Object vs. Subject – Introduction

Monday, Mar 31, 2014

Published In: Process, Stories

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I’ve come across lots of forms of art over the past few years. I’ve also come into contact with the creators of those artworks and the observers that enjoy and appreciate them and their hard work. From graphic/web designers to illustrators. From musicians and performers to photographers and videographers. When one begins to analyze the world from a point of view in which everyone in it consists of creators who are viewed and admired by outside observers, the vastness and sophistication of the human experience from a creative sense begins to become clear. The terminology that I think best describes both creators and observers, as the title of this series describes, is objects and subjects. Objects being the creators or producers of any tangible body of work. While the subjects are the observers, or fans and admirers of the work that the content creators are producing.

Everyone is both an observer and a creator, whether they realize it or not.

Its a natural part of life to see the world from a subjective point of view and observe whats around us and consume things we see in our day-to-day lives. This is why there is a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. People shell out $20 to watch a 2 hour movie that had a $100 million dollar budget and took over a year to make. In this case, the movie studio, the producers, the cast and crew, and the director are considered the creators that us as subjects willingly seek out and observe. The same can be said for a musician or band we really like. We pay money to buy an album or a song or to see them in concert. We are actively seeking out these kinds of things because we see a direct value on our end and in turn support the object(s) that created it. In this sense, its more of a choice to observe these types of objects.

The more indirect version of subjective observation comes to us in the form of the advertising. We see it everywhere. On billboards on our way to work, on store windows, everywhere on the internet, even on TV and the radio in the form of commercials. These are all indirect ways we observe what the creators are putting out into the world. The products or ideas the ads represent are forms of direct observation week seek out, but the manner in which they are broadcast to us is the indirect form we normally wouldn’t seek out. But in the end its all in the creators benefit and best interest since that is one of the few ways they will get the subjects to observe the objects they create.

Now when it comes to being a creator, most of the people who actively identify themselves as a creator will be the first to tell you that that is what they are. I call these people ‘active creators’. The sense of pride one gets from taking an idea from a thought to a final and finished product is one of the most rewarding things they can feel. The best and most dedicated ones create so often that it becomes easier after awhile and they end up knowing no other way than to constantly be in that creative state of mind. To them, it becomes a way of life and a way to survive. Which is why there are people who are considered “self- starters” or, entrepreneurs. The more a creator produces higher and higher quality work, the likelihood that an observer somewhere is taking in the work and admiring it for what it is and the time and effort it took to create it increases.

On the other side of the creative spectrum are those who are creators, but don’t really identify themselves as creators, or don’t even realize that is what they are. I call these types of people ‘passive creators’. The main criteria that defines a person as a passive creator is the subconscious need to make something to survive, not necessarily to fulfill a desire to create content that people will willingly admire. Although the content that a passive creator may produce can ultimately be admired by many, the necessity for it to be so isn’t required or sometimes even considered or expected by the passive creator. Some examples of passive creators are parents, teachers, farmers, personal trainers, pretty much anybody who is a regular person who has a personal vested interest in accomplishing or succeeding in the role they have taken on.

In the next article, I will go a bit more in-depth at how objects and subjects compare and contrast with each other and how everyone is a bit of both, whether they realize it or not.