Brain Food #627

The case for accessibility

Thoughts of the day

There seems to be an underlying misconception in the world, that by making something more accessible, you reduce its perceived quality. Often, inaccessibility appears to be just a filter, an attempt to leave out those who ‘do not understand’, or that do not deserve to understand (though who gets to determine this remains unknown).

Yet, lack of accessibility is a form of adding unnecessary complexity to a world that is already becoming increasingly complex by the day.

Art can play a part in reducing this complexity, instead of contributing to it. For it is in external symbols that we often seek to make sense of our surroundings, of life itself.

It is why we underline quotations in books, take photographs of a work of art we enjoy, choose a favourite film that reflects exactly how we are feeling at that moment in time. It is also why we have guilty pleasures. If we are more open to what we actually like, and not what we should like or be allowed to like, without shame, without guilt, the world might just become a touch more enjoyable.

“My objective is to create my own world and these images which we create mean nothing more than the images which they are. We have forgotten how to relate emotionally to art: we treat it like editors, searching in it for that which the artist has supposedly hidden. It is actually much simpler than that, otherwise art would have no meaning. You have to be a child—incidentally children understand my pictures very well, and I haven’t met a serious critic who could stand knee-high to those children. We think that art demands special knowledge; we demand some higher meaning from an author, but the work must act directly on our hearts or it has no meaning at all.
― Andrei Tarkovsky

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art propelled him into international fame, partly due to its accessibility. His critics, even today, still wonder whether what he made was ‘original’ in any sense, or whether he even made most of his work himself.