Archivio | Lilium Aeris RSS for this section

Consumerism and Art

Writing in a foreign language is a strange, alienating experience. Familiar concepts become unfamiliar, unknown. At the beginning, we struggle to force our way of think into grammar structures and words that necessarily cannot be used in that way.
For me, as a writer who loves the philosophy and the philology, the bigger problem is transforming the concepts, clear when I think in my mother tongue, into foreign words.
For example, in these days I was searching how to translate the Italian noun fruitore: in this case, the person who enjoys the work of an artist. I could not find anything exactly equivalent in English, but I found something maybe more interesting: a totally different way of thinking, so I decided to share a few thoughts about this topic.

(Bassa Ducale by Fabritio Caroso played our early-music ensemble Lilium Aeris – Serena Fiandro: Renaissance recorder; Andrea Tuffanelli: colascione, percussion)

There is an old paradox in art itself: the world of the artist and the world of the user. Two worlds, of the patron and the artist, distant but necessarily adjacent, intersecting. It is interesting to see how the English language calls the beneficiary: consumer, user. In Italian, we call it fruitore that has a meaning a little different. Fruire, the verb from which derives fruitore, the person who make this action, means something more like to enjoy, relish, but also to benefit. In English, I found enthusiast, but it is not exactly the same as fruitore. It is more like the Italian term appassionato. Fruitore is something more. In medieval mystic language, the perfect soul fruisce (conjugated third person singular of the verb fruire) the presence of God. And obviously, God (no matter if we are believers or not: I’m focusing here on the concept) is not an object we can possess.
The contradiction is here. From one side, a person who creates; from the other, a person who consumes. But how it is possible to consume a piece of art? But here the problem is just a little of the consumer. The problem belongs to the artist. It begins when the artist forgets of being a creator and becomes, in his or her way, a consumer. How does it happen?
A consumeristic approach to the creation is not only contradictory, but also destructive for the artists and their art. It means considering our work an object that can be used, consumed, not a process that grows by itself from the seeds of our imagination. At the moment we objectify our art, it loses its peculiarity. It becomes a product among other products, nothing special, nothing more.
In order to create freely, the artist ought to be free. It appears like a tautology, but let’s see what this entails. The process of creation needs a certain level of independence from outer pressure, at least, at the beginning. This, of course, doesn’t mean that the artists should not be influenced by the patrons, nor that they should not remember that they are working for their audience, just that they need a moment for themselves, for collecting their thoughts, searching inspiration, and finding other ways in their work.
The time of creation, differently from the time of use, is slow. Only in the slowness and tranquility we can create. Any kind of art needs time. Time to learn, time to think, time to make silence within ourselves. Learning drawing or singing is not a thing we can do in a few months. Gaining an artistic skill needs thousands of hours. Preparing a play or a concert needs a lot of work.
The time of the artist and the time of the user are not the same, necessarily. The problem arises when the artist feels the necessity to run at the same rhythm as the user. People are eager for the latest products, new things, innovations. Anything is not new, is old, uninteresting. And artists are just that, people.
Maybe, we can stop using art and start enjoying it, at a slower pace. We can stop consuming and start a creative approach to the fruition of art. What prevents us from becoming actively present in front of a piece of art and not mere, inert bystanders?
I don’t think art is something passive. I think it is alive, it can act and transform our lives. But in order to allow it to change us, we need to reject the attitude of consuming and embrace the creation itself.

Pavana Matthei, una danza rinascimentale dei Lilium Aeris

Non scrivo qui da parecchio tempo, ma ho intenzione di ricominciare. Gli ultimi anni sono stati impegnativi, fisicamente e mentalmente. Ho intrapreso strade che non mi hanno portata da nessuna parte, ma ho anche vissuto nuove, eccitanti esperienze in campo artistico e non solo. Uno dei miei progetti più importanti è stato quello di dedicarmi seriamente allo studio del disegno e della pittura a olio. Una cosa che ho sempre desiderato fare, ma per cui non mi sono mai decisa a trovare il tempo. Soltanto dopo avere iniziato mi sono resa conto che cosa mi sono persa per i primi trentaquattro anni della mia vita, qualcosa a cui non intendo più rinunciare. Ora per me è arrivato il momento di rendere pubblico il mio lavoro.

Questo blog cambierà. Ci saranno pagine dedicata alla mia arte, alla musica (stiamo rinnovando il canale YouTube dei nostri progetti musicali, ora chiamato Ars Aeterna in omaggio alla nostra ispirazione originaria), alla narrativa, principalmente fantastica, e ai miei libri. Buona parte del blog sarà in inglese o in versione bilingue.

Per ora vi saluto con uno dei brani tratti dal nostro album “Danze del Rinascimento Italiano”, la Pavana Matthei, tratta da un manuale di danza del 1500, “Il ballarino” di Fabritio Caroso. Buon ascolto e ben ritrovati!