Personal Philosophy

On Art.

This is another attempt at writing this post. It never seems to have the legs to go the distance. It’s not a matter of knowing what I want to say, it’s a matter of organizing it into a cohesive post without it going every which where. The basic premise is my definition of art.

Art is many things to many people. You could make the argument that just about anything is art, and you wouldn’t be wrong. It’s really a matter of interpretation. For me art is derived from the human experience. It’s the manifestation of placing a cage around a large, nebulous matter. Art for me needs to be the conveyance of some emotion, even if the emotion is not a deep one. That’s about as much of a dotted line I can draw around what art is. I don’t think art is confined to a specific set of items, such as paintings, poems, and sculptures. Art can find it’s way into just about anything you can think of.

That brings me to my subtopic of this, and that is the declarations that only certain things can be art. I think that’s extremely short sighted. I don’t mean to beat the video game horse to death, but this has been hotly disputed for a while now. To me I don’t see how you can’t consider (some) video games art. Just as poems, books, and paintings draw the viewer into their world and inspire thoughts, feelings, and emotions so too do video games. One doesn’t even have to look that far to find examples. Take Final Fantasy VII, you will be hard pressed to find a hardcore gamer who doesn’t have fond memories of this. When Aeris dies there is at least some part of you that is moved. Some people were affected so much that there is hacks to bring her back into the game. My point is that defining art to such a narrow view will really keep you from seeing so many beautiful things around you.

Well, that in a nutshell is my definition of art. How does yours differ? I’d love to hear what you think art is defined as. Drop me a comment below!

2 replies on “On Art.”

As a student of social sciences, I’ve been brainwashed to believe that everything is whatever anyone says it is. But to borrow a method from academic religious studies, it is more useful to define art in terms of how people treat an artifact than to focus on its content. In other words, the content is not as important in what constitutes art as is how people regard it.

For example, someone one thousand years ago simply wanted to build a chair and did not care much about the aesthetic quality of the piece of furniture; however, the method of building a chair in that time period was completely different from the way chairs are made now. If the chair endured a thousand years and art scholars examined it, they might interpret the different method of building a chair as a stylization and rule it as art.

This example is slightly flawed because the interpretation as art was a result of a misunderstanding, but that doesn’t change the misunderstanding’s power to prevail as truth. If people engage in discourse about an artifact as if it were art, then it is so.

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