Art has long been interdisciplinary, using the realms of theater, music, dance, poetry and visual art. These mediums have overlapped many times, to the point of establishing whole new forms of art, like musicals, or new types of performers, like the “triple threat” (someone who can act, dance and sing). The presence of music in dance or theater, of movement in theater or music and of theatrical engagement in music or dance has become the norm.
However, with the next evolution of the visual and performing arts, the lines between disciplines are blurring in the new wave of “interpretive” art.
Every discipline has reached this new stage, but perhaps not obviously to those who do not actively engage in artistic endeavors.
The clearest examples for the general public arise in music. With the emergence of stars like Lady Gaga and Sia, the art of music is no longer based simply on the sound and lyrics of the song, but about the aura of the performer. Any performance by Lady Gaga is as much about her costume and set as it is about her actual songs. One could hardly pay attention to what Sia was singing in her SNL performance because, firstly, she wasn’t facing the audience—and in fact her face was covered—and, secondly, there were two people in nude leotards epitomizing interpretive dance right next to her.
That’s not to say these performers aren’t amazing and deserve the acclaim they receive, it’s just acknowledging that music has gone from “video killed the radio star” to “the girl in the meat dress who just ate a rosary killed the person who stood there and sang, and she probably did it with her 10 inch spiky heel.” Though the most obvious, music is by no means the only art form embracing this new trend of increasing stimulation through multiple art forms.
In theater, ensembles like The Wooster Group spearhead this new collaboration of art forms, incorporating film, dance, music, audience participation and visual art to shatter the conventions of traditional theater.
The longstanding yet increasing presence of performance art and multimedia collaboration within galleries and art exhibits shows this trend in the visual art world as well.
The same can be said of Rosemary Butcher’s work in dance, as Butcher brings together many disciplines in her pieces, often incorporating not only music but also architecture and sculpture.
Where did these interdisciplinary impulses come from? They could simply be the next natural step in the artistic evolution, a result of the constant cycle to defy the current conventions and establish new ones which will in turn be broken down.
Or it could be the result of our changing society, a need to keep up with the constant stimulation of our increasingly technological world, a desire to attract the eye, hold on to it a minute longer before it turns away to check the newest twitter post.
Either way, it is happening, and I encourage everyone to witness this new trend, which will perhaps define the art of our generation.