrible Call

Goal Tending Terrible Call via SB Nation

There was another bad call that cost them points, but I don’t remember what it was. A throw-in-no-call foul-ball-out-off-Syracuse was then returned to Syracuse. This certainly would have put the Bulldogs up by 2, but instead was returned to Syracuse. RAGE!


Throw-in-no-call-out-of-bounds via SB Nation

The last bad call that really ensured the Syracuse victory was one of the stupidest calls I’ve ever seen. On the front end of a one-and-one, a lane violation was called against the guy behind the three point line! The man in question left his position behind the 3-point line as the free throw was released and went un-impeded to the hoop and grabbed the errant free throw. But then the same idiot ref, I think it was the same at least, called a lane violation that put the shooter back on the line. Shooter makes the first, and then the second that seals the fate of UNC-Ashville.

Lane Violation Call

Lane Violation Call via SB Nation

That should be the end of my rant for the day folks. We were robbed a moment in history because of a bad ref.

That is all. Final Score: Syracuse 72 – UNC Ashville 65

EDIT: It would appear that:

The player behind the shooter apparently cannot cross the free throw line before the ball hits the rim. Related: this is still never, ever called, and letting the play go would not have affected the play. Yes, he came down with the rebound. No, Syracuse had no shot at a rebound either way. – by Brian Floyd via SB Nation