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Arts vs Sciences
Member Name: spacelamb
Arts vs Sciences
Date: 06/03/01, updated on 06/03/01 (126 review reads)
Advantages: feeds the soul
Disadvantages: artists can be perceived as pretentious morons
Arts degree? Not worth the paper it's printed on mate. Bloody poncey students wearing stupid clothes and making stupid pictures out of elephant crap that nobody can understand.
Just a second. Did you ever stop to think maybe it's you who's stupid..?
As an ex student of Contemporary Arts, I can truthfully say that arts courses have the *potential* to be unfulfilling, pretentious, and a waste of time and brainspace. HOWEVER, this does not mean that arts qualifications are any less valid than science-based ones.
If I had to tick a box - am I arts or sciences? - I would put a firm tick in arts. But I hated every second I was studying them. I think this was largely due to the broad scope of my degree course, which necessitated taking part in ludicrous and futile 'performance pieces' - when what I actually wanted to learn was digital photography and writing. But in general, to my mind, the arts are what makes the world go round. I like beautiful and creative things, and have no idea how a catalytic converter works (and have no desire to). Arts develop the individual, and technology keeps society moving as a whole.
In the real world of course, arts and science have to co-exist. Behind every new product that is developed, there is a technical AND aesthetic designer. One cannot survive without the other.
But in terms of academia, maybe it's naive to assume that the arts can be taught at all. I'm not convinced they can - or at least, not graded by a tutor. All art forms, from music to fashion to saucer-making, are about personal expression. Sounds obvious really, but how is one person's piece of self-expression worth more or less than another's? In study terms though, this can be an excuse for slackness. The nature of my own course meant that a lot of students really pushed the bullsh*t boundaries - and got away with it, consistently submitting one-word poems, or a canvas with a single black li
ne in the centre, and still passing the year. It's disheartening really because there are some people who genuinely want to study an aspect of the arts and make a career of it, but the estimated value of their qualification is being lowered by students who take art or media or whatever as a 'soft' option.
A soft option is one thing that I did NOT find an arts degree to be (well if you're serious about it anyway). The time involved in the work is extensive, but the product is often very hard for the general public to appreciate. If someone has studied biochemistry and discovers a cure for something, there is concrete evidence of their success. If someone produces a short film about racial tension in an inner city, and it has a huge impact on its audience, the effect is still invisible and immeasurable. I think this is a large part of the problem - coupled with the fact that the British population as a whole is not terribly bright, and has little willingness to understand modern (or any other kind of) art, theatre etc.
The pretension aspect is the main area in which I struggle to find an argument in favour of the arts. Arts degrees ARE pretentious. Arts students ARE, very often, completely self-absorbed and blinkered (sometimes out of necessity to produce good work, but sometimes just because they're a bit moronic). But by that cliche, science students often ARE very dull individuals. Stereotypes are born in truth and when it comes down to it, you have artists who are groovy and artists who are twits (I'm trying really hard not to curse here). Ditto with doctors or engineers.
I think basically what I'm trying to say is (to use another cliche), one man's meat is another man's poison. You can't slate 'arts' or 'sciences' subjects as whole groups because it is a matter of preference and inclination. In the same way that, um, some people don't like Marmite, and you'll never convince
them that it's nice really. See?