But Is It Art? – Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction

Every Wednesday we get a new picture prompt for the Friday Fictioneers, a writing challenge graciously hosted by our Fairy Blog Mother Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
The task of the challenge is to write a story: beginning, middle, and end, in 100 words or less. You can find all the Fictioneers’ stories when you click on the Froggy. Please read, comment, and if you like, join the fun. Everyone is welcome.


Image ©  J Hardy Carroll Used with permission for this Friday Fictioneers Challenge only. Any other use of this image requires J Hardy Carroll’s permission.


But Is It Art?

Bobby, what are you doing, you’ve been staring at this musical clock for hours.”

“I contemplate art. What is it? Why do it?”

“Do you want to learn how to paint?”

“Every robot can paint in every technique ever used. I can sing, dance… but that’s not art, that’s imitation.”

“It always starts with imitation. You need to learn the craft.”

“My technique is perfect. It’s the creativity I lack.”

“Your experience as a self-conscious robot is unique. Why don’t you write stories about that? About your feelings, disappointments, success?”

“Is creative writing an art?”

“Of course it is.”

(100 words)


I pledge

OF COURSE creative writing is an art. Does anyone doubt that?

Edit: I fell and hurt my arm last week, that’s making writing a bit painful. It’s nothing serious but prevents me from commenting on as many stories as I would like to comment on. I’ll skip this week’s challenge as well. Sorry.

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78 thoughts on “But Is It Art? – Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction

  1. Love the story; love that question; love that you put it in the mouth of a robot. But is creative writing art? I’d say in its original form of story-telling, it is the mother of all other creative arts, as old as language itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Art and language are something that defines a tribe and culture, but can also help with the understanding and uniting of different tribes and cultures. We all have our roots somewhere and send our shoots out from there, adapting, integrating, making new ideas our own and giving them our unique twists. Settling on the ‘already done, that’s the only way how to do it’ won’t move anyone forward. Bobby doesn’t know yet what these roots are for him. To be creative, he needs to accept his roots and find something that shows who he is in order to branch out. That’s how I see it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, a lot of these ‘android/robot/alien’ questions were explored in the Data story. But Data wanted to be human. I don’t think that’s what Bobby wants. He doesn’t know who he is yet. Neither do I, to be honest. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Data is one of my all-time favourites on Star Trek, right next to Spock. I haven’t seen Bicentennial Man, but wil now. Data wanted to be human and tired his hardest, most often in vain. I don’t think that’s what Bobby wants, but he doesn’t know what he is yet. Thank you Rochelle.

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  2. I can see this robot pondering the question, in endless loops.

    I thought at first, that you were going to address the craft/art distinction, one i often try to parse out with my daughter the former art student. I think getting too nit-picky about what art is and isn’t stifles the growth of budding artists and frustrates practitioners who have honed their skills without recognition for years.

    The fact is, it’s not up to this generation to decide. So we should all just do our best and be proud of that. Ephemera are what humans are best at creating, after all. One small dose of pleasure imparted is worth an ocean of praise and fame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Decorating something can be an art, too. At least that’s how I see it. Good, dedicated crafts people are artists. I totally agree that time will tell. As I discussed with crimsonprose above: art is defining cultures but also uniting them. It always has meaning and intent. I can express an identity or worship, or doing away with the old through my art. I always get angry when people show some abstract painting they don’t understand and claim that their three-year-old could have done that. Their three-year-olds didn’t do it, and they have no idea what’s behind the idea of the artist and don’t take the time to find out, so… Without someone who sees and reacts to the art, it’s also difficult. Sorry for the sermon, thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, Data explored all these important questions about art, emotions, procreation, and so on. He wanted to be as close to being human as possible, that drove his actions. I don’t think Bobby wants to be human though, he needs to find out who he is. When he has found his identity, he can explore his creativity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I do like Bobby, your robot! What a lovely, gentle philosopher he is, contemplating art wistfully, fearing he lacks creativity, searching for the niche that will enable him to sing his own song. It’s a portrait of many aspiring writers and artists I suspect.
    Lovely story, Gabi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Penny, you got it exactly. Bobby wants to ‘sing his own song’ and not imitate. Unlike Data, he doesn’t want to be human, but he needs to find out who he really is before he can tap into his unique version of creativity. It may be something humans can’t understand (at least I couldn’t envision unique robot art 😉 ).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your story and the associated comment have made me think. It looks increasingly likely that humans will eventually create self-aware AI that will be more intelligent than we are. That will mean that the creator gods will be inferior to their creation. What a fascinating speculation for a Sunday evening!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is an interesting idea indeed. But would we want their worship? Would they see us as god-like? Maybe it’d be more of a parent/child relationship with us, the parents, being proud of the smart kids–or scared of them. OO

          Liked by 1 person

  4. nice idea to have the robot and then you nicely presented wisdom here – in such a fun way.
    although I know folks who have technique and little creativity – and can be quite robotic.
    and this right here – is a powerful thing to know – and good teachers remind students this – that to get originality – it

    “always starts with imitation. You need to learn the craft.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Interesting question. I suppose then the programmer would be the artist, not the robot, because the programmer has the idea and brings it to life, no matter who does the work. Bobby is more ambitious. 🙂

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  5. Oh dear, that Bobby had to ask that last question has me wondering about how intelligent this AI is. However skilful Bobby might be, his interactions suggest he lacks soul and understanding of what creativity truly is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the answers to this question, what is creativity, what is art, are as countless as the attempts to actually do it. Bobby understands that he doesn’t have it (yet). Maybe he can learn, maybe he can’t. I wonder if we, as humans, could even begin to understand the creativity of another species.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. And it is true with any art I think, at least for many people. Not just writing. There is always someone better. But I have friends who say “Your such a great…whatever” and I say “No, i’m not. So and so..now that’s a great…whatever” This happened to me just yesterday but after your story I thought, well, I am a better (whatever) than my friend so this is why she thinks I am so great. She compares my skills to hers. And it goes on and on. (kinda like me…sorry 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think you’re absolutely right, and go on any time. 🙂 For mastering an art, we need to learn, and get inspiration from the masters. These days art is associated with money, which is only one tiny aspect, IMO.

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          1. Money complicates it. No matter what the art form. I have friends who are portrait photographers and once they started making it their business the loss the love for the art. Some have quit, some are stuck, then there are the few who thrive on the business side.
            They have that entrepreneurial spirit you need to make a living from the art.
            But then the money dictates the art.

            Liked by 1 person

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