Aesthetic of Astonishment.. Cinema as an Example

17 October 2018

Inspired by: Disruption and its relation to Aesthetics part of "TANWEEN" 

Why is beauty connected to disruption in our minds?
Beauty is finding harmony in things, but it’s not enough for beautiful things to have harmony, they also have to be astonishing and make us see things in a new way every time we look at them. To create this astonishment, we have to disrupt the harmonious structure around us and make a newer unexpected one. What makes a photograph able to reproduce beauty every time we look at it? Someone might have asked himself this question more than one century ago, and then discovered the aesthetic of moving pictures. Moving pictures was an innovative way of encompassing their aesthetic and reviving their story. This led to the beginning of cinema, and the shining of a new art in the sky of the seven arts.

The first cinematic movie to be played to an audience lasted less than one minute. It was one shot of a train heading towards the camera. But before it was completed, the audience jumped out of their chairs and left the hall scared of the train coming to hit them. First there’s disruption and then comes astonishment. People later understood visual gimmicks and as a result, they started to enjoy movies. Everyone was looking for his individual experience.. for the disruption that will allow him to share the astonishment with others; and for this reason silent films became popular. But then came sound, the first talking film was interrupted by many who protested adding sound to a visual form of art. Wouldn’t this suffocate the possibility of thought and interpretation? Others attended the premiere out of curiosity. They saw the man in the screen standing, talking and singing as if he was among them; and they were moved by the singing as if they were in a live concert. Three years later, movie theaters stopped playing silent films, as the audience demanded sound, and found films incomplete without it.

After astonishment, familiarity slowly develops.. sometimes without us noticing. And familiarity has its own aesthetics. It is also able to affirm our feeling of harmony. But it soon needs to be disrupted again in order to revive the astonishment feeling. So, when movies started playing in color, objections and prejudices accompanied them: How do you cancel the black and white aesthetic and show real colors instead? Wouldn’t this limit the imagination and take away some of the charm? Still, people filled movie theaters with colorful astonishment and great imaginations. Every aesthetic revolution provokes disapproval and then sets new standards of beauty. Now is the time of three-dimensional cinema, and tomorrow will be the time of virtual reality cinema. The story keeps repeating itself with every new change: disruption, astonishment, familiarity, and then the need for disruption again.

The question now is what compels us to pursue disruption so passionately? What pushes us to recreate beauty in modern patterns? It’s a combination of curiosity and the desire to be astonished.. the desire to be moved and changed by beautiful things. Standards change and prejudices disappear; and what was once rejected and denounced can be admired in the future. Beauty can be seen and not noticed by many, until that one eye looks deeply into it and discovers the possible creative points of it, so it saves it and presents it to people; which will be followed by people wondering “how did we not see it before?” We often wonder about the source of beauty, and usually we don’t find an answer. This is why beauty cannot have set standards or associated with specific rules. Things that disrupt us with mysterious power are the only things that remain beautiful.