Thursday, September 10, 2015

Evolution of the Art Forms

Yesterday, I went to observe a Video Production class.  You may ask why I did that.  After all, my specialty is English.  The Video Production faculty do not report to me.

Each quarter, we get a list of classes that need to be observed, and it's good to have observations from people outside of the area.  So, off I went to a Video Production class.

I had first gone to observe 6 weeks ago, when students were learning about the equipment.  Last night, I watched them using all that equipment in the studio.

The one thing I noticed immediately was that the students were riveted.  Even if they weren't needed at the moment, they watched the activity, not their cell phones.

There's likely a lesson there.  Can we make our lecture classes more active?

I, too, was riveted.  I wanted to go back to school so that I could have fun arranging lights and checking camera angles and running the light board.

I'm a drama geek from way back, with many happy memories of set building and running light and sound boards and acting a bit.  So admittedly, I'm biased.

I thought about my drama club days and how some of the equipment hasn't changed since the 1980's:  the lights, the gels, the light board.  I wonder if high school drama clubs have morphed into video production clubs.

The new resembles the old, and it's hard to tell just yet if we're working in a completely new art form or an evolution of the old.

I had similar thoughts as I was reading Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See.  Parts of the book revolve around the newly emerging technology of radio.  One character reads from the work of another and broadcasts the readings without knowing who will listen:  could be nobody, or a few people or the world.  And we know in a few decades radio technology will change the world.

We live in a similar time in the world of the arts.  We've got lots of ways to get our work out into the world, but it's hard to always know who is paying attention.

The book emphasizes the how seemingly random connections can change the course of human lives and perhaps history--and we have no idea which broadcasts will be the ones that do that.

I feel similarly about blogging and other forms of writing.  Occasionally I write about a subject that gets picked up and rebroadcast over various platforms.  I often don't anticipate what will hit a nerve.

For example, I wrote this post on raising cheerful givers.  I wrote it for my church, and I also posted it on my theology blog.  It was featured on the blog page of The Christian Century and the Florida-Bahamas Synod wrote to ask if they could republish it.  I said sure.

I write a lot, and I'm always humbled and happy when my words connect with people.  Some days, I wish I had a more laser-like focus.  But other days, I think my scattershot approach may serve me well.

In the end, I like the daily discipline of writing, and I'm less concerned with whether or not I'm writing a poem or working on a novel or blogging.  And yet . . . a shelf of books with spines that bear my name would sure be nice.

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