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Where Does Art Begin?

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posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:06 AM
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A violinist performs magnificently to an hall filled with enthusiasts and critics. Some swoon under the spell of each note, while others appreciate the total presentation as a whole. There are those who find themselves listening to the performance in spite of a preference for other forms of entertainment, and then, there are those who can never be satisfied with what this or any other violinist can produce.

The music that each mind in that hall hears is unique, even though the notes that soar from the stage to the farthest reaches of the hall are simply what they are. Now, with each note launched into the night, as the musician pulls passage after passage from his violin, and fills the evening with the art that drives him to such intense devotion and disciplined dedication, the true question becomes, at what point does the man, himself, end and the man’s art begin?

When the violinist draws his bow across the strings of his violin, where does the violinist – the human being wrapped in skin – end, and the music that transcends that corporeal confine, begin?

*Is it at the end of his fingertips, where the strings are set to vibrate?
*Is it as the sound waves leap from the strings to touch the air in the hall?
*Is it where those sound waves press against the inner ear of the listener?
*Or is it within the mind of the listener as the whole of it is translated into what that specific mind has determined to be music?

And what of the mind that is – due to any of a host of reasons – incapable of perceiving that sound as music? How do we factor in the unique perspective of the listener, and how that perspective was built until that instant when the violinist’s sound waves struck that listener’s mind to be either accepted or rejected as that which can be defined as music? Or does the music always remained trapped within the mind of the violinist, and the effort to release it, a repeating failure that can never be rectified?


Any thoughts?




posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:42 AM
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Art is the free expression of every human soul.

Whether the soul is tortured, dull, brilliant, daring, legal, illegal, amoral,immoral,child, woman, man, art captures the essence of being.

If the art not accepted in our society such as a depiction of Muhammad or piss in a jar with a cross or if it is celebrated in the Vatican and other human built emblems it does not matter.

It is simply human expression.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:45 AM
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Where does art begin ?

I'd say it begins with the intention for something to be art and i think that the 'intention' can come from either the artist or a viewer.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:52 AM
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7:30 AM...and this is probably too deep for me to tackle at this hour :-p

This is a superb and divine inquiry you have here. I don’t mean how you worded it and the lovely flow of the writing (and it is lovely btw) but the message itself. So I apologize if I don’t do this fabulous thread any justice with my response.

I think the notes are byproducts of artistic expression. I believe the art begins in the composer or in your case the violinist but interpretation is a hell of a thing. So I would say the short answer is it begins in the mind of the musician but as I said interpretation is so vastly unique and that can be seen even by current examples.

I have a highly eclectic taste in music. For the most part if you pick any genre I can name several that I like. But if we look back a few decades to my favorite era of music (the 80’s) you see some real big names such as Madonna or Metallica or Michael Jackson. I choose those types of names for a reason; they are the legends. Like them or not they are the legends just as in the case of your example you might think Chopin, Mozart, Bach and so forth. When you look at a fairly universal band or orchestra, for example the Beatles, sometimes you can be hard pressed to find people who actually dislike them but somewhere out there are many people who hear the exact same notes and don’t derive from them pure talent or adoration for music. On the contrary, they may find it to be simplistic hack-work because (example) Ringo couldn’t throw down like Lars Ulrich or simply because they just plain don’t like the works of the Beatles. (please don’t crucify me…I know he’s a sellout, I just wanted to pick a relatively fast drummer)

My personal example is the Rolling Stones. People praise and adore them but their music is just a simplistic jumble to me and doesn’t feel like it has a lot of substance. That is my interpretation.

So it all comes down to what your brain as the listener finds to be beautiful and inspired. We are indeed all built differently with slightly different chemical balances and structure. It’s who we are and what makes us unique and in that respect art will be interpreted differently by each person.

Sometimes, a bias can enter into the equation too. You asked about the person who rejects this violinist’s music and you are right. No matter how often he plays this song, that listener will probably continue to reject. I only hope that violinist doesn’t take repeated rejection from a few listeners as failure because frankly when some humans make up their mind, it’s done. I Love the Beatles’ music. You can’t change that ever. On the other hand, I don’t like the Rolling Stones and chances are that won’t change either. The key for the listener is to be truly open when they try something. If you go in thinking “oh jeez more classical violin…” then frankly you’ve made that mind up already and try as he might, that musician will probably not win you.

excellent thread…

-Kyo



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 07:57 AM
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Art began when humans closed their eyes and visualized. The things they 'saw' would then be drawn. This happened so far back in our history that evidence keeps pushing the date further and further back. The finds in the Blombos cave, which were markings on red ochre, date back 70,000 years.

www.accessexcellence.org...

Music originally came from the heart beat married to the sounds of nature.



[edit on 18/5/10 by masqua]



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster
*Is it at the end of his fingertips, where the strings are set to vibrate?


Well, personally I think Wobbly Anomaly hit the nail on the head. It's art when either the creator or the recipient declares it to be art. Intent is 100% of the equation. So really, it's earlier in the process than any of the 4 options you gave us in the multiple choice.

Now, in my own opinion, there IS art in the fingertips. There are a few musicians whose work I've entirely digested... David Gilmour, Keith Emerson, Jaco Pastorius, for instance... and I can hear a brand new or undiscovered recording of them playing something and recognize them immediately by the tone they produce, the timing of how they move between notes, the strength with which they hit the notes, and a dozen other immeasurable variables. Because their "voice" is so distinct, their mastery of their instruments so consistent, that it could be nobody else making THAT set of notes.


And what of the mind that is – due to any of a host of reasons – incapable of perceiving that sound as music?
If a paint bucket falls in the forest and nobody's around to see it, does it make art? Yes, if the person who set it up to fall intended it to be such.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Defining art is right up there with defining God, impossible.
In the cartoon strip "Peanuts", I believe it was the character Lucy that made it seem so easy...A mountain, a house, a tree, the sun, etc., and voila, you have art.
For too many "artists" all you need is a formula.
So, in my opinion, you can make a "connection" but it may not be "art."
(A prostitute makes a connection if you get my point.)
The great artists are tapping into something difficult to define, something greater than themselves. The mechanics of playing music, painting or whatever it is become practically nonexistent in the artists mind, as if they have found a river of creativity they are interpreting (?) as they are discovering it themselves.
The depth of appreciation is directly related to the ability of the artist to interpret this external creative river.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 11:48 AM
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I wrestle with this because of the insane levels of context that are included within each human expression, and even before the environmental and circumstantial context is applied.

When we look at the entire list of individual things that went into the actual music that was created – the mind of the violinist, his hands and fingers upon the strings, the bow drawn across those strings, the strings vibrating and resonating against the bridge of the violin itself which caused the wood to resonate, the sound waves pushing through the open air of the hall, the reverberation of the walls and ceiling that smoothed out the harsh tone of the raw sound of the strings and made it sing as it did, the ears of the listeners, and finally, the minds of each listener as the sound became music as interpreted by each mind – we have to accept that if we took away any single stage of this long list of contributing aspects, the result would cause the resulting music to either be radically altered, or destroyed entirely.

Now, let's say that when the violinist struck his first note of the evening, that note was a C#, but to simply state that it was a C# is to lose sight of all that this single note presented to this particular moment. This C# note did not exist in a vacuum. It didn’t just appear from nowhere. As the first note of a composed musical piece, it was written by a composer. This composer lives, or once lived, a life that contributed to the notion of placing that note in that specific part of the composition. In fact, it stands to reason that the composer spent some time and thought about which note to place in that specific part of the piece, and likely spent considerable time in thought about how long the note should last, how loud it should be played, and whether it should be physically manipulated by the musician in such a way as to provide it a specific expressiveness at any point within its existence as a performed musical note.

That composer provided a certain level of intellectual context to that note, and that context provided a distinction to that specific note that it does not share with any other C# note in that or any other musical piece. The identity of that note was affected by that very specific context, and made that note unique before it was even performed.

Now, the creation of this note’s singular identity didn’t end there.

The violinist who struck that note also added context to that specific note on that specific evening. The piece before that violinist was not composed by him, but the creation of the note as music – the physical interpretation of that note by way of the violin as a sound generation tool – belongs solely to the violinist. What flowed through the hands and fingers of that violinist as he struck that C# note, was all that had been his life to that point in time, and the whole of it caused that C# to suddenly belong to him as an artist who had taken the composer’s suggestion and had had his way with it – for good or ill, as the case may be. The years of study, practice, and personal sacrifice; the career that he’s had, or still envisions; the surging elements within his own body and brain; all coming together as he hit that first C# and made it his own. This is the intellectual context that the violinist provided, which combined with the context that the composer had already provided, to further distinguish this first C# note of the piece under examination.

But there is more.

This particular violin is a rare and valuable model that was produced by a celebrated craftsman who died hundreds of years ago, and since its creation, it has been played by a long line of brilliant musicians who have carefully preserved its beauty, its tone and its overall utility. The very fact of its unique excellence contributed its own form of context to the sound of this first note, as well as to the intellectual context provided by the violinist as he honored this rare treasure with his committed effort to produce that sound. This circumstantial context – somewhat different in nature than the intellectual context of two artists in tangential collaboration on the piece, but still extremely powerful – was yet another factor that contributed to all that came together to further distinguish this first C# of this particular musical piece.

Of course, if we include the environmental aspects of the concert venue itself, the relative humidity of the atmosphere and its impact on the violin’s tone and the “carry” of the notes within the hall, and whether people were buzzing among themselves as this note was struck, or even if the hall was full or whether people were still finding their seats, then we can continue to add contextual qualifications until we run out of atoms and quarks and strings to pick over.

The point of this has been to describe the nature of context, and I think you have what you need to understand what I mean when I refer to context, whether I mean intellectual context or just plain old circumstantial context of any kind. In artistic expression, the human being manipulates and is manipulated by this coming-together of context, and it impacts the art that is produced.

Therefore, is the art its own event, or is it the creation of the artist. Or is it the creation of the artist in congress with the moment, as well as with all the contributing contextual aspects that infested the moment with identity? Is all art collaborative?



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 12:20 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


"Therefore, is the art its own event, or is it the creation of the artist. Or is it the creation of the artist in congress with the moment, as well as with all the contributing contextual aspects that infested the moment with identity? Is all art collaborative?"

I think at can be its own event, the creation of the artist controlling (most) variables, or a combination.

Whether you are referring to the color wheel in the visual spectrum, or the cycle of fifths in music, a single color (or note) is BOTH, simple "art" (alone and by themselves), AND more complex than they appear, all at once.
A color or a note represents an emotion, felt by both the artist and the audience, always placed with some emphasis. The depth of emotion in both the artist and audience will vary widely, as widely as the spectrum of art itself is.

Art used to solicit a simple response, like shock or amusement, is not what I am referring to here.



posted on May, 18 2010 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by NorEaster


The music that each mind in that hall hears is unique, even though the notes that soar from the stage to the farthest reaches of the hall are simply what they are. Now, with each note launched into the night, as the musician pulls passage after passage from his violin, and fills the evening with the art that drives him to such intense devotion and disciplined dedication, the true question becomes, at what point does the man, himself, end and the man’s art begin?

Any thoughts?


You answered your own question quite well; you cannot separate the artist from the art. They are one and the same.
Artists join the universe in the moment of creation and transcend time. That is, when it really is art.
When it is nothing more than regurgitation of existing ideas with nothing to add it becomes plagiarism. However, both are necessary to the existence of the artistic community. Not every work by a great artist is great art. We must learn to walk before we can fly.

Of course culture and time influence both the artist and the audience alike. Whether a work of art finds any public acceptance or not, it still remains art. The audience is an afterthought to the entire process. Their acclaim or criticism means nothing except perhaps financial gain or a place the annals of history.

The artist must strive to go where no-one has gone before and bring back to the world fresh visions of reality. It is not a task well-suited for the tame, the unadventurous or those who crave public approval.



[edit on 18-5-2010 by Asktheanimals]



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 01:30 PM
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I think it depends on how one defines art. You touched on some of the variations in your opening post. For some art is a technical affair. For others it's simply entertainment. For others it is a direct form of personal expression or communication.

I think that depending on what art constitutes (or is constituted by) for you personally, it can encompass any one, or all, of the beginning and end points you specified, and probably others we can't imagine without being in certain people's shoes.

Personally, I like to think of my art of choice - music - as being an mutual and collaborative process that I'm just taking part in. I express my emotions and thoughts through it, but that's only the part I put into it. Where the inspiration, structure (or lack thereof as if often the case lol,) and sound of the music comes from, and where it ends up, is largely unknown to me and largely beyond my direct ability to control or predict, because of the particular way I make music.

Likewise, when people hear it, they have differing reactions, experiences, and interpretations, as you also suggested in your opening post. So it does, and will continue to, evolve and exist in their mind independent of any further direct impact on my own part. The relationship of a song to a listener is a unique one, even if only slightly unique (though sometimes it is radically unique,) from person to person in my opinion.

For all of those reasons I prefer to think of music and most art as a continuum or dynamic system, like the ecosystems of the oceans for example, rather than a finite thing with concrete beginning and ending points, definite rules, or even total control on the part of the artists. A lot of uncontrollable, and even at times unconscious, elements go into the final form that a piece of art can take in my opinion.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Wobbly Anomaly
I'd say it begins with the intention for something to be art and i think that the 'intention' can come from either the artist or a viewer.



Yuck.

this is the type of art that i like the least.



art is transcendent and cares not for the viewer nor creator. it is what it is. completely ineffable.

but, just like any typical person, you seem to think that YOUR perception of the art is what makes it meaningful. get over yourself and your pretenses. art does not care about you....or whether or not you care about it.


it must be effortless, and thus totally absent of intention. otherwise it is akin to pornography or propaganda.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 01:55 PM
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Art usually begins by saying "from the desert to the sea and all the time zones " something like that I believe

though now he's in the Philippines broad casting. so he may say something entirely different.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 09:34 PM
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Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics is a very interesting topic, and one of my favorites.

It seems your question is something like, "What is a work of art?" The observations you make about locating objects is brought up, though not in relation to art specifically, in a speech by G.E. Moore given, I think, around 1910. There he holds an envelope before the audience and asks where it is located. Each person in the room is seeing something slightly different, a different sized and shaped patch of white in the mind of every person looking at the envelope. So, it seems, the best answer is that the envelope is really based in their minds.

The same might be said about a violin performance. The performance, as it is experienced, is located in each person's mind, but it is caused by vibrations in the air, which are caused by the person and the violin's actions, which are caused by the violin player's brain, which... etc. So where is the violin performance? I think the performance is the physical state of affairs involving the violin player, the violin, and the physical world it exists in and has effects on. Now, where is the song? I would say the answer to that is, in people's minds. The song is an abstract object.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 10:47 PM
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Originally posted by tgidkp
art is transcendent and cares not for the viewer nor creator. it is what it is. completely ineffable.
Nah, art is entirely effable. Effing with art is, in fact, the greatest joy for an artist. When the artist stops giving an eff, then it ceases to be art.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


Art is in the observer. One mans trash is another mans art, as they say. It really doesn't matter what the so-called artist has in mind, or does. It isn't art until an observer says it's art, it also isn't art if the person next to him doesn't see it as art... to each their own.




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