Friday, August 17, 2007

Bare with me

Bare with me

The duck descends on his invisible chord and the man with the glasses and moustache (don’t forget the cigar) says, “The secret word is :audience.” (yes the spelling is what I meant!)

Even Groucho appreciated his audience. I suspect we all like an audience even if it is just our solitary gaze in the mirror. We play to the audience. We hope to get an action out of an audience. We even badger an audience to get a reaction.

A cook looks for an audience. Guilty as charged. Yes, I make my food first to quench my desire to make something (original) and something that also tastes good. But I also enjoy the comments of an appreciative audience.

A writer does indeed write first to express a need but any writer who wants to get paid for writing must find an audience. The more appreciative the better.

In my past I was a teacher. A teacher needs an audience too. I’m not sure I could have had so much fun or interest if they’d just stuck a camera in my face in a sterile environment and said “teach us something.” Teachers teach to the audience but to some degree that audience might also be a bit captive. The curse of required courses.

Politicians definitely play to the audience. In recent memory we’ve had the explosive (dare I use the word) surge of polls. Those polls play to the interaction of “actor” and audience.

I could go on and on. But I’ll stop with artist. After all that is what got me thinking of the word audience. I was watching a PBS show last night about Mark Rothko. I saw some of his work last week at MoMA. I think his work needs an audience. I think the audience needs to know how to look at his work. I’m not pretending that I do. Last week (unlike some of the other visitors) I spent time looking at his work. I was concentrating on the areas where colors came together. This was the area that captured me. I felt as if I was looking through a fog bank and my mind was seeing things that might (or might not) be there. It wasn’t what he painted but what I saw that held my attention.

Last night an image of a person sitting at a computer monitor came to mind. The person is sitting in a dark room only lit by the light from the screen. This person has reached up to the screen and his hand is resting there. Then we look at the barely discernable image on the screen. It is the hand of another person. The recognition of audience. The recognition of meaning in the bits and bytes.

All we want it that momentary awareness that something is out there and we (the audience) catch a glimpse. And the “creator” wants nothing more than that hand on the screen, that smile on the face, that tear in the eye, that bark of denial to give momentary grace.

Git er done- I say once more