The Aesthetics of Spontaneity

Food for Thought

Life’s memorable moments often defy explanation, much like art. When art is methodically planned, it becomes one-dimensional. As a viewer, understanding the predefined ideas marks the end of engagement, reducing it to a mere illustration.

However, the lack of explanation doesn’t inherently confer beauty. Consider the act of randomly snapping thousands of pictures while wandering the streets. The majority will likely fail to inspire, which leads me to believe that some intentional design is crucial for art to resonate.

A carefully planned vacation to a popular destination will likely yield nothing, no matter how beautiful the place might be—at least not for me. The outcome will be too predictable, and any deviation from the plan will feel like a failure.

Once in Brooklyn at night, an English professor friend of my wife’s suggested that we shamelessly push our way into a nightclub full of youngsters who could be our kids. Nothing of that circumstance made sense, but it became a memorable night. In my younger days, I would have shunned such spontaneity. Thanks to my wife forcing me into these situations, I began to see how these moments work.

This concept is echoed in many Japanese films, where certain scenes, seemingly irrelevant to the plot, capture raw moments. It seems impossible to script them as the acts and speech are nonsensical and specific to that moment and place, as if a fly on the wall happened to capture the random acts of the actors.

I keep this balance in mind during meetups with my Instagram friends. I believe that during the planning stage, logic shouldn’t dictate what we should do. Opting for a trendy new restaurant might seem logical, but it’s as clichéd as a trip to the Bahamas. You’d get what you expected.

Thinking this way, the simple act of “hanging out” is transformed into performance art, and afterward, I wonder if we captured anything meaningful. Much like in those Japanese films, our experiences may sound mundane and uneventful if described in words, but trying to capture meaning in words, I feel these days, is too habitual.