By Shai Samtaney
Tarantino created an entire scene in Pulp Fiction based on cheeseburgers! It worked like a dream and is forever considered a cult classic because it was branded as ‘pop culture’.
Take Divine’s ‘Baazigar’ remake. He takes a classic piece of music from Bollywood and resurrects it into his powerhouse of prose, he mixes it with meaningful grit, and voila! we have a piece of art.
Pop culture is all around us, in the form of imagery, music, literature, fashion, film, branding & design. Our brains are wired to recognize a striking tune, a famous logo, or even a piece of fast food. We can converse with a stranger on the last amazing book they’ve read or our favourite character from a web show. We can chat with our parents about the trends they lived in when they were growing up and can find iconic pop culture of their time.
When it comes to telling a story, with social media in today’s day and age, everyone is a storyteller. Through anecdotes, reels, instagram stories, quotes & quips. We are a generation that is standing on the shoulders of previous pop culture giants, unafraid to chop and change them as we please. Pause, edit, rewind, switch, deconstruct, and reconstruct. A self-referential generation injecting irony into our everyday memes, we have much to play with but what is our truth? What matters most is how authentic you are and how you weave your own story into the piece. You can draw from culture, but there is a need to speak your truth.
Every art form requires a unique standing in the space of creative outbursts. Pop culture has made it easier for us to look for ideas in everything & anything but the art of creating something that resonates well with our reality has become both difficult & easy. As there are stories all around on the internet, and there’s no doubt that all stories are wired but to make them stand out amongst the creative clutter, our unique style of expression is the need of the hour.
How well do you express yourself? How relevant can you make the story?
Can you take a piece of yourself and weave it into that story? The same story is not about pop culture but it is the story you want to tell where you draw from pop culture and it simply features thematically almost like a supportive cast in the piece.
Making a meme on the Will Smith Slapgate incident is an interpretation but it isn’t art. Now if you take that incident and centre a piece with your voice about the relevance of slap gate and how it could affect an entire generation in whatever medium of your craft of choice maybe -art- prose – music etc, that would make for art. Your voice, your way.
What worked for Tarantino wasn’t the fact that the world loves cheeseburgers, it was about how he wove a dialogue and an entire scene and created emotion and a story using an iconic fast food. Who would have thought of a cheeseburger as a subject for a scene?
Cultural elements are all around us and so are stories. When you use them to tell your story it has the potential to transpire into art for culture and stories are consumed, but art is forever admired as it stays in the eyes & minds of those who find it impactful.
The author is an co-founder and director of Jungle
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