While reading Folkmann, in particular the area which discusses the platform of conceptual-hermetical, it reminded me a lot of a particular song, which the writer says is about one thing, but has been used in ways that reflect the exact opposite.
As Folkmann states on page 42, “[H]ow meaning is staged and how the design reflects this meaning through its actual presence and unfolding in a physical setting by means of sensual aspects of form, materials, and color, for example.”
I can remember seeing a documentary about the Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours, where the members of the band went through each song on the album and spoke of the recording process, what was happening when the song was being written, and what the song was about. I believe it was John McVie, when discussing the song “Don’t Stop,” that stated it was not written for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign (it was heavily used in commercials, rallies, etc, I was not old enough at the time to remember), but rather his ex-wife Christine wrote it about their divorce. I later noticed the irony while at the IU Homecoming game, when the announcer said the year’s Homecoming theme was togetherness and announced the Marching Hundred was going to play the song, “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.
Why is it this song, which is, lyrically, about a marriage falling apart, being played as having a positive message of looking forward to something or togetherness? I believe it it is through the aesthetics as described by M. N. Folkmann through the platform he calls conceptual-hermetical, or the way we understand or interpret something. Folkmann would, on the following page state,
“[O]ne of the central capacities of the imagination seen within the context of aesthetic artifacts is to create new modes and models of relating the sensuous-material and the ideational-conceptual.”
To relate this back to “Don’t Stop,” the song itself has a very uplifting aesthetic to it. The chorus is telling the person to look forward to something, the music is very cheery sounding, even though it was inspired by a negative point of a person’s life, it has the ability to change its meaning through parts of the whole. On page 44, Folkmann points out,
“[O]bjects wanting to be perceived as aesthetic, as discussed above in the context of the aesthetic relationship – can sill be separated from other objects.”
This is the point I am wanting to make with this and what I got from Folkmann. Even though the lyrics and meaning of the song come from a difficult time person, the aesthetics of the song in its given context change how people interpret the meaning. When used in President Clinton’s 1992, the aesthetics of the song were used to make people look forward to electing him, that he will bring a positive administration to the United States, and the Marching Hundred performing it at Homecoming used the same aesthetic, both past, present, and future alumni are together to work for a better tomorrow.
When Folkmann states that aesthetics, when used in a context of the aesthetic relationship, I think this is a good example of how it can change people’s understanding of the work. It can take something with a negative experience behind it and change it to the exact opposite, something with a positive outlook.