This is where I leave you. In the times in which we live, there is a lot of hope, death, greed, kindness, grace, mercy, injustice, war, famine…but where do we look when we need to be reminded of what it is to be human? From the beginning of time, humans painted on the walls of caves, danced with each other, and sang notes of beauty. As time has gone on, art at its core has stayed the same. There have been changes and developments, of course, and examining art history is beautiful. One is able to see how humans can take something that already exists conceptually and make it even more conceptual. Art exists, yet it is intangible. When I touch a sheet of written music, I am not touching the music. The music is what is made when a human being reads from the sheet and creates something that is beyond tangibility. Here I cannot even explain it in words. Perhaps a poem will do:
Read the lips of those who come around
And allow the lights to fill the air above
This you will feel the colors within you
For what you see is the surface of reality
Exist in a plane of space and not time
The space is controlled by you, and you alone
Connection with life and death all at once
Thus, one can breathe the function of art
Even these words do not fully explain what art really is. I recently saw a new film in theaters titled “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” It is now my eighth favorite film of all time, and I think it is a perfect representation of what I speak of here. The movie is about a woman named Evelyn who runs a small, family-owned laundromat. She is from China, as well as the rest of her family, and this is shown greatly in her identity. She tries to do her taxes but is suddenly thrown into a war between all infinite dimensions where her daughter from the Alpha Dimension is determined to place all dimensions and everything in existence onto an everything bagel…yes…a bagel. She flows in and out of dimensions, seeing herself in different realities. She sees herself as a karate master, a chef, a rock, a woman with sausage fingers…and literally an infinite other number of things.
I don’t want to spoil the film for you, but she ends up discovering that life is too short to live thinking about what one could have done if they had lived their life differently. Instead, one should stay within the moment and enjoy those moments because they are precious. The film leans on the idea that everything in a person’s life happens because it was meant to happen.
In the world beyond the film, in our own reality, we should remember this lesson. When watching a film, enjoy it. When looking at a painting, enjoy it. When hearing a song, enjoy it. If one lives their entire life judging and criticizing, have they ever really enjoyed the art for itself? Some would say that some people enjoy criticizing. Well…if that is really your thing then so be it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the art first. Enjoy the art for what it is, even if you think it is terrible or the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. The point is that humans made that piece of art that you are experiencing and that in itself should be enough to constitute the art as good.
The film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was a wonderfully made movie and it really resonated with me. That doesn’t mean it will resonate with everyone. However…one should appreciate it just for the fact that it is a work of art. So, after a long semester here at UNCG, I ask you, have you learned anything?