It’s a bit of a trap, this reluctance I have to halt a song in its middle. I have to wait until the track has finished before I hit the stop button. While I’m painting it’s not a problem but if I want to read or write I need silence. If I miss the end of a song, and that sweet spot before the next one begins, I am trapped into listening on. This can, sometimes, go on for a while, delaying my other tasks. Of course I have the power and the ability to override my tendency if necessary but I do find it hard.
I think it comes from a funny form of respect. Someone has crafted this song and to cut it off part way through is somehow disregarding their effort. Similarly, I also tend to buy songs in albums to get the full context and I don’t ever shuffle. The order of the songs was decided upon after long deliberation. Who am I to rearrange?
Does a similar thought process, weird though it is, apply to the visual arts too? Certainly the default setting of Instagram that crops your images to squares is something I make a point of bypassing. I want the whole painting pictured. The arrangement of works in an exhibition, the curating, does not happen by accident. It is a carefully orchestrated experience. You don’t judge the finished-ness of a painting by one section. The whole thing needs to be complete and satisfying. Books and shows devoted to one artist are more deeply moving for me than those containing just one or two works of many. You can immerse yourself much more readily in the former.
That’s all just me, though and I do recognise it’s a bit strange, particularly the song thing. Although, I think we all have a ‘thing’. What’s yours?