What is art?

I’ve sometimes been pulled into conversations where a piece of art is questioned, which then leads to a discussion on what art is after all. In this day and age, technology enables everyone to be all they can be, produce any material and even make it go viral. Every day there’s a new meme or article or concept that screams for our attention and with billions of technology-enabled people and several million other trigger happy folk across the spectrum of receptivity on any given day, you do the math on the information and concept overload. Having to parse some of this stuff could build resentment in the viewer especially if they cannot relate to what is being presented. I get it.

This got me thinking about what art is really. Generally speaking, a message or a concept in the form of a presentation, whether it is  a painting or poetry or prose or photograph or performance or procedure or proposal is considered art. But really speaking, there is a subjective element to it i.e. it isn’t just what the artist or the conveyor is trying to say, but also what the conveyee is receiving. Literally 1/2 of the meaning lies in the reception. The light bulb goes off only when the circuit is complete. Therefore the question really ought to be, what is art *to you*?

To me, something that makes me stop in my tracks and pay attention is art. It could be the written word (anything from a couplet to a novel), a picture (anything from a doodle to a well engineered photographic capture), a piece of performance art…Something that represents a concept that I have either toyed with before but not cemented in my head yet or something that just blows my mind is art to me. It does not suffice if it merely just comes in any of the forms I mentioned above. It needs to (a) have an underlying meaning (b) induce a sensation in me which could be laughter, awe, discomfort, surprise, shock or something equally potent and lastly (c) be tastefully done from a purely technical standpoint. To me art is all about its potency in inducing emotion, in raising a question or delivering some intrigue, in sparking a conversation. This is one place where both the what *and* the how matter. Merely addressing the how doesn’t suffice. If the piece of art is technically superb, but is a revisited concept, sadly, that doesn’t move me. It doesn’t contain originality or true creativity. I might patronize the artist from an encouragement standpoint, but that’s about it. For e.g. a nice photograph of a revisited concept just doesn’t cut it, unless it is presenting a different perspective, or a photograph that is technically brilliant, but lacks depth wouldn’t move me. At the same time, if the picture is loaded with meaning, but if the technicality is so poor it distracts from the meaning, that would be a pity as well.

In a nutshell, art is about the message conveyor, the message receiver and the moment itself. If it makes me connect dots and push the boundaries of my imagination, it is art to me.

Sex – An out of body experience

I’ve often heard and read these phrases “treat your body as a temple” or “your body is a temple” or some variation of it growing up. A cliché thus far, I’ve really come to understand in the last 5 or so years, what that means. In a way I have arrived at that conclusion on my own.  From my point of view, my body is home to my spirit, my energy, which is a sliver of the eternal energy, the universal energy, the infinite… God if you will, and hence the reference to temple.

There are many sensations one experiences, some that are experienced by the body (for e.g. heat, cold, pain from cuts, blows and such), some experienced by the mind (for e.g. the excitement from an intellectual debate, a really good movie, or exploring a new concept, travel etc., fear from impending danger etc.) and some that remain relatively unexplained but yet stir you in a deeper way but experienced for sure, like, when you just tear up inexplicably at something that moved you, or when your hairs stand on end, or when your mouth inadvertently waters at the sight or thought of certain foods at certain moments, these are sensations experienced at a deeper level that are not easily explained.

These sensations are experienced by the consciousness that exists in every cell of your being, collectively known as the spirit or the energy within. When it encounters something that speaks to it, it tries to communicate, it reaches out, and the body expresses it as a release. This is what we experience involuntarily as mouth watering, tears, hairs standing on end and yes, even an orgasm. Notice that in that instant, all you are aware of is the feeling, your mind just blanks out at that moment. In that instant, all you know is the nothingness, the stillness of that moment, no past, no future, no worry, no other distraction but just that moment.  Orgasm is one such moment which erases the mind. It is about experiencing your soul. In that moment, the flush you experience is just you, the real you,  devoid of all the artificial conditioning of life. It is the moment when the soul is trying to “come” out of the body.