The Mediums Are The Message

You’ve just crossed over into the reductive zone. 

I’ve been thinking about the three art forms I use to view — and as views on — the world at large: cinema, theater, and literature. Each of these mediums has a profound impact on a singular aspect of my everyday perception, tied to a fundamental component of their specific means of expression.

I’ve written copiously about theater boiling down to bodies in space; the stage provides us an opportunity to observe the nature of human corporeality — how often can you stare at and analyze human behavior without being a creeper? — and the truths that can be gleaned from our exteriors and ever-evolving positional arrangements with and to each other.

To me, the primary artistry of cinema resides in the camera; the frame is the canvass, the tangible bounds of our artistic window. As such, it leaves a mark on how I literally see the world; as I move through a space, I notice shots, angles, lighting, visual compositions, the interplay between light and shadows, the spatial relationships between people and their environment, etc. — as if I’m looking at the raw materials of my life through a lens. My eyes are the screen, directed by filmmakers, and my surroundings are our subject.

And literature plunges me into the inner consciousness of another. By virtue of their sentience being translated into words — the bedrock of a novel — reading their writing is akin to a float down their stream of thought, living inside how someone else — be it the author, or the character(s) — thinks. The page allows us to access how they mediate between external stimuli and interior processing, the core of cognition.

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