Umberto Eco & the Open Work

Umberto Eco wrote an entire book about the idea of Open Work. I just present you here this idea, as a seed, that a “work” has an openness.

A work “appears” like this or like that, but has a number of ways of being read (seen, viewed, watched, decoded, interpreted, appreciated, contemplated, analyzed). This seems obvious for the sheet music, the score, or for a play, right?

  1. There’s maybe an “obvious” openness, a prescribed way to read a work, but it can be a little more vague, like a set of possibilities – until complete crypticness : find what you can, if you dare to do it, then.
  2. Some elements are often chosen by the artist to let the audience appropriate the work their way, but not “that” their way. Symbolic novels are obviously made for this purpose (Kafka is an example given by Eco).
  3. Opened or not, some people do what they want with a piece of work. It’s a whole decision, it requires culture, or tools, or ways of finding things.
  4. Some works, this way, can be enriched by a clever spectator, who would be delighted by elements, details, structures… the artist himself ignore!
  5. In classical music or theater, there’s a place between the work (the score) and the audience. The players (or the actors) have a big role about “how they see it”. But after that level, the audience will also interpret things…
  6. We probably want to find bonds between the work we study and our own searches, flaws, experiences…
  7. Add yours in the comments, please?

 

Tool : If you work out of the “artistic field”, in blogging, marketing, conversation, fashion, coaching, I’m sure you consider many parameters. You can make a list, right? Timeline, colours, variety, energy, waits, etc, there are many levers to pull. But have you considered the “openness” of what you propose?

 

Thanks for reading!

“Nommer un objet c’est supprimer les trois quarts de la jouissance du poème, qui est faite du bonheur de deviner peu a peu : le suggérer . . . voila le rêve”

“To name an object is to suppress three-fourths of the enjoyment of the poem, which is composed of the pleasure of guessing little by little: to suggest . . . there is the dream”

Mallarmé

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