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Eureka: What is art? Eureka: What is art?
by Akli Hadid
2016-12-19 11:03:34
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No one laid out this framework before, so here it is. There are four means of communication: language, sound, images and finally effects. Art is either stilling or giving motion to these four elements. Essays and poetry are still language, but poetry uses effects whereas essays tend not to use effects, although in some countries writers like to use effects. So let me break down the different forms of expression here.

 

Language

Sound

Images

Effects

Language

Documents, essays, theatre, books in general

Radio shows, speeches, oral performances

Posters, banners, pictures with comments

Poetry, some essays, articles, theatre, written documents

Sound

Radio shows, speeches, oral performances

Music without lyrics, symphonic orchestras, any  orchestra random sounds

Silent Documentaries, some silent television shows, live theatre, live interactions

Electronic music, special effect sounds

Images

Posters, banners, pictures with comments

Documentaries, some television shows, live theatre, live interactions

Silent movies, silent theatre, photography

Silent movies, silent documentaries, photoshoped pictures

Effects

Poetry, some essays, articles, theatre, written documents

Electronic music, special effect sounds

Silent movies, silent documentaries, photoshoped pictures

You need either language, sound or images to get effects

 

 

Language + sound

Language + images

Language + effects

Sound

 

Radio shows, music songs

Radio shows, music songs

Images

Documentary, movies, Moving pictures

 

Silent movies, silent moving pictures

Effects

Radio shows, music songs

Silent movies, silent moving pictures

 

 

Then you have movies and documentaries which include language, sound, images and effects. What are the implications for art?

When creating a work of art, you need to take four factors into consideration: am I going to create language, sound, images or effects and how am I going to mix the four elements in art? Now I’ll be more explicit about the different forms of art that exist and that we know of.

Art that only uses language

Ideally, a good newspaper article would use language without trying to give the language effects, although in some cases language effects are used in the title. A text with language and no effects is a text, text with effects I would categorize as poetry.  

aers01_400Art that only uses sound

If it’s sound but it’s not language, it’s either random sounds or music. Modern artists sometimes make a string of random sounds and call their work of art music.

Art that only uses imagery

That’s when we get photography or silent moving images. In the old days those were in black and white, now they are in color.

Art that only uses effects

Effects go with either language, sound or imagery. You can’t have blank effects.

Art that uses language and sound

Any conversation, theatre in the radio or radio talk shows would be categorized as language with sound. That is instead of having language in pure text form, language comes in sound form.

Art that uses language and images

Mixing language with images and you get posters or banners. That is you get an image, which is an artistic expression itself, but you also get language to comment on the picture.

Art that uses language and effects

There you have poetry or slogans. The two mix language by playing with it and you get effects.

Art that uses language, sound and images

Any moving image that includes sound would be in this category. You get live talk shows, sitcoms, soap operas etc.

Art that uses language, images and effects

That would be a silent movie with subtitles and effects but no sound, perhaps no music playing in the background either.

Art that uses language, sound and effects

That would be a radio show with no images but that uses effects, or art made over the phone would be a new form of art. Podcasts also fit into this category.

Art that uses language, sound, images and effects

This is what most blockbuster movies use, and the effects are getting more and more complex.

Art that uses sound and images

Imagine a documentary with no language, just sound and images. Or a picture of wildlife and nature with no language added to it.

Art that uses sound and effects

That would be electronic music that uses lots of effects and is made on a computer. It has become a popular form of music.

Art that uses images and effects

Photoshoped pictures basically. Or a painting that uses various visual effects, as in surrealist paintings.

Now you have your framework of what the different works of art could be. There’s a deliberate omission on my part which is the fifth element in art: fabrics and solid items which are very important when creating art, but those don’t always mix with sound, effects, images and language although sometimes they do, as in a t-shirt with a slogan printed on it or a statue with language carvings on it. Hopefully this article lays the foundation on the millennium-old problem of how to define arts and aesthetics. The article would be of more interest if philosophy professors weren’t worrying about losing their job these days and could focus on philosophy rather than on their careers.


      
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Emanuel Paparella2016-12-19 16:13:32
http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/10094

True to form, this column serves us the positivistic approach to what art is all about, insinuating that it alone exhausts its meaning and import.

But once again we have been served with only one incomplete side of the coin. The liberal arts, humanistic approach is all but ignored as can be intuited by the caustic comment at the end of the piece about philosophy professors looking for employment. The implication is clear: it is hard to get jobs in the teaching of philosophy nowadays because, philosophy, in tandem with religion which precedes the age of science, is superfluous and outside the curve of progress and “enlightenment” as per positivism; and what comes at the end of a process is always the most modern and therefore the best.

To its credit, this magazine has been offering the other side of the coin for some 12 years now; to wit the above link which is the first meeting of the Ovi symposium defined as “a philosophical conversation on the nature of art within modernity and the envisioning of a new humanism.” The symposium has been ongoing for some 4 years now and has met 75 times. I invite those who are looking for meaning in their lives, beyond the practical and the useful, to consult those far ranging in depth conversations. Then they may realize that the positivistic approach is inadequate and, frankly, quite superficial. It does not even begin to skim the surface of the issue of the essence of and Art as first presented by Plato in his reflections on beauty.

Now one may argue that since the humanistic approach has been amply discussed already, we need to move on and hear from the positivistic approach. Perhaps, but I would suggest that it would be misguided to assume that the two cultures are rivals and have to compete for dominance, a la Swift and his famous struggle of the books in the library (the ancients against the moderns).

In reality the wiser, more philosophical approach is a bit more complex; it is that of harmonizing and synthesizing the too cultures. Part of the more practical aspect of this problem is that we have too few true philosophy teacher (a la Socrates who never made an academic career and never taught any philosophy academically, and not a la Sophist looking for a good paying job and teaching the young how to obtain one...) and we are in urgent need of more of them. I would also suggest that those who see the problem and stay silent eventually become part of the problem.


Emanuel Paparella2016-12-19 16:30:57
P.S. The link below may also be useful to get a glimpse of what is meant in humanistic terms by the term "the two cultures."

http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/9993


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