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Art & Music

Braving the Distance


Introductory Questions

 Do you tend to listen to music or appreciate art (from sculptures to Snaps) by yourself,
or is there always an impulse to share what you enjoy with others?

For me, it’s a little bit of both. Listening to music is a very personal experience, and can
(should) be a solo experience for the first listen. However, after I find something that connects
with me in a profound way, I always enjoy finding someone else who enjoys it as well so that we
can discuss the song/album and put into words just what makes the music stand out to us.
Sometimes the other person will mention an aspect of the music they enjoyed that I didn’t even
consider, which will end up enhancing my enjoyment of it even more.

 How do different media express emotions like fondness and love in different ways? Is
there a best way to evoke them? What about negative emotions, such as dislike?

There is no “one size fits all" when it comes to love. Whether one calls it evocation, pursuation
or manipulation it is still coercion if the actions used are not a normal part of your personality.
It will eventually be seen as fake. And phoney nevercut's it. It is dishonest and disingenuous.

 In what ways can art and music allow people to connect and interact across cultures,
or even across time?

There is a saying that music and art are universal languages. This is because you can
understand both without using written language. No matter what language you speak, what
culture you are part of, or where and when you live, music and art have an understandable
meaning. Everyone can understand what they think the piece means. Music and art allow
people to experience pieces of different cultures. Art varies between cultures. Each culture has
a different style of painting- a different way of portraying emotion. Music is the same way. The
different styles of each come from cultural influence. Music and art allow people from
different time periods to interact. Plenty of art that we view today is from the past centuries.
We even see some pieces that date back to BCE. With the presence of these well preserved
pieces, we can see how people lived in another time. We can see how the culture was in that
period of time. We can also see how culture has grown and developed. The same thing can go
for music. Plenty of pieces performed today were written decades and centuries ago. These
pieces have different styles depending on when they were written. Music and art have a way of
expressing emotion and culture without a single word being said. That is how people can
connect through music and art.

 When exploring each of these selected works, consider the contexts in which they
were created. How can art and music reflect the culture and society of the times in
which they were created?

We live in this world and time, and are influenced by what happens in this world. It simply
makes sense that the influence would be reflected in our work. We portray what we know and
experience, and project that in all the work we do.
 Is it possible to "own" an doodle, or a melody, or a sketch? To what extent are laws
about intellectual property and fair use able to be upheld justly?

Your artistic creations are all protected when they are put in tangible form (a melody in your
head or an artistic idea is not protected). They must be unique and recognizable to qualify. A
single curlicue or a two-note melody can't be copyrighted. (The melody itself, not a specific
performance) I'm not sure what you are asking in the second question. "Justice" is that you
own anything you create. Critical and educational works that reproduce a small part of a
larger work for the purpose of commenting on it are, as a general category, allowed. Any
infringements can be pursued with a cease and desist action, civil lawsuit, and in the case of
deliberate repeat offenses, possible criminal charges.

Literature
Voices of the Inseparable
Introductory Questions

 Does literature bring us together, or is reading a fundamentally solo act?

Reading could never be a fundamentally solo act. Every night before I would go to bed
as a child, my parents would read to me from a book. Even to this day, those memories are
some of the fondest I have—hearing their voices craft a tale, seemingly out of nowhere! All of
this, from a few words on a page. When you read, you are reading another person’s words,
emotions, life, and experiences. Everything that goes into a piece of literature is, in essence,
the writer’s life and how they interpret the world around them. It’s even better when you and
another person can dissolve in an author’s words together. It’s sharing.

 Consider different types of literature: does enjoying poetry separate a person from
broader culture, or does reading popular novels connect us? Are there forms of
literature that can travel between high and low culture?

Empathy connects us. Empathy is the medium through/by which poetry and novels become
meaningful for/to each of us individually. And sometimes, there are threads of empathy that we can
all collectively tug on to unravel a thing—leaving the underlying truth exposed: that we are all
connected through what it means to be animate as opposed to inanimate; animated, or animating. The
act of interpreting whatever it is your reading, whether it be a poem, a book, or whatever it is your
eyes are filtering through your emotions to your brain creates connection. Nothing separates people
from the broader culture, although some people may appear to be—the fact remains that everything is
always already in juxtaposition creating one sign that can mean anything depending on how you look
at it.
 Many of this year’s selection were written by authors who “belong” to two cultures.
How do these selections, and perhaps literature in general, bridge (or reinforce)
separations between people?

The study of literature is often said to bring people and cultures closer. Primarily it focuses
on two major benefits of entertainment and enlightenment. They help the reader view the
world in a different manner. Moreover, literature is often helps people learn how to
empathise and sympathetic with other. That is the readers are able to understand the
characters in the story to an extent that they are able to relate to their situation and realise
how one character was feeling at a specific time. Being involved in literature is an
experience in its own way where the reader is able to grab knowledge about various
countries, different people, distinct cultures etc. Thus literature does help in building bridges
between people as the readers get to know a lot about other places sitting far away.

 To what extent is a writer entangled in his or her culture, and can he or she get
outside of it? Can any works of literature truly be considered universal?

Though great writers, like the rest of us, tend to be pretty entangled in their own culture, we’re all
human, Same species, Same basic design, Same emotions. That’s why I can read translations of the
Rubaiyat almost 1000 years after it was written and still find common ground with the original writer
or writers. It’s why we can read the Epic of Gilgamesh, and understand, if not agree with, the emotions
and actions of the story. Universality generally has more to do with the themes with which ALL
humans’ experience. Our own mortality, good vs. evil, man’s inhumanity against man etc. So almost
all works of literature can be said to be universal as long as a human being wrote it.

 Why do so many people turn to poetry to express the pain and pleasure of love? Is
there a reason poetry is particularly associated with intimate feelings?

Music touches us in a way that is difficult to explain and that arouses our most intense
sentiments. Lovers therefore always turn to music to give shape to their emotions. Poetry is
word music. The Sonnet is a brilliant example. Sonetto means a little song - a little poem that
was generally sung. Poetry comes as close as language can to music and therefore to our
deepest and most powerful emotions. Love forces us to act and speak in ways that a rational
human being would not. It undoes and remakes our language, just as poetry does. It makes us
want to sing. There is no better way to sing of the most profound of human feelings than in
poetic verse, as Shakespeare himself knew:

Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.


Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov'd,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

 How does literature help us remember the past (or speak to the future)? Can we trust
fictional accounts of the past, or are written accounts inevitably biased?

Literature help us remember the past and speak to the future by reading old historical books
and document new developments for the future generations. Also, I think, we can thrust all
past history, because many old-world countries had some chronicles, and if the destinies of
this countries were "interwowen", both chronicles of that period were coincidering, that tells
us about the truly of the story.

 What causes a work of literature to last? How does the presence of a literary canon—
that is, a body of work agreed to be “important”—connect us to the past?

A work of fiction lasts when it conveys the human condition both honestly and beautifully. A canon
can mean the entire work of one individual or the entirety of a civilization. So it could mean the entire
works of Henry James or Western Civilization. Its purpose is not primarily to connect us to our past
but to portray the human condition. Shakespeare’s plays do this as well as James Joyce’s fiction but
the two artists used different methods and words.

 Does the “Western canon” still serve a purpose in our contemporary, entangled word?
Did it ever?

Absolutely. As I see it the Western canon serves two purposes in contemporary culture. First,
it is a record of the thoughts and ideas and imaginations of the times it was written. No matter
how flawed those ideas are, it is important that they are recorded and understood so that we
and future generations can take the good from those ideas and also avoid the mistakes of the
past. The Western canon is like a grandfather who tells of his past so that his progeny will
learn how to, and to not, live. In the same way we study the canon to understand the mistakes
and successes of past generations. Second, the Western canon has left an indelible mark on
cultures around the globe. The ideas and imaginations of the Western canon have shaped the
culture in which we live in a way that cannot be ignored. The Western canon is important for
understanding our current culture because the new stories are referential to the Western
canon. The tropes, archetypes, and structures of our contemporary stories come from those
stories and ideas. It is the same as how if a person does terrible things, and then changes their
life and makes something of themselves. The despicable choices of the first part of their life do
not dampen the good choices of the later, nor vice versa, but both sets of choices collectively
brought them to where they are now. To ignore, or even downplay, either set of choices would
deny a part of who they are, of their identity. In the same way to dismiss or denigrate the
Western canon would be to deny or denigrate a part of who we, collectively, are.