Saturday, 15 March 2014

Thoughts on art.

*Work in progress*            
“  Power  to the imagination.    
Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking”  
-Situationists inspired graffiti from May 968.  
Consider this from The Pig that wants to be eaten book. Thought experiment No 86:  Art for Art's sake: A valuable piece of art-Michaelangelo's David- has been found but to release it to the world will destroy it.It's underneath a newly built hospital. Should it be left alone or should it moved and destroyed?  Is art valuable inherently or does it need a viewer? if art is inherently valuable doesn't that museums might as well always be shut?  

  • Culture is a creative collaboration.  
  • humans pretty much can't help but be creative.
  • Creativity for me is fun, adventurous, spontaneous, a leap into the dark, like love blindness, like your first kiss, like losing your virginity, like visiting somewhere for the first time.  
  •    Why is a totally writerly text problematic? Why is a readerly text better? because creativity is not horded but shared out? It inspires more creative thinking. There's times when you don't want meanings to be too open since you want to be definitive.
"the abolition of the commodity system radically changes the orientation of human interests and activities. Freed from the problems of survival, we will finally have no other care than to learn how to live. "- Total Self-Management  (Chapter 3 of Raoul Vaneigem’s book  From Wildcat Strike to Total Self-Management.

what is 'art'.

  • I see no point in aesthetics as a subject of philosophy. In the past it merely functioned as a defence of cultural norms .  
  • Who defines what art is/ what good art is or does is itself an expression of power- of those who have power.
  • Art provides one of the best forms of Phenomenology there is.It is also the best kind of Sociology there is.    
  • Poetry cannot be constrained, restrained, to 10 or even 30 styles or forms. It will always burst free. Art also. Creativity is 'sacred'.  
  • Lukacs is essentialist. He didn't understand realism is not value free. I don't like he said the only true art is realist. I don't art should only be realist. Realism has limited potential.
  • imagination and the possibility of something other than is ,is the rumblings of the possibility of revolution so I would resolutely defend non realist art e.g. Sci-fi, surrealism, dada, horror, postmodernism etc.
  • I think art can both comment on what is and what should be contrary to Lukacs . 
  •  In your selection, arrangement and presentation of found poetry, it can be creative and artistic.
  • Is talking of art separate from the artistic process and experience, a category mistake? isn't it more like something is artistic or artful and so to call it art is  a misnomer?
  • But if meaning is use isn't it ok? but we can  argue for better uses.

I oppose attempts to be prescriptive about what should be considered art and attempts to be prescriptive about what arts purpose is i.e. I oppose essentialist theories of art .        
 Art should be thought of as culturally and historically defined . There is not a fixed definition of what art is, nor could there be. We call something art as a label to invite discussion and demand something be considered in a certain way. The differences between pieces of art are more like Wittgenstein's family resemblance than a prescriptive list of necessary and sufficient conditions.       

Art has no absolute universal fixed platonic purpose which can be prescribed to it or imposed on it. Arts purpose comes from it's creators- the artist, the audience and the rest of humanity. Art can have an unlimited amount of purposes-that is assuming it has purpose at all.        

Is the artist always in the work?  bits of them more or less. Their 'ghost'. In selection of words etc.

Some say "I call something art if I couldn't do it myself".  Well they can't know if they couldn't do it unless they tried. So it's not a very good argument.  If it was modified to can't do it myself it's better.
From this they say graffiti and found art is not art.

aesthetic experience.

    I think John Dewey is right that art is about experience. I would add that  the reason academic discussion of art sometimes fails is that it is separated from the experience of art.

      What is it that I seek when I read a poem, when I write a poem? Above all, I desire an experience, a mode of experience available to me only through poetry. "The reading of a poem should be an experience [like experiencing an act]. Its writing must be all the more so," - Wallace Stevens.  

affecting the audience is the purpose of poetry or art in general we do know that. It can't not. Even boredom is an affect on the audience.

more artistic poetry will create the intended affect in the audience but we can never be sure what reaction we will get. reactions will not be uniform.

 art, politics  and society .
      “First, disobey; then write on the walls”  
  • I oppose the idea of art and artists as removed from society, from politics, as somehow neutral.I don't think artists should be neutral. I hate the "I only do art" attitude. artists can shape discourse in society. They can inspire revolution.
  • Interpretations of texts must be justifiable.
  • Graffiti is the most democratic most public most accessible form of written/visual  communication .
  • I agree (to an extent) with Bourdieu that taste is culturally and historically conditioned.         
  • art is not and never could be  'apolitical' which is akin to saying art could be context less. The creation, production, consumption and production of art interacts with the existing capitalist system and  cannot be truly revolutionary in breaking with the system no matter how radical it's Pierre  Bourdieu argues, what is considered art and what is considered good/bad art cannot be separated from class/ power relations. Previous essentialist theories of art failed to consider this.        
  •          Art is institutionalised, funded and worshipped by people with ridiculous amounts of money while if anyone was creating art in the street they'd need a license or be arrested.      
What's wrong with Art galleries? (may not apply to all art galleries and museums)  
•   Often present  and represent   art in a commodified  often sanitized way which is not challenging for the establishment.      
•   They  promote the institutional theory of art which says that what is in an art gallery must be art or 'good art' while whatever is not  and is by implication not art or not good art. That ends up being elitist, selective, conservative and pretentious. What is then considered art  ends up being defined by small elite group of likely wealthy  white western men.    
•   Following on from that, art by the working class/women/people of colour/ political art tends to get ignored. There's a bias towards  older white western middle class men.  
•   •Promotes a very limited set of styles and schools and excludes/neglects others(though sometimes I wonder if it's for the best)  
•   •Promotes the idea of a High vs. low art distinction which I don't like much. I don't much accept the distinction between 'high' and 'low' art. Seems politically motivated.  
•   The institutional theory of art doesn't make a lot of  sense-  
•   The money which surrounds the art establishment is obscene. Paying to view art is bizarre. It should be open to all.  
•   Promotion of art which feels removed in relevance to most people's modern everyday life’s.    
 art belongs to it's creators I.e. to everyone, to all of humanity. I oppose copyright(while understanding it's a well intentioned attempt to prevent plagiarism)  and prefer creative commons, open source or anti-copyright.        
  • I think everyone has the potential to be creative but it is repressed in current society or channelled to suit it's needs. Therefore I feel unsure about whether I should call myself a poet or artist since I do not think I have any monopoly on creativity nor do I think I am a specialist in creativity. For practical uses as shorthand though it is useful.        
  •   It quickly becomes clear that because of the instability of meaning, because of Polysemy("the capacity for a sign (e.g., a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple related meanings ") , it's almost impossible to actually express something meaningless. So nothing is absolutely surrealist. The project of surrealism can never completely succeed.         
  • "The cameraman, for example, intervenes with what we see in a way which a painting can never do. It directs the eye towards a specific place and a specific story; at the same time it is radical and revolutionary it is also totalitarian. It guides us to a particular side of a story and leaves other parts out. It dulls our perception towards the work of art and introduces distraction as a mode of reception"
  •  I think the Situationists were correct that art in the current society expresses alienated creativity. The Situationists have wrote extensively on this. In capitalist society creativity in channelled into venues like advertising, marketing and the encouragement of consumerism- The Spectacle (to use Debord's terminology)- and repressed( more or less) when it does not satisfy these requirements . 
  • " Those who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring to everyday reality have a corpse in their mouth." - In a post  revolutionary society, creativity would be part and parcel of the fabric of everyday life. With direct democracy   everyone would have direct control over their lives and the creation of society, allowing for the use of imagination and creativity in the solving of social problems.  
  • "In a society that has abolished every kind of adventure, the only adventure that remains is to abolish that  society"  - Currently in present society, the majority do not have ultimate control over their own lives or society and we are controlled by images. It is an expression of art as alienated creativity that we consider it distinct from life,  a frivolous and meaningless pursuit. art should be the bred and butter of life. Instead we should say "life is art" that life IS a creative pursuit. The Existentialists, Nietzsche and Foucault amongst others have said as much.         
  • "Dadaism sought to abolish art without realizing it; Surrealism sought to realize art without abolishing it. The critical position since developed by the Situationists has shown that the abolition and realization of art are inseparable aspects of a single  transcendence of art"-Guy Debord.
  • I  think Debord is saying (and I agree) that Dada's great strength was to decrease  arts expression of   alienated creativity(‘abolish  art’ ) Surrealism sought to incorporate art and imagination into everyday life. Both these movements represent half attempts t finding solutions to the existing problem of alienated creativity.     
  • Writers distinct from the oppressed can end up losing the common touch-losing touch with reality- with the reality of the marginalized and worst off. It's at best worst It's dangerous. We seek no vanguards- neither politically in people or parties etc., neither economically in trade union bureaucrats nor in artistic elites who try to hand down culture.   

There's always more to be read :-                 
The Anarchist Aesthetic -  
Social Anarchist Aesthetics  

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