Confusing Ambiguity for Meaningless Substance

In any form of art, whether it be film, poetry, or literature, some of it is very abstract. So abstract, that some people assert that perhaps it is lacking in actual meaning. Many students in an Intro. to Creative Media class I am taking has postulated that David Lynch’s films are void of meaning because they are so abstract and ambiguous. Is this something that should be thought? That simply because we cannot conceive of the artists’ intention that perhaps there is none?

  • Maybe the artist finds it funny that there is no meaning his meaning is to show that people find meaning in anything? Or maybe he has no meaning, but it's meaning is a study on what people come up with? I honestly am not the hugest fan of trying to find meaning. Poetry, literature, film, I think it's all how you perceive it. If it evokes emotion in you. If you find it clever, relatable, beautiful. What's more important: what the author meant? Or what it means to you. And honestly, unless an author specifically says what he means, it's all speculation anyway. And from that standpoint as far as scholarly analysis goes, everyone's opinion is valid and all opinions can be discussed. – Tatijana 7 years ago
  • Lynch's films are surreal because their narratives are essentially dictated by dream logic. They usually have so much meaning (too much for some) that they can present a very difficult challenge for a mind unconditioned for the processing of such abstractions. His idiom demands a special discipline, much like learning a foreign language. Because his films don't conform to mainstream methods for conveying ideas they can seem too far beyond one’s capacity to process and that leads to frustration, resulting in unfair pronouncements of his work being “void of meaning.” As an artist myself, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a piece of work completely “void of meaning.” A piece of art may have meaning that’s inane or pedestrian, but just placing oneself within the process of producing something stimulates meaning. Even if that meaning is simply, “I create, therefore I am” – kublahken 7 years ago
  • I don't know if this a direction you'd want to go, and I don't have much knowledge in the way of film critique. But you could, exploring meaningless, bring up existentialism. Citing Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, Foucault, and the like, could help explain the meaningless portrayed on screen. You could even maybe start with Derrida and explain his beliefs about language being a fruitless endeavor that doesn't actual convey anything of ontological substance, just concepts that lead onto each other. Then, you could move to Camus and absurdism and explain how, once seeking meaning is thrown to the wayside, the viewer and artist are free to enjoy the pure aesthetic value of the subject or piece being viewed. Like an art informed nihilism or something. haha – PGJackson 7 years ago

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