Dancing About Architecture

2004-01-16

I recently came across a fun quote from Laurie Anderson: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." Taken literally, that's guano -- we might as well say that talking about architecture is like painting about poetry, or that talking about poetry is like sculpting about dance. We're conceptual, linguistic beings, and it makes sense for us to talk about things. But the part of her quote that I like is that it respects the autonomy of the aesthetic realm (a point made also by Virgina Postrel in this interview). You can't simply reduce music or painting or dance to some discursive explanation, because the point of art is that it captures and communicates things that aren't easy to put into words. Or, as Mendelssohn put it: "It's not that music is too imprecise for words, but too precise."


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