• Noble Dust
    2.8k
    does the whole exist for the benefit of the parts or do the parts exist for the benefit of the whole,Cavacava

    I don't have an answer, necessarily, in regards to the artisan. I suppose the "whole" of a loaf of ["whole-wheat"] bread is the nutrition and sustenance. Some parts of that are the flavor and texture, and the aesthetic of what the loaf looks like. Is it a cheap mass-produced loaf from the supermarket? Is it a fancy, expensive artisan loaf with perfect little crevices and colors? Was it an imperfectly shaped loaf made at home by someone who loves you? These are all aesthetic considerations of the loaf. Is that what you're getting at? If so, I'd say the parts serve the whole, when it comes to the utilitarian artisan. The parts still have value in themselves, though.

    But it's not clear to me when it comes to a painting, or a piece of music. What is the "whole" here? I don't know. The artwork doesn't have a clear utility (nutrition). Nutrition of the spirit, maybe? An attempt to create "actual being" that fails?

    By the way, I don't think I responded to your response to me, sorry. I'm too lazy to drag up the Berdyaev quote, but my understanding is that by actual being (that was a paraphrase), he meant Being, capital B, in a philosophical sense. I interpret it as the creative urge as a literal urge to create Being in the way the divine ("God") created being (thats the worldview Berdyaev is working from). And that urge is always a failure. I should drag up the quote because it's hard to wrangle with.

    Edit: I'm currently searching through my unorganized stacks of books which are in front of my organized bookshelf for the Berdyaev text...
  • TheMadFool
    2.2k
    The word ''art'' is very vague but I think art is a medium of expression. The message may be everything under the sun and the medium too has a similar range.

    What you want to say and how you want to say it.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    These are all aesthetic considerations of the loaf. Is that what you're getting at? If so, I'd say the parts serve the whole, when it comes to the utilitarian artisan. The parts still have value in themselves, though.

    But it's not clear to me when it comes to a painting, or a piece of music. What is the "whole" here? I don't know. The artwork doesn't have a clear utility (nutrition). Nutrition of the spirit, maybe? An attempt to create "actual being" that fails?

    I agree that "the parts serve the whole", that the parts are the means to an end, that their utility is only realized by the whole or end. In a similar way, water, yeast and flour are essential parts for making a loaf of bread. These parts at the immanent level of composition are purposeful. These parts, again similar to a loaf of bread, are transformed in the process of composition into a whole which is categorically different from the parts.

    But it's not clear to me when it comes to a painting, or a piece of music. What is the "whole" here? I don't know. The artwork doesn't have a clear utility (nutrition). Nutrition of the spirit, maybe? An attempt to create "actual being" that fails?

    At the level of the whole, a loaf of bread sustains life, utility at this level is different from the composition utility that made it, yet it retains some of the essential characteristics of what and how it was made (almost like a dialectic). A work of art does not have the same kind of utility as a loaf of bread. We can compare loaves of bread for texture, moistness, aroma, flavor and so on, as well as how or if it sustains our body. A work of art also can be described in the terms of color, hue, saturation, or cadence, pitch, meter...but in the case of art what is sustained, broadened, or enhanced is our spirit..."Nutrition of the spirit"
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    The word ''art'' is very vague but I think art is a medium of expression. The message may be everything under the sun and the medium too has a similar range.

    What you want to say and how you want to say it.

    The oldest works of art are estimated at around 40000 years old preserved in caves in various parts of the world. The most famous are at Lascaux in France, but they are also in Indonesia. Many of these paintings are fabulously stylized. I especially like the hand stencils that appear in these caves.

    elcastillo.jpg

    It is almost like they are waving at us, 'we were here'.

    So, yes art is a medium of expression and expression is an essential characteristic of man from the get go. Understanding this "vague" term is the challenge. That challenge goes beyond, painting, music, sculpture...into our virtual world, where new concepts (or transformation of existing concepts) of what comprise art art are emerging.
  • praxis
    569
    So the butcher, the baker, the cobbler, the culter, the chef...don't have an aesthetic?Cavacava

    They may or may not. Art is just a concept, and as such it can be applied to practically anything. Framing something as art is like an invitation to view a subject in a new or aesthetic way, where we might appreciate what has been previously taken for granted, see new or renewed meaning, or perhaps generally expand our conception of a subject (as I think you mentioned).

    I'd say it's going beyond the rational but practical rationality is actually rather irrational, I'm beginning to understand.
  • VagabondSpectre
    899
    I encountered a new set of notions out of the post-modern camp a few days ago (i guess it's not all bad!) which describes the essence of art almost exactly as you've formulated it.

    Russian "Defamiliarization" (ostranenie), German "Distancing Effect" (Verfremdungseffekt), and Derrida's "Difference" (Différance).

    It takes what is real by virtue of familiarity and presents it in an unfamiliar, magnified, or distorted way, thereby causing new perceptions and perspectives to emerge in the consumer.

    This may not be the precise definition covering all "art", but it's a good start toward defining "good art".
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