Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: A post about art (sort of)

503 Responses

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  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16414 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Paul can say whatever he likes about me, but it is ill-advised to tar Giovanni with the same brush.

    Alright, then I will: you are an idiot (1).

    (1) Giovanni Tiso's PhD is in English Literature; his thesis title is Impossile Recollections: The Troubled Imaginary of Mediated Memory. I am working towards my PhD in Art History, which is on the Architectural Culture of New Zealand. I have a BA (Hons) from Nottingham University and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, which just happens to be the best Art History school in the world. I admit to many failings and I acknowledge that Dottore Tiso has many strengths, but I am the Art History man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Heh. Ridiculed by the common soldiery

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16414 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I admit to many failings and I acknowledge that Dottore Tiso has many strengths, but I am the Art History man.

    Okay, point of order, Mr Speaker. We had a couple of discussions on this very forum about what constitutes genre in literature. I would like to register that not once I introduced my doctorate in the conversation as a bludgeon, or uttered the words "I am the Literature man". I regard my academic training as having some value, hopefully it helps me to make sense of and speak critically about certain topics; and it can be a form of authority in a useful sense - as in look, I studied this for some time and I may have things of interest to say. But I also know for a fact, for it has been pointed out to me, that many of my ideas about literature and textuality are not shared by other members of this community, some of whom happen not to hold doctoral degrees in literature. When such conversations occur, I hope my views can challenge theirs, and I am quite certain that theirs challenge mine. I am also generally of the opinion that it is up to me to convince others that my views are valid and useful - especially when they are counter-intuitive or make strong and possibly sensitive claims about this or that aspect of the culture.

    The other thing about being an academic of course is that it's easy to get a bit enthusiastic and shall we say wrapped up in the particular critical perspective that you have developed and how well it explains the world. The risk of becoming that guy standing in the queue behind Woody Allen should always be foremost in our minds - I hope it is in mine.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Thanks to a PAS member, I now have the opportunity to read the papers Paul Litterick advised I do so. Three things, after a very brief skim-through ,strike me immediately. One is the lack of references past 2000; two, is the reliance on Pakeha/ European/other non-ANZ scholars, and three - the almost total lack of reference to practises/experiences in the South. Kai/Ngai Tahu are the 3rd largest tribe i te motu...

    After I have read & digested these, sort of assuming some people might be interested, I will post my summation. I *am not* an academic, but I do know stuff.

    And frankly Paul Litterick, while I am grateful for getting my viewpoints extended, calling yourself "the Art History man" is inviting
    um yer classic ANZ takedown?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Giovanni, thanks for that wonderful clip from Annie Hall. I had forgotten that scene.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Giovanni, I would have not raised my qualifications had Sacha not made his asinine comparison, which sought to invalidate my arguments on the basis of our respective educations. But then, that is the quality of contribution which Sacha has made to this discussion throughout. And for you to suggest that I have used my qualifications as a bludgeon is unfair: I have quoted sources throughout. The "it's easy to get a bit enthusiastic" tactic is a nice try, especially at this late stage in the game, but no better than your Boardman ruse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I'll be really interested to examine your comments, Paul Litterick, apropos the material you've posted- I think (without yet examining it in a layperson's depth) there are bloody great assumptions - and gaps.
    But - we'll see.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    One is the lack of references past 2000; two, is the reliance on Pakeha/ European/other non-ANZ scholars, and three - the almost total lack of reference to practises/experiences in the South. Kai/Ngai Tahu are the 3rd largest tribe i te motu...

    Both articles were written before 2000, so later references would be a difficulty. The "not written by a Maori" argument is known in the trade as "essentialism" and outside it as "racism." The "not in the south" argument is one that will be familiar to readers of Stephen Potter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    So, why are you only offering material from last century? And actually, it's all *4* articles.

    And whoa, there are several articles referred to, that were written by Maori.

    Who the fuck cares about a one-upmanship creature (Potter) in matters of record & fact? Seriously Paul Litterick - you havent offered anything
    yet - except evidence of your own narrow viewpoint, and your very clear committent to a dying , wholly academic, stance that bears little reality to existing (and existant)facts.

    But - hey! - I may find other evidence later this evening.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Hey hey, my my, Rock 'n' Roll will never die. I am offering you these articles because they are important. Perhaps you might read them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Um, Paul Litterick, have you actually read my posts?
    I *am* reading the articles you have suggested (and which were kindly posted for my benefit by someone else.) Thus far, they do not sustain your arguments as I understand them.

    But - while you throw out terms like 'essentialism", and wholly *irrelevant stuff* apropos Stephen Potter - I havent read anything AT ALL that - thus far- helps your (rather inchoate I must say) argument-

    we'll keep on reading.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    It's not light reading (unless you compare it to reading the original sources:) but this is a summary of (reasonably) current debate around Definitions of Art.
    The conclusion? There are problems with all attempts so far to define art, and there is certainly no academic consensus.
    ps- from wikipedia:

    Philosopher David Novitz has argued that disagreements about the definition of art are rarely the heart of the problem, rather that “the passionate concerns and interests that humans vest in their social life” are “so much a part of all classificatory disputes about art” (Novitz, 1996). According to Novitz, classificatory disputes are more often disputes about our values and where we are trying to go with our society than they are about theory proper.

    More about heat than light- hm?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1450 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Hey hey, my my, Rock 'n' Roll will never die. I am offering you these articles because they are important. Perhaps you might read them.

    It's not the debate, it's how we're debating. No one, that I'm aware of, elected you, or Giovanni for that matter, but I sense he gets this, the authority on aesthetic philosophy and what papers are or are not relevant to the discussion.

    If you're starting premiss is 'I am right, and you're all idiots' then what's the bloody point? I could also do the 'my dick is bigger' thing, although from experience in the world of art appreciation, not academia, but you would dismiss my views, as you did Sacha's, as irrelevant and try your tiresome belittling take downs.

    So maybe you feel we're ganging up on you again? Well, having been here before on another thread, is it that we haven't yet come to appreciate your true genius and our own failings, or that we are still hoping you can arrive at a point of discussion that doesn't resort to this kind of yawn fest?

    I'm privileged to have discussed architecture, art and philosophy with some who I consider true 'authorities' on this. One has written books on Wittgenstein and the other lectured for years on Medieval European architecture, among other things. The common factor in both cases could be summed up in one word; humility. They would never have dreamed of trying to definitively define 'art'.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    It's not the debate, it's how we're debating.

    For what it's worth, I think it's both. One thing is to say that for instance that the ancient Greeks didn't make a distinction between artists and craftsmen, therefore art and crafts, at least not in a sense that would be intelligible to us. Another is to claim that they didn't appreciate the beauty of their own works, or that they didn't know they were making objects of beauty. In order to reach that conclusion, you need to be willing if not eager to dismiss the points of view of others, be they posters or whole cultures.

    Artists throughout history have innovated, experimented, struggled to find the means to represent not only what was beautiful but also what was true of the world in which they lived. That ancient works are almost solely available to us as objects of aesthetic appreciation - for we have lost a lived connection to all their other social functions - is a limit of our perspective, not of the perspective of the people who made them or for whom they were made. Boardman et al. understand this perfectly well.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7337 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    No, I do not think people are ganging up on me, and I do think there is a genuine argument to be had. Rob and Caleb, among others, have advanced strong arguments. But Sacha has done no more than accuse me of colonialism and demand I leave the thread, while Giovanni has accused me of misinterpreting books he clearly has not read. I have advanced my views by citing the arguments of others and engaging with opponents, which in my little academic corner of the world is how one discusses matters. Yet you can 'sense' that Giovanni is right and I am wrong.

    Maybe you would be happier if I admitted that what matters here is not the quality of argument but its concordance with the prevailing orthodoxy and the mana of the speaker.

    The point Rob observed Novitz making, that arguments about art are about a whole lot more than aesthetics, is very timely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Another is to claim that they didn't appreciate the beauty of their own works, or that they didn't know they were making objects of beauty.

    I have not made this claim. You are confusing making objects of beauty, which is a common practice, with making art. People make their homes and their gardens beautiful, without claiming them as art.

    Besides, notions of what is beautiful change. The Greek ideal of beauty was mimesis, the imitation of nature. Creativity as we understand it was unknown to them. Greek sculptors did invent, did not make sympbols, did not allegorise. The made marble look like flesh.

    Artists throughout history have innovated, experimented, struggled to find the means to represent not only what was beautiful but also what was true of the world in which they lived.

    In a word: Romanticism. Painters, sculptors, architects and all the rest worked for a living; they had workshops and apprentices; they relied on patrons for work and advisers for ideas; they worked to order, making what they were told to make. They joined guilds. They were thoroughly petit-bourgeois.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Paul Litterick - your last paragraph is about Western European art.

    Giovanni wrote "Artists throughout history..." - a much broader statement, and not to be dismissed by your Western European viewpoint.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Thanks Rob Stowell!
    I've added it to the pile-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Show me where I am wrong, then; examples, please.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Yet you can 'sense' that Giovanni is right and I am wrong.

    Umm, slight twist of of my intentions there, as usual. I sense Giovanni gets that he may be right or wrong, or that there is more to know, or that might be known through discussion, whereas your tone indicates you are right, period. All power to the pursuit of truth, but not to absolutism.

    Anyway, carry on, I've got better things to do.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I sense Giovanni gets that he may be right or wrong, or that there is more to know, or that might be known through discussion, whereas your tone indicates you are right, period.

    Such a subtle distinction. It is so much easier for you to put up a movie clip and then accuse me of being nasty.

    When I quote John Boardman, top Greek art history man, saying the Greeks had no concept of art as we understand it, Giovanni says I have misinterpreted Boardman. When I ask Giovanni to show where Boardman supports his argument, he falls silent. I am sensing bollocks here.

    When I read Giovanni saying "Artists throughout history have innovated, experimented, struggled to find the means to represent not only what was beautiful but also what was true of the world in which they lived" I realise where he studied Art History: The Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Miss Jean Brodie's class.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Miss Jean Brodie's class.

    So who is Miss Jean Brodie?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

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