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WTF is Avant Garde?

What does it even really mean?

By Shelby Hagood Published 2 months ago 3 min read

The term avant garde should be simple enough. It means new and exciting, but it is just as confusing. Who decides what is new in art that is breaking the barriers and what is just plain bad? It is wonderful to have an art style that is pushing the boundaries. Sometimes it is where this is planned and other times... not so much. An accident happens or someone couldn't come up with something so they scratch nonsense together and call it avant garde. In the area of fashion and painting, it can be much easier to visually see what is avant garde. The structure and material of outfits in fashions become all new. Art starts using technology, lights, and sounds to help the piece flourish.

Within the world of writing, avant garde is not always as easy to see as this. There can either be a visual, a concept, or both. I once read a book in 2012 that had a style to it that was where it looked like a bunch of pictures and pieces of notebook paper put together and copied from a page. It was a fun and unconventional way to have the story that made it exciting to read more than a regular novel, especially if there was sections where you could write or add your own creations. The visual of that was clear. Just the same as an interactive book like The Jolly Postman that lets you pull actual letters out of envelopes to read.

Interactive books have gone from just being for children to adults also. As far as plot concept, there once was a novel writer in where two readers had to come together to find the rest of the story because they could only find the first couple of chapters (House of Leaves). In this book maybe the author just couldn't finish any of his stories, so he then had to go around this with a new concept and call it avant garde. Is one word on a page just wasting paper? Is notes from the author at the bottom just distracting? Is a book like this only for the horror genre or can a romance novel have wild and stamped writing?

There was a play that I participated in when I took acting in college. It was where there was random noises, accents, strange words, and props thrown into that didn't really make much sense to me. I remember that people praised it for being so new and avant garde. I myself did not enjoy performing in it because it was such random goofery that it did not really provide a point. Others seemed to disagree and believed that it did. It felt to me someone could have just handed me a paper that said "put on a silly costume and make beep noises while bouncing around the stage," and it would have felt the exact same as that play book I purchased for class.

A common way to write today, especially on the internet is to talk to the reader as if they are a close friend. This was new at some time, but has now become apart of the norm. What about using AI? Was that avant garde when it first came out or did everyone pick up the train of using it too much for it to even be new in the first place? When is something a trend and when is it just a great shocker that doesn't stay around for too long? Do we even have any new ideas any more to have avant garde writing? We are yet to see!


About the Creator

Shelby Hagood

Warner Bros and Disney 💕

Cat lover 🐱

Love fancy chocolate 🍫

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Comments (1)

  • shanmuga priya2 months ago

    Interesting to know.

Shelby Hagood Written by Shelby Hagood

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