If you watch a movie or a TV show and there is a scene where they go to an art exhibit and talk about the art they almost always say “Oh I see what the artist was doing here” while, in reality, they look confused. This is because what the artist paints and what you feel is different. Just like in Unflattening, when Dr. Sousanis points out that a line can have emotions based on what kind of line it is. If the line has soft curves it is comforting and calm, but if the line has jagged and sharp movements it shows the difficulties in life. Dr. Sousanis then goes on to make a connection between what we draw and how our experiences have shaped that.
Where do you think we got the expression “life’s like a roller coaster?” We see the lines the roller coaster makes and compare them to the ups and downs to life. If someone had no clue what a roller coaster was they would not know why their life was like one. Our feelings have been shaped by what we know and are comfortable with.
I love to read. I always had a different book in high school and many of my classmates would ask me why I always had my nose in a book. Reading not only gives you a chance to escape your life and stop worrying about your responsibilities for a while, but gives you a better understanding of the language and imagination. Books give me a chance to be somewhere else if only for a little while. Reading teaches you how to get out of the flatlands. When you understand others point of view and are able to see what they see you escape from the flatlands.
One of my best friends is very religious. When he asks me what I have read lately and I respond with a book that his religion would not approve of, he asks me “Why are you reading that if you know it’s not right?” It may not be right to him and it may not be true, but someone has taken the point of view of a fictional character and made you fall in love them. You learn about their world and what they go through on a daily basis. You learn, even if fictional, their perspective. Books do the same thing that a painting does just in a different way.
One painting that I think has so many different perspectives is Edgar Degas’s Dance Class 1871, in this painting you can see the beautiful girl up front with the perfect form and posture, but in the back you see the girl with her head on the wall. This girl is probably exhausted from dancing all day long trying to get everything perfect. You can also see the girl leaning up against the piano staring at the girl in the front wishing she were her. When I look at this painting, I can feel what those girls are feeling and relate to them completely. I feel this way because of my experiences, I was a dancer for twelve years I have been in a room much like this one, but someone who has never stepped foot in this room might say something different.
Everyone has different feelings and emotions when they see art and no one should tell you how to perceive a book or quote, a painting or sculpture, music, or dance. Because based on your life experience you see what you know. Art is emotion and no one can decide what you feel.