One of the best experiments ever

22 Sep

I read this back when this experiment first happened. Joshua Bell stood in a DC metro station and played for 43 minutes, and the Washington Post had a field day observing how people would react to one of the best violinists in the world playing music as a street musician during rush hour (next to a trash can, to top it off).

This is great to go back to because it raises questions of high culture, pop culture, and whether we’re trained to appreciate music when it’s displaced from its conventional setting and plopped down in a lowbrow type area. I think we’re forced to start questioning this whole idea of high and low culture, what makes them different, and stop working under the assumption that certain types of art or culture is high or low. It’s all just socially constructed.

What’s interesting also is the clearly elitist position the Washington Post takes in this article – almost an elitist prank to play on the public (from a gaze and power perspective – they’re watching, but we don’t know they’re watching). It’s approached with the preconceived hierarchy that classical music is somehow above other forms of music…and ESPECIALLY music that is normally played in metro stations.

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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Uncategorized


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