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Art Appreciation 101


“One's assessment of an object must be free and unhampered, with nothing between you and the object. You must look directly at it. To decide that a particular piece must be valuable because it is by a particular artist is weak and demeaning. Your assessment only gains meaning when you look at the object directly, free and unfettered.”
― Soetsu Yanagi, The Beauty of Everyday Things


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Cheers Mike
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I had never heard of Soetsi prior to your introduction.

But for sure this is a major challenge to the modern mind. Yes, what she advises, “to engage directly with a work of art without filters“ appears unchallengeable like many aphorisms.

However when I visit the Venice Biennale and am confronted with one broken paving stone leaning on an intact stone, I refuse to reject it simply because it has authority and influence having been selected by “Art Experts”!

I feel that I should put aside my impressions and ponder as to why these “experts” value this presentation so highly that it can represent the best of the USA?

Asher
 
I'd never heard of her either, Asher, until I searched for a perspective on art appreciation consistent with what has become known as 'applied' postmodernism. Postmodernism began with writings by philosophers after WW2, and particularly French philosophers such as Foucault, Leotard, etc. Although the 'Theory" originated in philosophy, it quickly moved across to literature, and now has become a major influence on all the humanities, sociology, social work, social justice programing and even parts of social psychology. It is a major part of undergraduate programming in the arts and humanities and transmitted their graduates throughout all forms of media.

Physcist David Deutsch wrote about postmodernism as follows (in his book The beginning of infinity: Explanations that transform the world. Westminster: Penguin UK. 2011, page 314):

"One currently influential philosophical movement goes under various names, such as postmodernism, deconstructionism, and structuralism [sic!], depending on historical details that are unimportant here. It claims that because all ideas, including scientific theories, are conjectural and impossible to justify, they are essentially arbitrary: they are no more than stories, known in this context as ‘narratives’. Mixing extreme cultural relativism with other forms of anti-realism, it regards objective truth and falsity, as well as reality and knowledge of reality, as mere conventional forms of words that stand for an idea’s being endorsed by a designated group of people such as an elite or consensus, or by a fashion or other arbitrary authority. And it regards science and the Enlightenment as no more than one such fashion, and the objective knowledge claimed by science as an arrogant cultural conceit."

Similarly, Canadian psychologist Jordan Perterson stated:

“Since no canonical manner of interpretation can be reliably derived, all interpretation variants are best interpreted as the struggle for different forms of power.”

Clearly, this perspective on science and scientists also applies to art and photography, to artists and photographers. What has been traditionally considered expertise is nothing more than opinions by 'authority figures' chosen by those with 'power' (e.g., financial power, media influence, educational or vocational attainment, etc.) for the sole purposes of their own benefit. I titled this thread 'Art Appreciation 101' to indicate the widespread influence of this underlying philosophy on education and in wider society.

So to end on a humorous note, would someone please nominate one of the photos that began this article for a Pulitzer Prize :)

Mike
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I must say that I cringe at the boiling down of all academic study and cultural achievements as expressions of power by elites.

Yes, the particular gods we worship, (or not), political parties we vote for, sports teams we support all fall into that category,

......but not archaeology, chemistry or the nature of the reaction of cis_platinum drugs with DNA, resulting in curing testicular or ovarian cancer in thousands of human beings!

Instead of narcissistically devoting energy with emery diet but destructive theory, dismissing science, better put that effort towards creating coalitions, tgat inprove Tge lots of nankind..

.....so that Blacks brutalized by police support Hispanics undervalued as persons or woman diminished as masters of their own bodies or children of single parents abused for decades their home by the boyfriend or step parent

.....support each other and magnify voting power by such mutual loyalty!


Such social theories might be fine for graduate study and debunking religion. It’s not, however, for undergraduates, as that deconstructive approach to achievements and accepted wisdom degrades an efficient society that depends on cogs to keep functioning, so that food grown by others is distributed and feces doesn’t end up in the water supply. Not more complicated than that!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Physicist David Deutsch wrote about postmodernism as follows (in his book The beginning of infinity: Explanations that transform the world. Westminster: Penguin UK. 2011, page 314):

"One currently influential philosophical movement goes under various names, such as postmodernism, deconstructionism, and structuralism [sic!], depending on historical details that are unimportant here. It claims that because all ideas, including scientific theories, are conjectural and impossible to justify, they are essentially arbitrary: they are no more than stories, known in this context as ‘narratives’.
Let me be a bit pedantic. Scientific theories do not claim to be true, they claim to be consistent, an important difference.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Let me be a bit pedantic. Scientific theories do not claim to be true, they claim to be consistent, an important difference.
....and allow logical and inferential chains of thought such as IF, then, ELSE

and with that we can make planes that fly and release sterile males to control disease carrying mosquitoes!

Deconstruction does not do anything so practical! It’s merely a meme, (an infectious delusion), of “self-referential wisdom” and disassembly of structures which allow for the distribution of stability, safety and resources to massive populations .

Asher
 
Jerome wrote: "Let me be a bit pedantic. Scientific theories do not claim to be true, they claim to be consistent, an important difference".

The answer is qualified agreement, Jerome. S
cientists agree with philosopher Karl Popper that observational science must follow the logic of inductive reasoning, such that scientific propositions must be falsifiable. This means that although testing in a given study can potentially prove that proposition to be false, failure of falsify does not necessarily prove that it is true. So in that sense, science cannot conclusively prove the truth of any proposition, model or theory, only that attempts at falsification repeatedly failed. However, applied postmodernist perspectives deal only with dialogue. They reject scientific assumptions of the importance of observational data that concern universal and individual human conditions, but divide humans into identity groupings (race, age, gender, etc.) with the power relationships between groupings classified as dominant versus oppressed. They consider the former 'bad' and alleviation of the latter 'good'. In other words, truth to applied postmodernists prohibits further dialogue, with postmodernist theory untestable.

....and allow logical and inferential chains of thought such as IF, then, ELSE

and with that we can make planes that fly and release sterile males to control disease carrying mosquitoes!
:

Deconstruction does not do anything so practical! It’s merely a meme, (an infectious delusion), of “self-referential wisdom” and disassembly of structures which allow for the distribution of stability, safety and resources to massive populations .
Absolutely, Asher. I fully agree.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
2B324364-18DA-4026-ACB8-89C5C2E40EE8.jpeg

Mike,

This my choice for the prize as it most closely resembles “art of some kind“ that I might see in a modern exhibition and that would give me discomfort and a challenge of its worth.

When I observe such a picture, offered as some kind of Art, I presume that it’s creator considered one or more of the following to be true:

1. I came across this scene, was impressed sufficiently to capture it, to see again in my leisure, to use for some purpose or share with others who might also find it worthwhile to look at it.

2. This scene was fabricated to make some event, of which this was an important or adjunct part. I recorded it and now am sharing it.
Either​

  • I have no emotional investment in this but I realize that others might value it as “Art” for some reason Or

  • I felt this was valuable to share as it might move others as it moved me.


3. I don’t think this is art but I can make fun of the “Art Crowd” sipping champagne to celebrate a new art wonder, they are told will be valuable


4. I feel this photograph is a work of art and deserves its opportunity to be treasured by others.

I must consider those thoughts of the “art creator“ but also the apparent facts of the image. Was this a real bird tied up? Was the bird alive? Is it a model and if so what’s its provenance. What ideas, if any are there behind this composition. Does this represent futility of life when we seem to be just going around in circles, repeating mistakes? Does this represent the lives of the masses or the games of the elite?

Is this merely a composition with no meaning framed as a kind of Rorschach test to allow observers to fantasize “meaning” when there is none, just an association to create a puzzle.

What is happening in the artist life, the community or my own experience that this apparent work of art might relate to?

In no way would I consider removing these and more considerations when viewing a so-called “work of art”. In fact, that would require a very different brain than humans currently possess!

So I consider the opinion of Soetsu Yanagi to have little value for me when I view art.

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
The answer is qualified agreement, Jerome. Scientists agree with philosopher Karl Popper that observational science must follow the logic of inductive reasoning, such that scientific propositions must be falsifiable.
Unless you are considering mathematics, more particularly first order logic, yes.


This means that although testing in a given study can potentially prove that proposition to be false, failure of falsify does not necessarily prove that it is true.
Indeed.


So in that sense, science cannot conclusively prove the truth of any proposition, model or theory, only that attempts at falsification repeatedly failed.
No, it does not prove that either. A theory can be false even when nobody attempted falsification.

However, applied postmodernist perspectives deal only with dialogue. They reject scientific assumptions of the importance of observational data that concern universal and individual human conditions, but divide humans into identity groupings (race, age, gender, etc.) with the power relationships between groupings classified as dominant versus oppressed. They consider the former 'bad' and alleviation of the latter 'good'. In other words, truth to applied postmodernists prohibits further dialogue, with postmodernist theory untestable.
But this is completely different matter. It can indeed be argued that some scientists (not "science"), particularly in what is called "human sciences" (psychology, ethnology, etc...) may pursue some agenda more favorable to a particular human grouping. Indeed, pursuing this reasoning to the extreme will lead to the conclusion that these theories are untestable.

But this is a criticism of scientists, not really of "science". Science only demand one thing: internal consistency (I'll also agree that it likes some kind of agreement with measurable facts to be considered useful). And there lies the problem with any theory which presents itself as "untestable", its internal consistency is impossible to prove or disprove.


Very nice picture, the kite on a pole, BTW.
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
It’s post-breakfast time. My head is clearing and I greet the new rain.

Then this.

All these years and I thought Soetsu Yanagi was male. Did he have a sister?
Never mind. He/she is well dead and won’t mind a bit.

I have before me, on the cabinet bench, among other clutter I have collected, a simple tea pot. In all the years I’ve had it I have never used it for tea or any other liquid. It’s just to look at. It cost me a few dollars at a local market. Although this item, among many others that consume surface space in my house, has a defined utilitarian application, I chose to admire it in its own spacial right. Others who view this tea pot might question my motives for having such an item on display. In answer to their inquiry I would respond with “ It’s my teapot, my house, my story. I can do what I want.”

If Yanagi had been a lesser man he would say to me “Well put , Tommy, although I prefer my words”.

Such is the way of philosophers. They are well educated people, mostly men, who believe they have a new idea and say it so that other well educated people, mostly men will be impress by the semantics. Yet the less educated 80% of the population is already thinking what the philosopher has formulated into verbal gibberish.

So, one day, when the world is a still place and everyone agrees with me, a friend will ask for a cup of tea and I will use my ornament on the cabinet to brew one and remember all the stories I have heard and told of such simple articles of my culture.

With art, we start at the wrong end of the brush. We assume it’s art because it’s called art. It’s a tag we place on things so defined by rather narrow parameters by all and sundry. On the other hand, my tea pot is just that: a tea pot. Yet, for some reason and by some process art has for some met my tea pot and become one and the same.

such is the way of philosophy: to draw that which is every day to that which has meaning. Yanagi was suggesting that even simple objects have meaning beyond their function, and that meaning only has value in its existence in the mind of the beholder as does the function.

if I never use my tea pot it is still a tea pot. If I use it for making tea it has a utilitarian function but still holds value as a simple object of imagery and imagination. I might dislike the tea it makes, disappointed in its utilitarian application, find the appearance grotesque but that does not alter the fact of its existence or that it looks like a teapot.

finding pleasure in this discovery of duality is the point. The pleasure isn’t aesthetic appreciation. It’s the pleasure of discovery, of thought, of recognition, of expression, of humanity, with all its wondrous differences and opinions and reactions.

now the to the photos.
I have little knowledge of the photographer and his purpose. That doesn’t interest me. Each photo is of things I recognise. Each photo stimulates some meagre reaction. Awarding one as ‘best’ would be like finding 3 mouldy apples in the bottom of the fridge and feeling hungry for an apple.

nevertheless, the photos have value in as much as I appreciate the stimulus they have provided in coming to my conclusion.

regards.
Tom
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Beautifully written, Tom.

I almost feel that your house was built to house that teapot.

I cannot however see this good philosopher-aesthete, totally separate from a country with industrious people and a record of amongst the worst cruelty to its neighbors that civilizations have invented.

I shudder at the thoughts of exhausted thirsty captured young Allied prisoners of war, marching, driven mercilessly by Japanese cavalrymen on horseback.

One captain, spotting something bright, drew his sword and pointed it to the hand of one prisoner. There was a bright bold MIT ring, he recognized. He celebrated their Alma Mata with greetings in English. He proudly showed him his own identical graduation symbol from his studies at Boston’s famed MIT,

A4EF1239-13CD-4DD0-B46B-DFB57C489C33.jpeg

.......and then as he laughs, swings the blade at the neck of one of the hapless prisoners nearby, sending his severed head rolling in the mud.

18E2F2C7-228B-402A-ADA4-6A9D054AD78E.jpeg

Living on 600 calories a day in a POW Camp
According to the post-war Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate for Western prisoners was 27.1% across the Japanese internment program – a rate more than seven times higher than that of prisoners of war under either Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy. In fact, given that the rate for the 36,000 transported to Mainland Japan was just 10%, one can extrapolate that the rate in the predominance of many non-centralized camps was likely in excess of 40%.


So every teapot or car from Japan still carries that image with it. If I wipe it away, I see the sobbing “Korean comfort woman” and again beyond that an Aussie with parched lips cramped in a crate refusing to be submissive to the cruelty, defiantly hanging on to his own inherent worth as a sentient being.

I apologize if my judgement seems invalid or “not accepting”. I just have to state that I am not judging this philosopher by the actions of his brethren, but I cannot forget that association: it’s far too recent.

Moreover, to me, to forget is to disrespect victims.

If I have no right to assign blame then I also have no permit to forgive. So I just express again my anguish. All I am duty bound to do is to treasure the truth in memory even though, as yet I have nothing to transform it into that has value.

But if I visit Australia and am allowed to enter your home, I would be privileged to view with my own eyes the teapot which you chose to give a place of respect in your own home by your will, wish and whim.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Or we could get a photograph of the tea pot. But then, is a picture of non-art art or non-art? 🤔
Duchamp also celebrated the work of anonymous artists and artisans who made everyday things.

But I argue that most, (if not all), humans cannot look at any object without automatic associations to other things and matters.

So I disagree with the venerated aesthete’s contention of how art should be viewed in some unobstructed detached purity of focus and vision

After all, a characteristic of much art is the moving of boundaries of how we consider things and values.

But yes, show us the teapot. Anyway, now it’s Tom’s teapot and its acquired “Tomness” and would be valued accordingly!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Exactly!

Magritte recognized “It is what it is!” Becomes a self-reflective paradox and conundrum and there is no “purity” in observation, without obstruction, only cascades of reference to get meaning!

That essentially makes mute any claims to the contrary by Soetsu Yanagi.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
...and to those who are shocked at my seemingly bigoted attitudes to products of the Japanese islands, be assured that at no time do I have the slightest reservation in engaging and treasuring folk from any of our diverse backgrounds.

It's merely that in the absence of a clear public self-reckoning as the German nation undertook, Japan has not even begun to address what is did in its Empire, I prefer to honor the national symbols of other countries that have also produced remarkable creative work.

In that I am older and have a fresh memory of events, I feel a duty to safeguard the truth so we can look forward to acknowledgement, piety, humbleness, contrition and restitution.

So forgive me for my archaic stubbornness. I realize it’s modern incongruity, but I feel that holders of memory must be steadfast until the promise of addressing cruelties might be addressed.

Asher
 
Unless you are considering mathematics, more particularly first order logic, yes.




Indeed.




No, it does not prove that either. A theory can be false even when nobody attempted falsification.



But this is completely different matter. It can indeed be argued that some scientists (not "science"), particularly in what is called "human sciences" (psychology, ethnology, etc...) may pursue some agenda more favorable to a particular human grouping. Indeed, pursuing this reasoning to the extreme will lead to the conclusion that these theories are untestable.

But this is a criticism of scientists, not really of "science". Science only demand one thing: internal consistency (I'll also agree that it likes some kind of agreement with measurable facts to be considered useful). And there lies the problem with any theory which presents itself as "untestable", its internal consistency is impossible to prove or disprove.


Very nice picture, the kite on a pole, BTW.
I get your point, Jerome. In fact a couple of former American colleagues provide an illustration. Because of their political left wing leanings, they refused to consider that any discrepancy in cognitive performance between the black and white races in the USA had other than historical/environmental causation. It was interesting that neither of them chose to research this issue, which is testable (and therefore potentially falsifiable) with appropriate methodologies. However, they were damning about twin research (i.e., identical versus fraternal twins, reared together or apart), which consistently suggested a heritable contribution to such performance. They also had issues about the cross-cultural validity of intelligence testing, witch gave them problems because the graduate teaching program included training students to use such tests. Later research partially supported their perspective, with findings that compared single versus two parent families, which explained about half the variation between races. However, as you say, the political stance of some scientists may influence their bias about scientific interpretation, but this does not mean that other scientists don't conduct research that provide the potential for falsification.

Cheers, Mike
 
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Mike,

This my choice for the prize as it most closely resembles “art of some kind“ that I might see in a modern exhibition and that would give me discomfort and a challenge of its worth.

When I observe such a picture, offered as some kind of Art, I presume that it’s creator considered one or more of the following to be true:

1. I came across this scene, was impressed sufficiently to capture it, to see again in my leisure, to use for some purpose or share with others who might also find it worthwhile to look at it.

2. This scene was fabricated to make some event, of which this was an important or adjunct part. I recorded it and now am sharing it.
Either​

  • I have no emotional investment in this but I realize that others might value it as “Art” for some reason Or

  • I felt this was valuable to share as it might move others as it moved me.


3. I don’t think this is art but I can make fun of the “Art Crowd” sipping champagne to celebrate a new art wonder, they are told will be valuable


4. I feel this photograph is a work of art and deserves its opportunity to be treasured by others.

I must consider those thoughts of the “art creator“ but also the apparent facts of the image. Was this a real bird tied up? Was the bird alive? Is it a model and if so what’s its provenance. What ideas, if any are there behind this composition. Does this represent futility of life when we seem to be just going around in circles, repeating mistakes? Does this represent the lives of the masses or the games of the elite?

Is this merely a composition with no meaning framed as a kind of Rorschach test to allow observers to fantasize “meaning” when there is none, just an association to create a puzzle.

What is happening in the artist life, the community or my own experience that this apparent work of art might relate to?

In no way would I consider removing these and more considerations when viewing a so-called “work of art”. In fact, that would require a very different brain than humans currently possess!

So I consider the opinion of Soetsu Yanagi to have little value for me when I view art.

Asher
The answer is #1, Asher, which is true of all three photos. I saw a scene, had a camera, so decided to take a photo because aspects of the respective scenes intrigued me. They are snapshots with no fabrication and only basic post-processing. I don't think of making 'art' when taking such photos and certainly have no desire to call them art. The purpose of the thread was to use them to renew attention to meaning of art, which seems to be under threat because of the nambypambyism of postmodernism. Postmodernism, unfortunately, has become prominent in too many domains of Western culture.

The photo in question is the equivalent to a scarecrow. It's a manufactured bird of prey that rises, swirls and swoops like a hawk, even with only a minor breeze. The purpose is to scare off pigeons and (when moved to a location closer to a nearby pond) Canada Geese. The latter are my all-time favourite birds despite producing lots of unsightly poop that sticks to one's shoes.

What is art and how does one create art? Ted Hughes (British Poet Laureate and among the very best English Language poets of the 20th Century) answered well. When asked why his very first book of poems got such positive appraisals from critics and other poets he said something like this: It's because I acquired knowledge about work of every leading poet, then figured out how to do better than any of them. Wow! That's no different from approaches by Einstein, DH Lawrence, Bach, Picasso, the Beatles, etc. in their respective fields. In other words, the best art requires conceptual and/or technical expertise that leads to acknowledged advancement within the respective disciplinary category. For example, Magritte's pipe was acclaimed as an advancement in art in the late 1920s. Comparable ideas in works delivered today would elicit only yawns of boredom. I'll comment more on this in a later post.

Cheers, Mike
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In saying what ART might be,

A. Does one merely look in Museums, Schools of Art, ART collections, walls of mansions, in ART auction houses and/or just on walls & shelves of peasants, artisans and folk with no power?

B. Look for an “Arc of Intent“: By recognizing that ART is often the product of

“export of new ideas from the mind of a person to a new “observable“ physical form”

where the latter form realizes and evokes some of the families emotions and ideas that had been imagined, predicted and intended by artist for that form?

C. Do we want to ask whether others experiencing that work:

1. enjoy evoked emotions and thoughts as hoped for by the artist?

2. Spend time to further enjoy it for itself or as a stimulus to muse on other aspects of unrelated matters?

3. invest in the effort to recruit others to experience it?

4. seek to possess or preserve it for the future?

Or is ART simply anything that I can get away with calling art?

Asher
 
It’s post-breakfast time. My head is clearing and I greet the new rain.

Then this.

All these years and I thought Soetsu Yanagi was male. Did he have a sister?
Never mind. He/she is well dead and won’t mind a bit.

I have before me, on the cabinet bench, among other clutter I have collected, a simple tea pot. In all the years I’ve had it I have never used it for tea or any other liquid. It’s just to look at. It cost me a few dollars at a local market. Although this item, among many others that consume surface space in my house, has a defined utilitarian application, I chose to admire it in its own spacial right. Others who view this tea pot might question my motives for having such an item on display. In answer to their inquiry I would respond with “ It’s my teapot, my house, my story. I can do what I want.”

If Yanagi had been a lesser man he would say to me “Well put , Tommy, although I prefer my words”.

Such is the way of philosophers. They are well educated people, mostly men, who believe they have a new idea and say it so that other well educated people, mostly men will be impress by the semantics. Yet the less educated 80% of the population is already thinking what the philosopher has formulated into verbal gibberish.

So, one day, when the world is a still place and everyone agrees with me, a friend will ask for a cup of tea and I will use my ornament on the cabinet to brew one and remember all the stories I have heard and told of such simple articles of my culture.

With art, we start at the wrong end of the brush. We assume it’s art because it’s called art. It’s a tag we place on things so defined by rather narrow parameters by all and sundry. On the other hand, my tea pot is just that: a tea pot. Yet, for some reason and by some process art has for some met my tea pot and become one and the same.

such is the way of philosophy: to draw that which is every day to that which has meaning. Yanagi was suggesting that even simple objects have meaning beyond their function, and that meaning only has value in its existence in the mind of the beholder as does the function.

if I never use my tea pot it is still a tea pot. If I use it for making tea it has a utilitarian function but still holds value as a simple object of imagery and imagination. I might dislike the tea it makes, disappointed in its utilitarian application, find the appearance grotesque but that does not alter the fact of its existence or that it looks like a teapot.

finding pleasure in this discovery of duality is the point. The pleasure isn’t aesthetic appreciation. It’s the pleasure of discovery, of thought, of recognition, of expression, of humanity, with all its wondrous differences and opinions and reactions.

now the to the photos.
I have little knowledge of the photographer and his purpose. That doesn’t interest me. Each photo is of things I recognise. Each photo stimulates some meagre reaction. Awarding one as ‘best’ would be like finding 3 mouldy apples in the bottom of the fridge and feeling hungry for an apple.

nevertheless, the photos have value in as much as I appreciate the stimulus they have provided in coming to my conclusion.

regards.
Tom
Hi Tom, you've got good beginnings as an Applied Postmodernist (APM). A good idea to throw a sarcastic criticism at philosophers as educated experts that talk gibberish. Every APM knows that experts are agents of the dominant over the oppressed, and that their use of language is a tool for oppression. Even better to point out that they are mostly males (an oppressive group) aiming to impress other males (another oppressive group). Yes, it's good to point out that a teapot is a teapot. Didn't Jean-Paul Sartre make a similar point decades ago - it's always good to allude to those existentialists. And definitively a good idea to assert that the whole world will come to agree with you. Postmodernist thinking will surely obliterate the last vestiges of the so-called Enlightenment by cancel-culturing all those that disagree.

There's a couple of points you can improve upon. If your not sure about the gender group of Soetsu, use the pronoun 'they'. It's been part of federal regulation in Canada for a while; Australia is bound to catch up soon. Now onto the use of language. When you get to the point, what is it? Well others liken it to something whatever Magritte meant by his pipe that isn't. That was in the 1920s - good, don't say anything new that someone might argue with. Also, never be succinct - which you aren't. That's what those oppressive scientists try to be. Introduce irrelevancies to obscure meaning. You do that fairly well by irrelevancies about the teapot and its appearance; whether it brews awful tasting tea; what philosophers are like; your buddy that wants a cup of tea, etc. A lot of words, and that's really good, but you could be more obscure. Consider the following: it's an excerpt from a book about PM: it's really something to aim for.


Postmodernism.jpg

I appreciate your concluding comment that the photos set you thinking, Tom. Your post made me laugh, so I hope this one makes you laugh, too. Gotta say though, as an old-style liberal, I never guessed that the first 'woke' Aussie I've come across would be you. Cheers, Mike.
 
In saying what ART might be,

A. Does one merely look in Museums, Schools of Art, ART collections, walls of mansions, in ART auction houses and/or just on walls & shelves of peasants, artisans and folk with no power?

B. Look for an “Arc of Intent“: By recognizing that ART is often the product of

“export of new ideas from the mind of a person to a new “observable“ physical form”

where the latter form realizes and evokes some of the families emotions and ideas that had been imagined, predicted and intended by artist for that form?

C. Do we want to ask whether others experiencing that work:

1. enjoy evoked emotions and thoughts as hoped for by the artist?

2. Spend time to further enjoy it for itself or as a stimulus to muse on other aspects of unrelated matters?

3. invest in the effort to recruit others to experience it?

4. seek to possess or preserve it for the future?

Or is ART simply anything that I can get away with calling art?

Asher
Hi Asher, here's an article by someone who has read widely and thought deeply about Definitions of Art and cannot come up with a succinct answer. Neither can I. But what I will do is to briefly relate a conundrum, features of which apply to some famous photographers in the past, and now apply to me.



As a child, I watched seemingly endless photographic slide shows of Lake District whenever we visited my uncle. As a kiddie taught to be polite, I made "Ooh, ahh" noises of approval rather than expressed my boredom. I'd much rather have been kicking a ball against the wall beside the house and imagining myself as a devilish football (soccer) player. Then I discovered photograms during a school project and became an avid practitioner for a couple of years. The act of creation involved me; viewing photographs by others seemed dullsville by comparison.



Although, by choice and subsequent education, my career choices were in behavioural science, artistic creation still played a part in my younger adult life. But in literature, not in photography. Some reputable Canadian journals published several of my short stories and poems, with one poem voted the best that year in my Canadian province. I was hooked on literary writing for quite a time. Only a growing family, career aspirations, and the thrills of success in athletic competition led to discontinuation of those efforts.



Then, about 20 years ago, a friend introduced me to Photoshop. Wow! It promised creativity that could technically surpass that of Surrealism. So, I bought a Nikon F4 from a pawn shop, an Epson photo scanner, and became an avid Photo-Shopper. The highlight of that period was participation in an art exhibition (along with a painter and sculptor) in Grand Marais, Minnesota. And, of course, an article for OPFI on the Migrant Mother (see attachment), which used to be on the OPFI opening page, remained on the first page of Google responses to ‘Migrant Mother’ requests for a year or two, and was referenced in at least two books on photography. I found the early postings and conversations with other OPFI members so, so stimulating. Although, most of the time, I felt inadequate, with a serious knowledge deficit, but (man oh man!) it was fun and I learned a lot.



But time passes. My urge to create good photography lessened. But here's the conundrum. Although someone described golf as "something that spoils a good walk", for me, taking photographs enhances a good walk. It's something I'll continue to do. However, it's sometimes weeks before I download the images into my computer, don't post-process most of them, and share very few with anyone - except those I think my wife might like. My behaviour is like that of photographic legend Gary Winogrand, who left an estimated 300,000 unprocessed photos after his death. His later life creativity apparently stopped each time he pressed the shoot button – what a waste was that! I firmly believe that the 2ndlaw of dynamics applies to all things, including human development in later life. You either grow or decay. So now I've got other and better things to do than stick with a declining enthusiasm for photography.



Now it's time to say goodbye to OPFI. I’ll continue to channel my creative urges into scientific research, but have also resumed preparation for a literary work that’s been planned for some time.



Thank you, Asher, for being such supportive constant in my life.



I hope you buy the book when it’s published. :)
 

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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Great writing!


“The Other Migrant Woman” was the peak of OPF! It is still “there” but the fellow who I arranged to transfer our platform to our new XenForo software, just flaked on me and didn’t port the introduction. That will be restored once my major sculpture, “Puff of Wind” is relocated to its permanent spot below the Long Beach Museum of Art. Your seminal article has been and remains a constant source of pride and achievement for us! It will be back I promise.

I think you can still have walks made more joyous by the accompaniment of your camera. When the falling sun catches wild grasses and brings Sienna Italy to within 10 ft of you, capture it and have the kindness not to convert it to B&W.

Unlike Winograd, you don’t need to leave stacks of undiscovered images to baffle posterity, but you can raise the spirits of many, just sharing glimpses of your wal!

Asher
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Hi Tom, you've got good beginnings as an Applied Postmodernist (APM). A good idea to throw a sarcastic criticism at philosophers as educated experts that talk gibberish. Every APM knows that experts are agents of the dominant over the oppressed, and that their use of language is a tool for oppression. Even better to point out that they are mostly males (an oppressive group) aiming to impress other males (another oppressive group). Yes, it's good to point out that a teapot is a teapot. Didn't Jean-Paul Sartre make a similar point decades ago - it's always good to allude to those existentialists. And definitively a good idea to assert that the whole world will come to agree with you. Postmodernist thinking will surely obliterate the last vestiges of the so-called Enlightenment by cancel-culturing all those that disagree.

There's a couple of points you can improve upon. If your not sure about the gender group of Soetsu, use the pronoun 'they'. It's been part of federal regulation in Canada for a while; Australia is bound to catch up soon. Now onto the use of language. When you get to the point, what is it? Well others liken it to something whatever Magritte meant by his pipe that isn't. That was in the 1920s - good, don't say anything new that someone might argue with. Also, never be succinct - which you aren't. That's what those oppressive scientists try to be. Introduce irrelevancies to obscure meaning. You do that fairly well by irrelevancies about the teapot and its appearance; whether it brews awful tasting tea; what philosophers are like; your buddy that wants a cup of tea, etc. A lot of words, and that's really good, but you could be more obscure. Consider the following: it's an excerpt from a book about PM: it's really something to aim for.


I appreciate your concluding comment that the photos set you thinking, Tom. Your post made me laugh, so I hope this one makes you laugh, too. Gotta say though, as an old-style liberal, I never guessed that the first 'woke' Aussie I've come across would be you. Cheers, Mike.
Thank you for your lengthy reply, Michael, the content of which is nicely aligned with my tea pot philosophy, ie, I’d prefer to stare at it and not look for any deeper meaning for fear I might get a headache.

Post modernism’s shifting tide catches us all displaying its characteristics. As a beginner, I’m pleased to note that I have little time left to dabble too deeply. My current state of mind is more like Pre-Mortus.
As for my wokedness, I’m not aware of any traits I display that would identify me as your first, last or average Australian.
im barely awake at any point of the day. It’s the drugs, you see. Wandering between a dreaming, depressive and deliberating state is akin to flying in a hurricane. So I leave the deliberating alone. I prefer to call my missive Doodling. I assume you what that is. Meaningless scribble done when in a bored or morbid state.
Never assume I know what I’m talking about, or mean what I say. Never assume I believe what I say. I make it up on the spot.
It’s practise. How many ways can anyone tie a knot. There’s always one more way.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi Asher, here's an article by someone who has read widely and thought deeply about Definitions of Art and cannot come up with a succinct answer. Neither can I. But what I will do is to briefly relate a conundrum, features of which apply to some famous photographers in the past, and now apply to me.
Great reference. I enjoyed the read. My examples referenced what aspects of the behavior we call “Art” that are important to me.

An Arc of Intent completed by the artist exporting his or her ideas to physical form be it music, poetry or a picture and at least the creator having the hoped for feelings to be evoked, actually fulfilled first in the artist and then hopefully in others. Secondly that art can merely provide others with a muse or imaginary universe by which to wonder and be amused, entertained, inspired without of necessity being bound by the feelings the same work evokes for others.

But of course my ideas are very limited to what has been a guide useful to me personally. Perhaps it also resonates with others.

Still your reference does help me understand and recognize the near futility in defining art.

In fact, the very idea of a strict definition, to me, at least, is counter to my own staked-out “freedom to be a creative artist“, without anyone else’s permission or approval.



Thank you, Asher, for being such supportive constant in my life.

I hope you buy the book when it’s published. :)
I look forward to having it before me to both enjoy and share with others!

Asher
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Is this your drawing? I can't read the signature. And what is that insect on the wall?
I gifted myself a new and portable drafting board.. it’s first client was, as it should be, the immutable tea pot.
My drawing skills are at the beck and call of my current state of physical stability and mental capability so, in an effort to appease my yearning for some peace and quiet, I lock myself in the toy room, turn up the music, and do my own thing with pencil, pen and ink.

signatures on a drawing should be pretentious enough not to be too clear as to the identity of the drawer. I worked very hard in getting it that way.

It would hardly have any resemblance to reality if the ubiquitous cockroach was missing from the scene.
My grand daughter provided a plastic one as a model.
 
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