Hannibal: postmorten thoughts on artrtainment.
Courtesy NBC Universal 2014.
Yesterdey I saw the first two episodes of Hannibal, the David S. Goyer TV series that came to an abrupt end previously this year. What an amazing piece of artrtainment I just saw! Were my first thoughts. Why did it took so long for me to start watching the show? Well, there is a simple answer to every question, it just have to be asked to the right person. I waited long enough so I could enjoy it with my wife, the one person I wait to share TV or Films with. That may be the best desition I ever made in relation with the Hannibal Lecter narrative universe because, as of right now, I don’t recall being so upset, amazed or intrigued by a TV Show in a long, long time and I happen to have the oportunity to watch it at my own demand. Glorious, yeah, but it gets better: wy wife happens to be an expert on Hannibal Lecter, wich makes for good old family critique.
We’ll come back to Hannibal. First, let’s put this discussion into shape for whatever that may serve.
What should be called art? In my country, as it surely happens everywhere, the mayority of people does not assume entertainment in almost any form as art or art-likeable products. There are differences and huge gaps between what it’s called art even in the same kind of cultural practice: You can assume that “El Abrazo de la Serpiente” it’s art but you cannot think the same about “El Paseo” or “Magia Salvaje” even though those three are films were made certainly with the same thought processes, with the same kind of bodies, the same kind of brains and thinking strategies. The same happens with musicians and litterateurs, with painters and cartoonists, and that is not fair at all. Or is it? The same happens with the appreciation of a Darren Aronofski movie versus an Adam Sandler one, or a movie from Wim Wenders versus a movie from some unknown serie b comedy director from, I don’t know, Boca Ratón or something.
Take, for example, the idea the movies I just mentioned. Weren’t they produced with arguably the same kind of tools — cameras, lenses, grip, sound equipment, production personnel and budget — and aren’t tools, as human developments, some sort of anticipation of art and creativity. What is a pencil, a gift from god or a creation of men, what is the wheel, what is a camera, what is a symbol, an idea? Or, don’t you thing that those films were made with the same conjuction of languajes that the movie making process uses — verbal and written, audiovisual, graphic, painting, music, sound, kinetic, dance, facial expressions and, off course, thoughts —. Both movies, but better yet: every movie in the world is made with the same thought process, the same used with every communication product in the world; the same thought process responsible for the atomic bomb or the colombian peace talks, the same cognition issues from wich are results of the shootings in north american schools or acid atacks on colombian females; the same thought process responsible for me writing this Medium blog post. Period.
Creativity and innovation are phenomena that evolve from thinking, from associating mental spaces, concepts, ideas, and converting them into physical manifestations; texts, musical scores, films, pencils, pictures, drawings, coins, pixels, stuff; humanly made stuff. So, and here comes the one quarter of a thousand dollar question, why do we categorize some things as art and others don’t? There are many scholars who have elaborated on the topic and I am not gonna be one more — in part because am not scholar at all — , I just write about this issues with one idea in the front of my mind: a search for mutual understanding that will end abruptly sad. And that’s okey.
Back in Hannibal, at least, at last.
You see: I like my art, you like yours, don’t you dare to destroy mine and i’ll make all the sacrifices I can to bear yours. So, why did you dare to cancel Hannibal? Are you out of your isolated, capitalistic, incoungruent minds, you CBS executive folks? I don’t care if the series didn’t get viewed enough, rated enough, buyed enough. I don’t care it the quality diminished or if the protagonists left. It should be my right as an spectator to abandon it whenever I want and comeback whenever I want. Art should not be subjected capitalism you fools.
Could I be more wrong? Hannibal could be as good as it is in it’s first two episodes and, even then, not be worthy of budget to be produced, post-produced, distributed and promoted; let us not kid ourselves. Lets explore the matter at hand. You are able to mantain and preserve the Gioconda just because at the time there weren’t as many valuable art products, or at least they weren’t as available as the art is right now or just because it is one of the few remainings of the art and culutural products of it’s time; it’s my understanding, even if am wrong, wich I probably am. But, given our times, are we going to be able to preserve all the cultural creativity and innovative products that we are producing as a society? Is ther egoing to be a museum of GIF’s out there in the analog world, a Meme appreciation society? What would happen to all our movies if they are storaged only in servers that won’t function without electric power?
If an apocalyptic future it’s what’s ahead for us as a human collective that won’t matter at all. History it’s important to us because it helps us understand ourselves not because it will help us be recognized or understood by an alien society once we are all set and done. We should not fool ourselves but we will always do.
With film, and with it’s family (television and video, mostly) there is one particulary interesting situation: when first appeared we — as humans I mean — there wasn’t, for many years, a decision on weather it was art or not, a topic that eludes me; isn’t music entertainment and art, as well? It took many years and much ellaboration from critics, filmmakers and scholars for the film to be recognized as such. Can a form of communicatión not be regarded as such, art and entertainment, and also be popular? Today we even recognize pieces of advertising in the form of posters from the early 10’s and 20’s as such: art. In the future, and i don’t forsee it taking too long, it’s probable that the same thing might happen with videoclips, tv commercials and other forms of pop creativity products, but, for how long we are going to be able to categorize the inmense amount of art-like communication products that are going to be out there to be consumed (read, viewed, interpreted, sensed and so on)?
With this two magnificent episodes ot the Hannibal TV series I have realized two things:
- as long as we continue to communicate —ergo: perceive, think and modificate the world— we will continue to elaborate valuable and worthy of further communication peices of artrtentainment, and that it’s just because we entertain ourselves in the process of doing so.
- general categorization (in the form of elite groups of categorazing people) in the art and cultural enviroments well decrease it’s value as personal categorization takes the helm. Of course: there will be an elite and they will have their museums and such but they won’t hold the power to decide what is called art or not. It already happens, yeah, I know, but it will be less important than it ever was. Art, as I see it, is whatever we want in to be depending on our contexts and circumstances.
Hannibal, am gonna keep watching your series until the end of times, or energy.