Friday, May 30

inside the lines

my youtube subscription list is a revolving carousel of foodie things, yoga channels, and miscellany. newest addition: the Art Assignment. (I might possibly get around to adding these people. friend Melanie, I imagine you enjoying their stuff, for some reason. hopefully not only because the Lydia from Lizzie Bennet Diaries is in some of it.)

the Art Assignment suffered at first from much too much insistent gushing hype from John Green. but the concept of it, despite that, did intrigue me. I watched an episode or two, forgot about it, and then just this week went back to watch another upon youtube's suggestion.

this particular episode has no guest artist, only Sarah exploring the overlap between crime and art.

at the end, she wraps the two topics up pretty neatly and reiterates that age-old unanswerable question about "what art even is." she asks, "is it art when a bunch of criminals pull off a stunningly beautiful and complex bank robbery? I'd argue no."

and by itself this might not have stuck in my head so forcefully, but the very next hour, in a shiny sliver of serendipity, I noticed the topic of the latest 99% Invisible podcast. Episode 116: Breaking the Bank. there are even comments at the bottom about art galleries vs. banks. which is easier or more worthwhile to steal things from? how do the designs and expectations of each space influence the way you'd have to design your heist?

99% Invisible's three stories of bank robbery as a design challenge almost counter Sarah Green's assertion that bank robbery isn't art. "what is design?" is just as difficult a question as "what is art?" after all, and the lines between art and design aren't very clear either.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Oooh I was thinking about this just the other day. Not robbing a bank. Design versus art.

I think I decided, granting the nebulous definitions of both, that design tends to be more about practical or utilitarian concerns. So when you talk about the design of a video game, say, or an escalator, or an item of clothing, you tend to be talking about the practicality of human interaction--ease of interface, how it's used, etc. (Talk of design is foregrounded in games not only because of things like space and architecture and puzzles, but because player interaction is foregrounded.) Etymologically it's 'marking out', which makes me think of planning, structure, blueprints. It might to be artistic ends, and it might not. Often it seems to be about where art and functionality meet, like how to make a dress pretty and wearable, or how to get that face to be expressive with crummy graphics.

Could someone conceivably perform a bank robbery to make some kind of artistic statement? I think so. Might the bank robbery have some kind of aesthetic impact, either on the robber or a spectator, or both? Sure.

Does it help if the perpetrator is slick and French? Probably.