ERIC Number: ED029578
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Mar-4
Reference Count: 0
Social Impact of New Directions in Art: "Soul," Living Theatre, Happenings, Etc.
Shiflett, James A.
The basic assumption of the "new direction" in art is that US society treats persons as fragmented slivers of themselves and not as whole human beings, and its social impact is therefore a struggle to live. A happening is an experience that jerks one into the awareness of his environment. Living theater challenges the restrictions placed upon us by laws, taboos, and mores, and its impact should be to cause serious questioning about our lives. "Soul" is the poetry of the urban culture that tells of the misery, loneliness, agony, and joy of a people, and requires the body's participation in song such as the communication of the blues to an audience with "singing" body movements (called body gyrations by the uninitiated). The arts are saying that US society needs to be jerked (happening), questioned and defied (living theater), and given an experience of what it means to be a whole, feeling person (soul). The aim of education may be defined as the preparation of students to participate as full human beings in society, but the educational systems of our urban centers are not making real education possible. The drop-out rate in the cities is approaching 50% of the student population. The only alternative for the educational system would seem to be the experiential tools of the arts in the hard core curriculum, so that students may begin to sense their wholeness and urban society may experience what it means to be human. (WM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Association for Higher Education, Washington, DC.
Note: Paper presented at the 24th National Conference on Higher Education, Chicago, Illinois, March 4, 1969