Author Topic: Ethical question about art.  (Read 5461 times)

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Jeremy Blackman

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2005, 01:24:35 AM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
But he's right about how no change in moral perception will ever change one's initial response to a work of art.

Nothing changes an initial response, because it's an initial response. I think initial responses, while they may be powerful, are by definition limited and underinformed... and only the first step. I see no reason to stop with the initial response or to romanticize it.

Quote from: Ghostboy
He's right, too, in suggesting that if one is strictly and simply discussing the content of a work of art, creative context is really pretty irrelevant.

I guess I'm arguing against "strictly and simply discussing the content" because it involves an odd kind of self-delusion. Why can't we consider multiple things together? It's not as though considering creative context will spoil anything that doesn't deserve to be spoiled.

But I guess that depends on whether your definition of "content" includes "context." If it doesn't, "content" is pretty meaningless. If you're talking about aesthetics, okay, great, but images like these are obviously not aesthetic-limited and beg to be contextualized.

If one wants to judge something as a whole, one should consider everything. If one wants to make some convenient barriers and judge only a segment, I wonder how valuable one's understanding will be.
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Ghostboy

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2005, 01:32:52 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman

Nothing changes an initial response, because it's an initial response. I think initial responses, while they may be powerful, are by definition limited and underinformed... and only the first step. I see no reason to stop with the initial response or to romanticize it.


Neither do I. Just statin' the facts.

Quote

I guess I'm arguing against "strictly and simply discussing the content" because it involves an odd kind of self-delusion. Why can't we consider multiple things together? It's not as though considering creative context will spoil anything that doesn't deserve to be spoiled.


But what if you don't get that chance? To use a personal example - if people knew how my most recent film was made, they'd probably like it more. But they don't, and I can't expect them to - and although the information is available to those who seek it out, I can't make it an integral part of the exhibition.

Quote

But I guess that depends on whether your definition of "content" includes "context." If it doesn't, "content" is pretty meaningless. If you're talking about aesthetics, okay, great, but images like these are obviously not aesthetic-limited and beg to be contextualized.


But unless the viewer approaches a work with preconceived notions, then contextualization is up to the viewer, and based on examination and evaluation of the content.

cowboykurtis

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2005, 01:43:41 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman

I guess I'm arguing against "strictly and simply discussing the content" because it involves an odd kind of self-delusion.

If one wants to judge something as a whole, one should consider everything. If one wants to make some convenient barriers and judge only a segment, I wonder how valuable one's understanding will be.


i think what we ( at least I) was trying to say is the intention of an artist when viewing that said artwork should be/and is irrelevent. Knowing an artist's intent ideally removes any subjective thought for the viewer -- because in essence, if we are aware of the artist intended "view" - can we have any view but that of the artist?

at the end of the day when viewing an image of dead mice on a hand - does it really matter how those mice were killed, by whom they were killed, how the artist feels about mice, and what he was trying to say? I personally avoid artist statements at all costs.

In an attempt to put this into another context: would you prefer Kubrick to have an artist statement before 2001 so you could "fully explore" the material: "Stanley here. hello viewer, this is what the films about_____. All the spaceships you are about to see are fake. The primates in the beginning are fake. And I don't believe in reincarnation. But what I think doesn't matter. Try to forgot what I said, in order to have a fully subjective experience. Enjoy."
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Jeremy Blackman

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2005, 01:44:34 AM »
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Quote from: cowboykurtis
film's usually don't have an "artists statement", yet you judge them. you do not know the artists intention. just your subjective opinion to the experience.

I usually know something about how the film was made, what the people involved have done before, how it might fit into certain career directions... I might read an interview and at least get some minor insights. It's not pure truth, of course, but it's better than nothing. Doesn't everyone do this after they see a movie? And doesn't it almost always add something meaningful to your deified "initial response?"

Quote from: cowboykurtis
its like looking at a breathtaking painting - loving the painting for the text of the image and then finding out that hitler painted it and hating it for the context of the creator.

But it's so much easier to use external knowledge with paintings than the kind of sculpture and photography that Ghostboy is talking about. You can easily determine some things about technique, style, movements, etc. And still it's limited. Biographical and historical details, little bits of research, knowledge of where and how the piece fits in the artist's career... these are all meaningful, though certainly not instant.

Quote from: Ghostboy
But what if you don't get that chance? To use a personal example - if people knew how my most recent film was made, they'd probably like it more. But they don't, and I can't expect them to - and although the information is available to those who seek it out, I can't make it an integral part of the exhibition.

Well, their knowledge is still limited, isn't it? You may feel helpless, and it may be a sad thing, but it's true. Your knowledge of your own film is probably limited in some areas. "Why did I make that choice? What does it mean?" You may never know the answers, but the questions are probably worth asking.

Quote from: Ghostboy
But unless the viewer approaches a work with preconceived notions, then contextualization is up to the viewer, and based on examination and evaluation of the content.

What about contextualizing after the fact and revising your understanding? We do it plenty. It's not as if the initial reaction is set in stone, though it may be the most powerful impression because it's the first one.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2005, 01:49:27 AM »
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Quote from: cowboykurtis
i think what we ( at least I) was trying to say is the intention of an artist when viewing that said artwork should be/and is irrelevent. Knowing an artist's intent ideally removes any subjective thought for the viewer -- because in essence, if we are aware of the artist intended "view" - can we have any view but that of the artist?

I kind of half agree with you on the intentions point. Finding out an artist's intention is only a small piece of the puzzle. And what they tell you may well be incorrect. Kind of like what I was saying just above to Ghostboy. They may not know what something means or if it means anything... they may not remember what they were thinking at the time... some external thing might have influenced their decision... it may have been an accident. This is where things like biography, psychology, and cultural context can help a little.

And I think you're focusing on chronology too much. Of course I wouldn't have wanted to know those things before seeing 2001, probably because the mystery of the initial reaction is thrilling for a while. But I'm happy to learn them afterward.
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cowboykurtis

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2005, 02:07:36 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman

 Of course I wouldn't have wanted to know those things before seeing 2001, probably because the mystery of the initial reaction is thrilling for a while. But I'm happy to learn them afterward.


i think that issue is just a matter of personal preference. i for one find myself at times curious to hear the thoughts of directors i respect. However, I really only enjoy hearing insight to their working process.  knowing answers to the coveted question:"what does your movie mean..." i'd rather not know. i used kubrick as an example because he was very cautious and enigmatic about revealing what his intention as an artist was for any given film. i think kubrick purposely and consistantly allowed for a fully subjective experience for the viewer (before or after).
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Jeremy Blackman

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2005, 02:11:56 AM »
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If a director told me "this is what my movie means," I'm not sure I'd be satisfied. Do you think it's a tragic thing because it would end the mystery? (I don't think it would, necessarily.)
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cowboykurtis

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« Reply #52 on: April 29, 2005, 02:17:21 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
Do you think it's a tragic thing because it would end the mystery? (I don't think it would, necessarily.)


for me it becomes a much more definitive "answer" and as a result difuses the questions that made it interesting to begin with.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #53 on: April 29, 2005, 02:30:54 AM »
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Well, you can always find more questions. (Maybe less important ones, but questions nonetheless.)

I know the feeling, but aren't questions meant to be answered? I mean, shouldn't we be satisfied if we more or less find what we're looking for?
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cowboykurtis

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Ethical question about art.
« Reply #54 on: April 29, 2005, 02:37:50 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
Well, you can always find more questions. (Maybe less important ones, but questions nonetheless.)

I know the feeling, but aren't questions meant to be answered? I mean, shouldn't we be satisfied if we more or less find what we're looking for?


i do think questions are meant to be answered. the disapointment comes when an artist's answers are different than yours - for me this usually spoils my initial answers and corrupts subsequent viewings. and this isn't a matter of right and wrong - rather an issue of perception - i almost see it as one of those ink drawing that can be viewed in both it's positive and negative space. some only see one side - when you are exposed to the other side, the first side you saw never really looks the same.
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