Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is Art Constrained?

Last week, I attended the performance of the band VCDC (or Voice, Cello, Drums, and Clarinet) not knowing what to expect. Steigerwald Hall was crowded with people, and many Freshman trying to fulfill a cultural credit were in attendance. As the music started, the sound was initially jaunting and like nothing I had ever heard before. After I had a few minutes to become acclimated to it, I closed my eyes to block out all of the visual noise in the room and let the music stand on its own. What I heard was beautiful in its own way. There were many times that through the dissonance a more organic sound took shape. Every sound had a purpose, and you could fill the musicians constructing their own pieces off of eachother's playing. This is not to say everyone in the room had the same experience as me. Many people were confused by the music and began snickering or talking to their neighbors around them. A couple students even stood up to leave after a while. The sounds were challenging the students' notions of what music actually was. So I pose this question, is the purpose of good art to challenge our beliefs, forcing us to reconsider our own personal definition? How far is art allowed to go to challenge these convictions?

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