A varied and sometimes erratic record of what I'm learning inside and outside of the classroom

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Modernist Principles in an Interpretation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 133

We talked in class about how Modernism was a rejection of form in both literature and art, and art in particular became non-representational and subjective as opposed to objective. A couple points that Professor Burton listed in his post on Modernism that came from the handout he found from a course taught by Sarah Brouillette were that Modernism (A)"emphasizes individual experience and perception [and is] concern[ed] with how the world is experienced (rather than what the world is)" and (B) that it exhibits a "blurring of the boundaries between popular art forms (photography, advertising, later film) and 'high art’ categories." With this in mind, I found a video on Vimeo that interprets Shakespeare's Sonnet 133 in a unique digital representation.

Sonnet 133 | The new Media with Shakespeare from iNEEDaDAMNgoodJOB.com on Vimeo.

This is definitely a departure from a way Shakespeare's sonnets are traditionally interpreted! No spoken words--just the exploration of a virtual representation and music that conveys the strong emotions present in the poem. (Honestly, it scared me a little bit with its intensity.) So, is this art? Art as the Modernists defined it? After all, it is a radical departure from tradition in form. But are we losing something in this departure? Is it so subjective that we are losing critical aspects of Shakespeare's original work? What is the value of originality and the concept of "the original" anyway?

Douglas Davis, in his thesis entitled, "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction," writes,
The work of art in the age of digital reproduction is physically and formally chameleon. There is no longer a clear conceptual distinction between original and reproduction in virtually any medium. These two states, one pure and original, the other imitative and impure, are now fictions. Images, sounds, and words are received, deconstructed, rearranged, and restored wherever they are seen, heard, and stored...Artist and viewer perform together. The dead replica and the living, authentic original are merging, like lovers entwined in mutual ecstasy.
Do remixes, like the one in the video above, and replicas have just as much to offer as the original work? Is this concept of the replica merged with original in the digital age becoming the new originality?

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