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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 1198  

post #17956 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

A tradesman, or craftsman, tends toward making functional items that serve largely a practical purpose. Whereas the purpose of art is to be art, and any other function it has is secondary.

 

Headphones have a function of reproducing sound. Are the different signatures of audio gear just different implementations of design, or are they particular aesthetics or interpretations of sound? If we regard the function of a headphone as purely to reproduce an audible sound, then we would all be using the original Beyerdynamic. If we regard the function of a headphone as the reproduction of sound in a 'nice' way, we are already slathering on layers of subjectivity and interpretation. Even in this case art and function are interlinked. We call this design.

 

Sometimes it was said that Steve Jobs was a great artisan. Is this because he made functional design? Can function itself be so elegant that it becomes artistic?

 

The function of art is to communicate, to evoke, to question, etc. There are effective ways and ineffective ways to do all these things, so art can indeed be assessed in terms of its successful function. We perform this assessment of function all the time. Every movie review does this. We do this every time we read a book and tell a friend, or press the "Like" button on a Youtube clip. The wonderful thing is that because this is entirely subjective, we can have endless arguments about the merit of an artwork in the same way we can have arguments about the merit of sporks or a Ferrari or the Abyss.

 

Just because the message communicated by art is sometimes difficult to recognise or discern, does not mean that art is an inscrutable thing with no function. I think the attitude that art is non-functional is the kind of scientism that makes this entire topic such rich grounds of debate.

 

If a drug makes you happy, and a film makes you sad, what makes the drug functional and the film not? 

post #17957 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coq de Combat View Post

Microsoft is buying Nokia. Who was it that predicted that?

 

It must have come up when we were talking about the Nokia 1020 surely. I always liked the analogy that Nokia and Microsoft were like the two lonley folks who hook up because they are the only ones left on the dancefloor, but now it seems more like a shotgun marriage.

post #17958 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

 

It must have come up when we were talking about the Nokia 1020 surely. I always liked the analogy that Nokia and Microsoft were like the two lonley folks who hook up because they are the only ones left on the dancefloor, but now it seems more like a shotgun marriage.

I can see that. Unfortunately, Nokia chose the "wrong" path not going with Android. I'm interested though, to see what Microsoft can make with Nokia.

post #17959 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coq de Combat View Post

I can see that. Unfortunately, Nokia chose the "wrong" path not going with Android. I'm interested though, 

+1 I would buy an android nokia in an heartbeat............... 

post #17960 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

A tradesman, or craftsman, tends toward making functional items that serve largely a practical purpose. Whereas the purpose of art is to be art, and any other function it has is secondary.

This is true, however fails to account for applied arts. On the other hand there are some that say that the art in applied ats is that which cannot be accounted for by function.

I tend to agree with art vs craft distinction around intent, where art has intended meaning beyond illustration, craft etc.

I like what Lauchlan was saying about the audience wanting to understand how an artwork came to be or the aspect of narrative. On the other hand even if a singular message is delivered people will react differently. I can see this being an issue in art criticism.
post #17961 of 21760

Hey I made contributor! :D

 

*breaks out the ginger beer*

post #17962 of 21760

Congrats !

post #17963 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

But you might not ever know for sure what the artist intended. You cannot read the artist's mind. You could ask but the artist may not even know themselves, or they may be lying. This is why we were discussing Soviet Realism a few posts back.

Even if the ''message" of the work was given to you in some easily digestible form it is unlikely that this would give you the same totality of experience and context that accompanies the narrative of the work. You telling me about the driftwood dolphin doesn't convey to me the experience of seeing it, and seeing it doesn't really convey the experience of crafting it and bringing it to life.

At the basic level this is why the basic debate about the subject and the object has raged on for thousands and thousands of years.

And if your test for whether or not something is a legitimate message is whether or not it was consciously considered, you have already diverged from the general way most human beings interpret or understand anything. We infer so many things through leaps of association, memory, odd loops of logic, intuition - and then tend to justify it afterwards with some rationalised statement.

We think something is beautiful not because something has a natural property of beauty. We think it is beautiful because of some thing or feeling which originates from within ourselves, influenced by external factors. You cannot really say that this is something that the artist has transmitted to you. The artist cannot know your reaction. But you share a mutual affinity because of similar language systems, neuropsychology, cultural context, etc.

At a basic level, you only need to ask yourself - how does language work? Why does a word that sounds like the sound 'pipe' make you think of a pipe? Why does the shape of a bunch of wood and colours make you think of a discrete object of a pipe?

A tree has no intention of communicating the idea "I am a tree" to you. But you look at it and think "tree". Does a picture of a tree have the intention of saying "I am a tree" to you?


A fun read on the topic of why we think what we think  is Neil Kahnemans "Thinking Fast and Slow".  Very little of what we think is not pre influenced.

post #17964 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

Hey I made contributor! :D

 

*breaks out the ginger beer*

Congrats beerchug.gif

post #17965 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post


A fun read on the topic of why we think what we think  is Neil Kahnemans "Thinking Fast and Slow".  Very little of what we think is not pre influenced.

 

I should check that out but I am about 20 deep in books I am supposed to read. *sigh*

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veyrongatti View Post

Congrats beerchug.gif

 

Sankyu. I feel like an invisible hand has reached out to pat me on the back.

 

That or it's Warren being all creepy, The Conjuring style.

post #17966 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

 

I should check that out but I am about 20 deep in books I am supposed to read. *sigh*

 

 

Sankyu. I feel like an invisible hand has reached out to pat me on the back.

 

That or it's Warren being all creepy, The Conjuring style.


It's a pretty quick read. I recommend it to any one dealing with perceptual issues (that being the entire human race, but arts influenced persons in particular). It will trully fascinate you and give new perspective on how folks relate to your vids.

post #17967 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

Hey I made contributor! biggrin.gif

*breaks out the ginger beer*

Awesome, I'm glad to see your contributions being recognised!
post #17968 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

A fun read on the topic of why we think what we think  is Neil Kahnemans "Thinking Fast and Slow".  Very little of what we think is not pre influenced.

 

Well, it was $5 for the Kindle ed, so I just bought it. Will let you know what I think :)

post #17969 of 21760
Thread Starter 

One of the best reads for me last year was Zizek's summa, Less Than Nothing. In typical fashion he culls his examples from everywhere. The commentary on art however really stuck a chord with me.

 

Take for instance this question of audience. Should an artist consider his or her audience? Is the artist responsible to the audience? Are we to even hope there is an audience in the first place?

 

Schoenberg still hoped that somewhere there would be at least one listener who would truly understand his atonal music. It was only his greatest pupil, Anton Wbern, who accepted the fact that there is no listener, no big Other to receive the work and properly recognize its value. In literature, James Joyce still counted on future generations of literary critics as his ideal public, claiming that he wrote Finnegans Wake to keep them occupied for the next 400 years. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, we, writers and readers, have to accept thar we are alone, reading and writing at our own risk, with no guarantee from the big Other. (It was Beckett who drew this conclusion in his break with Joyce.) (29).

 

As an aside, don't be too alarmed by the sudden mention of the Holocaust. A big question in the 20th century was "is art still possible after the Holocaust?" In other words, what's the value of art in this day and age when something like that can happen despite our claiming to be so civilized and advanced? You might say to bring attention to suffering, but can we even begin to adequately hope to represent the suffering of people in that kind of context? Doesn't it feel kind of... lame? Weak? Tepid? Plenty of critics have said Holocaust poetry is impossible.

 

But yeah, this question of audience. Should the artist really even give a damn if the audience "gets it" or not? In some sense we have to make art with the assumption that no one will "get it." We have to expose ourselves to that possibility. The alternative is like the letter that never gets sent: we end up keeping the letter because its contents are so valuable to us, so important, that we cannot stand the idea that someone is going to not understand it the way we do. Can we not apply this to the entire notion of literary criticism, of people defiling what we hold sacred with their eyes?

 

Art as deception. Art as truth. The notions seem to be at odds. Is manipulation not art? Do we not say a skilled director is one who manipulates the audience into following certain lines, tricks the viewer into going down the dead end path before revealing the big secret? Is oration, like in Augustine's day, not art? Are the sophists of Plato's not artists in the best sense? On the other hand don't we also insist art speaks to transcendental notions, universal truths? Perhaps the answer lies in the fissure itself. The manipulation itself, the emotions it conjures, like the compulsion to consume, is truth. That's why Lacan and, in turn, Zizek are such temptations. Lacan's Plato is so utterly maddening in his provocation: he doesn't see the illusion that our false ideas of reality presents, but rather the reality of what manifests as illusion. In this schema we don't look deeper into the painting to find the hidden truth. The truth is always already given as the very external surface.

 

Some choice quotes:

 

Therein resides Plato's deep insight: Ideas are not the hidden reality beneath appearances (Plato was well aware that this hidden reality is that of ever-changing corrupting and corrupted matter); Ideas are nothing but the very form of appearance, this form as such---or, as Lacan succinctly rendered Plato's point, the supra-sensible is appearance as appearance. (31).

 

Recall the old Catholic strategy for guarding men against the sins of the flesh: when tempted by a voluptuous female body, imagine how it will look in a couple of decades---the wrinkled skin and sagging breasts ...(better still imagine what lurks even now beneath the skin: the raw flesh and bones, bodily fluids, half digested food and excrement...). The same advice had already been given by Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations. Far from entering a return to the Real destined to break the imaginary spell of the body, such procedures amount to an escape from the Real, the Real which announces itself in the seductive appearance of the naked body. That is to say, in the opposition between the spectral appearance of the sexualized body and the repulsive body in decay, it is the spectral appearance which is the Real, while the decaying body is merely reality---that to which we take recourse in order to avoid the deadly fascination of the Real as it threatens to draw us into its vortex of jouissance. A 'raw' Platonism would claim here that only the beautiful body fully materializes the Idea, and that a body in material decay simply falls away from its Idea, no longer its faithful copy. From a Deleuzian (and, here, Lacanian) perspective, on the contrary, the specter that attracts us is the Idea of the body as Real. This body is not the body in reality, but the virtual body in Deleuze's sense of the term: the incorporeal / immaterial body of pure intensities. ... One should thus invert the usual opposition within which true art is "deep" and commercial kitsch superficial: the problem with kitsch is that it is all too "profound," manipulating deep libidinal and ideological forces, while genuine art knows how to remain at the surface, how to subtract its subject from the "deeper" context of historical reality. (32).

 

The same goes for contemporary art, where we encounter often brutal attempts to 'return to the real,' to remind the spectator (or reader) that she is perceiving a fiction, to awaken her from the sweet dream. This gesture has two main forms which, although opposed, amount to the same thing. In literature or cinema, there are (especially in postmodern texts) self-reflexive reminders that what we are watching is mere fiction, such as when the actor on screen addresses us directly as spectators, thus ruining the illusion of the autonomous space of the narrative, or the writer directly intervenes in the story to add an ironic comment; in theater, there are occasional brutal acts (like slaughtering a chicken onstage) which awaken us to the reality of the stage. Instead of conferring on these gestures a kind of Brechtian dignity, perceiving them as versions of extraneation, one should rather denounce them for what they are:  escapes from the Real, the exact opposite of what they claim to be, desperate attempts to avoid the real of the illusion itself, the Real that emerges in the guise of an illusory spectacle. (33).

 

Let us take an unexpected example: A Woman Throwing A Stone, a lesser known painting by Picasso from his surrealist period in the 1920s, offers itself easily to a Platonist reading: the distorted fragments of a woman on a beach throwing a stone are, of course, a grotesque misrepresentation, if measured by the standard of realist reproduction; however, in their very plastic distortion they immediately/intuitively render the Idea of 'woman throwing a stone,' the 'inner form' of such a picture. (36).


Edited by MuppetFace - 9/3/13 at 7:18am
post #17970 of 21760
I think "artist" & "craftsman" are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive. Some are both, and some are not. With a product like headphones, the art is typically a separate aspect from the function. Put the wrong drivers in a beautiful headphone - and you get a piece of art that sounds like cr@p. Put function completely over form, and you get.... well, you get Stax... tongue.gif (I joke!)
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