The Creator VS The Creation

Forum organization and occasional community-building.
Forum rules
Questions about Ren'Py should go in the Ren'Py Questions and Announcements forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Caveat Lector
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 am
Completed: Colette and Becca
Projects: Rainbow Love (HIATUS), The Haunting of Blackbird School, Cry of the Roses [TBA]
Organization: Velveteen Rabbit Productions
Deviantart: Velveteen-Rabbit-CL
itch: caveat_lector
Location: My chair
Contact:

The Creator VS The Creation

#1 Post by Caveat Lector » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:04 pm

How many of you believe in the basic concept of "death of the author"? Do you believe that an author's word on the intentions behind their work and message should be absolute? Or that once a work is out there it's open for interpretation regardless of the author's intention? For that matter, what do you do when you find out the original author behind a work you enjoy is actually kind of a shitty person? Do you still enjoy the work and try to keep the creator and creation separate? Or does whatever they've done instantly taint the work for you?
Reader Beware!


The Haunting of Blackbird School: In Progress

Colette and Becca: Complete

User avatar
MaiMai
Yandere
Posts: 1757
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:04 pm
Completed: [Phase Shift]
Projects: [ None ]
Organization: Paper Stars
Tumblr: maiscribbles
Deviantart: maiscribble
Location: USA, Southern California
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#2 Post by MaiMai » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:29 pm

I find that "death of the author" is often used as a crappy excuse for people to interpret a work even when their interpretation contradicts the very content of the creation. While I don't feel the need to adhere to an author's intentions and message all the time, I think it's enough to acknowledge what those are and why instead of disregarding it in favor of my own imposed opinion.

And I tend to keep a creator and creation separate since I think bad people can make wonderful things (such as Lord Byron; charismatic and handsome, but volatile and unstable. Still wrote wonderful and romantic poems.)
Image COMMISSIONS AVAILABLE (check Tumblr sidebar)

User avatar
sasquatchii
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:48 am
Completed: A Day in the Life of a Slice of Bread
Deviantart: sasquatchix
Soundcloud: sasquatchii
itch: sasquatchii
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#3 Post by sasquatchii » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:03 pm

I have never heard of the phrase "death of the author", but I don't think that an author's intention/intended message is absolute. Because, unfortunately, when we write a story and release it into the world, we can't be right there looking over the reader's shoulder to tell them how to interpret things.

"Oh, no, you're interpreting that wrong."

is something I would never say to anyone who took the time to read my writing. Because there are all sorts of people from various cultures/walks of life that might read, sometimes they're going to take things differently than the way you'd imagined in your head. And that's okay! There are so many complex layers and elements within a story, that I'd be surprised if people didn't misinterpret things sometimes. And I'm using the word 'misinterpret' loosely here. Just because they take something differently than the author intended doesn't mean their interpretation is wrong or less valid.

As for meeting creators that are jerks, can't say I've met too many writers I didn't like. Although unfortunately I can't say the same of artists/designers (I went to school to study design with thousands of other kids). If I meet an artist and realize he's a jerk, it ruins everything for me. On a logical level, I know I shouldn't let it get to me like that, that the work is not the artist. But I have a hard time enjoying the work afterwards. Wish I could separate the two, but it's hard for me.
ImageImageImage

User avatar
Asceai
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1258
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:13 am
Projects: a battle engine
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#4 Post by Asceai » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:32 pm

Um, both? I don't believe in putting words in the author's mouth. If you say that this book is an allegory to the Industrial Revolution you'd better be damn sure. On the other hand, I believe that different people can get different things out of a story. I know a lot of authors ascribe to the belief that the meaning of their work is what their audience interprets it as and as such refuse to state anything outright as fact for fear of hampening that. I also believe works must outlive their authors and continue to be interpreted even when the author is not around. So, yes I do. If the author says their work is about something, it's about that. If the author says their work isn't about something else, it's not about that. The author gets final say as to what the meaning of their story is, but you can interpret what you like and perhaps see something deeper in a story than the author consciously intended. Given that much of writing is driven by the subconsciousness and you may have spotted links that exist but the author did not consciously deduct, you may still be right even if the author disagrees with you.

Hopefully that made sense.

Caveat Lector
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 am
Completed: Colette and Becca
Projects: Rainbow Love (HIATUS), The Haunting of Blackbird School, Cry of the Roses [TBA]
Organization: Velveteen Rabbit Productions
Deviantart: Velveteen-Rabbit-CL
itch: caveat_lector
Location: My chair
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#5 Post by Caveat Lector » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:34 pm

sasquatchii wrote:As for meeting creators that are jerks, can't say I've met too many writers I didn't like. Although unfortunately I can't say the same of artists/designers (I went to school to study design with thousands of other kids). If I meet an artist and realize he's a jerk, it ruins everything for me. On a logical level, I know I shouldn't let it get to me like that, that the work is not the artist. But I have a hard time enjoying the work afterwards. Wish I could separate the two, but it's hard for me.
I'm thinking less along the lines of "creators being jerks" (though if we're including them, I'd be happy to add Stanley Kubrick to the list--he made some great movies but he's infamous for psychologically abusing his actors--and that's not hyperbole); it's more along the lines of, say, H.P. Lovecraft--he wrote stories like this (which got me hooked onto his writing)...but he also said shit like this:
The whole U.S. negro question is very simple. (1) Certainly the negro is vastly the biological inferior of the Caucasian.
And that's one of the nicer things he had to say about race. Ultimately, though, I do somewhat share your position in your last two sentences--separating the creator from the creation is something I'm still trying to do, and I think I'm getting better at it, slowly but surely.
Reader Beware!


The Haunting of Blackbird School: In Progress

Colette and Becca: Complete

User avatar
kitsubasa
Regular
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:29 pm
Projects: Inverness Nights
Tumblr: kitsubasa
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#6 Post by kitsubasa » Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:57 am

In theory, I believe in death of the author (I'm majoring in media studies at university right now-- half the time, media studies is just proposing alternate meanings to works); in practice I find myself accidentally privileging author's intent over other interpretations. In my case, I really like the theories death of the author can bring into play. For example, in an English/Media crossover paper I did earlier this year, I got to read an article which hypothesized that Dracula was an allegory for Oscar Wilde, and that all vampires that mimic Dracula's traits are thusly mimicking Wilde as well. Without death of the author, you can't toss aside Bram Stoker's writing on why he created Dracula and probe for the deeper potential causes, and a lot of fun speculation is staked prematurely. But on the other hand, with death of the author, you have to dismiss a lot of writing from the creators that gives interesting depth to their writing. From one situation to another, death of the author can either aid interpretation, or hinder it; I know you're supposed to be either for or against it and stick to your guns to be a decent critic... but I find it difficult to do that, haha.

Also, re; separating creator and creation. It sucks when a cool story is written by a less-than-cool author, but on the flipside, the juxtaposition between creator and creation can be really interesting. You can start contrasting their creative output against their personal life and interpret a lot of things about one or the other, and the puzzles you can put together from that can be really fun. Even if you disregard their opinions on their work thanks to death of the author, they will always be part of the creative puzzle-- just maybe not the part they wanted!
Image

User avatar
Taleweaver
Writing Maniac
Posts: 3428
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:51 am
Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#7 Post by Taleweaver » Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:33 am

Just so that we're on the same page, the term "death of the author" comes from this essay by Roland Barthes. Barthes said:
"To give a text an Author" and assign a single, corresponding interpretation to it "is to impose a limit on that text."
This view has certain advantages:

1) It allows for literary criticism from viewpoints that didn't exist during the time of the writer. For example, I can read Shakespeare's dramas from a feminist point of view even though there were no feminists in his time. When I interpret Berenice from "Much Ado About Nothing" as a positive role-model for women today, I can't simply debunked by someone saying "but that's not what Shakespeare intended when he wrote her".

2) It eliminates the possibility that the author may have been lying when stating his intention about his text, or overlooking the implications. If I write a story about a Palestinian housemaid working for a rich Israeli and constantly getting abused by her employers, I can't just say "I meant to show the suffering of women working for minimum wage in general". You can analyze my story as a metaphor for the situation of Palestinians in Israel; the fact that I claim it isn't about that changes nothing.

3) Speaking strictly as a writer now, I find it interesting to hear what people think about my stories without telling them what I expect them to think. So even though I do have a certain intention when writing, I don't think it's any more relevant than what my readers get out of my stories on their own.

In short: death of the author? I'm all for it. ^_^
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman
Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming
Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year
Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift
More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira

User avatar
Sharm
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 558
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 4:39 pm
Projects: Twin Crowns, Weather Wizard
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#8 Post by Sharm » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:34 am

As a reader the author's intention has a pretty high standing compared to other interpretations. I also think knowing the character of the author can add some depth to the work. Creative sorts often put together work that is more than they are, so a jerk author doesn't bother me too much. A super awesome author doesn't really add anything either. The interpretation that matters the most to me, though, is the one that's the most logically sound and supported by the text. Mostly that means what the author intended but sometimes the author isn't as good at extrapolating things when they're not actually writing the idea out or sometimes they'll introduce continuity errors or some other problem so there's room for a better interpretation.

As a writer I think it's important to understand that your audience taking an active role in your story is a good thing. I can have opinions on what was intended, but they are only opinions, not fact. What my readers bring to the experience is part of the writing process, no work is finished if it is never read. You shut yourself out of more than just a good relationship with your readers when you stop considering them, the work as a whole will suffer.
Works in Progress: Twin Crowns | Weather Wizard

User avatar
truefaiterman
Veteran
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 6:22 pm
Completed: EVOLVEd: Echoes of the Codex War. [ASH] The Seeds of Destruction
Projects: One Night of [SNOW], Stained with Magic
Deviantart: truefaiterman
Location: Spain, and without bullfighting!
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#9 Post by truefaiterman » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:52 pm

More thumbs up for the Death of the Author.

BUT. While I do believe in the concept and the idea that, once released, a work may have a lot of interpretations, and different readers may see different messages within the same work, that doesn't mean the extremes taken from time to time (which are more like "I PREFFER the story to work my way, so I don't care what the author says even if it's contradicting written facts).

It's not the same saying that:

-Blade Runner example
The main character may be a replicant.
Than saying this:

-Death Note example
L is absolutely alive and everything was his plan all along.
Artist and voice actor, trying to actually write stuff.

Image



ArtStation portfolio
Youtube channel

Recent finished projects:

Image Image

User avatar
Taleweaver
Writing Maniac
Posts: 3428
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:51 am
Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#10 Post by Taleweaver » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:05 am

For those of you uncomfortable with excluding the author from the interpretation of a text entirely, there's the implied author. This technique is not about looking at the author as a historical person but as the sort of person that is revealed by looking at his writings instead.
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman
Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming
Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year
Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift
More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira

User avatar
TrickWithAKnife
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#11 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:54 am

Bad people are capable of creating things that are not inherently evil.

If we were to concern ourselves with the temperaments of creators with whom we will never have any direct contact, I suspect there would be very little in the way of art in the world.

The exception would be if the person had done something so terrible that you feel they should be boycotted.



Regarding misinterpretation, if that is really something that concerns any kind of creator, they should try to have more contact with their fanbase.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

User avatar
trooper6
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 3612
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 pm
Projects: A Close Shave
Location: Medford, MA
Contact:

Re: The Creator VS The Creation

#12 Post by trooper6 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:14 pm

I'm all for the Death of the Author. However, there are nuances to my position.
But first to decentering the Author's intentions. I don't think it is good to exclusively privilege author's intentions for the following reasons.
1) It leads to really bad criticism. I don't like grading papers that are basically this: "Etta James said in an interview (cite) that she always feels the same deep emotional pain whenever she sings 'At Last' as she did the first time she sang it. Therefore it is true." That is just not interesting at all.
2) There are many authors whose intentions we will never know. And actually people derive meaning from works of art without knowing the intentions all the time. So that is clearly not the only way that meaning is derived.
3) There are authors who lie about their intentions, to others or even just to themselves. When Leni Riefenstahl said that her film Triumph of the Will was not Nazi propaganda because she didn't intend it to be...well...I suspect she is lying there to cover her butt after the fact. But even if she isn't lying and she really didn't intend to make propaganda...
4) Authors can fail to realize their intentions. If Leni Riefenstahl really didn't intend to create propaganda (which, again, I don't actually believe), then she failed miserably at that intention. Because everybody sees the film as Nazi propaganda, including the Nazis themselves. Which leads to...
5) Over-reliance on authorial intent ignores the way that the art is actually used by audiences....the effect it is having. Bruce Springsteen may have meant Born in the USA to have been critical of the US, but he was unsuccessful in getting that message across (I would argue because of the anthemic nature of the music he composed underneath his lyrics and the way the chorus has no critical text) and the song he wrote was used by both Reagan and HW Bush in their campaign rallies as an anthem praising the US.

So, in my scholarship and teaching, I follow a semiotic model, especially as written about by a philosopher named Nattiez, that posits that meaning of a thing comes from both the producer (various authors) and the receiver (the audience)...and that all of this is culturally and historically contingent.

The author, using the codes of her time and place, crafts the piece. The elements the author puts into the piece influences the possible readings the receiver can take from it. And then the receiver upon encountering the art creates meaning, influenced by the codes the author put into the piece and their own historical and cultural position.

Or as Paul McCartney once said, you don't control the meaning of your artwork once you put it out into the world.

As for liking things by odious people...that is tricky. I have a few different positions.
Spending money is political, it is also a form of patronage. I will not spend money to subsidize someone whose politics I think are odious. So, I will not give Orson Scott Card any money regardless of the quality of the work. I have long wanted to write on Neo Nazi pop music...but I don't want to buy their albums and give them money.

Now what if the author is dead and therefore won't economically benefit from me buying their stuff? Then I have a few more options. There are many authors whose odious positions are indeed embedded within their work--Wagner comes to mind. I can't really enjoy Wagner, especially after reading his Judaism in Music essay. I still teach Wagner, and I'll still critically engage with Wagner...but I can't like his work. If the author is truly heinous...I find myself unable to really enjoy consuming that work.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users