The Wet-Dry Theorem

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Amongst my seemingly insane rambling throughout quarantine to my 3 roommates – me, myself, and I – I have thought through many ideas of art and mediums as a whole. One of the many ideas rattling in my head like a coin in a panhandling cup, was something similar to the ideas brought up by McLuhans but in a slightly different way. While McLuhan chose the terms “hot and cold” like a normal functioning human, the synesthesia in my brain dictated I use “wet and dry”.

The differences between my ideas and McLuhans are subtle, but do have a key difference in the fundamental comparison of mediums. McLuhan assigned hot or cold to the participation of the audience to a medium, usually in reference to the fidelity of the medium correlating to the engagement of the viewer. I, on the other hand, assigned wet and dry based on the depth of the art in the medium. Meaning, how far does one have to think to read between the lines.

Usually, in my head, I automatically assign wet and dry to nearly everything. Sometimes there are reasons to why something wet or dry to me, sometimes it is completely random. Now before you get the wrong idea and your mind slips into not school appropriate places, when I say “wet” the more accurate way of saying it is referring to hydration. Meaning when I am surrounded by blue light, am in the cold, or am looking at the number 20, I feel hydrated (regardless of how hydrated i really am). Verses when I am surrounded by red light, am in the state of Hawaii, or see the number 15, I feel dehydrated. So when i say something is wet or makes me feel wet, you know i mean hydrated (its easier to say something is wet than “hydrated” or “hydrating”).

So in reference to the ideas of mediums, I typically came to the assignment that mediums that require a lot of thought, reading of subtext, interpretation, and analysis, are usually dry. Verses mediums that require very little thinking, interpretation, or analysis end up being wet. For example something like a modern art sculpture would be a very dry medium, then a typical Rom-Com is very wet (no pun intended, but noted). Very generally movies are very wet to me considering they are very up front, you view it, it goes into your brain and you just accept it as what it is, less interpreting than modern art installations or poetry. Then again, within movies there are very dry movies like Pulp Fiction where if you lazily/passively watch it, you’ll end it not knowing what the hell is going on. Then something like The Lion King is more of a wet movie where you can understand everything from the movie in a vague first viewing.

Now, this is not to say being wet or dry is an indicator of if a medium or individual art is good or bad. It is more so just an indicator to me what thing requires more brain power. This helps when recommending things and so I know what is something I can have on in the background or if I need to turn everything off and give my full attention.

Now, comparing my wet and dry method to McLuhans hot and cold, I think my method takes into account the critique from the PBS video on the subject where it was pointed out McLuhan forgets the individual in how it effects the medium. My method of labeling things as wet and dry is more so dependent on how the viewer interacts with the medium directly instead of Mcluhan labeling mediums based on how the medium interacts with us.

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