• NKBJ
    1.1k


    No, you're not jumping in. Terrapin is. He's all out of sorts cause I won't agree with him and also cause I won't be insulted. :roll:

    Back to the actual topic:

    I think any definition of art must also be an interpretation of art. It has to be saying something that all art has in common. In order to know what that is, you have to have to interpretive basis. In such a case, you've found -at least one- objective part of the interpretation of art.

    Back to a more substantive aspect of art interpretation, why do you think we even need art if it's purely subjective?
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Back to a more substantive aspect of art interpretation, why do you think we even need art if it's purely subjective?NKBJ

    I would say we don't need art, we like art. To be fair, I am sure there has been the occasional person who accomplished great things after being inspired by art, and, more commonly, people feel a "kindred spirit" through art that helps them to know that they are not the only one suffering. But these are bonuses to life, not necessities. Notice that learning to meditate (or many other activities) could also accomplish these things. Meditation is considered boring by most (including me) so it is not worth the effort, but this is just one example that suggests that art is not a necessity (but I still really want it).

    Although one could make the "is life worth living without art" argument, most humans until recently have done just fine without it. However, now that many of us do not have to struggle to live, art has taken on a heightened importance as it serves to fend off boredom. But I would still struggle to call that a necessity, but, again, I still want it. The more I think about it, the more art seems like a crutch (for me personally). Without video games, movies, etc, only sports or intellectual endeavors can relieve boredom. While most of my life (so far) I would choose sports, the older I get the more I enjoy learning. Math is not very fun compared to most video games. However, it does present challenging puzzles that can engage my mind for a few hours. However, I almost never choose to do math because video games are much more rewarding and engaging (by design) - If video games are not "art" then tv, movies, books, etc would still be more entertaining than serious learning.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    However, I almost never choose to do math because video games are much more rewarding and engaging (by design) - If video games are not "art" then tv, movies, books, etc would still be more entertaining than serious learning. — ZhouBoTong

    You’re here to entertain yourself too? Learning is VERY rewarding and serious learning is SERIOUSLY rewarding. It takes effort and hardwork though and most of the time you think you’ve found the end boss when you’ve only just started playing the game.
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    You’re here to entertain yourself too?I like sushi

    Haha yep, I can dress it up with "I am here to learn" or "to hone my own thoughts" but if I wasn't a little entertained, it probably wouldn't get much of my time :smile:

    Learning is VERY rewarding and serious learning is SERIOUSLY rewarding.I like sushi

    I think I agree with this FAR more than most people I have met in life (but maybe a bit less than most of the people on this forum, haha). And that was a bit of my point, absent the brilliant entertainment that has been created in recent decades for the sole purpose of entertaining, serious learning (I keep using that word to separate learning physics, etc from learning how to play call of duty) can be quite rewarding and engaging. However, modern entertainment is built from scratch with human psychology in mind.

    Like I said, I have felt engaged and entertained by a lot of learning in my life. It also seems clear, that the older I get, the more "interest" overrides "fun". But as I approach 40, I still have never felt the same joy or engagement from learning as I have had with specifically designed entertainment activities (sports, video games, movies, etc). I have never been so engaged in learning that I stayed up until 5 am. Much (definitely NOT all) of the "reward" of learning is attached to the idea that I have made myself a better person in some way. Where as video games is pure joy in the moment.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    People are simply different. Some pursue more intellectual goals, some artistic, and others ... well, other goals!

    Generally speaking “play” is essential for discovering your inner passions. “Play” for me basically means “explore”. And there are many games to play :)
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    I would say we don't need art, we like art. To be fair, I am sure there has been the occasional person who accomplished great things after being inspired by art,ZhouBoTong

    Okay, I see what you think I meant. I didn't mean "need" in the sense of generally do humans need art at all (though I think they do and thay it's part of our dna, but that's off-topic). I meant, why would humans need art in order to think of a story or be inspired? If it's all subjective, they should be able to draw the same inspiration from the instructions on a shampoo bottle as they do Hamlet.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    I think any definition of art must also be an interpretation of art. It has to be saying something that all art has in common. In order to know what that is, you have to have to interpretive basis. In such a case, you've found -at least one- objective part of the interpretation of art.NKBJ

    What makes something art versus not art can be a way that a person thinks about the items or events at hand.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    If it's all subjective, they should be able to draw the same inspiration from the instructions on a shampoo bottle as they do Hamlet.NKBJ

    Or in other words, you think that subjectivity implies something completely arbitrary--yet somehow still "directable"--in every instance, and you think that because?
  • NKBJ
    1.1k


    That's hilarious. :rofl:
    Somehow I don't think it'll be catching on in the long run.

    I mean, John Cage's 4:33 is (in)famous, but I somehow doubt many people have "listened" to it more than once.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    I mean, John Cage's 4:33 is (in)famous, but I somehow doubt many people have "listened" to it more than once.NKBJ

    I've listened to it many times via this album:

    51WKLqN0lPL.jpg
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    I meant, why would humans need art in order to think of a story or be inspired? If it's all subjective, they should be able to draw the same inspiration from the instructions on a shampoo bottle as they do Hamlet.NKBJ

    Ok. Well I think I am unqualified to answer. I struggle to emotionally relate to things. I have NEVER been inspired by art. I am not sure I have ever been inspired period (I have never create a work of art I care about). There are things I enjoy, and things I am interested in. If I enjoy something, or have an interest, I will pursue the endeavor.

    So this might explain our ENTIRE disagreement. Notice I am not looking to art for inspiration. What I would say is more stories in a brain give the brain more information to draw on for creative purposes. So even absent inspiration, this would be a reason for viewing art in order to better create new art (I guess that could even be a type of inspiration?). But there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy art.

    And all I would add in relation to the shampoo is that it is possible that SOMEONE is inspired by the shampoo bottle (those floral designs really brought the instructions to life - or some BS). Obviously, Hamlet is FAR more likely to inspire than shampoo. But compared to Transformers, Hamlet is BARELY more likely (depending on the student, it will often be LESS likely).
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Invisible artIsaac

    That's hilarious. :rofl:
    Somehow I don't think it'll be catching on in the long run.
    NKBJ

    That shampoo bottle is suddenly more inspirational than a whole gallery full of "art" :joke:
  • Isaac
    714
    That shampoo bottle is suddenly more inspirational than a whole gallery full of "art"ZhouBoTong

    Exactly. Every time someone tries to delimit art some artist will go outside of those boundaries and they will have to be redefined.

    People can, and do, imagine something like the plot of Hamlet from triggers that are far more removed than even the text on the back of a shampoo bottle.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    I have NEVER been inspired by art.ZhouBoTong

    That's too bad! It's a uniquely amazing experience.

    But there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy art.ZhouBoTong

    I agree. I think inspiration can also mean being inspired to be a good person, or pursue a certain virtue, or just understand humanity better, etc.

    Obviously, Hamlet is FAR more likely to inspire than shampoo. But compared to Transformers, Hamlet is BARELY more likely (depending on the student, it will often be LESS likely).ZhouBoTong

    Well.... What I will admit is that (in this day and age) Hamlet is a more acquired (educated?) taste. More people right now watch Bay's movies than read Shakespeare. I have a suspicion, however, that in fifty years, people will still be reading Hamlet and will be like "Michael who?" I also still think that there's more to be learned philosophically in Hamlet than Transformers.

    But yeah, Transformers is more accessible to your average Joe.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    People can, and do, imagine something like the plot of Hamlet from triggers that are far more removed than even the text on the back of a shampoo bottle.Isaac

    Hm... There I have to disagree with you. There's more philosophy in one Hamlet monologue/soliloquy than on any shampoo bottle (unless it's printed with Shakespeare quotes I guess?) And I don't think most, even educated people, are able to come up with that stuff on their own.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k


    Unless a work contains dialogue or natural language text that's literally something like a philosophical argument, the philosophy that's "in" any work is the philosophy that the viewer does in response to it, and viewers can do philosophy in response to any content, in any relation to any other content--inside or outside of the work in the latter case. The caliber of that philosophy will hinge on the philosophical abilities of the viewer in question.

    At that, usually when artworks contain dialogue or natural language text that's literally something like a philosophical argument, it's typically of pretty low quality--often very confused, fallacious, etc. That's because artists/fiction authors do not typically have the formal philosophical background necessary to produce decent philosophical work. (Heck, even the folks who do have the necessary formal background have a really difficult time avoiding saying something stupid.)

    Art doesn't work well by being that literal anyway. The whole gist of something being an artwork rather than some other kind of thing seems to functionally hinge on seeing the work as something not literal (in a couple different senses).
  • NKBJ
    1.1k


    Somewhat relevant to our discussion, Justin Weinberg asked people to contribute links to philosophical visual art. The pieces and the comments on them are pretty interesting.

    http://dailynous.com/2019/04/05/philosophical-artworks/
  • NKBJ
    1.1k


    Oh, and this article was nice too! Just for your reading and maybe listening pleasure: http://blog.apaonline.org/2019/04/03/sacred-and-profane-love-podcast-philosophy-outside-academia/
  • Isaac
    714
    There's more philosophy in one Hamlet monologue/soliloquy than on any shampoo bottle (unless it's printed with Shakespeare quotes I guess?) And I don't think most, even educated people, are able to come up with that stuff on their own.NKBJ

    Again your religious faith in the art critics blinds you.

    Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.

    ...was the response of one art critic to the random daubings of a chimpanzee which the journalist Åke Axelsson pretended were done by an upcoming modern artist.

    Compared with the random daubings of a chimpanzee, I would have thought a shampoo bottle would be positively brimming with meaning.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    Again your religious faith in the art critics blinds you.Isaac

    Now, let's not start getting snarky with another.

    was the response of one art critic to the random daubings of a chimpanzee which the journalist Åke Axelsson pretended were done by an upcoming modern artist.Isaac

    Yes, it's entirely possible for critics to be wrong sometimes.

    Compared with the random daubings of a chimpanzee,Isaac

    Don't be so quick to underestimate our cousins!
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysterious-chimpanzee-behavior-may-be-evidence-of-sacred-rituals/
  • Isaac
    714
    Now, let's not start getting snarky with another.NKBJ

    But I had a load more like that lined up. The imagery in some of them was quite masterful.

    Yes, it's entirely possible for critics to be wrong sometimes.NKBJ

    Not just one, dozens. And even when they had the obvious fraudulence pointed out, they started covering it up with nonsense about his artistic talent, and no I think his paintings sell for millions. They did the same with a painting by a four-year-old recently too I think.

    It's the same with the wine critics who they proved couldn't even tell red wine from white wine with food colouring in it.

    If you can't even see that they're dressing these things up in the Emperor's New Clothes, I don't think any further evidence is going to break through your confirmation bias.

    In a world of chimpanzee painters, four-year-old artists, and charlatan wine-tasters, are you still so sure no one's interpreted any deep philosophy from the back of a shampoo bottle? If even a single person has, then the argument is now on what grounds they are wrong, which is very different from your binomial position that deep philosophy simply cannot be drawn from certain texts.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k


    Now you're just contradicting yourself!

    One or more of these claims can't go together:
    1) Art critics who interpret chimp art to be meaningful are frauds and are just pretending to read depth into what they see (like in the Emperor story).

    2) Art criticism is like wine tasting where all educated/refined taste can objectively be proven to be imagined/made up/a lie.

    3) Art is purely subjective and it's possible for someone to even derive deep philosophy from a shampoo bottle.

    It doesn't add up. If art is subjective and everyone can interpret what they want onto anything, then art critics are fully able to interpret whatever they like on any art (chimp, human, or cloud formations even). You can't consistently accuse them of being frauds. You can only claim that they aren't the sole judges of artistic value.
  • Isaac
    714
    Art critics who interpret chimp art to be meaningful are frauds and are just pretending to read depth into what they see (like in the Emperor story).NKBJ

    The fraudulence is not in the reading of depth, but in the illusion that some things produce depth whilst others don't. I mentioned these stories to show that the random marks of an ape with a brush can be meaningful to professional critics. In my view, there is no such thing as 'pretending' to see depth, they see what they look for. Likewise with the wine tasters. I'm not claiming that they cannot taste, I'm showing that their claims that certain expensive wines taste objectively 'better' than others is flawed.

    If art is subjective and everyone can interpret what they want onto anything, then art critics are fully able to interpret whatever they like on any art (chimp, human, or cloud formations even).NKBJ

    Yes, that is my view, and I think their clear capability to read depth in random markings is evidence of this.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    The fraudulence is not in the reading of depth, but in the illusion that some things produce depth whilst others don'tIsaac

    Does, in your view, the phrase "the epistemological implications of Kantian metaphysics" mean the same thing as "rinse and repeat"?
  • Isaac
    714
    Does, in your view, the phrase "the epistemological implications of Kantian metaphysics" mean the same thing as "rinse and repeat"?NKBJ

    They mean that which they are used for. But generally no, they do not mean the same thing, but they do both mean one thing. As such the 'depth' of both is only provably one. Any further meanings on top of the literal are the invention of the reader and so entirely subjective. The only objective observable property of words is that they mean at least one thing. The total number of things a word or phrase means is not objectively measurable.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    The total number of things a word or phrase means is not objectively measurable.Isaac

    Really? So if I say "chair" and you interpret "elephant" that's just your subjective, totally admissible opinion?
  • Isaac
    714
    Really? So if I say "chair" and you interpret "elephant" that's just your subjective, totally admissible opinion?NKBJ

    No, words would seem to have at least one objective meaning (or limited cluster of meaning). But all words have this. The soliloquy from Hamlet and the shampoo bottle. Both mean exactly what the words say, that much is relatively objective. But that gives them both the same depth (one meaning), any additional meaning(s) are subjective.
  • NKBJ
    1.1k
    any additional meaning(s) are subjective.Isaac

    And thus are "true" interpretations? They are "true" about the book or bottle or whatever?
  • Isaac
    714
    And thus are "true" interpretations? They are "true" about the book or bottle or whatever?NKBJ

    Not sure what you mean by this.
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