Saturday, May 12, 2007

if I mean to mean

At Geof Huth’s blog he says, “As writers or artists, our role is not to interpret our work; ours is to create a work upon which interpretations can be built. The experience we create is not the message of the work, but the work itself. Even misunderstood or not understood works can be experienced. Our job is merely to create those experiences, not to create their interpretations.”

I left the following comment: I've made this argument about visual art. Such a work can be experienced by anyone not blind. Beyond that one works with one's box of interpreting tools -- one's cultural assumptions, one's experience in looking at art, etc.

The field is less wide when you're talking language art as such arts are built from meaning objects. Language is an act of interpretation.

Vispo is somewhere between the two.

The point of my second paragraph is not that there is only one interpretation for a work. Rather I mean to say one must start with the meanings of the words/phrases. Our role as artists should include interpreting our work. You had an interpretation of the abed piece. That is a good thing. Knowing what the piece is saying assists in the crafting.

Naturally, once it exists independent of author, the piece is available to a myriad of interpretations as its new context is that of the lives/thoughts/experiences/philosophies of the reader/viewer.

I don't claim to know what my pieces mean. (I won't insist a poem doesn't mean what you think it means.) I have readings for my poems. But they mean what they mean, which is not necessarily what I think I mean or imagine I mean, even if I mean to mean something which sometimes I don't. (Meanings will accrue, no matter.)

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