Saturday, October 24, 2009

Language, meaning, aesthetics and art.

Big topic, small post.

I've been reading "Philosophical Investigations" by Wittgenstein which is (surprisingly) very approachable and pleasant to read. The most essential idea I have come away with so far is that "the meaning of a word is its use in a language."

This no doubt inspired Nicolas Bourriaud 50 years later in saying (in order to answer the question 'what defines art and the artist?') that, "The act of showing suffices to define the artist." and that "Art is an activity consisting in producing relationships with the world with the help of signs, forms, actions and objects." That is, art and the artist are how they function.

Our application of aesthetics, then, should be to the function of the art, to its effect, independent of the art [object, act, concept]'s own qualities. Not that this is a stretch. An art object is beautiful because it is pleasing to the eye. The art concept is beautiful because it touches on a dissonance in the mind or culture.

This is what I want to keep in mind in my own art-making, less how effectively and beautifully I can make an object, but how effectively and beautifully I can affect people.

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