REMEMBERING/FORGETTING RODNEY KING

 

 

Last April was the 20th anniversary of the LA riots that flared up after the acquittal of the policemen accused of beating Rodney King.  Last week, Rodney King died.  Usually information like the foregoing is followed by a call to reflect and remember.  So why would I add “forgetting” to the title of this blog?

Hearing of King’s death while I was reading  Lehrer’s book  Imagination: How Creativity Works, reminded me of a video I created last year called “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees”, which references the king beating.  What is the connection between Rodney King and Creativity?  Well, it is a bit of a leap, but I thought it might be fun to take it together.  If you’re game, you need to watch the video which is sort of a hybrid between a psychology experiment and an artsy music video (Music composed and created by Jim Wilson).

Here’s what I suggest.  Watch the video first and then use the questions  below to reflect on your experience.  If you have already seen the video, I don’t think that will spoil the experiment.  Those watching it for the first time may want to watch it again after going over the questions.

In the next post I will attempt to tie things together, referring back to Lehrer, Zen literature, Shamanism, Yo Yo Ma and contemporary artist Robert Irwin.

CLICK LINK BELOW TO WATCH VIDEO

LOOK AT THESE QUESTIONS AFTER WATCHING THE VIDEO. THE QUESTIONS ARE BASED ON COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS I’VE RECEIVED FROM THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY SEEN IT.  THERE ARE NO RIGHT ANSWERS.  PLEASE SHARE ANY INSIGHTS, SUGGESTIONS OR QUESTIONS IN THE REPLY BOX BELOW.  MY FOLLOW-UP BLOG WILL BE HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY THE FEEDBACK I RECEIVE.

1) Did you come to realize that segments (#2-5) before and after the original news clip of the beating (#1) were abstractions or distortions of the news clip?

2) At what point in the video did this happen?

3) How did you feel when you viewed #1 (the original clip)?

4) After you came to the original clip in this video, did you continue to see images of the beating and how long did that last?

5) Towards the end were you able to “forget” about the images in the middle of the video or did you try to hold on to  the images from the original news clip?

6) If you felt some sense of unease while watching the news clip (#1), how long did that last?

7)  Did you feel manipulated by the video?

8)  Should art manipulate our emotions?

9) Which of the following statements best reflects your opinion:

A)  Art should help the audience forget their own and others’ suffering for a while.       B)  Art should heighten our awareness of our own and other’s                                  suffering for a while.                                                                                                   C) Both A and B above.                                                                                                  D)  Neither A or B above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “REMEMBERING/FORGETTING RODNEY KING

  1. 1) Yes
    2) After about 10 seconds because I was tipped off to a feeling of agony of having to feel King’s pain early on. “Geez, do I have to watch this thing again in slow motion?” Pure agony.
    3) Awful — then depressed
    4) No — I was mousing down to the progress bar to move the video forward quicker to get it over with. Who wants to suffer for Rodney King all over again. That would be sick. Unless you are a sadist. Then you would want to go through the whole thing slowly so you could enjoy the beating of Rodney King.
    5) Wanted to forget
    6) Not very long because I moved the progress thingy forward to avoid the pain.
    7) Yes
    8) Not necessarily. Some art is meant to be totally without emotion. Can anybody really know what the effect of art is on the emotions? Psychologists are only guessing about the effects of art on emotions because psychology is so amorphous. And art is even cloudier.
    9) A) Not necessarily B) Not necessarily C) Not A & B above D) Yes neither A or B above because how can you say what the purpose of art is? An artist may resent being told that his art is for a certain purpose. What if the artist doesn’t want anyone to know what his purpose is?