Archive: Aug 2014

Who is a storyteller?

Stefan Sagmeister takes a very extreme stance in this video, but sometimes extreme stances help spur the conversation.

We all tell stories in our lives. We tell stories to our kids, to our friends and our work colleagues. Every startup entrepreneur who pitches her company (hundreds of times), learns how to tell a compelling story in a pithy way. Should we all call ourselves storytellers?

We all make food to feed ourselves. Whether it’s toast, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pasta or a more gourmet meal. Should we all call ourselves chefs?

We all doodle and make presentations. Should we all call ourselves creators or artists?

We all hum. Should we all call ourselves musicians?

We all tinker on our computers, fix annoyances and set up our preferences on programs we use. Should we all call ourselves technologists?

Maybe you laughed at the last one, but it’s a valid comparison. Just like it would be silly for people who uses technology as part of their jobs to call themselves technologists, it is silly for people who uses storytelling as part of their jobs to call themselves storytellers.

They are both tools you use to do your job. They are both tools in life, at this point. Everyone tells stories, everyone uses technology.

One of the points in Sagmeister’s video I do agree with is that most novelists or filmmakers don’t actually call themselves storytellers. They call themselves writers/novelists and filmmakers.

The word storyteller has been consumed by pop-culture, by tech culture. While I definitely do not feel as strongly about this as Sagmeister seems to (to each his own, who really cares, etc.), I do think words have value and when they are misused, they lose value. As he says “…it sort of took on the mantle of bullshit.” Yep.

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Experiencing art

One photo

Why do Gopnik and Viveros-Fauné spend an entire hour discussing a single work? Because that is what art deserves. Consider that people spend weeks, even months, with a novel; hours with a movie or a play; and countless hours playing video games

But when it comes to visual art, the treatment—the time devoted to a viewing—can approximate the length of a drive-by shooting or a turn on the catwalk. Too often people literally take a spin around the room of a gallery or a museum and then dine out on the experience—”We saw Pollock!” They say. “And Judd and Albers and Soutine!” Of course, they did see those artists’ works; they just didn’t spend much time with those artists and artworks. They didn’t, as it were, slow down and hang out (sorry) with those artworks for a meaningful length of time.

via Strictly Critical Video: One Hour Looking at a Jackson Pollock Painting at MoMA – artnet News.

The amount of work it takes to create any piece of art is significant. For a movie, it may take years to make the 90 minute film. For a painting, several weeks or months.

The world is moving in the wrong direction in terms of speed of consumption and in terms of how it is consumed. A selfie with a piece of art is about you. Not about the art.

Art deserves more.

photo credit : jackson-pollock.org

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