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equality72521

Random Act of Culture

33 posts in this topic

Excellent.

Thanks. I am passing on the site to my network.

Amazing when you give people the chance to appreciate beauty, they respond.

Quite uplifting.

Adam

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Excellent.

Thanks. I am passing on the site to my network.

Amazing when you give people the chance to appreciate beauty, they respond.

Quite uplifting.

Adam

Yeah, these people do this all over the place.

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Can't you tell? It's a cover for a gang of shoplifters.

--Brant

joke! joke! joke!

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Can't you tell? It's a cover for a gang of shoplifters.

--Brant

joke! joke! joke!

Shoplifters Brant? Your thinking too small. This was just the test run... Next stop, The US Treasury... Boy wont they be surprised when they get there.

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Excellent.

Thanks. I am passing on the site to my network.

Amazing when you give people the chance to appreciate beauty, they respond.

Quite uplifting.

Adam

I think it's kind of creepy.

It's the snob's equivalent of graffiti -- "We want to shove our art down your throat whether you want it or not; we don't want to invite you to experience our art and let you choose for yourself; no, we know better than you do what type of art you should have in your life, and how and when you should be exposed to it."

J

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Excellent.

Thanks. I am passing on the site to my network.

Amazing when you give people the chance to appreciate beauty, they respond.

Quite uplifting.

Adam

I think it's kind of creepy.

It's the snob's equivalent of graffiti -- "We want to shove our art down your throat whether you want it or not; we don't want to invite you to experience our art and let you choose for yourself; no, we know better than you do what type of art you should have in your life, and how and when you should be exposed to it."

J

I have seen several of these and some of the interviews with people involved and people who have experienced these. I did not come away with that being the intent, your interpretation seems to be cynical. This is actually a perfect advertisement tool. U2 did the same thing when they did that performance on the back of a flatbed truck. There are a number of people who would never be exposed to classical western art and this is a way to inject it into modern culture. As far as I have seen these things never last a long time (usually less than 10 minutes) and in several cases (a ballet in one case) it is used to preview an upcoming show.

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I have seen several of these and some of the interviews with people involved and people who have experienced these. I did not come away with that being the intent, your interpretation seems to be cynical.

And your desire to "inject" "your" "culture" seems pompous, condescending, intrusive and controlling.

This is actually a perfect advertisement tool. U2 did the same thing when they did that performance on the back of a flatbed truck.

I don't want U2 cramming their art down people's throats either. Nor do I want my favorite artists doing so.

There are a number of people who would never be exposed to classical western art...

Apparently you're not culturally refined enough yet to know that what other people are or are not exposed to is none of your business. I know many people who haven't been exposed much to "classical western art," but each of whom is more original, creative, productive and artistically profound than any 100 of the pretentious twits who would presume to "expose them to culture."

...and this is a way to inject it into modern culture.

"Inject it into modern culture" is just another way of saying "shove it down people's throats."

As far as I have seen these things never last a long time (usually less than 10 minutes) and in several cases (a ballet in one case) it is used to preview an upcoming show.

That's part of why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth -- it comes across to me as a cheesy advertising gimmick that would be appropriate for selling Sham Wows and onion choppers, not great art. That, and I've never been much of a fan of community organizer-types messing with great art. Non-creative people tend to not respect the proscenium. They seem to think they're being super creative in breaking the "fourth wall" with art that was never intended to do so. They seem to be so uncultured as to have no concern about what the composers would have thought of having pieces of their work ripped from its intended setting and context and forced down people's throats in a mall's food court. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just go and shit on the composers' graves?

J

Edited by Jonathan
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I have seen several of these and some of the interviews with people involved and people who have experienced these. I did not come away with that being the intent, your interpretation seems to be cynical.

And your desire to "inject" "your" "culture" seems pompous, condescending, intrusive and controlling.

This is actually a perfect advertisement tool. U2 did the same thing when they did that performance on the back of a flatbed truck.

I don't want U2 cramming their art down people's throats either. Nor do I want my favorite artists doing so.

There are a number of people who would never be exposed to classical western art...

Apparently you're not culturally refined enough yet to know that what other people are or are not exposed to is none of your business. I know many people who haven't been exposed much to "classical western art," but each of whom is more original, creative, productive and artistically profound than any 100 of the pretentious twits who would presume to "expose them to culture."

...and this is a way to inject it into modern culture.

"Inject it into modern culture" is just another way of saying "shove it down people's throats."

As far as I have seen these things never last a long time (usually less than 10 minutes) and in several cases (a ballet in one case) it is used to preview an upcoming show.

That's part of why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth -- it comes across to me as a cheesy advertising gimmick that would be appropriate for selling Sham Wows and onion choppers, not great art. That, and I've never been much of a fan of community organizer-types messing with great art. Non-creative people tend to not respect the proscenium. They seem to think they're being super creative in breaking the "fourth wall" with art that was never intended to do so. They seem to be so uncultured as to have no concern about what the composers would have thought of having pieces of their work ripped from its intended setting and context and forced down people's throats in a mall's food court. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just go and shit on the composers' graves?

J

Nothing wrong with doing this sort of thing every so often. It's expansive, educational and fun; maybe experimental. But if they're doing this all over the place again and again and again, I'd be inclined to go with your criticism.

--Brant

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I have seen several of these and some of the interviews with people involved and people who have experienced these. I did not come away with that being the intent, your interpretation seems to be cynical.

And your desire to "inject" "your" "culture" seems pompous, condescending, intrusive and controlling.

This is actually a perfect advertisement tool. U2 did the same thing when they did that performance on the back of a flatbed truck.

I don't want U2 cramming their art down people's throats either. Nor do I want my favorite artists doing so.

There are a number of people who would never be exposed to classical western art...

Apparently you're not culturally refined enough yet to know that what other people are or are not exposed to is none of your business. I know many people who haven't been exposed much to "classical western art," but each of whom is more original, creative, productive and artistically profound than any 100 of the pretentious twits who would presume to "expose them to culture."

...and this is a way to inject it into modern culture.

"Inject it into modern culture" is just another way of saying "shove it down people's throats."

As far as I have seen these things never last a long time (usually less than 10 minutes) and in several cases (a ballet in one case) it is used to preview an upcoming show.

That's part of why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth -- it comes across to me as a cheesy advertising gimmick that would be appropriate for selling Sham Wows and onion choppers, not great art. That, and I've never been much of a fan of community organizer-types messing with great art. Non-creative people tend to not respect the proscenium. They seem to think they're being super creative in breaking the "fourth wall" with art that was never intended to do so. They seem to be so uncultured as to have no concern about what the composers would have thought of having pieces of their work ripped from its intended setting and context and forced down people's throats in a mall's food court. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just go and shit on the composers' graves?

J

As if these performers broke into people's homes or drove repeatedly around the block blasting Wu Tang Clan on their subwoofers at midnight.

Do you view a person whistling as he works as a form of assault?

I would suggest you might benefit from a professional prostate massage if I knew you wouldn't resent that too as an unwanted intrusion.

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As if these performers broke into people's homes or drove repeatedly around the block blasting Wu Tang Clan on their subwoofers at midnight.

Do you view a person whistling as he works as a form of assault?

No, I think that a person whistling while he works would be a truly spontaneous and genuine "random act of culture." I'm all for people finding ways of bringing art into their own lives and creating it, no matter how untrained and insignificant the creation might be, as opposed to attempting to force art, which was created by someone else, into others' lives. I think it misses the point, and, frankly, that it's downright idiotic, for people to think that they're bringing "culture" to others by removing choice and simply altering the environment in which they are still mere spectators.

I would suggest you might benefit from a professional prostate massage if I knew you wouldn't resent that too as an unwanted intrusion.

Here's an idea that you non-creative, busy-body, culture-nazi, community-organizers might like: How about we take scenes from The Fountainhead and print them on rolls of toilet paper? That way when the unwashed masses are taking a dump at the mall, they can read the excerpts and be "exposed to culture!" Do you think Rand would have liked that? Do you think she would have been pleased with the idea of uncultured, busy-body mediocrities trying to force "culture" on others by tampering with her art or with how it was presented?

J

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As if these performers broke into people's homes or drove repeatedly around the block blasting Wu Tang Clan on their subwoofers at midnight.

Do you view a person whistling as he works as a form of assault?

No, I think that a person whistling while he works would be a truly spontaneous and genuine "random act of culture." I'm all for people finding ways of bringing art into their own lives and creating it, no matter how untrained and insignificant the creation might be, as opposed to attempting to force art, which was created by someone else, into others' lives. I think it misses the point, and, frankly, that it's downright idiotic, for people to think that they're bringing "culture" to others by removing choice and simply altering the environment in which they are still mere spectators.

I would suggest you might benefit from a professional prostate massage if I knew you wouldn't resent that too as an unwanted intrusion.

Here's an idea that you non-creative, busy-body, culture-nazi, community-organizers might like: How about we take scenes from The Fountainhead and print them on rolls of toilet paper? That way when the unwashed masses are taking a dump at the mall, they can read the excerpts and be "exposed to culture!" Do you think Rand would have liked that? Do you think she would have been pleased with the idea of uncultured, busy-body mediocrities trying to force "culture" on others by tampering with her art or with how it was presented?

J

Your first mistake is in the presumption that someone is removing choice. If I choose to go to a mall and get permission form the owner of the mall to put on a mini-concert without advertising it first I have not removed choice. In fact mall's play music all the time, therefore is the mall shoving their culture down someones throat? much of what passes as music in todays world is in reality trash. by its very nature it is disqualified as music (take for example Rap or modern R&B). Doing something like random acts of culture as a way to promote a specific form of art is not shoving something down someones throat. You are on private property when you are at a mall or an airport. if you dont like it leave. No one forces you to go to a mall or an air port, you dont own that mall or air port, go somewhere else. See this is the beauty of Capitalism, the owners of those places get to decide what can and cannot happen on their property.

In the clip provided here Macy's sanctioned the Philadelphia opera doing this, if it offends you shop somewhere else. This group get permission from the owners of the property they preform on, they don't need YOUR permission if you dont like it go somewhere else.

Finally.

You need to understand the principle of creativity. Because one is not the originator of a peace does not mean that a performer is not a creator. Your toilet paper example is an attempt of reductio ad absurdum, and it falls flat. I myself have printed copies of Francisco's speech from capitalist mag. and given it to people. I have also bought copies of rands books and given them to random people. Do I create these things? no. I am however advertising art which I find pleasurable. I dont force people to take them, I dont force people to keep them. they have a choice. I have never had someone come to me later and say "why did you force your trash on me." I have had people come to me and say "thank you that was a wonderful book.". Let me put it in terms you can understand. My niece is an artist and she is damn good at it. I go to restraunts and other places and ask if I can hang a piece of her art on the wall, sometimes the owner says yes sometimes no. Am I forcing her art down the throat of the patrons? No, I am offering people a chance to view pleasing art.

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Words like force have meaning. Complaints that a performance occurring on private property with the owner's permission amounts to "force" are out-of-context ravings. Complaints that ingenious one-off live performances are an imposition of force more evil even than muzak are literally incredible.

Unless, apparently, you think that the problem with Objectivism is that when Hitler declared war on us and we were attacked by Japan we fought back.

In both cases bizarre agendas are cloaked in ignorance of the meaning of the initiation of force.

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I think that I need to add a little context to this discussion to explain where I'm coming from.

The idea of "random acts of culture" (as an idea prior to and independent of the Knight Foundation's efforts) has been around for quite some time in arts circles, and it is based on many people's observations that there has been a significant change in how people experience the arts. The observation is that average people used to be involved in the arts, and that they integrated artistry into their everyday lives -- not only would they make things with their own hands, and do things such as sing at church or in a local choir, and gather around a piano in the parlor with family or at the bar with friends, but they would frequently write letters to each other which were much more structured and aesthetically expressive than anything that the average person writes today. Their modes of personal expression were practically poetry compared to a standard text message.

It is thought that today's population, on the other hand, largely experiences art as spectators. The complaint in arts circles is that everyday people are no longer living and breathing the arts, but treating them as pre-packaged merchandise. Art is seen as something that others do, and it is purchasable and disposable. It's basically the same thing as fast food or the latest electronic gadget.

Well, the idea of "random acts of culture" (again, as an idea prior to the Knight Foundation's efforts) began as a question of how to get people to focus on the little bits of culture that they can bring back to their everyday lives.

So, along comes the Knight Foundation, and its efforts sound to me as if they're due to people either misunderstanding the issue or to wanting to co-op it. Either way, they seem to miss the point. One doesn't bring everyday artistry back to people by making them spectators of highly structured art performed in an "everyday" environment. One doesn't encourage active involvement and integration by briefly intruding into people's lives and displaying the most structured, polished and difficult-to-perform styles of artworks. See, the people are still mere spectators. The art is still pre-packaged. In fact, the Knight Foundation has made it even more pre-packaged and disposable.

J

"Speaking of one's inability to know another's sense of life, now might be a good time to make a request: Please don't send me records or recommend music. You have no way of knowing my sense of life, although you have a better way of knowing mine than I have of knowing yours, since you've read my books, and my sense of life is on every page. You would have some grasp of it- but I hate to think how little. I hate the painful embarrassment I feel when somebody sends me music they know I'd love – and my reaction is the opposite: it's impossible music. I feel completely misunderstood, yet the person's intentions were good...So please don't try it. It's no reflection on you or on me. It's simply that sense of life is very private." –AR

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Unless, apparently, you think that the problem with Objectivism is that when Hitler declared war on us and we were attacked by Japan we fought back.

Who, when, where? Once you get attacked by Japan you fight like hell. If I had been old enough I'd have fought in WWII. All this, however, begs the question of what made that war possible and American involvement necessary. More war is coming, btw, and I don't mean these little, albeit incredibly costly, oil wars. The war will probably be centered on India/Pakistan and may spill over to involve Iran. It will also involve the U.S.. The motivation will be to disarm Pakistan's nuclear capability. This is a consequence of the ten-yo war in Afghanistan which has destabilized the entire region, especially Pakistan.

--Brant

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That' an interesting Ayn Rand quote. The idea that her sense of life is so fragile and precious it must be protected from any intrusion is very strange. Must our worlds get smaller and smaller the older we get?

--Brant

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Get on an NYC subway. Wait 20 minutes. Enjoy.

I don't understand your point.

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Jonathan,

something you will notice in that video is the participation of the people. There were only 800 members there and they instigated it but the shoppers took it up. The people went from spectators to participants. The concept of the random act of culture is to inspire people.

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Get on an NYC subway. Wait 20 minutes. Enjoy.

I don't understand your point.

Oh, you must mean the A Train.

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The people went from spectators to participants.

I wouldn't call briefly clapping along to excerpts from Carmen the type of participation in the arts that the originators of the concept of "random acts of culture" had in mind. People often do exactly the same thing at a traditionally staged performance. It's typical spectator stuff.

(And, btw, I didn't see any of the spectators singing along; I heard some background singing during the moments when you might expect people who are even only somewhat familiar with Carmen to join in, but that was on the background soundtrack -- in other words, it looks as if the organizers may have been trying to fake spontaneous participation. I can't tell for sure since the sound quality of the clip is pretty bad and there's a lot of chatter and room noise, but it does look as if they may have wanted to give the impression that people were singing along when they weren't.)

The concept of the random act of culture is to inspire people.

What has it inspired you to do? Has the clip inspired you to consider learning to sing or play an instrument, or to sculpt or sew or act? Or do you mean that it "inspired" you to feel cheery for a few minutes, and now it's time to move on to the next spectator event that will make you feel cheery for a few minutes?

I'm curious, do you think that posting youtube clips of people performing musical excerpts also qualifies as "participation" in the arts? Do you think you're being "cultural" in doing so?

J

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Get on an NYC subway. Wait 20 minutes. Enjoy.

I don't understand your point.

Oh, you must mean the A Train.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNxuc0W--88

Amazingly talented folks...

Adam

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People create, people spectate. The Internet and other new media technology have made it a lot easier to create (or to market creations...or to discover classical music) than used to be the case. I don't see any horrific bifurcation between artistic creators and "mere" spectators, who certainly can be inspired by what is called "passive" observation of a work of art. I do see a false dichotomy between artists and "mere" businessmen, both of whom can be creative.

The property-rights issue and the unexpected-public-annoyance issue seem somewhat beside the point. I wouldn't raise any objection to letting performers come into your store and yodel at the customers. I would be skeptical, though, about the suggestion that spectation somehow has to become more participatory and "creative" to be of greatest value. You might get an extra kick out of being called up out of the audience to be a juror in a show of "Night of January 16th," but is the extra fun you get a result of any original artistic contribution on your part to the play? Are you particularly ennobled or pitched to a higher level of transcendence thereby? It's just a novelty.

Edited by Starbuckle
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People create, people spectate. The Internet and other new media technology have made it a lot easier to create (or to market creations...or to discover classical music) than used to be the case. I don't see any horrific bifurcation between artistic creators and "mere" spectators, who certainly can be inspired by what is called "passive" observation of a work of art. I do see a false dichotomy between artists and "mere" businessmen, both of whom can be creative.

Let's try it this way: If many people over many years were making the observation that, athletically, the population has become couch potatoes (they watch sports on TV but don't actually participate themselves), and that they are much less healthy because of it, and then an organization decided to address the issue by bringing professional quarterbacks to shopping malls, and to have them pop up from behind sales counters and impress everyone for 8 minutes by tossing footballs through tires mounted 30 yards away, do you think it would be an example of "bringing athleticism into people's everyday lives," or do you think that it would be a ludicrous missing of the point?

The property-rights issue and the unexpected-public-annoyance issue seem somewhat beside the point.

Yeah, I really don't know why it was necessary for people to give me the standard Objectivist lectures on property rights. I imagine that if a neighbor of mine painted his house black with fluorescent green polka dots, and I mentioned that it was anything but classy, and that he was shoving his trashy tastes down his neighbors' throats, I'm sure the same people here would get just as Aspergery about making sure that I understood the property rights aspect of the issue.

J

Edited by Jonathan
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