More random thoughts on art

12 Mar

So, here’s my next question. Once I accept that I am, however tenuous the word may be, an artist, I am required to define what kind of art I do. In fact, this is the question we are most commonly asked these days, “So, what do you do?”

“Stuff,” I normally say, followed usually by, “I’m a writer.”

The range of what I write and for whom is huge, and yet this year I am facing an even bigger question. How do we “script” physical action? Or silence? Where is the boundary between theatre and dance? When musicians perform onstage they do more than just play their instruments, otherwise we might as well just buy their CDs. And why, oh why, do we want to define everything, put it in a little box, close the lid, and shelve it under “comedy” or “pop music” or “contemporary dance”?

My personal least favourite label is “world music”. What on earth is world music? Anything that doesn’t fit into all the other categories?

The next question which arises is: to what extent do the labels we apply influence our audiences? If we go to a piece labelled “theatre” what expectations do we have? If that same piece is labelled “performance art” how different are our feelings and opinions?



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