[ExI] Art and myth as systems thinking of a sort

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 15 17:05:48 UTC 2009

--- On Wed, 7/15/09, Natasha Vita-More <natasha at natasha.cc> wrote:
> Dan wrote:
> "I'm not so sure one way or the other. I think art not as a
> process of
> production or creation, but one of reception or experience
> does trigger
> something like systems thinking. E.g., art objects are
> typically perceived
> as "organic" wholes and not as an assemblage or lump. This
> often folds into
> how they are received and criticized -- as in when
> Euripedes' "Medea" is
> criticized for having a "deus ex machina" ending."
> Art as an object is a misconception of art.  The
> artistic process is equal
> to its output.  Conceptual art is a valued genre of
> the arts and is a valued
> aspect of transhumanism.  Also, art is judged by its
> critics by the parts, not the lump.

Well, in using the "Medea" example, I was giving a case of someone critizing a part by reference to the whole: some feel the ending does not fit the rest of the play. Or you could say they believe the various parts don't fit together. (I'm not saying I agree with this view of "Medea" or that this particular example is a valid form of art criticism. I just wanted to give an example of how an artwork can be viewed as an integrated whole. I think, too, this would apply to looking at art as a process rather than as a bunch of objects.)

> But I get what you mean and I agree in large
> part.
> [delete paragraph because I already offered my view on Rand
> and her manifesto.]

I'd be careful about accepting Rand's title for her work. She called it "The Romantic Manifesto," but the collection of 11 essays and one short story is hardly that. Yes, one of the essays is a manifesto of sorts, but the first four are really her theory of art. (Of course, like Henry James, E. M. Forster, and many other writers, she offers her views of what writing is and what it should be.) Also, while her subtitle -- "A Philosophy of Literature" --  only adds to the confusion. Only two essays deal specifically with literature -- though, to be sure, all deal with literature among the other arts.
> "Also, as to your remarks on video games, an intereting
> take on them as a
> contemporary art form is that of Paul Cantor in his lecture
> "Commerce and
> Culture." I don't want to overplay my hand here, but it
> seems there's some
> overlap between art (both making and experiencing it; in
> video games, of
> course, part of the experience is usually having many
> alternatives to choose
> from) and systems thinking."
> I'm not sure why there is any question about video games
> being art.

I think there is among many people. I'm not saying I'm one of them.

> Of
> course video games are art and gamers are artists. 
> Even if they are
> commercialized.  Films are art, even though they are
> commercialized.

I'm not sure where you're getting this view from. Cantor actually accepts video games as art and he relishes commercialism in art.
> "To be sure, I'm not offering, here, teaching art or art
> appreciation as a
> substitute for attempting to teach systems thinking."
> Teaching art and teaching systems thinking are two
> different field of study.
> They cross over, but I doubt most systems thinking courses
> would not admit
> to it, outside of a relationship to the role of
> aesthetics.  

Removing the infelicitous "not" as you suggest in a later post, I agree.




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