Lesson 1 Activity (Optional)
Film as an Art

Art Without Artists

In the ‘50s, Jack Kerouac’s landmark novel On the Road was the bible of the Beat Generation of artists and poets. One of the central points of the book was that observers can be as important as artists in the artistic experience if observers "dig it." In other words, the observer brings his or her own interpretation and appreciation to art that can make the work of art become something different or something more than what the artist intended.

By the ‘60s, "digging" had modulated to the mellower activity of "groovin’," while poets and painters were developing "found art."

Certainly, you’ve done this yourself at least once in your life, perhaps when you picked up a pretty shell at the beach and took it home and displayed it. The idea of found art is to discover the pleasures of art in some everyday object or activity that has not been created by an "artist." You, the observer, do the work of the "artist" in this case.

We’re here to increase your power as an observer of film. If you can turn a shell into art, just think what you can do with even a bad movie!

Time Estimate

1/2 hour


On the class message board, please post your responses to the following topic.

Jack Kerouac talked about "digging it”―using your powers of observation to bring something new to a work of art. Describe what you think is meant by the word “it.” In other words, describe some event in your life where you found yourself as an observer doing all the work of art.