Monday, 20 May 2013

Grace References her Film Degree Yet Again 'cause CULTUR

Today's blog is brought to you by a combined efforts of Past Grace, Current Grace, and Hypothetical Future Grace. They hope you enjoy it. 

Art and culture and the like has been preying on my mind a lot lately. As part of my eternal struggle to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life, what exactly I enjoy has come into that a lot. Then you start thinking about what you enjoy in relation to what other people enjoy and what that says about you and them and suddenly BOOM CURRENT GRACE HAS LOTS OF THOUGHTS.
Past Grace had very definite ideas on culture. Everything to do with theatre had to be new and interesting and avant-garde. Novels that weren't by respected early twentieth-century authors were guilty pleasures. Past Grace didn't watch shows like Gossip Girl because those were trashy and she wasn't like the other girls in her school, she watched ~thought-provoking television.We're going to stop talking about her because I kind of want to punch her, but she was sixteen so we'll forgive her.
Current Grace doesn't know what she's at, let's be honest. Current Grace is getting a bit annoyed at people consuming media "ironically" or namedropping bands that no one else has heard of yet or talking about how people are only reading The Great Gatsby due to the Baz Luhrman film.
We'll get to Hypothetical Future Grace in a bit.

I feel that a lot of the time we're missing the point of art. Art is meant to inspire emotion, but emotion is not limited to feeling shocked or thinking long and hard about the current state of the patriarchy. Laughing or thinking something is pretty is emotion too, you guys. Art is doing it's job if it's causing you to feel something that you may not have felt that day otherwise. We don't have to justify those emotions to anyone else, just like we don't have to justify why we're consuming any one type of art form. Writing off entire music genres as mindless pop or claiming sci-fi films are stupid escapism is something that pisses me off no end, because guess what? If the artist has put their all into their work and come out with something that is done well; and they are proud of; and inspires any sort of emotion, then they can rest happy because that is art and your opinion of the validity of it doesn't really matter.

Where this ties into Hypothetical Future Grace is how art used to be (and probably still is, to a degree) separated into "high" and "low" culture. In the '80s the French cinema du look came onto the scene, and it was criticised as being a form of low culture due to its emphasis on aesthetics rather than substance. It's still all to easy to think of certain forms of art such as opera as being associated with snooty women in pearls drinking champagne at the interval. I don't know if this idea of high/low culture is breaking down and being replaced by people identifying with a certain tribe (be it hipsters or screaming 1D fan girls), but we are all being judged by what we listen to on Spotify. Will this idea of class and culture continue? Will Hypothetical Future Grace stop being middle-class because she loves Kreayshun? Or will she be dismissed as having "bad taste" despite the fact taste is completely subjective so defining taste as "bad" is inherently a bit silly?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Not-So-Mid-Life Crises

I have always been a firm believer of reinventing oneself. Photos of me throughout my teenage life are proof of this, as I went through various phases involving too much eyeliner or only listening to ~obscure music. I spent time building my own identity that featured acting and opinions on abortion and reading lots of Jack Kerouac, partly to distinguish myself from how I was viewed by my schoolmates and family and teachers. I was always the girl that would flourish in college, being told I just had to make it through the school years first. At least no one tried to convince me they were the best years of my life.
So I went to college because that is what is expected of you in the modern world, and because college was going to make all my hopes and dreams come true. Spoiler alert: it didn't. Questions about why I chose my degree or what I plan to do with it make me want to scream because I don't really know, I'm in college because college is what all the kids who want a future do these days. Ask me what I plan to do with myself and you'll get vague mumbles about aspirations for acting or internships or travelling, but instead I spend my time putting off writing essays about Voltaire and reading blogs about other people's interesting lives. I feel like the quintessential twenty-something that sees their own life reflected in Girls, but I haven't even turned twenty yet.
Sitting down and deciding what to do with my life has suddenly become a lot more difficult than it was when I was fifteen, because it's this oppressing realisation that any dreams I have now are entirely within my own power to make happen. It's a scary thought because suddenly I have no one to blame but myself for how my life is going. In fairness, I've done pretty well: I got a job, moved out, and started doing yoga videos off YouTube. However, I'm terrified of looking back on 2013 in ten years time and think "what did I do with myself that year I was nineteen?"
Sure, things like moving out of my mum's and finishing my first year of college are pretty monumental, but when I look around at my friends and their creative endeavors, I feel hopelessly defunct. I have friends that are defined by their intelligence, their musical abilities etc, but I often wonder what I'm defined by. I'm that girl who is outrageously loud, who wears vintage clothes, who looks like Zooey Deschanel, who goes crazy during exams, who gets mistaken for a drama student. It's hard not to feel like a collection of quirks sometimes, and this is entirely my own fault. When you find yourself defining your personality by your interest in 90's television, you know you're slipping into being just another quirky college student.
Sitting down and deciding what you want to do with your life is scary. Sitting down and trying to figure out what you actually like is even scarier, because that's a defining feature of your personality. I like reading, I like writing, I like roller derby, I like acting, I like clothes. So you book yourself into acting classes and spend  outrageous amounts of money on roller skates and put photos of your outfits on your Instagram and Tumblr and write your blog and hope that it will all pay off someday and you won't be just another person.