On the word “Experimental”

The word “experimental” attracts me. I am interested in deviation (and I enjoy the sense of science [and thus procedure] that can come with the word). I would say that I am interested in reading (and writing) the experimental.

But as with “beauty,” “experimental” can be primarily subjective.

I wish to advocate use of the word “experimental” but to also suggest willingness for elaboration. If you use the word, go onward to explain in what way something is experimental. Otherwise, the adjective may not be informative.

If I lament the meaninglessness of the word “experimental,” I must by extension lament the meaninglessness in other words that involve relativity. I acknowledge this, and I lament.

I lament that “experimental” is used as if it is self-explanatory, as if the adjective does not abstractly represent a wide category. The word “experimental” is not precise—and there is nothing wrong with that in itself, but this imprecision is awkward when that alone is used (to describe work or desired work).

The experimental is not only work that “looks the part”: work with unusual structure/punctuation/form. I certainly embrace (and make) such work, but I want to also emphasize that the experimental is not superficial. How a work is made may make it experimental—a method-based procedure, for instance. In short, do not judge whether or not a work is experimental by its looks.

Do not have a simplistic conception of what is experimental. For this word to reach its full potential, it must be allowed to be complex. Let us not fear that complexity.