This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Do you think an artist has the right to say what the 'best' or 'correct' interpretation of one of their creations is?
On the surface, it would seem the answer is an obvious yes. Duhh, they're the one that wrote the song/shaped the sculpture/shot the movie/etc, so OF COURSE they know what it's really about.
But the more I think about it (and that may be the issue right there ) that seems like an oversimplification.
I found a bunch of old DVD's cleaning out my bedroom over the last couple of days, and one of them is the acoustic concert One Cold Night by Seether, a band I quite love. I've had the concert on my mp3 player (it was a CD/DVD combo) for some time, but what I hadn't seen in at least a couple of years was the nearly hour-long interview session with the band held (I believe) afterwards, included on the DVD.
The interviewer asks Seether's frontman Shaun Morgan why he doesn't typically reveal what songs are about, and his answer kind of amazed me. He said "What if my explanation sucks?"
Mind = blown.
I was always aware of the sickeningly sweet ideal that "Oh, it means something different for every person!" But I always kinda questioned whether artists really believe that. "Yes, you think this song is about X, and that's just super, but it's really about Y."
And maybe Morgan still does think that and just didn't want to say so publicly. But it really got me to thinking. Later when discussing their then-current big hit "The Gift," Morgan said "People, stop asking me what it is, because I don't even know." That's pretty mind-blowing, too.
Ambiguity in art, when done properly (and here's one of my favorite examples for when it's not, though it seems I'm in the minority on that) can be awesome. Say what you will about the movie Cube, but when SPOILERZ the savant steps out of the cube into the shimmering white light beyond, and we're left wondering what all is there, with no direct resolution....doesn't that just capture your imagination? And no, it was not ruined by the sequels. Because those sequels never happened. Shut up, they didn't!
(Sorta kidding, but sorta not...the mediocre sequel and the absolutely abominable prequel, neither was directed by the guy who made the first, so why are their crappy explanations any better than yours or mine, let alone the original director's?)
I'm rambling and getting off point a little, but yeah. Do you think an artist's interpretation of their own work is best contextualized as just one of many such interpretations? Should an artist explain their work?
I know the common answers are probably going to be "maybe," "sometimes," and "it depends," so do tell what it depends on
I think about my own work - one of my screenplays largely centers on a relationship between a young man and woman. They profess the relationship to be strictly platonic, but there are ample implications they both feel more for another. It's left ambiguous. In my own vision (if I can say that without sounding like a complete pompous jackass), I believe the two really are just friends...but I wouldn't dream of saying that that's the end-all-be-all answer just because it's my answer.