Art on Trial

On Trial: Dark Side of the Rainbow (Dark Side of Oz)

The Facts:

-The psychadelic rock band Pink Floyd, at Abbey Road Studios, London, from June 1972 to January 1973, recorded the rock album The Dark Side of the Moon.
-It is claimed that said album can be used as an alternative soundtrack for the 1939 MGM motion picture The Wizard of Oz.
-Music from said album is allegedly synchronized with action from said movie, when said album is started on third roar of MGM lion, in said movie.
-Said album can be restarted at a later point in said movie to produce further synchronizations.
-This phenomenon is referred to as The Dark Side of the Rainbow; or, alternatively, as The Dark Side of Oz.

Question for Determination by the Jury:

Judge: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are asked to ponder the evidence presented to you here today, and to determine whether the act of composing music synchronized to popular motion pictures may be rightfully called a form of art.


Deliberate vs. Serendipitous Art

Defense Attorney: Quote, by Bob Dylan:

“The song was there before me, before I came along. I just sorta came down and just sorta took it down with a pencil, but it was there before I came around.”

Serendipitous art is said to be art that just happens, without design, not intended by its creator. Members of the band Pink Floyd have insisted that there was never any intention of designing an album that could serve as an alternative soundtrack for any motion picture. Dave Kopel, writing for Relix magazine in 1997, described the DSotR phenomenon using the Carl Jung term synchronicity. Jung used this term to describe how two causally unrelated events can parallel each other, without any intention by either to imitate the other.
Is this phenomenon known as Dark Side of the Rainbow, therefore, what one would call synchronicity, or serendipitous art? I call Expert Witness A to the stand.
Expert Witness A, why are you called an expert witness?

Expert Witness A: Back where I come from we have universities -seats of great learning -where men go to become great thinkers. When they come out, they think deep thoughts, and with no more brains than you have. But, they have one thing you haven’t got -a diploma.

Defense Attorney: Expert Witness A, I call your attention to Exhibit A –The Dark Side of the Rainbow. You may have noted that the album Dark Side of the Moon is simultaneously synchronized to two completely different parts of the same movie. In your expert opinion, would it not have been impossible to intentionally produce this effect, using the technology that was available to the band Pink Floyd in the year 1973?

Expert Witness A: Us and them . . . And after all, we’re only ordinary men.

Defense Attorney: Expert Witness A, some have described Dark Side of the Rainbow as coincidence;others have suggested it is all a trick of the mind; still others have described it as an example of Carl Jung’s synchronicity. I call your attention to the following article which analyzes these different assertions:

Dark Side of Oz: Coincidence, Apophenia or Synchronicity?

Defense Attorney: Having studied this article, Expert Witness A, would you describe Dark Side of the Rainbow as an example of Carl Jung’s synchronicity?

Expert Witness A: And everything under the sun is in tune . . . but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Art Must Make a Statement

Defense Attorney:Thank you, Expert Witness A; you may step down. I would now like to call Expert Witness B to the stand.
Expert Witness B, allow me to now quote William Butler Yeats:

“Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.”

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