Provocative Art vs Distractive Art

I was watching a Zach Sang Show interview with Halsey on her “new” single that had come out at that time, “Without Me”, and during the interview, she made a statement that really took me back and made me think.

She made a statement about how there were two types of music: provocative music and distractive music. To paraphrase, she basically said that provocative music made you think about yourself and the world around you, while distractive music distracts you from the world and problems. She said how both were necessary and that she sees her single, “Without Me” as a provocative record compared to her conceptual album, inspired by Baz Lurman’s film adaptation and interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julie, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.

Halsey’s Interview with The Zach Sang Show

“I’ve always said there’s like two types of music though, there’s music that…music that was provocative and music that is distracting.”

Halsey in interview with The Zach Sang Show

This statement just really made me think about art and its purpose. It got me looking into different forms and expressions of art; paintings, literature, music, poetry, drawings, sculptures, speeches, etc. It made me look at pieces of art and ask myself, “Is this suppose to provoke me to think about reality or distract me away from reality?”

What is Provocative Art?

Provocative art is art that makes you question yourself and the world around you. How you see the world and what makes your truth. It makes you look at yourself, whether it be your life, soul, path, etc. It makes you really reflect and make whatever that art is trying to convey tie into your reality or speak some truth about your reality. For example, Halsey’s song, “Without Me”, is a provocative record that makes people reevaluate their relationships (intimate/romantic, friendships, family, etc.). It’s about someone (her) giving so much of herself but not getting that same energy back. It’s about investing in a relationship but the other person is not as invested as the other.

Provocative art allows a conversation, a discussion with your mind, soul, and heart about your life. It’s a moment for you to reflect yourself.

This form of art is meant to help you see the world and provide a chance to discuss it. Art that reflects the human condition, human experience, culture, politics, and just what is going on in the world is considered provocative.

What is Distractive Art?

Distractive art is the fantasy and the escape from reality. It allows people to escape their world and distract themselves from whatever worry or thing they don’t want to think about. It allows certain freedoms and seeks escape from reality’s attempt to censor our imagination.

Distractive art is the escapism; the form of art that is make believe and takes you to a different universe. It can be books like the Twilight Saga , movies like Star Wars, tv show Game of Thrones, cosplaying anime, and even music like Halsey’s concept album with gun fights, car crashes, and whirlwind romance ideas. It oftentimes glorifies, romanticizes, exaggerates, and filters the real world into a lens of something we wish was.

Distractive art allows escapism and a fantasy form of imagination that is not in the real world. It allows us to escape the real world’s limitations and just have a moment of blissful escape.

This form of art helps us remember that reality is only what we make of it. That life is more than just what we view within our lens of five senses and understanding of the world.

Why this Matters

Provocative art and Distractive art are both needed and necessary in the world. They both serve a heavy purpose in the human experience and the way human beings express themselves and create art.

Provocative art helps us see the world and reality while Distractive art helps us escape the world and reimagine the world with less limitations.

Look at the art around you? What music do you listen to and what is the message you take away from it? What books or tv shows do you take in and why do you like them?

Looking at what type of art you have in your life and categorizing them either by provocative art or distractive art can help you know more about yourself. It allows you reflect into a bit about your reality and what your fantasies are. These types of arts showcase your view of reality and your imagination.

Provocative art and Distractive art can help you learn more about yourself: your truth and your fantasy.

Any thoughts? Anything to add? Feel free to comment down below and share!


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