Functionality Over Taste

This weekend, I attended a conference with a group called InterVarsity, which took place in enemy territory. That’s right, I went to East Lansing, home of MSU. Besides the fact that I was unable to wear anything from the maize side of my closet and I saw a LOT of green, I noticed a few things about the hotel I stayed in.

Pointed out to me by my (new) friend Mary, art student extraordinaire, the conference center and hotel was beautiful. From the way the sinks were designed, to the calming waterfall welcoming guests into what will hopefully be a home away from home, the layout was appealing, stylish, and modern. I noticed small touches, such as the way the comfortable chairs were placed near large windows, were the sunlight could filter in and provide a pleasant atmosphere when having a chat with friends. I enjoyed the placement of a revolving door, optional next to the regular door yet still an instillation that made the institution feel like a hotel. Yes, as Mary said, the architecture was great.

So that makes it artful, right?

When going to wash my hands, I had no idea where to place the complimentary bar of soap. When I found it could be tucked between the faucet handle and the raised edge of the sink, I felt proud…until it slipped of back into the sink.

Put on, slip off.

Put on, slip off.

The fountain, while gorgeous, spanned two stories. The water fell from the main lobby into the garage floor, into a pool with…what kind of sculpture? Really, what is that supposed to be? Did they actually pay money for that?

And why in the world would I want to look at a bale of hay right before I’m supposed to slip into pleasant dreams filled with friendship, laughter and rainbows? Hay is not particularly calming to me. In fact, I really don’t like hay (too many encounters on Rodeo Day. This is what I get for growing up in Texas).

All of these things culminated into a single question that both my friend Mary and another friend of mine Dean posed: Does art HAVE to have a reason?

In this case, I would solidly argue with yes, since a hotel is primarily functional rather than artful. I’m not sure if I necessarily agree all the time, but every time I’ve encountered art, either in audio or visual form, it’s made a clear statement. Deep? Maybe not. But a clear idea, theme, statement, whatever you have it? Yeah.

So I’m not sure what statement the bale of hay was trying to make. But hopefully, it was making a statement, and I just happened to miss it.

Jeannie Marie

A Venn Diagram of hipster music, sappy romantic comedies, nerd culture, adorable puppies, film trivia, totally not rigged awards shows, random illustritive quotes with a dash of not-quite-there-yet charm.

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