Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Poet, a Picture, and a Gun

This poem is a gun
This poem's an assassin
Images mob my mind …
This pen’s a spear, a knife
A branding-iron, an arrow
Tipped with righteous anger
It writes with blood and bile
- Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac ‘Gaarriye’

Art's warfare ... from where does it derive its power?

21 comments:

sikes688 said...

Art derives its power from symbolism. Art is the expression of emotions and idea and is, as we have discussed in class, a way to bring about change, similar to bring about change. Art can be a nonviolent form of protest but is just as powerful as violence because of the messages it carries. Just as a violent act is a symbol for those desiring the change, every beautiful brush stroke, every carefully crafted sentece, and every diligent design symbolizes the thoughts and actions of a person.

lu2009 said...

I think art derives its power from the ability to be expressed in so many different forms. With poems, books, paintings, music, etc. one message is sure to reach almost everyone since it can be depicted in so many forms. Everyone may not like reading, but they could like painting or music, and can be reached through a medium that they enjoy and understand.

lindsay said...

Art drives from the power of interpretation. Art has numerous sides, aspects and forms in which can be interrupted. I feel that it’s up to the individual to see what art possesses. With your own view on art one can tell positives and negatives, peace and warfare of any art work. The power is derive from interpretation and views of an individual.

Pellerino87 said...

It derives it's power from it's subject matter. This poem is about one person's tools to creating his own art. It's the poem (gun) and the pen (spear/knife/branding-iron/etc.) that create this image of power, the images that "mob the author's mind". The power comes from the subject matter present in the artistic creation.

Engl352Student said...

Art derives its power from the reaction of the audience or reader. A piece of art is useless if there is no reaction from the audience. Its true power can only be expressed in the impact it has on everyone in contact with the art. A book or poem or painting cannot convey a message if the audience doesnt take time to interpret the meaning or even just view it.

TexasAggie09 said...

If one looks back into history, they'll be able to see that art/writing started most of the revolutions and revolts. The revolutions that happened all through Europe in the 18th century were started by a group of Socialists writers. Each not necessarily desiring a all out overthrow, but their ideas transpired into multiple revolutions. The pen is the initial spear, that begins the war.

reduserisk said...

It's power comes from the ability to express itself so freely. A pen or a paint brush or whatever else, in the hands of a skilled and determined artist can be more devastating or uplifting than any bomb or gun or peacekeeping mission. Just as weapons can effect us, so too does art.

hdgie411 said...

Art is a medium through which faces are attached to events. Art can give all new meaning to an ideal or event that would otherwise just be simple words. Art derives its power because it can help bring the reader to understand and relate to. While a words are great, only art can effect people in such a powerful way

Caitlin Van Wagoner said...

hopefully, art points us towards the transcendent. it presents our world in ways that cause us to go outside of ourselves. i believe that is the goal of artists to take us beyond our comfort zone, to force us to examine the world through a lens that is different from our original. art derives its power from perspective; from the ability to see beauty in the overlooked, give a voice to the voiceless, and challenge the accepted. i believe that a common theme in most modern artistic work is the idea that our lives should point to something that is greater than ourselves to give us meaning. what is art without purpose?

Christian said...

Art can be defined as a medium by which emotion is transmitted or recreated by the viewer. If terrorism is a form of warfare that functions primarily through its ability to frighten a population, then any piece of art capable of eliciting a similar response would be warfare. Though few of us would actually call terrifying videos of European tourists being beheaded by islamic extremists 'art,' one could argue that this digital and artistic medium has drastically changed the face of modern warfare.

ahelton said...

I tend to agree with Lindsay...that art derives its power from interpretation. Different interpretations can be good if people sit down and discuss them in a civilized manner. I believe when this actually occurs, truth can be discovered.

Art also possesses power because of its overwhelming beauty. It has this hypnotic attribute that captures the attention of people...perhaps provoking them into action. Therefore, it has the ability to move and control people.

kyoung88 said...

Art's power lies within whoever is looking at it and interpreting it. It can only affect the viewer to the extent that the viewer will let it, with so much depending on the viewer's tastes and personality and which mediums have the most potency for the viewer.

Mr Floyd Waters said...

We should define the kind of power we suppose art to have. Not all art derives power from the same sources, and not all art possesses the same kind of power. Art across different media and time periods invokes power in various ways, depending largely on circumstances and audience. Some art, remains entirely impotent in some measures, but retains power in other ways. Art produced for exclusive modern art auctions lacks any semblance of political or social power, but frequently sells for enormous sums of money. Most people in the general public will never see, much less become affected by this species of art. Impotence in modern art derives from a lack of substantial audience and in some cases, possibly a lack intention to affect a broad cross section of people. When art addresses politics or international affairs, a preexisting narrative context gives the work a foothold in the minds of the audience.

Recoleta09 said...

As a few have pointed out, Art derives its power from those that are experiencing ( the interpreters) it as well as from the creator or the artistic piece itself. As lindsay pointed out, art has many different meanings and sides that only the outside viewer can manipulate. Some credit must be attributed back to the creator who assembled his art piece in some particular way to stir emotion. Art is a kind of warfare so powerful, it can be interpreted by many in the same manner. As humans, we tend to influence our neighbors and we also wish to gain common thoughts and reactions to things. This gives meaning to terrorism. Terrorism can be so artistically and strategically designed, it can promote fear and anxiety targeting a specific group or many groups. It does this by its videos, its speeches,its bombings, its demands of the government as well as by its recruiting.

mimi7557 said...

Art derives its power from the viewers interpretation and emotions. Without the viewer, art is not shared or enjoyed. To different people it can mean different things. It can evoke different feelings. This is what makes it art.

bailarina said...

Art is so powerful because it can be interpreted in so many different ways and has an effect on everyone. When I think of power, I think of a political leader. I cannot think of one political leader who was or is as complex and universal as art. No human, even Hitler or other major forces, has ever been able to bring such a rise out of people as some art has done and continues to do.

Jacob Lo said...

Inevitably, warfare or any act that can be construed as war-like, sparks a response. Whenever there is troop mobility along a border or a navy is positioned for a blockade, a backlash from somebody is guaranteed.
Military action causes people to do things they might not have ever done before, because it evokes fear. In times of war or battle every action and thought is driven by this fear. It seemingly tells people that they have no other option then to take up guns and enlist to fight. The fear is of what the opposing side may do to their family, their home or their country.
Art can act in a similar way on several levels. It also can present people with the idea that they have no other option by instilling its own form of fear.
This fear however is left to the imagination. Art speaks to people in their own unique way which makes it even more dangerous than just an image on television of insurection thousands of miles away. With art, people form their own images of what could happen. So because of this element of uncertainty, art is just as powerful of an engine for fear as any troop movement.
This poem recognizes the power words can have on people. History has told us that a pen or the right words can get people to do anything. In the 1930s Hitler used fear rhetoric to form a nationalist minded Germany and got his people to do as he pleased. For decades the people of the US and Russia lived under a blanket of fear without ever having fired a weapon.
A word is just as powerful as any weapon. They both cause fear, and if people are scared, they will do anything.

MBins said...

Art's power lies in its ability to change the way people view the world. It does this through its symbolism, metaphors, and imagery, which leave one pondering over its meaning. A new belief or perspective is more likely to become permanent in ones mind if it is self-concluded. The open-endedness of art is its strength, because it allows for people to construct their own meanings and thus has a greater impact on them.

hurrayforstuff said...

I think art gets its power from the individual human response. Some claim a certain painting may have changed their lives while others viewed it as a kindergarten project. But the fact that one person may have been touched by it gives art a reputation that it does indeed have power. I've talked to people who think some jazz is noise, but they respect jazz musicians. They know it is an art form they themselves can't feel, but they know of its reputation and it that demands years of practice. This gives it weight. The individuals response determines, in history, how powerful a peice of art may be. i don't understand the mona lisa, but i understand its power.

Danielle Moyer said...

Art derives its power from VOICE. It is true that art is a representation of the artist's thoughts, feelings, emotions, details...etc. but the art is nothing without a voice waiting in the wings to back it. Ultimately, the artist's voice can be heard the moment the art is created. It is up to the rest of us to LISTEN to that voice! We can all make our own conclusions about a piece of art and render different emotional, physical, spiritual, etc. responses from that piece. But the art cannot truly be understood until we allow that art to speak to us through the person that created it. The interpretation, voice, from the artist creates the first ripple in the water-it is up to us to continue those ripples.

ashley said...

I think an important observation to make is that art CAN derive power through it's message, through the images it conveys, through reaching the reader via emotion or transcendent though, and through transforming ideas into a new form of understanding. Sadly though, depending on the reader or the viewer, art will not hold power for everyone. Art, I believe, is a very strong intellectual tool and an expressive way to protest or make a point, but I disagree that it is as strong as violence. It is easier to ignore or shove the side artistic expression (even of the most powerful kind), but violence is something that is harder to ignore and is all too real. Although both violent and nonviolent expressions of protest may hold similar, powerful messages that does not mean that art will appeal to everyone or that people will respond - it is abstract. It is unfortunate, I feel, that art is not given the appreciation and the ear or eye it deserves in order to PASS ON it's message and it is much easier to pass up.

One example of transformational art speaking directly to the people (with the voice Danielle is talking about) is the mural project in Los Angeles -- in impoverished areas of Latino culture, there have been several murals create depicting success of the community, cultural pride and historical figures, and modern role models such as Cesar Chavez. These work to instill pride in a minority group that has struggled in the past and been denied rights and discriminated against for their culture - these murals work as part of a cultural revolution and were also a part of the Chicano Movement in LA. The concrete walls upon which they are painted on are heavily graffitied, but the murals themselves remain untouched and are respected by all and are a physical representation of the pride and potential that the group holds. Art does have power when people choose to listen or look.