art & affect

continuing my research on the importance of art –


(Oh, I know – some of you are more than sick and tired of this, if you are amongst the exhausted ones; please visit again later!)

Here we go: I went to Alain de Botton, I read his book and visited his exhibition, and even went public with my findings. All this because I find his insistence on the meaning of art in our daily life – his focus on the relation between art and audience – of greatest importance. I also find this very same relationship to be under-valued in todays art world. I appreciate de Botton’s focus

– but;

I am not convinced by his model or method. I find de Botton to be too instrumentalistic. This is how he present his ideas himself:

This book proposes that art (a category that includes works of design, architecture and craft) is a therapeutic medium that can help guide, exhort and console its viewer, enabling them to become better versions of themselves.

A big problem for me is that I, even if I disagree with de Botton, haven’t yet come up with an answer to my own question(; … the question of the importance of art). I know a lot of reasons, but I’m trying to build something bigger here, I’m trying to go universal … – it is as if I have to leave my Cartesian brain at home to come up with new and better ideas, new and better language for my feelings …

So why not give in to affections – ?!

Here is Chris Townsend:

There are some works of art that are better written about than seen, though that writing may be only marginally more or less accessible than the art in question. There is a great deal of contemporary art where, through the cultural attenuation of its capacity to apprehend images, to understand historical contexts, to think critically for itself, an audience is thrown back upon the hermeneutic activity of specialists who tell it what to think, how to feel.

Bill Viola, Five Angels for the Millennium 2001 © Bill Viola Studio

There might be a parallel between art and theory here, as if we have painted ourselves into a corner. I do believe that art is of another quality and importance than science and research. The two fields are filling different needs. I don’t think it is satisfying for the audience to be thrown back into hermeneutic activities, I believe we go to art for something else, something different. We go there, to art, to be transposed out of the ordinary, out of our more or less well controlled minds. I think we have to talk about AFFECT – .

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary says:

    I love how you never stop questioning. Keep knocking on the door.

    1. Sigrun says:

      oh, thank you – I sort of feel like one of those old cassettes playing the same song again-and again …

  2. Harold Rhenisch says:

    I think this kind of writing is essential. What I observe is that it’s a part of the visual effect. It doesn’t so much describe it as participate in it. It is a visual medium, a kind of paint-ing or mark making, except the canvas isn’t physical. I’m really interested in seeing where you go with this.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you – I am in need of encouragement, comments much appreciated!

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