XIXAX Film Forum

Non-Film Discussion => Other Media => Topic started by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 05:51:06 PM

Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 05:51:06 PM
I wrote a short essay (http://www.road-dog-productions.com/weblog/) on my blog about this subject, and thought I'd extend it here.

Basically -

 - what is your response to a work of art like this:

(http://img177.exs.cx/img177/4969/ratfingers0eg.jpg)

Or this:

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1765000/images/_1766846_hirst_300.jpg)

Or, for that matter, the killing of the donkey in the (now excised) scene from Manderlay (I recall that JB and Kotte had an interesting debate on the matter in that film's thread).

In other words: how do you feel about animals being killed for the sake of art?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 05:56:24 PM
I think the artists should volunteer their own bodies in the name of art.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 06:02:00 PM
Quote from: Meatball
I think the artists should volunteer their own bodies in the name of art.


With that in mind, to add fuel to the (anticipated) fire, here's another example I used in my essay:

(http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/MVD2000/sleep.jpg)

How would you compare this, ethically and artistically, to the images and overall dilemma I presented in my first post?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 06:04:59 PM
Equally as disgusting.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Pozer on April 28, 2005, 06:59:28 PM
it's not art
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 07:09:53 PM
i read your essay - i may have missed the answer within the text - regarding the animal pictures; were they specifically killed for the peices or aquired after their death and used as art? theres obviously a large difference, but in essence, that difference should not be taken into consideration when discussing the content in and of itself.

In the contrast of the animal pictures we have that of the stitched up woman - this was obviously more of a documentarian image capture - at least i hope one didn't cut that woman's stomach open for that picture. however i feel all is relative - one's position on this moral dilema can not be absolute. If one films a cow being slaughtered, I for one, would very much enjoy and appreciate viewing that image  - Now, if that artist was to orchestrate the slaughtering of the cow to acheive that same image, I would not enjoy/appreciate it any less. Just as with film, i judge the art, not the means or personalites behind it (i.e. who created it and why).

many people change their positions on art and film based on their inherent judgements and/or knowledge of the creator. for instance: that filmmaker seems like a little brat or this artist is gay or that painter used human blood,on and on. the art should not be judged out of the immediate context of the image/story/statement.

I don't think moralitly really has a place in art. If one finds out that a film they embrace and respect was created by an "immoral" person using "immoral" practices to create that said film, it doesn't and shouldn't change or discredit their innitial response to that work.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 07:22:40 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
i read your essay - i may have missed the answer within the text - regarding the animal pictures; were they specifically killed for the peices or aquired after their death and used as art? theres obviously a large difference, but in essence, that difference should not be taken into consideration when discussing the content in and of itself.


The animals were killed specifically for the pieces. In talking about the cow being killed, you really do a good job of highlighting the moral quandry of this sort of art. Everything you say is precisely on point, especially about context and intent; but I think there's key word that people may miss is in your last sentence, when you say that it "shouldn't and doesn't discredit their initial response to that work." The keyword is initial.

For example, I think the photograph of the dead woman is a beautiful work of art. I have an understanding that the woman died of natural causes, and the artist posed and photographed her with permission from her family after the autopsy. However, if I were to learn tomorrow that this explanation was a ruse, that the artist had actually killed the woman, my perception of the image would chance, and I would not be able to appreciate it. However, my initial reaction - that it is of aesthetic value - would not be changed or diminished; it would serve to contrast the subsequent feeling of disgust. Is it still art at that point? Yes. Unfortunately, perhaps, but yes.

Compare this to the mice or the sheep; we already know they were killed for the sake of the art. Animals are not on the same level of humans, of course, but nonetheless, a life has been extinguished for the sole purpose of aesthetics.

To contrast my own opinion, I'd invite Pozer and Meatball to qualify their brief reponses.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Stefen on April 28, 2005, 07:24:35 PM
Animals being killed for art just doesn't sit well with me. I mean when stuff like that happens, it makes art overrated cause nothing could ever be beautiful enough to warrant the killing of a helpless animal. A human on the other hand I don't mind, I could stare at a snuff film all day and never have an inkling of feeling bad for the person in the video, partly because I don't feel bad for humans. Humans make their own choices.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: jtm on April 28, 2005, 07:31:52 PM
Quote from: Stefen
, I could stare at a snuff film all day and never have an inkling of feeling bad for the person in the video, partly because I don't feel bad for humans. Humans make their own choices.


so if a human gets kidnapped and tortured to death on camera, it's the humans fault for allowing himself to be kidnapped?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Pozer on April 28, 2005, 07:45:25 PM
you asked, 'how do you feel about animals being killed for the sake of art?'
just look at that question. it is not art. art is a reflection. a moment. an emotion and all that. but it is not shock value, and that is all that comes to mind when looking at those images.
this post typed in all lower case holds more art than those photographs.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 07:53:26 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy
Compare this to the mice or the sheep; we already know they were killed for the sake of the art. Animals are not on the same level of humans, of course, but nonetheless, a life has been extinguished for the sole purpose of aesthetics.


Initial reaction to the work was, yes, it's pleasing to the eyes. They look beautiful, they really do. That only lasts a second or two because I am immediately disgusted. Disgusted that a person deliberately orchestrated this to trigger a reaction from me. If you want to get a reaction, punch me in the face and tell me whatever message you're trying to get across, but please spare the five white mice. And then, expect me to punch you in the face and tell you what's on my mind.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Stefen on April 28, 2005, 08:00:29 PM
Quote from: JTM
Quote from: Stefen
, I could stare at a snuff film all day and never have an inkling of feeling bad for the person in the video, partly because I don't feel bad for humans. Humans make their own choices.


so if a human gets kidnapped and tortured to death on camera, it's the humans fault for allowing himself to be kidnapped?


I wouldn't go that far, but it's definetely more of the humans fault then it is the animals fault. An animal can't protect itself, a human can.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 08:01:46 PM
Quote from: POZER
it is not art. art is a reflection. a moment. an emotion and all that.


I would argue that those photographs are all of the above. You two seem to be disgusted, one might even say angry, about those images - those are two strong emotional reactions to these images which are both relflective, momentary and emotive...hence, they are art, whether you like them or not.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 08:07:53 PM
Quote from: Stefen
Quote from: JTM
Quote from: Stefen
, I could stare at a snuff film all day and never have an inkling of feeling bad for the person in the video, partly because I don't feel bad for humans. Humans make their own choices.


so if a human gets kidnapped and tortured to death on camera, it's the humans fault for allowing himself to be kidnapped?


I wouldn't go that far, but it's definetely more of the humans fault then it is the animals fault. An animal can't protect itself, a human can.


come on now, this is a pretty ignorant statement. how do you justify the mass amounts of people murdered and killed by machines that are much more powerful than any human( guns,bombs,cars)? A human can't protect themselves from a bullet just as an ant can't protect itself from my foot. Again, all is relative. To say human can protect themselves moreso than an animal is just false. A mouse in a cage is defenseless to a man - just as man is defenseless to a shark in the water. all is relative.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Stefen on April 28, 2005, 08:10:17 PM
If that first photo with the mice was taken with one of those instant cameras, where the pictures pops out in a few seconds and you have to shake the picture (what are those called?) by a couple of kids in the suburbs trying to imitate mtv's jackass, would that photo be considered art?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 08:20:15 PM
Artists highlight certain aspects of life and then take credit for the observation.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 08:23:12 PM
Quote from: Stefen
If that first photo with the mice was taken with one of those instant cameras, where the pictures pops out in a few seconds and you have to shake the picture (what are those called?) by a couple of kids in the suburbs trying to imitate mtv's jackass, would that photo be considered art?


the point of your rebuddle is not about switching the variable of the aquisition format( if you change the camera, you innevitably change the image) however, I believe the point your trying to make is, if this picture was taken by "whitetrash teenagers" who were abusing animals in their backyard and wanted a picture to remind them of their afternoon of male bonding would it still be art? -- yes, it would still be art. as I expressed previously, the context or process of aquiring the image should not affect one's response or opinion to that image.
I think some of the most beautiful images i've seen are those created by children, who are not trying to conciously create art. they have no grasp of art and the ideas behind it. regardless, are these children's paintings art? absolutely.
so, in response to your question; yes I'd love to see the result of some hicks playing around with a 3D camera. sign me up.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 08:26:15 PM
They're called polaroids. And no, I don't think that would be considered art, because the crux of the situation you describe seems to be the kids killing the mice just get a kick out of it, with the picture being an arbitrary point.

That picture, for the record, is by a Russian artist named Nathalia Edmonton. All of her artwork feature animals that she's killed, and, beyond shock value, it's meant to be symbolic of her upbringing in the Soviet Union.

As I explained in my essay, I don't condone this art at all (I am vegan, after all) - but I can't deny that it is, indeed, art. The conflict of feelings there is what troubles (and interests) me.

There are things that I very much dislike calling art - things that disgust me, that annoy me, that are morally upsetting - but are still art. A helpful question in these circumstance is: does a given work have artistic integrity?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 08:28:33 PM
Since absolutely aything can be considered art, what is artistic integrity?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Stefen on April 28, 2005, 08:34:23 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy
They're called polaroids. And no, I don't think that would be considered art, because the crux of the situation you describe seems to be the kids killing the mice just get a kick out of it, with the picture being an arbitrary point.

That picture, for the record, is by a Russian artist named Nathalia Edmonton. All of her artwork feature animals that she's killed, and, beyond shock value, it's meant to be symbolic of her upbringing in the Soviet Union.

As I explained in my essay, I don't condone this art at all (I am vegan, after all) - but I can't deny that it is, indeed, art. The conflict of feelings there is what troubles (and interests) me.

There are things that I very much dislike calling art - things that disgust me, that annoy me, that are morally upsetting - but are still art. A helpful question in these circumstance is: does a given work have artistic integrity?


There is no doubt that it is art. Because that particular picture does have a certain beauty to it. But the picture taken out of context is misleading. I didn't read the essay nor did I know who the photographer was. The picture viewed on it's own is ART, but to me, only shock value art. If I had viewed the piece at an exhibit, knowing the story behind the photo my views would possibly change, but viewing the photo on it's own with nothing else in mind, it is shock value, plain and simple. That is my fault for jumping to conclusions without knowing the whole story, but the situation I was presented with most likely happens more often than the situation I discussed I might have been in happens. The picture on it's own is passed around the internet as an attachment only and it's shock value.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 08:34:54 PM
Quote from: meatball
Artists highlight certain aspects of life and then take credit for the observation.


i think warhol is the perfect example of this -  one of the most respected and heralded artist is best known for printing a soup can on a canvas - a seemingly inconsequential image seen on a daily basis by everyone of us. did he design the initial can? no. did he take credit for making people stop and observe something that they usually overlook? yes.

do you consider this art? or going even further - art with integrity? or was your previous statement said in contempt. as if an artist should not get credit or be considered an artist for simply highlighting an aspect of life and forcing us to observe?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Pozer on April 28, 2005, 08:34:55 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: POZER
it is not art. art is a reflection. a moment. an emotion and all that.


I would argue that those photographs are all of the above. You two seem to be disgusted, one might even say angry, about those images - those are two strong emotional reactions to these images which are both relflective, momentary and emotive...hence, they are art, whether you like them or not.

 but I am disgusted by the process of creating those pieces. the initial thought of creating them. I can say the act of killing those animals makes me angry and gives me a strong emotional reaction. Is that process art? my quote from above is what is put into the piece. the reflection, the moment, the emotion...
is a fur coat art? is 'faces of death' art? is a snuff film art just cause it strikes an emotional reaction? how far do we go with the word art?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 08:41:48 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: meatball
Artists highlight certain aspects of life and then take credit for the observation.


i think warhol is the perfect example of this -  one of the most respected and heralded artist is best known for printing a soup can on a canvas - an seemingly inconsequential image seen on a daily basis by everyone of us. did he design the initial can? no. did he take credit for making people stop and observe something that they usually overlook? yes.

do you consider this art? or going even further - art with integrity? or was your previous statement said in contempt. as if an artist should not get credit or be considered an artist for simply highlighting an aspect of life and forcing us to observe?


I hold no contempt for artists. I find it amusing how others often raise artists up on their shoulders and speak of them like demigods. I do view art as simply taking a marker and circling something on "the page of life", calling attention to it. Everyone is capable of doing that. I guess, some do it better than others -- to other people's liking, too. But, no, I have no problem with it.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 08:44:13 PM
Quote from: POZER
how far do we go with the word art?


I think it's dependant on two subjective concepts: the intent of the artist, and the intent (although perhaps not conscious intent) of the audience.

That these concepts frequently converge makes the definition of art seem relatively exclusive (exclusive, but with wide margins). But again, it's entirely subjective.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 08:54:05 PM
Quote from: POZER
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: POZER
it is not art. art is a reflection. a moment. an emotion and all that.


I would argue that those photographs are all of the above. You two seem to be disgusted, one might even say angry, about those images - those are two strong emotional reactions to these images which are both relflective, momentary and emotive...hence, they are art, whether you like them or not.

 but I am disgusted by the process of creating those pieces. the initial thought of creating them. I can say the act of killing those animals makes me angry and gives me a strong emotional reaction. Is that process art? my quote from above is what is put into the piece. the reflection, the moment, the emotion...
is a fur coat art? is 'faces of death' art? is a snuff film art just cause it strikes an emotional reaction? how far do we go with the word art?


again, i think all is relative. but the one variable that needs to remain constant is the act of art being purposely displayed. i think the key element with all these scenarios is an artist is consciously capturing an image or creating something with the intention of actively providing a venue for people to observe that work. objectively viewing something as art, has to be in an enviornment that has been purposely displayed to be that.  The point being, a fur coat made to keep someone warm is not art. A fur coat made to be displayed as an observation is art. in essence, art is and should be about the intended context in which we were meant to OBSERVE, not in the intended context/circumstance in which it  was CREATED.  

For instance, with faces of death, the act of actively/purposely capturing someone shooting themselves in the face, with the knowledge that the person they are filming is going to pull the trigger is different than a security camera capturing a poor woman being impaled by a saw in a hardware store. the first is art, the second is not.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: xerxes on April 28, 2005, 09:02:46 PM
despite the fact that what is depicted within those images is disgusting, it is still art, whatever that term means.

I am still completely appalled by it though.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: SHAFTR on April 28, 2005, 09:10:27 PM
This brings up an interesting debate surrounding War Photography.  Is it wrong to photograph death and tragedy with an artistic point of view?  Meaning, is it ok to make such tragedy look beautiful?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ravi on April 28, 2005, 09:15:46 PM
I don't know if its okay to kill an animal for art.  I don't believe that the life of an animal is less important than the needs of the artist to express himself.  However, I believe I have the ability to find such a work aesthetically pleasing, even if the circumstances of its creation disgust me.

Quote from: SHAFTR
This brings up an interesting debate surrounding War Photography.  Is it wrong to photograph death and tragedy with an artistic point of view?  Meaning, is it ok to make such tragedy look beautiful?


A great photo/movie of real death and misery can be beautiful and haunting at the same time.  There is a difference between shooting a beautiful photograph of something horrid and shooting something that glamorizes it.

This (http://www.treefort.org/~cbdoten/rvntanks/sp071632.jpg) is a beautiful photograph, and yet it is disturbing at the same time.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: NEON MERCURY on April 28, 2005, 09:35:47 PM
great thread.

IMHO  the picture of  ratfinger is technically "art".  but i think it sucks. its not my style.  i know some of this goes into "whats art?"  but if someone thinks that the ratfinger picture is art.  then would taking an aborted fetus and chopping it up and then freezing the many chunks into small ice cubes then puttign the cubes into a glass of bubbling champagne be considered art?  thats why when i look at ratfinger i think.  "thats fucking gross"  and then to know the fact that the rats  were killed for that!?!?
thats fucked up.  and classless.  fake artistry IMO.

as for  miss frankestein, i feel awful lookign at that.  i guess its considered art.  but i think its tasteless.  its fucked up takin greal humans and animals and manipulating their bodies into pseudo-art.  i think its sick of the lady's parents to let someone photograph her like that.  

the posers who want to be disturbing and passs their shit off as art should learn how to do it right.  learn from lynch/kubrick - thats art
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 28, 2005, 09:39:54 PM
what do you think about passolini's salo?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ravi on April 28, 2005, 09:42:07 PM
Quote from: NEON MERCURY

the posers who want to be disturbing and passs their shit off as art should learn how to do it right.  learn from lynch/kubrick - thats art


The art world is filled with people who use shock to gain quick attention.  If its done just purely for attention I don't consider it art.  Piero Manzoni filled 90 cans with his own feces and called it "art," but I call it "90 cans of shit."

Are there any examples of acclaimed art (film, photography, whatever) where the artists killed something to make it?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: NEON MERCURY on April 28, 2005, 09:43:04 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
what do you think about passolini's salo?


i havent seen it :( ....yet
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 09:44:53 PM
Quote from: Ravi
The art world is filled with people who use shock to gain quick attention.  If its done just purely for attention I don't consider it art.  Piero Manzoni filled 90 cans with his own feces and called it "art," but I call it "90 cans of shit."


Paris Hilton is not art. She's "90 cans of shit."
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: NEON MERCURY on April 28, 2005, 09:47:44 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy

(http://webzone.k3.mah.se/projects/MVD2000/sleep.jpg)


now what would be cool would be if the "artist" took skins from several different animals and replaced everything but her head with various animal skins.  like zebra, green tree python, fish scales, etc.  and then patched them all together.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 10:58:46 PM
Quote from: Ravi

Are there any examples of acclaimed art (film, photography, whatever) where the artists killed something to make it?


I don't know how 'acclaimed' it actually is, but Oldboy is pretty popular right now. Granted, that's just one scene out of the whole film.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: meatball on April 28, 2005, 11:05:04 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy
Quote from: Ravi

Are there any examples of acclaimed art (film, photography, whatever) where the artists killed something to make it?


I don't know how 'acclaimed' it actually is, but Oldboy is pretty popular right now. Granted, that's just one scene out of the whole film.


The octopus?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cron on April 28, 2005, 11:14:15 PM
ghostboy do you like damien hirst?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 28, 2005, 11:20:06 PM
The sheep image I included in my first post was a Hirst piece. I 'like' his artwork in the sense that I appreciate the concept of it but don't condone it (he is a great artist, though and I'm more than happy to embrace his cruelty-free artwork, which there's lots of). I love the aesthetic idea of the cow vivisection, but (unless it's being ripped off in a J.Lo movie via harmless CGI) I'm against the work itself.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: mogwai on April 28, 2005, 11:24:38 PM
i make art everyday... in the shitter.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cron on April 28, 2005, 11:31:58 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy
The sheep image I included in my first post was a Hirst piece.

i know, and it was my avatar once, remeber? no?

that's cool that you like his  harmless work, although he's been producing crap lately from what i've seen.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 12:13:59 AM
have you seen the hirst image of the man's head with the shotgun wound?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 12:42:43 AM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
were they specifically killed for the peices or aquired after their death and used as art? theres obviously a large difference, but in essence, that difference should not be taken into consideration when discussing the content in and of itself . . .

I don't think moralitly really has a place in art. If one finds out that a film they embrace and respect was created by an "immoral" person using "immoral" practices to create that said film, it doesn't and shouldn't change or discredit their innitial response to that work.

I completely disagree with all of that. To judge art in a void removed from its creative context is simply ignorant. It's an artificial barrier.

And the "is it art?" discussion is always a dead end. If a person thinks it's art, it's art to that person.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 29, 2005, 01:09:09 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman

I completely disagree with all of that. To judge art in a void removed from its creative context is simply ignorant.


I think the only thing that's disagreeable is saying that morality doesn't have a place in art. I think it does.

But he's right about how no change in moral perception will ever change one's initial response to a work of art. 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.

That's partially why, when I presented the images in my first post, I included no information on the artists or the method in which they created the artwork (although I did, in my 'thesis query,' weigh the scales, so to speak).
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 01:13:52 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman

I completely disagree with all of that. To judge art in a void removed from its creative context is simply ignorant. It's an artificial barrier.


you do it every day. 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.

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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 01:17:56 AM
Quote from: Ghostboy


I think the only thing that's disagreeable is saying that morality doesn't have a place in art. I think it does.


i think morality as a subject has a place in art - however not as a tool for judgement
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 01:24:35 AM
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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Ghostboy on April 29, 2005, 01:32:52 AM
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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 01:43:41 AM
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."
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 01:44:34 AM
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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 01:49:27 AM
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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 02:07:36 AM
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).
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 02:11:56 AM
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.)
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 02:17:21 AM
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.
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on April 29, 2005, 02:30:54 AM
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?
Title: Ethical question about art.
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 29, 2005, 02:37:50 AM
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.
Title: Re: Ethical question about art.
Post by: polkablues on August 21, 2018, 03:01:28 AM
https://gizmodo.com/museum-visitor-falls-into-giant-hole-that-looks-like-a-1828462859

In my opinion, this was an amusing but inconsequential piece of art that only became great art when the dude fell in.
Title: Re: Ethical question about art.
Post by: Neil on August 22, 2018, 06:21:32 PM
Has the initial essay gone down? Is there somewhere I could read this to get onboard with all the following comments?