Modern art. Contemporary music. Thorny fiction.
With all these impenetrable art forms, you get a choice.
- You can scoff at it. “Putting a circle of blue paint on a white canvas isn’t genius, my two-year-old could do that.” “Writing gibberish and making up words is a cheap trick to sound smarter than you are.” You can decide that you’re being tricked, that it isn’t worth your time, that this sort of thing is from people not as talented as you, made for people not as smart as you.
- Or, you can let it take you on a journey. Give it the benefit of the doubt. Figure out how this morass of inputs speaks to you, where does it touch you, what unexpected thoughts does it conjure up?
Why would you ever choose the first option? It’s a no-win outlook.
Maybe the artist is a genius. Maybe only a select few are capable of understanding the important meaning behind the art, of extracting the truths or mysteries therein. Isn’t it worth opening yourself up to having that experience?
On the other hand, let’s say that the artist is a self-indulgent tinkerer. They’ve still created new raw material in the world, and you are consuming it with a context and experience that no one else has ever brought to bear before. Even if the artist didn’t imbue the art with important meaning, that doesn’t mean you can’t.