Something becomes propaganda the moment you define the work prior to artistic creation.
“This is so, so the work must show this reality.”
It takes an already found conclusion that you believe to be true and seeks to manifest it, to represent it, in some form.
In the domain of the visual arts, this is literally illustration. You are not creating a painting with the core being itself, you are creating a painting where the core is this a priori thoughtform.
A discussion of propaganda in visual arts.
It’s propaganda because the evolutionary purpose of art, or at least, what has worked for us thus far, is something like the integration of chaos into order. Perhaps also the disintegration of tyrannical order into chaos (eg. The Trump Effect as manifest non-linearly in art?).
Propaganda doesn’t seek to integrate chaos, it seeks to take predefined order and manifest it in a communicable form masquerading as art. This is bad because it’s a deception. Art is associated with the holy in a sense, because art seems to be something like the first few steps of the articulation of chaos. We literally don’t have words yet, so art is that first manifestation into linear form (if it can ever even achieve that).
Stepping into chaos is a dangerous process and it can take a toll psychologically or physically (the existentialist, the individual who integrates their Jungian shadow, those who take real physical risks in their day-to-day lives, etc.).
When forms can be brought back from chaos, it is associated with the holy, because that form represents a genuine truth.
“The chaos is real, the truths are real. This truth is what this piece of chaos is.”
You can take the art, look into it, and see aspects, patterns, and information that will help you take the next step in your own life, and possibly facilitate your own chaos integration cycles. And as a result, we are all better off for it, we can all move forward because of it. When the individual moves forward on their journey, society reaps the rewards due to the network effect. We, as a society, can’t decide the path an individual must take. We can’t impose a journey on them. Their affinity to the stimuli within the reality they perceive and how they choose to interact with it will ultimately determine their journey.
So there’s a lot going on with art.
And when someone creates a naive, one-dimensional thoughtform and masquerades it as a non-linear form with countless variables, it’s deception.
Which is why we have defense mechanisms, probably the same ones we use when someone “smiles and nods” at us. We just have to be strong enough to not lie to ourselves when we detect it, instead of comforting ourselves by shutting away those subtle tells that detect deception (in order to force ourselves to perceive reality as we want it to be and not as how it actually is).
A better strategy may be to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. No use in being a complete pessimist, but no use in deluding yourself either.
So the point is, art can be propaganda or it can be exploration. Genuine art comes from an exploration that occurs in real time as you create. The next step is revealed to you on your journey of the creation of the art. Every micro-decision sort of unfolds and reveals itself to you as you go along. I think it’s something like that.
The conclusion isn’t something you decide before you create the art. It’s something you discover, if you ever manage to discover it, as you create it.
Which is probably why my approach of “film scoring” music to preconceived story forms failed or won’t work. Because I was crafting story as the core art form and then illustrating it via music. So the non-linear, multidimensional variables were captured in story form rather than musical form.
Film scoring can probably be an art instead of “illustration” (as I’m using the term in this post), but the canvas and the production is constrained to fit in the vibe of the story being told in the film. However, just like how photography leverages its canvas of angles, color, contrast, etc., to manifest its own forms, film scoring can capture chaos as well. It’s just potentially a different approach to music production than say, composition.