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Marina's picture


I agree with Susan Sontag and her essay "Against Interpretation." I think Sontag's main goal in the essay is to get people to look at art with a completely non-interpretive eye. Basically, she shuns us from finding any meaning in art. I don't know if it's possible to completely shut off the interpretive eye, but I think it is worth trying. But why shut off the interpretive eye? what's the harm in finding meaning in something? Sontag argues that it ruins the experience and feeling one gets when they interact with art. In her essay she states that "in place of hermenuetics we need an erotics of art." I agree with Sontag here, if it's possible to turn off the interpretive eye than we should try to experience art as cathartic rather than insert meanings and interpretations. Interpreting art also cuts out a large portion of other views toward the art. For example, if someone expresses that they see a tree in an abstract work of art another person with them will probably see the tree as well and never had the opportunity to interpret it themselves. So in a way interpretation cuts out a lot of conversation that could have come out of the piece. Sontag's essay reminded me of this Billy Collins poem...

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


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