Noise and art

I am having a terribly difficult time trying to sleep right now. Part of it is that we changed the orientation of the bed and it’s throwing me off. The other part is this intense inability to clear my mind of loud, abstract images and fast, dissonant jazz. My mind feels as if it is racing but there are no formed thoughts or narratives. It’s just noise.

I wonder sometimes if our minds have a finite amount of material it can keep in RAM. I wonder if we can only consume a certain amount of art before we have to regurgitate some of it out onto our own canvas. That’s how I got into writing – not because I had something to say, but because I needed to release the buildup in my head. The hard part was taking that energy and articulating them into real ideas, but that was partially faked. Those ideas are just words sometimes, and I just needed to talk things out until just enough creative juices were expelled from the body to allow for a decent night’s sleep.

In my state of half-sleep, I had this thought about the idea of hope. We often think of it as something we have yet to experience. But I wonder if hope is actually the yearning to return to a previous state of joy, or a yearning to achieve a certain sensation we had previously felt. After all, how can we know we want something if we’ve never experienced it before? Maybe movies and books give us ideas of what we may want to try, but hope seems to stem from a collection of pleasant glimpses of utopia that we’ve stitched together into an ideal future.

At the Yale Art Museum today, I saw a handful of paintings in a whole different light. I am used to viewing art passively, but for the first time I really tried to question a piece of art to see what it is saying. I’m not talking about a poignant message, but rather just a small insight into what the artist experienced when creating the piece. I think we often judge a piece of writing based on how much we like the perspective of the author, even if the mechanics of the writing aren’t great. And I had the same experience today with a Paul Gaugin piece that I thought was quite unappealing, until I saw his use of a single color – this deep, red dirt color that seemed to represent a certain bravery of the artist.

Time to try to sleep again now.

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