Art (,the thread about)


Does anybody know what’s up with @Angela’s posts getting “flagged”?


yeah. weird.
must be some sort of mistake…


forum settings that are default for spam detection, i’m trying to tune them. apologies!


Longer thoughts on this, but gotta get on with my day. They boil down to: the audience is frequently not imaginary at all, and can be extremely useful for overcoming personal biases. Overcoming the acculturation you brought up.

One of the things I love about the internet is the lack of any fourth wall to break down.


“In science, as in art and in life, only that which is true to culture is true to nature.” Another way of putting it would be to invert W.C. Williams’ dictum: no things without ideas. Or: no facts without interpretations.

I think there’s a common misuse of “objectivity” here; “objective” has many meanings, legal, scientific, in clinical trials, in interpersonal relationships and so on, and they don’t all intersect to yield a platonic ideal or even minimum criterion of objectivity. It’s true that the camera is a sort of blue guitar that changes what it sees, but at the same time, it is certainly an objective reporter of events and things - if it were not, photoshopping news photos would not be taboo. The point is, every medium is the blue guitar, and yet we still demand - and achieve - objectivity in many areas of life.

BTW - I hate the way I sound like a smug ass when I write this sort of thing. I suppose I just am.


I like this. But - you are your own first audience. And as such, you share a lot with your wider audience, because let’s face it, the sort of people who listen to Rodrigo’s music (or look at your art, in your case) are the sort of people who would probably be interested in making it. In other words, you share a culture - and there’s no art without a shared culture. So I don’t think there’s much to fear in imagining an audience - and potentially much to gain in terms of avoiding self-indulgence.

I’d go so far as to say that there’s no art without an audience. That fact can enable a creative and fruitful relationship just as it can undermine and weaken it.


@wintercat Is this your work? It’s completely captivated me. Especially the jigsaw narrative. Do you have a website?


Definitely. I wholehearted agree with this, though probably in a slightly different way than you meant.

I think that art, in general, is a really experiential thing that lives/exists outside of the general containers we put it in to. That is, a recording, a performance, a drawing, a painting, a “piece of art”. So in that sense, I would like to think that my “audience” does what I do, which is live their lives (in a way they find interesting). This sometimes produces things that other people could call “music” or “art”, but often this produces aesthetic experiences unbound by those frames. Art, in that way, pours over into our lives in a way that I’ll leave to Glenn Gould to explain:


Art is the word I use for stuff I do that exercises my creative muscles and that doesn’t yield easily to a less confusing label. I generally try to find a different word for it, because confusion makes me uncomfortable, and “art” is confusing (so many different potential frames for its meaning).


I like your Glenn Gould quote, but I doubt very much that Bach (to remain in a Gouldian vein) - or his patrons - would have considered his work therapeutic. Celebrative, devotional, explorative, processional, educational, experimental even… but therapeutic?

I referenced Wallace Stevens in a previous post. His idea of a supreme fiction resonates more strongly with me than that of a universal panacaea.


Damn - now I am duty bound to rebutt myself! The supreme fiction, in the aftermath of the century of ideologies, looks pretty shabby though, doesn’t it? By those lights, the Soviet Union or the Thousand Year Reich or the Christmas Bombing of Cambodia* would be the ultimate works of art…

OK, enough post-aperitivo ramblings…

  • Yes - I run to footnotes when I’m drunk. It was Hanoi. I’m getting old.


about audience : a very interesting thought from Rob Ayler (Radio Free Midwich)


Yeah that part of it I’m not crazy about. I more prefer the beginning/ending of the quote. Though still in a Bach-ian vein, my brain’s music schooling seems to remember something about the Goldberg variations being commissioned as a form of therapy (cure for insomnia).

That’s quite interesting, and I like that idea/definition quite a bit. Part of me thinks of some music scenes I’ve been involved in where it’s less of a community-ish endeavour than that. I guess the difference, for me, is the career-ness that can kick in. But that’s neither (specifically!) here, nor there.


(I could be wrong, but i don’t think ‘therapy’ was defined back then the way we know it now. Religious-devotion seemed like the ‘therapy’ of that time period.)


Interesting that art-as-therapy and religion-as-therapy are both linked, especially with the quote above[quote=“Gould, post:68, topic:2825”]
In the best of all possible worlds, art would be unnecessary

I think there are many on the planet who would agree if “religion” was substituted for “art” in that statement. Truly fascinating parallel. Equally interesting to me that there is a common supposition that these are cures or only necessary because of the condition of individual humans and the global community.

I disagree with that thinking.

Art is something we were designed to do and, as @Rodrigo astutely noted, creativity pushes far beyond the limits of documentation and “capture” that we normally associate with expression/art.

With no emotional/physical/spiritual ailments to battle against a human will still have many needs: “art” and “worship” are two of them and shouldn’t be minimized as some unnecessary and annoying residual effect of our current situation.


So are you saying that secularism runs against our basic nature? That ground is pretty slippery imo. To tell the truth, I find it hard to imagine the art of contentment too.


[quote=“strettara, post:76, topic:2825”]
are you saying that secularism runs against our basic nature?
[/quote]yep, in a nutshell

[quote=“strettara, post:76, topic:2825”]
That ground is pretty slippery imo.
[/quote]Not a popular viewpoint these days but according to what I’ve seen, the logic is sound

[quote=“strettara, post:76, topic:2825”]
I find it hard to imagine the art of contentment too.
[/quote]I’m curious what exactly you mean by this…do you mind elaborating?


six stills from a 2015 reel


Because we live in such a pluralistic society, and because I value diversity in all things, I’ve chosen to make the spiritual realm a very private matter, and choose not to engage with it in group settings. I don’t generally discuss it or experience it with groups of people. In public I generally compose myself as a rational, secular, agnostic. This has more to do with respect for others’ beliefs than any statement about my own.

Does this mean I am a secular person engaged in secularism? I don’t think it’s that simple. It means I recognize that life and people and society and religion are all complex and overlapping, and I prefer to avoid coercion of any kind. I’m also sensitive to appropriation and acculturation and the dangers involved. A large part of the reason I am concerned about these things is the simple fact that I would strongly prefer that others not impose or coerce their belief systems on me.

One of the things I love about spiritual art (as opposed to religion) is the fact that we can communicate with each other through it about spiritual matters, without requiring particular commitment or engagement from anyone in particular. People can choose to take something from your creation, and potentially return the favor with their own art, or not. I find that situation infinitely more agreeable than sitting in a church pew quietly for a set amount of time while listening to someone drone on about how this religion is the one true religion and the only path to [insert concept representing a transition from an unpleasant state to a more agreeable state on some eternal time scale here].

I’ll make an exception and explain a few of my beliefs here because I trust you folks to know I’m not in any way proselytizing. I don’t believe any religion was handed to us by God. I don’t think we know God’s name, appearance, or even gender (or if gender even makes sense when talking about a god). I believe religions were created by humans for human motivations. Some of those motivations are noble. We want to better understand the reason for our existence. We want to better understand how to compose ourselves, our lives, and our interactions with others. But we don’t always share goals, what we hope to achieve with this greater understanding. Some of us want a greater peace, a more shared understanding of love and compassion. Others are in it for reasons having to do with control, fear, repression, and even hate. I don’t believe any religion has a rightful claim on the whole of truth.

I don’t feel reason and rationality are necessarily incompatible with spiritual matters. Buddha once said “Accept my teachings only after examining them as an analyst buys gold. Accept nothing out of mere faith in me.” I find relief in those words.

Apologies for the tangent from art, but I often feel religion and art are interchangeable words for similar basic human drives towards some kind of shared understanding.


I really dug the piece about the “no audience underground”. Liberating indeed.

Funny thing though: he frequently talks about the “audience” you find in the “scene”. I guess I’m hair splitting, but a tiny audience is still an audience.