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01/11/2013

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Heather C

Well! I thought I would be writing a snotty post that would disagree with Tom (a la, 'what's at stake other than the ego of the artist'), but I think I may be agreeing with him. If kitsch offers a facile, potentially pleasurable, but ultimately simplistic (and predictable) experience, then art helps us transcend our usual categories of sensation and concept, stretching to give us a infinitessimally momentary glimpse of the world in its utter and unfathomable complexity. Like hearing a sound between the usual 12 tones. Kitch bangs on our brain receptors (just saw Les Miserables - felt dutifully stimulated, tears evoked, but formulaically, almost rudely). Lovely furniture may be a classier way of inducing certain mental states than Les Mis, but it isn't trying to blow our minds.

I also agree with Tom and Miriam that there is something cruicial to art about the communication of the experience from one mind to another. I could potentially have a milk-induced category-busting experience, but if I discovered this all on my own (that is, my experience wasn't in arranged by an artist trying to share this experience with me), then it's really just a meditation, masturbatory. This intrapsychic experience could become art if I become the artist and succeed in sharing it with another person. I'm getting back to my criticism of Tom's solo tourist in Bali - pure sensation is not enough. And while I agree with Tom that we are animals, I think we are unique animals - the only ones to create art.

Tom

Would a spider, if it could speak, say that while he agrees with Tom that he is an organism (an arachnopod, not an animal, in his case), still, he thinks that spiders are unique organisms -- the only ones to spin such elaborate webs? Or see the Peacock spider's courtship ritual:
http://www.scilogs.com/maniraptora/the-extraordinary-courtship-dance-of-australias-peacock-spider/

In other words, don't valorize human endeavor. Love it (because we are human!), but don't valorize it. Art, after all, is merely an adaptive behavior for our particular species. Had to get that in. Despite my love for it.

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