is art useless?

Posted by Jim Andrews | Tue Feb 27th 2007 4:14 p.m.

the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
tactic rather than a compelling argument.

what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?

ja?
http://vispo.com
  • annie abrahams | Tue Feb 27th 2007 5:21 p.m.
    art is not useless

    art is that what is, when something
    cannot be used by some other societal purpose
    is not of economic use
    is not politically exploitable
    doesn't help juridical purposes
    doesn't incarnate scientific values
    flees religious beliefs

    art is a useful leftover?

    art helps art
    art reinforces art
    art augments possibilities of being out, unadapted
    art can make the precarious valuable

    art is also a market
    but that is another question

    yours
    Annie

    On 2/28/07, Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com> wrote:
    > the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    > tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >
    > what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?
    >
    > ja?
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
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    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >

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  • Rhizomer | Tue Feb 27th 2007 7:22 p.m.
    I disagree.

    Art has one very singular, significant purpose: as a designator of social
    class.

    The idea that art is "useless" is camouflage for its role in separating
    upper classes from lower classes. That class is no longer necessarily a
    stable value is evident in both the continual need to invent "new forms"
    that "violate" the lower classes accepted notions of art. This is in large
    part why, historically, popular art == bad art and avant-garde == good.

    This observation is not a value judgement, simply an assessment of what art
    is "for" in our culture.

    Michael Betancourt

    www.michaelbetancourt.com
    www.cinegraphic.net
    the avant-garde film & video blog
  • Jason Van Anden | Tue Feb 27th 2007 7:44 p.m.
    I guess this depends on what you use it for.

    Jason Van Anden
    www.smileproject.com
  • Lee Wells | Tue Feb 27th 2007 8:32 p.m.
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
  • Corey Eiseman | Tue Feb 27th 2007 10:26 p.m.
    Jim, I know where you're coming from. Maybe I have an interesting story
    for you. About a year or so I read an article in mental_floss about how
    throwing away old computers was horrible for the environment. Now my
    first reaction was yeah right, who would throw away a computer! But then
    I rode my bike around my neighborhood on trash night and holy moly! I
    found two computers that night, and many more since. Taste the waste,
    people.

    So I have been rescuing as many as I can, and now I have all these old
    computer parts laying around.. I could recycle the pieces into an art
    object, but I'm sure that's been done before. So... I'm working on an
    art object that is also a working computer. I'm considering doing this a
    lot more.

    you can't have functional art without fun!

    :)

    Corey Eiseman
    http://toegristle.com/

    Jim Andrews wrote:
    > the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    > tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >
    > what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?
    >
    > ja?
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
  • Jim Andrews | Tue Feb 27th 2007 11:19 p.m.
    Sounds great, Corey. There is so much to be done and undone. I'm all for
    objects of contemplation but, also, there's a lot to be said for helping
    people do interesting and useful things with style and energy.

    Art is a tool, is a key through the doors of perception.

    ja
    http://vispo.com

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Corey Eiseman [mailto:corey@toegristle.com]
    > Sent: February 27, 2007 9:32 PM
    > To: Jim Andrews
    > Cc: list@rhizome.org
    > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >
    >
    > Jim, I know where you're coming from. Maybe I have an interesting story
    > for you. About a year or so I read an article in mental_floss about how
    > throwing away old computers was horrible for the environment. Now my
    > first reaction was yeah right, who would throw away a computer! But then
    > I rode my bike around my neighborhood on trash night and holy moly! I
    > found two computers that night, and many more since. Taste the waste,
    > people.
    >
    > So I have been rescuing as many as I can, and now I have all these old
    > computer parts laying around.. I could recycle the pieces into an art
    > object, but I'm sure that's been done before. So... I'm working on an
    > art object that is also a working computer. I'm considering doing this a
    > lot more.
    >
    > you can't have functional art without fun!
    >
    > :)
    >
    > Corey Eiseman
    > http://toegristle.com/
    >
    >
    >
    > Jim Andrews wrote:
    > > the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    > > tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    > >
    > > what are some arguments for the position that art is
    > necessarily useless?
    > >
    > > ja?
    > > http://vispo.com
    > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    > >
    >
    >
  • rtf | Wed Feb 28th 2007 1:27 a.m.
    well quite.

    art is useless cos it can't help me fix my boiler. and i'm cold.

    ...hey, wait a sec, i could burn the damn paintings!

    i take it all back.

    also: blah

    r.

    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Michael Szpakowski | Wed Feb 28th 2007 4:24 a.m.
    Hi
    this is possibly dull & old hat & not at all witty or
    fashionably cynical but quite straightforwardly I
    think that art (maybe culture would be a broader,
    better term) is pretty central to what makes us human.
    Of course strictly for a defining feature we're
    probably talking some kind of tool use/language
    combination but it is significant that those cave
    paintings still speak to us ( well, they do to me..)
    "Use" is difficult - I think it's the very
    uselessness of art, in every sense except this central
    one, that makes it so important, so defining, indeed
    that allows it to be so -precisely *because* the best
    art doesn't have a one dimensional "use": it can carry
    the most rich & varied freight of meaning, reference,
    history & prophecy..( Which is why art is *not*
    culture bound; why as a card carrying atheist I can
    still be shaken to the core by Piero della Francesca
    or Giotto)
    I'm not dogmatically opposed to the idea of usefulness
    in other more limited senses but as a cautionary note
    I would point out both Stalinism/Zhdanovism (tragedy)
    & Blairite "cultural" policy in the UK of the last ten
    years (farce).
    The fact also that art continues to be made, to be
    discussed, under the most appalling circumstances
    -think of the Dante section of Primo Levi's Auschwitz
    memoir "If This Is a Man" - suggests that is is
    something with enormously deep roots in us..
    I just did an arts outreach project( & *there's* an
    interesting byway of this discussion!) in Tottenham,
    Lnodon & I got some footage, first take, of six young
    men from 13-16 years old, MCing, unprepared &
    completely impromptu, with a panache & skill that
    filled me with both joy & I have to say, a degree of
    envy.
    I'm still idealist enough to want a world where I make
    myself unemployed as a specialist - where *everyone*
    has the basic material necessities & so is able "to
    hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear
    cattle in the evening, criticise [or perhaps make
    art!] after dinner"
    michael

    --- richard willis <m81l1ngl1sts@richtextformat.org>
    wrote:

    > well quite.
    >
    > art is useless cos it can't help me fix my boiler.
    > and i'm cold.
    >
    > ...hey, wait a sec, i could burn the damn paintings!
    >
    > i take it all back.
    >
    > also: blah
    >
    > r.
    >
    >
    >
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
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    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Neil Winterburn | Wed Feb 28th 2007 7:12 a.m.
    Hello,
    Just talking in terms of the useful/useless debate,
    I think in terms of how we see ourselves, we can sometimes ghettoize ourselves
    in a very little, anti-functionalist corner.
    By positioning ourselves (in the da-da ist tradition) as "crazy artists" who
    take everyday practices/techniques/technologies & subvert them, make them
    useless, we often create a dichotomy between the "real" useful (rational,
    practical,real looking, with a role in the world outside the art context)
    stuff, like businesses, technology, etc
    & "art", which is useless (irrational, impractical,wacky looking, subversive,
    not effecting the wold beyond the art context).

    I know that a lot of people are doing really interesting stuff which
    challenges these ideas, but I do see a lot of work that just, takes a piece of
    technology & then makes it go wierd. (Some of which rocks, lots of which
    dosent)
    This can be a lot of fun, but dosent this way of thinking limit what we do?
    I'm only writing this as a kind of confession, personally I find myself doing
    this a lot.

    I'm not arguing that art should be functional in the traditional narrow sense
    of the word at all, just that we should stop
    doing the exact opposite of what functional society produces/does, as a knee
    jerk reaction. And find different, more expansive,
    complicated, fluid, aims for our selves.

    I would argue for an approach to one of the official aims of art (to be as
    creative as possible) similair to that Greek guy, approaching medusa. Never to
    look at her directly.
    er ,,
    what the hell am I on about?
    Oh yes,

    Not that I want to
    a)get into bringing up Greek mythological references that I plainly know
    nothing about, or
    b)start talking about the "muse" as a woman or anything as pathetic as that,
    Just that finding aims, functions, issues to focus on (your reflective shield
    - gedditt?) instead of "creativity",
    will,, er,
    slay the evil snake headed monster.
    Anyway,
    what do y'all think?

    Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > Hi
    > this is possibly dull & old hat & not at all witty or
    > fashionably cynical but quite straightforwardly I
    > think that art (maybe culture would be a broader,
    > better term) is pretty central to what makes us human.
    > Of course strictly for a defining feature we're
    > probably talking some kind of tool use/language
    > combination but it is significant that those cave
    > paintings still speak to us ( well, they do to me..)
    > "Use" is difficult - I think it's the very
    > uselessness of art, in every sense except this central
    > one, that makes it so important, so defining, indeed
    > that allows it to be so -precisely *because* the best
    > art doesn't have a one dimensional "use": it can carry
    > the most rich & varied freight of meaning, reference,
    > history & prophecy..( Which is why art is *not*
    > culture bound; why as a card carrying atheist I can
    > still be shaken to the core by Piero della Francesca
    > or Giotto)
    > I'm not dogmatically opposed to the idea of usefulness
    > in other more limited senses but as a cautionary note
    > I would point out both Stalinism/Zhdanovism (tragedy)
    > & Blairite "cultural" policy in the UK of the last ten
    > years (farce).
    > The fact also that art continues to be made, to be
    > discussed, under the most appalling circumstances
    > -think of the Dante section of Primo Levi's Auschwitz
    > memoir "If This Is a Man" - suggests that is is
    > something with enormously deep roots in us..
    > I just did an arts outreach project( & *there's* an
    > interesting byway of this discussion!) in Tottenham,
    > Lnodon & I got some footage, first take, of six young
    > men from 13-16 years old, MCing, unprepared &
    > completely impromptu, with a panache & skill that
    > filled me with both joy & I have to say, a degree of
    > envy.
    > I'm still idealist enough to want a world where I make
    > myself unemployed as a specialist - where *everyone*
    > has the basic material necessities & so is able "to
    > hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear
    > cattle in the evening, criticise [or perhaps make
    > art!] after dinner"
    > michael
    >
    > --- richard willis <m81l1ngl1sts@richtextformat.org>
    > wrote:
    >
    > > well quite.
    > >
    > > art is useless cos it can't help me fix my boiler.
    > > and i'm cold.
    > >
    > > ...hey, wait a sec, i could burn the damn paintings!
    > >
    > > i take it all back.
    > >
    > > also: blah
    > >
    > > r.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > > Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > +
    > > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > > +
    > > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > > set out in the
    > > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > > >
    > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
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    > >
    >
    >
    > +
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    >
    "Flunstellas Are All around Us."

    www.flunstellas.org

    www.myspace.com/rob_petrov
  • Neil Winterburn | Wed Feb 28th 2007 7:32 a.m.
    Hello,Rhizome list people.
    Just talking in terms of the useful/useless debate,
    I think in terms of how we see ourselves, we can sometimes ghettoize ourselves
    in a very little, anti-functionalist corner.
    By positioning ourselves (in the da-da ist tradition) as "crazy artists" who
    take everyday practices/techniques/technologies & subvert them, make them
    useless, we often create a dichotomy between the "real" useful (rational,
    practical,real looking, with a role in the world outside the art context)
    stuff, like businesses, technology, etc & "art", which is useless (irrational,
    impractical,wacky looking, subversive, not effecting the wold beyond the art
    context).
    I know that a lot of people are doing really interesting stuff which
    challenges these ideas, but I do see a lot of work that just, takes a piece of
    technology & then makes it go wierd.
    This can be a lot of fun, but dosent this way of thinking limit what we do?
    I'm only writing this as a kind of confession, personally I find myself doing
    this a lot.

    I'm not arguing that art should be functional in the traditional narrow sense
    of the word at all, just that we should stop
    doing the exact opposite of what functional society produces/does, as a knee
    jerk reaction. And find different, more expansive,
    complicated, fluid, aims for our selves.

    I would argue for an approach to one of the official aims of art (to be as
    creative as possible) similair to that Greek guy,
    approaching medusa. Never to look at her directly.
    er ,,
    what the hell am I on about?
    Oh yes,
    Not that I want to
    a)get into bringing up Greek mythological references that I plainly know
    nothing about, or
    b)start talking about the "muse" as a woman or anything as pathetic as that,
    Just that finding aims, functions, issues to focus on (your reflective shield
    - gedditt?) instead of "creativity",
    will,, er,
    slay the evil snake headed monster.
    Anyway,

    i was just thinking that tied in with the post about piero della francesca &
    to real world projects/applications/structures being more creative than ones
    made by artists.
    Like that experiment to represent atomic reactions, which had a scientist
    dropping a ping pong ball into a gymnasium full of 1000's of mouse traps with
    ping pong balls on them, or industry creating practicle structures that make
    lots of sculpture look really tame.
    what do y'all think?

    "Flunstellas Are All around Us."

    www.flunstellas.org

    www.myspace.com/rob_petrov
  • curt cloninger | Wed Feb 28th 2007 8:12 a.m.
    Hi Jim,

    I won't argue that art is *necessarily* useless, but I'll argue that an art practice necessarily needs to be willing and open to lead to the production of art that is "useless." Of course, uselessness or usefulness are in the use of the user. One assumes that an artist's art is at least useful to her. But it seems like the most game-advancing art is made by people who are willing to let their practice lead to a place where (at least for a season of indefinite length) it produces art that is useless even to them. There is something culturally invaluable ("useful" is too weak an adjective) about a form of inquiry that proceeds without the burden of having to arrive at anything the least bit useful, or the least bit useless for that matter. To say that art is *necessarily* useless constrains the artist to arrive at a specific place that excludes usefulness. The most intriguing art practices are not obliged to answer to any kind of predicative dichotomy (useful/useless, beautiful/not beautiful, political/not political, art/not art, commercial/not commercial, conceptual/not conceptual, digital/not digital, object-centric/ephemeral, curatable/not curatable). They're not even obliged to subvert such dichotomies. If they are under any ethical obligation at all, it is simply to keep making and see where it leads.

    "Work leads to work." (John Cage)

    "When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty... but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong." (R.B. Fuller)

    "Na na na na na-nia, na na na, na na na na, na na na." (Merredith Monk)

    peace,
    curt

    +++++++++

    jim andrews wrote:

    the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    tactic rather than a compelling argument.

    what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?

    ja?
    http://vispo.com
  • patrick lichty | Wed Feb 28th 2007 8:56 a.m.
    Personally, I feel like the idea of "use" translates to material
    "utility", which then translates to "function". This then is the mandate
    of the materialist capitalist society that equates art school with a
    job, that everything has to have some sort of productive function, and
    that every moment of our lives has to have some Taylor-esque 'productive
    use', or 'material value'.

    I don't want to live in that world.
    Can't I just dance once in a while, without worrying about the good it's
    doing my heart, or paint my walls blue without worrying about my
    productivity?

    Where is the inspirational, prevocational, or even the ludic in this
    paradigm?

    It's almost the argument "What is art?", which usually tends to be that
    which inspires or agitates, is noticed, and becomes propagated and
    accepted as such within its context.

    Patrick Lichty
    - Interactive Arts & Media
    Columbia College, Chicago
    - Editor-In-Chief
    Intelligent Agent Magazine
    http://www.intelligentagent.com
    225 288 5813
    voyd@voyd.com

    "It is better to die on your feet
    than to live on your knees."

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf
    Of neil winterburn
    Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 8:40 AM
    To: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?

    Hello,Rhizome list people.
    Just talking in terms of the useful/useless debate,
    I think in terms of how we see ourselves, we can sometimes ghettoize
    ourselves
    in a very little, anti-functionalist corner.
    By positioning ourselves (in the da-da ist tradition) as "crazy
    artists" who
    take everyday practices/techniques/technologies & subvert them, make
    them
    useless, we often create a dichotomy between the "real" useful
    (rational,
    practical,real looking, with a role in the world outside the art
    context)
    stuff, like businesses, technology, etc & "art", which is useless
    (irrational,
    impractical,wacky looking, subversive, not effecting the wold beyond the
    art
    context).
    I know that a lot of people are doing really interesting stuff which
    challenges these ideas, but I do see a lot of work that just, takes a
    piece of
    technology & then makes it go wierd.
    This can be a lot of fun, but dosent this way of thinking limit what we
    do?
    I'm only writing this as a kind of confession, personally I find myself
    doing
    this a lot.

    I'm not arguing that art should be functional in the traditional narrow
    sense
    of the word at all, just that we should stop
    doing the exact opposite of what functional society produces/does, as a
    knee
    jerk reaction. And find different, more expansive,
    complicated, fluid, aims for our selves.

    I would argue for an approach to one of the official aims of art (to be
    as
    creative as possible) similair to that Greek guy,
    approaching medusa. Never to look at her directly.
    er ,,
    what the hell am I on about?
    Oh yes,
    Not that I want to
    a)get into bringing up Greek mythological references that I plainly
    know
    nothing about, or
    b)start talking about the "muse" as a woman or anything as pathetic as
    that,
    Just that finding aims, functions, issues to focus on (your reflective
    shield
    - gedditt?) instead of "creativity",
    will,, er,
    slay the evil snake headed monster.
    Anyway,

    i was just thinking that tied in with the post about piero della
    francesca &
    to real world projects/applications/structures being more creative than
    ones
    made by artists.
    Like that experiment to represent atomic reactions, which had a
    scientist
    dropping a ping pong ball into a gymnasium full of 1000's of mouse traps
    with
    ping pong balls on them, or industry creating practicle structures that
    make
    lots of sculpture look really tame.
    what do y'all think?

    "Flunstellas Are All around Us."

    www.flunstellas.org

    www.myspace.com/rob_petrov

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  • Pall Thayer | Wed Feb 28th 2007 9:45 a.m.
    The fact that the question of usefulness or uselessness even arises,
    is the sign of a grave misunderstanding. Whether or not a piece
    actually has some physical utility or not, doesn't necessarily have
    anything to do with its "artful" usefulness. For instance, The
    Command-Line Pizza Ordering program by Cory Arcangel and Michael
    Frumin (http://www.beigerecords.com/cory/pizza_party/) has function
    and utility. You can use it to order a pizza. But it also has an
    entirely different usefulness and utility as a work of art. A
    usefulness that becomes appearant without even using the program. It
    causes us to reconsider the idea of the computer/internet combo as
    the do-all and solve-all of contemporary times. Do we really want it
    to go this far? Is using the command line to order a pizza really any
    better or more convenient than calling up and ordering a pizza? Who
    knows? I could use it to set up a cron job that orders a medium
    pepperoni pizza for me every Thursday of every other month at 6 pm.
    Am I better off? Am I absolutely sure that I will want a medium
    pepperoni pizza every Thursday of every other month? It doesn't try
    to answer such questions, but proves itself useful in an art-sense
    simply by invoking them.

    So, essentially, it doesn't matter one way or another whether or not
    a work of art can be said to be useful or useless in a utilitarian
    sense. That has nothing to do with its usefulness as a work of art.
    This "artful usefulness" is of a much more cerebral/philosophical/
    spiritual nature.

    Pall

    On 27-Feb-07, at 6:21 PM, Jim Andrews wrote:

    > the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    > tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >
    > what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily
    > useless?
    >
    > ja?
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
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    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    > 29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca

    http://www.this.is/pallit
  • nathaniel stern | Wed Feb 28th 2007 9:54 a.m.
    This is a draft excerpt from a paper I'm currently working on; it's a
    very first and not yet cited draft I just finished minutes ago, I
    might add (and actually has little to do with the paper's central
    theme), but I thought it relevant to this discussion....

    \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_

    I worry at things.
    I complexify, perhaps even complicate. Sometimes my anxieties are
    debilitating, prohibitive, a detriment (my wife would agree). But
    I
  • don relyea | Wed Feb 28th 2007 10:51 a.m.
    From: <salvatore.iaconesi@fastwebnet.it>
    > how do you define "useful"?

    Dictionary.com defines it as....
    ------------------------------------
    use·ful /ˈyusfəl/ [yoos-fuhl]
    -adjective 1.being of use or service; serving some purpose; advantageous,
    helpful, or of good effect: a useful member of society.
    2.of practical use, as for doing work; producing material results; supplying
    common needs: the useful arts; useful work.

    —Synonyms 1, 2. profitable, efficacious, beneficial.
    —Antonyms 1, 2. useless.
    -------------------------------------

    I have always thought that the statement "All art is quite useless." was a
    very clever statement. It is clever because it can be interpreted as being
    relevant on many levels. It can be used to justify many arguments about art,
    like "Thomas Kinkade's work is not art because it is simply a useful
    component to a business model employed by the artist" and so on.

    But like most quotes, this quote is taken totally out of context with its
    origin as part of a quote from the preface to Oscar Wilde's work, "The
    Picture of Dorian Gray". Here it is in context:

    "We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not
    admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it
    intensely. All art is quite useless "

    So really what Wilde is saying is the only justification for making
    something useless (art for example) is that at least one person appreciates
    it. This is different from the common perception that art must be useless to
    be art.

    Regards,
    Don Relyea
    http://www.donrelyea.com
  • nathaniel stern | Wed Feb 28th 2007 11:05 a.m.
    I think Pall and Patrick are saying:

    "Is it art?" and "Is it useful?" are ways to mis-equate either of
    those terms (art / useuflness) with inherent value on some level.
    They're dismissive on the false presumption that "art" and
    "usefulness" automatically have value, and (insert binary opposition
    here) does not....

    Also: blah

    And with that, I agree.

    nathaniel
    http://nathanielstern.com

    On Feb 28, 2007, at 4:54 PM, Pall Thayer wrote:

    > The fact that the question of usefulness or uselessness even
    > arises, is the sign of a grave misunderstanding. Whether or not a
    > piece actually has some physical utility or not, doesn't
    > necessarily have anything to do with its "artful" usefulness. For
    > instance, The Command-Line Pizza Ordering program by Cory Arcangel
    > and Michael Frumin (http://www.beigerecords.com/cory/pizza_party/)
    > has function and utility. You can use it to order a pizza. But it
    > also has an entirely different usefulness and utility as a work of
    > art. A usefulness that becomes appearant without even using the
    > program. It causes us to reconsider the idea of the computer/
    > internet combo as the do-all and solve-all of contemporary times.
    > Do we really want it to go this far? Is using the command line to
    > order a pizza really any better or more convenient than calling up
    > and ordering a pizza? Who knows? I could use it to set up a cron
    > job that orders a medium pepperoni pizza for me every Thursday of
    > every other month at 6 pm. Am I better off? Am I absolutely sure
    > that I will want a medium pepperoni pizza every Thursday of every
    > other month? It doesn't try to answer such questions, but proves
    > itself useful in an art-sense simply by invoking them.
    >
    > So, essentially, it doesn't matter one way or another whether or
    > not a work of art can be said to be useful or useless in a
    > utilitarian sense. That has nothing to do with its usefulness as a
    > work of art. This "artful usefulness" is of a much more cerebral/
    > philosophical/spiritual nature.
    >
    > Pall
    >
    > On 27-Feb-07, at 6:21 PM, Jim Andrews wrote:
    >
    >> the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an
    >> exclusionary
    >> tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >>
    >> what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily
    >> useless?
    >>
    >> ja?
    >> http://vispo.com
    >>
    >>
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    >> subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    >> 29.php
    >>
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Pall Thayer
    > p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca
    >
    > http://www.this.is/pallit
    >
    >
    >
    >
  • Zev Robinson | Wed Feb 28th 2007 12:17 p.m.
    dunno about you, but I use art for a lot of reasons and for a lot of things.

    Obviously.

    Zev Robinson
    www.artafterscience.com
    www.zrdesign.co.uk
  • Geert Dekkers | Wed Feb 28th 2007 12:23 p.m.
    Art isn't useless, we just don't know what its for :)

    Incidentally, I'm reading Heideggers The Origin of the Work of Art at
    the moment. I'd be interested in knowing what the list members use as
    a reference for a wider and deeper understanding of art and its context.

    For me its a short list:

    - Francois Lyotard, Le Different (been reading and rereading this for
    years)
    - Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (see above)
    - the essay "Resitutions..." on the Shapiro Heidegger controversy
    lead me to reading Heidegger's original text

    Geert

    On 28/02/2007, at 7:26 AM, Jim Andrews wrote:

    > Sounds great, Corey. There is so much to be done and undone. I'm
    > all for
    > objects of contemplation but, also, there's a lot to be said for
    > helping
    > people do interesting and useful things with style and energy.
    >
    > Art is a tool, is a key through the doors of perception.
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: Corey Eiseman [mailto:corey@toegristle.com]
    >> Sent: February 27, 2007 9:32 PM
    >> To: Jim Andrews
    >> Cc: list@rhizome.org
    >> Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >>
    >>
    >> Jim, I know where you're coming from. Maybe I have an interesting
    >> story
    >> for you. About a year or so I read an article in mental_floss
    >> about how
    >> throwing away old computers was horrible for the environment. Now my
    >> first reaction was yeah right, who would throw away a computer!
    >> But then
    >> I rode my bike around my neighborhood on trash night and holy moly! I
    >> found two computers that night, and many more since. Taste the waste,
    >> people.
    >>
    >> So I have been rescuing as many as I can, and now I have all these
    >> old
    >> computer parts laying around.. I could recycle the pieces into an art
    >> object, but I'm sure that's been done before. So... I'm working on an
    >> art object that is also a working computer. I'm considering doing
    >> this a
    >> lot more.
    >>
    >> you can't have functional art without fun!
    >>
    >> :)
    >>
    >> Corey Eiseman
    >> http://toegristle.com/
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> Jim Andrews wrote:
    >>> the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an
    >>> exclusionary
    >>> tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >>>
    >>> what are some arguments for the position that art is
    >> necessarily useless?
    >>>
    >>> ja?
    >>> http://vispo.com
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> +
    >>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    >>> subscribe.rhiz
    >>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >>> +
    >>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >>> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    >>> 29.php
    >>>
    >>>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >
    > +
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  • joseph mcelroy | Wed Feb 28th 2007 3:18 p.m.
    The number of replies indicates a passion for this discussion and the
    desperate lack of arguments. I would suggest that you have to put both
    "useless" and "art" into a limited domain and then butt around in those
    walls before you take it universal. In my domain, art serves a purpose.

    Joseph Franklyn McElroy

    Jim Andrews wrote:
    > the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    > tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >
    > what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?
    >
    > ja?
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
    >
    >

    --
    Joseph Franklyn McElroy
    Corporate Performance Artists
    www.corporatepa.com

    This email message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s) and may contain information that is privileged communications, work product, or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended
    recipient(s), you are notified that the dissemination, distribution or copying of this message is strictly prohibited.
  • Pall Thayer | Wed Feb 28th 2007 4:08 p.m.
    But Wilde contradicts himself, doesn't he? In being an object to
    admire, it has a use, no?

    Pall

    On 28-Feb-07, at 12:57 PM, Don Relyea wrote:

    > From: <salvatore.iaconesi@fastwebnet.it>
    >> how do you define "useful"?
    >
    > Dictionary.com defines it as....
    > ------------------------------------
    > use·ful /ˈyusfəl/ [yoos-fuhl]
    > -adjective 1.being of use or service; serving some purpose;
    > advantageous, helpful, or of good effect: a useful member of society.
    > 2.of practical use, as for doing work; producing material results;
    > supplying common needs: the useful arts; useful work.
    >
    >
    > —Synonyms 1, 2. profitable, efficacious, beneficial.
    > —Antonyms 1, 2. useless.
    > -------------------------------------
    >
    > I have always thought that the statement "All art is quite
    > useless." was a very clever statement. It is clever because it can
    > be interpreted as being relevant on many levels. It can be used to
    > justify many arguments about art, like "Thomas Kinkade's work is
    > not art because it is simply a useful component to a business model
    > employed by the artist" and so on.
    >
    > But like most quotes, this quote is taken totally out of context
    > with its origin as part of a quote from the preface to Oscar
    > Wilde's work, "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Here it is in context:
    >
    > "We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does
    > not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that
    > one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless "
    >
    > So really what Wilde is saying is the only justification for making
    > something useless (art for example) is that at least one person
    > appreciates it. This is different from the common perception that
    > art must be useless to be art.
    >
    > Regards,
    > Don Relyea
    > http://www.donrelyea.com
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    > 29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    p\_thay@alcor.concordia.ca

    http://www.this.is/pallit
  • Lee Wells | Wed Feb 28th 2007 4:48 p.m.
    I know what you are saying Joseph. I agree with you.

    Maybe it has something to do more with the artist thinking that their own
    art has no meaning. 21st Century wannabe art stars churned and extruded out
    of art schools like marshmellows. With no idea, no meaning in their own
    personal lives to speak of. No message, no purpose and after spending 60k on
    school they still cannot go back and paint or sculpt because their teachers
    at the time didn't know how to themselves. Half assed video/intermedia
    adjunks that wish they had another job but don't know what it would be if
    they had a choice, just happy to have the insurance and stability, until
    they are replaced by someone better. There will always be someone better
    than you both before and after, period.

    In our great and honorable quest of pure decadence we all should be happy to
    have not been born into a lesser social system. Implicate Self. The world is
    all fucked up because of all of you and your uselessness. If you should
    disagree then prove it through praxis not empty words piled on top of some
    dead guys drunken/drugged rant that somehow got published back in the day.

    For the good of future generations please destroy all useless art now.
    Like a paper towel in a toilet with bad plumbing, just don't put it in
    there, it will clog up the system.

    All my deepest love and respect,
    Lee

    > From: Joseph Franklyn McElroy <joseph@corporatepa.com>
    > Reply-To: Joseph Franklyn McElroy <joseph@corporatepa.com>
    > Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:26:04 -0500
    > To: Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com>
    > Cc: <list@rhizome.org>
    > Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >
    > The number of replies indicates a passion for this discussion and the
    > desperate lack of arguments. I would suggest that you have to put both
    > "useless" and "art" into a limited domain and then butt around in those
    > walls before you take it universal. In my domain, art serves a purpose.
    >
    > Joseph Franklyn McElroy
    >
    >
    >
    > Jim Andrews wrote:
    >> the notion that art is necessarily useless seems to me an exclusionary
    >> tactic rather than a compelling argument.
    >>
    >> what are some arguments for the position that art is necessarily useless?
    >>
    >> ja?
    >> http://vispo.com
    >>
    >>
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >
    > --
    > Joseph Franklyn McElroy
    > Corporate Performance Artists
    > www.corporatepa.com
    >
    > This email message is confidential, intended only for the named recipient(s)
    > and may contain information that is privileged communications, work product,
    > or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended
    > recipient(s), you are notified that the dissemination, distribution or copying
    > of this message is strictly prohibited.
    >
    > +
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  • Jim Andrews | Wed Feb 28th 2007 5:22 p.m.
    I don't have a problem with 'useless' art but with restrictions on what art
    can be. And, conversely, with art being absent from engineering.

    There's quite a bit of software (langwidgets or languagets) and other types
    of widgets being created. Mostly they don't have much to do with art. But
    were the programmers and engineers to have a sense of software and, more
    broadly, engineering as strongly related to art, and were engineering
    informed with the atmospheres of art, and the 'values' of art, then we might
    get fewer monstrosities and a discipline of engineering in which the
    motivations were, more often, similar to those you find in the art world
    rather than simply the marketplace. Software and other engineered entities
    to make the world better and more beautiful, more interesting, rather than
    to simply make dough.

    Conversely, were science and engineering to be in closer proximity to art,
    art might might be more Pythagorean in the sense that they were involved not
    only in mathematics but music, spirituality, and commerce--there wasn't much
    separation between art, science, technology, and spiritual matters.

    The schism between art and science/technology makes for an ineffectual art
    world and a dissassociated/schizophrenic science/technology world.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • Michael Szpakowski | Thu Mar 1st 2007 2:03 a.m.
    Hi Jim
    sometimes when things aren't broke we shouldn't
    attempt to mend them - there's a perfectly respectable
    and relevant conceptual framework already existing
    here of art/craft, art/design or whatever...I honestly
    don't think in this post you raise anything that
    William Morris, for example, would have had a problem
    in understanding or sympathising with ...
    That said, I think the broader discussion has been an
    interesting one so far...it's the very slipperiness of
    the ideas "art" & "useful" that has elicited quite
    stimulating contributions..it's good to have the list
    back in discussion mode & good on you for provoking it
    :)
    michael

    --- Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com> wrote:

    > I don't have a problem with 'useless' art but with
    > restrictions on what art
    > can be. And, conversely, with art being absent from
    > engineering.
    >
    > There's quite a bit of software (langwidgets or
    > languagets) and other types
    > of widgets being created. Mostly they don't have
    > much to do with art. But
    > were the programmers and engineers to have a sense
    > of software and, more
    > broadly, engineering as strongly related to art, and
    > were engineering
    > informed with the atmospheres of art, and the
    > 'values' of art, then we might
    > get fewer monstrosities and a discipline of
    > engineering in which the
    > motivations were, more often, similar to those you
    > find in the art world
    > rather than simply the marketplace. Software and
    > other engineered entities
    > to make the world better and more beautiful, more
    > interesting, rather than
    > to simply make dough.
    >
    > Conversely, were science and engineering to be in
    > closer proximity to art,
    > art might might be more Pythagorean in the sense
    > that they were involved not
    > only in mathematics but music, spirituality, and
    > commerce--there wasn't much
    > separation between art, science, technology, and
    > spiritual matters.
    >
    > The schism between art and science/technology makes
    > for an ineffectual art
    > world and a dissassociated/schizophrenic
    > science/technology world.
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Jim Andrews | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 3:10 a.m.
    > Hi Jim
    > sometimes when things aren't broke we shouldn't
    > attempt to mend them - there's a perfectly respectable
    > and relevant conceptual framework already existing
    > here of art/craft, art/design or whatever...

    Are you implying that the technical dimensions of digital art can easily be
    relegated to craft and design?

    I appreciate interesting programmed digital art and try to create some of it
    myself. The technical and artistic are so involved in each other, in
    interesting programmed art, that the distinction becomes superficial and
    even misleading. Programming is like Architecture, where there is more
    traditional integration between art and engineering.

    Also, I imagine that to Architects, the issue of use/useless is a bit
    different than in many another art.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
  • Michael Szpakowski | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 6:42 a.m.
    HI Jim
    <Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    digital art can easily be
    relegated to craft and design?>
    yes, absolutely :) Nothing *substantive* about the
    involvement of programming in art forces us to need to
    rethink those particular categories & to urge
    otherwise is to mistake cart & horse.
    (I'm not saying, of course, that there might not be
    other, aesthetic or philosophical, reasons why the
    lines might be redrawn, I don't believe so myself, but
    I'm open to good arguments)
    michael
    --- Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com> wrote:

    >
    > > Hi Jim
    > > sometimes when things aren't broke we shouldn't
    > > attempt to mend them - there's a perfectly
    > respectable
    > > and relevant conceptual framework already existing
    > > here of art/craft, art/design or whatever...
    >
    > Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    > digital art can easily be
    > relegated to craft and design?
    >
    > I appreciate interesting programmed digital art and
    > try to create some of it
    > myself. The technical and artistic are so involved
    > in each other, in
    > interesting programmed art, that the distinction
    > becomes superficial and
    > even misleading. Programming is like Architecture,
    > where there is more
    > traditional integration between art and engineering.
    >
    > Also, I imagine that to Architects, the issue of
    > use/useless is a bit
    > different than in many another art.
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Jim Andrews | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 1:43 p.m.
    if you relegate programming to being a craft/design thing with no
    significant artistic dimension, then you are not reading the ways in which
    the programming 'speaks' as art. programming can be expressive of different
    types of things than show up in a poemy poem or a video or a graphic etc.

    programming is a writing, but a writing of machines.

    an architect's vision for an ambitious structure is integrally bound up in
    his/her knowledge of the materials and principles of construction, comes out
    of what is possible there.

    computers are not simply media machines. they're not simply glorified video
    displays, or glorified typewriters, etc.

    they are radically flexible as machines. flexible to the point where there
    is no proof, and probably never will be, that there are thought processes of
    which humans are capable and computers are not. they can be as flexible as
    thought in process.

    it is important to understand this so that our ideas of what digital art can
    be do not become mired in simply producing old media with them such as
    video, poemy poems, graphics, etc.

    programmability is what distinguishes computers from other types of
    machines. that computers are programmable is the most fundamental
    phenomenological observation one can make about computers because it is the
    fundamental property that distinguishes them from all other types of
    machines. programmability is also, then, the key to distinguishing anything
    made with computers from what is made with other machines.

    to relegate programming and understanding of the theory of computation to
    craft/design is to stunt digital art to being simply conventional video,
    poetry etc in another form.

    ja
    http://vispo.com

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Michael Szpakowski [mailto:szpako@yahoo.com]
    > Sent: March 2, 2007 5:49 AM
    > To: Jim Andrews; list@rhizome.org
    > Subject: RE: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >
    >
    > HI Jim
    > <Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    > digital art can easily be
    > relegated to craft and design?>
    > yes, absolutely :) Nothing *substantive* about the
    > involvement of programming in art forces us to need to
    > rethink those particular categories & to urge
    > otherwise is to mistake cart & horse.
    > (I'm not saying, of course, that there might not be
    > other, aesthetic or philosophical, reasons why the
    > lines might be redrawn, I don't believe so myself, but
    > I'm open to good arguments)
    > michael
    > --- Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > > Hi Jim
    > > > sometimes when things aren't broke we shouldn't
    > > > attempt to mend them - there's a perfectly
    > > respectable
    > > > and relevant conceptual framework already existing
    > > > here of art/craft, art/design or whatever...
    > >
    > > Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    > > digital art can easily be
    > > relegated to craft and design?
    > >
    > > I appreciate interesting programmed digital art and
    > > try to create some of it
    > > myself. The technical and artistic are so involved
    > > in each other, in
    > > interesting programmed art, that the distinction
    > > becomes superficial and
    > > even misleading. Programming is like Architecture,
    > > where there is more
    > > traditional integration between art and engineering.
    > >
    > > Also, I imagine that to Architects, the issue of
    > > use/useless is a bit
    > > different than in many another art.
    > >
    > > ja
    > > http://vispo.com
    > >
    > >
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > > out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    > >
    >
    >
  • JM Haefner | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 2:52 p.m.
    Perhaps the issue lies in that we call it ART at all. I recall those
    early Art History courses talking about when art was functional and had
    no name beyond its function i.e., a spoon was a spoon, not a decorative
    spoon. I
  • Pall Thayer | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 3:40 p.m.
    I agree that computers are "radically flexible machines", much more
    flexible than most users realize. That flexibility only becomes
    apparent through programming. Armed with an arsenal of computer savvy
    and a few languages, the computer is like putty in one's hands.

    However I have to disagree strongly with your statement that there
    aren't thought processes that humans are capable of and computers are
    not. It may be hard to prove and I'm not going to attempt to provide
    any proof but when you do get into programming I think it's hard not
    to see the "thought" constraints imposed by the computer's rigid
    logic. How would you program a computer to establish a favorite
    flavor of ice cream? How would you lend it the capability to decide
    that a song that was it's favorite three years ago, now sucks (and
    after 5 more years, decide that it's good again)? These elements of
    personal, conscious subjectivity involve common human thought
    processes that I don't see how you could possibly program into a
    machine. I prefer to exploit the computer's pitfalls rather than to
    attempt to play into the myth of machine/artificial intelligence. I'm
    thoroughly convinced that the only way we can possibly achieve any
    sort of machine intelligence is through radical redefinitions of the
    term "intelligence" and in some cases that appears to be what is
    being done in an attempt to achieve machine intelligence.

    Pall

    On 2-Mar-07, at 3:50 PM, Jim Andrews wrote:

    > if you relegate programming to being a craft/design thing with no
    > significant artistic dimension, then you are not reading the ways
    > in which
    > the programming 'speaks' as art. programming can be expressive of
    > different
    > types of things than show up in a poemy poem or a video or a
    > graphic etc.
    >
    > programming is a writing, but a writing of machines.
    >
    > an architect's vision for an ambitious structure is integrally
    > bound up in
    > his/her knowledge of the materials and principles of construction,
    > comes out
    > of what is possible there.
    >
    > computers are not simply media machines. they're not simply
    > glorified video
    > displays, or glorified typewriters, etc.
    >
    > they are radically flexible as machines. flexible to the point
    > where there
    > is no proof, and probably never will be, that there are thought
    > processes of
    > which humans are capable and computers are not. they can be as
    > flexible as
    > thought in process.
    >
    > it is important to understand this so that our ideas of what
    > digital art can
    > be do not become mired in simply producing old media with them such as
    > video, poemy poems, graphics, etc.
    >
    > programmability is what distinguishes computers from other types of
    > machines. that computers are programmable is the most fundamental
    > phenomenological observation one can make about computers because
    > it is the
    > fundamental property that distinguishes them from all other types of
    > machines. programmability is also, then, the key to distinguishing
    > anything
    > made with computers from what is made with other machines.
    >
    > to relegate programming and understanding of the theory of
    > computation to
    > craft/design is to stunt digital art to being simply conventional
    > video,
    > poetry etc in another form.
    >
    > ja
    > http://vispo.com
    >
    >
    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: Michael Szpakowski [mailto:szpako@yahoo.com]
    >> Sent: March 2, 2007 5:49 AM
    >> To: Jim Andrews; list@rhizome.org
    >> Subject: RE: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >>
    >>
    >> HI Jim
    >> <Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    >> digital art can easily be
    >> relegated to craft and design?>
    >> yes, absolutely :) Nothing *substantive* about the
    >> involvement of programming in art forces us to need to
    >> rethink those particular categories & to urge
    >> otherwise is to mistake cart & horse.
    >> (I'm not saying, of course, that there might not be
    >> other, aesthetic or philosophical, reasons why the
    >> lines might be redrawn, I don't believe so myself, but
    >> I'm open to good arguments)
    >> michael
    >> --- Jim Andrews <jim@vispo.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>>> Hi Jim
    >>>> sometimes when things aren't broke we shouldn't
    >>>> attempt to mend them - there's a perfectly
    >>> respectable
    >>>> and relevant conceptual framework already existing
    >>>> here of art/craft, art/design or whatever...
    >>>
    >>> Are you implying that the technical dimensions of
    >>> digital art can easily be
    >>> relegated to craft and design?
    >>>
    >>> I appreciate interesting programmed digital art and
    >>> try to create some of it
    >>> myself. The technical and artistic are so involved
    >>> in each other, in
    >>> interesting programmed art, that the distinction
    >>> becomes superficial and
    >>> even misleading. Programming is like Architecture,
    >>> where there is more
    >>> traditional integration between art and engineering.
    >>>
    >>> Also, I imagine that to Architects, the issue of
    >>> use/useless is a bit
    >>> different than in many another art.
    >>>
    >>> ja
    >>> http://vispo.com
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> +
    >>> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >>> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >>> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    >>> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >>> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >>> +
    >>> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    >>> out in the
    >>> Membership Agreement available online at
    >>> http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >>>
    >>
    >>
    >
    >
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    > 29.php
    >

    --
    Pall Thayer
    p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca

    http://www.this.is/pallit
  • Jim Andrews | Fri Mar 2nd 2007 4:30 p.m.
    Just because we don't see how to do something doesn't mean it can't be done.

    The Turing machine is known as the "universal computer" because this simple
    abstract machine/mathematical model is thought to be capable of executing
    any conceivable algorithm. Which means that a Turing machine is capable of
    doing anything that any conceivable computer can do. There's a fabulous book
    called 'The Universal Computer -- From Leibniz to Turing' by the emminent
    USAmerican logician Martin Davis that is wonderfully readable, excellent and
    entertaining as a history of ideas and as a narrative of the lives,
    tribulations, and achievements of Leibniz, Boole, Frege, Cantor, Hilbert,
    Godel and Turing, and is understandable in its discussion of theory. I
    recommend it very strongly, Pall. It will be around for a long time.

    There have been many attempts to show that there are thought processes of
    which humans are capable and computers are not, but none have been
    convincing. Perhaps the most famous have been made by Roger Penrose. They
    are popular because so many people so desperately want to believe that the
    mind is not algorithmic. Much like so many people wanted to believe (many
    still do) that Darwin was wrong about our having evolved from the simplest
    of life forms.

    ja
    http://vispo.com
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Pall Thayer [mailto:p_thay@alcor.concordia.ca]
    Sent: March 2, 2007 2:50 PM
    To: Jim Andrews
    Cc: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?

    I agree that computers are "radically flexible machines", much more
    flexible than most users realize. That flexibility only becomes apparent
    through programming. Armed with an arsenal of computer savvy and a few
    languages, the computer is like putty in one's hands.

    However I have to disagree strongly with your statement that there aren't
    thought processes that humans are capable of and computers are not. It may
    be hard to prove and I'm not going to attempt to provide any proof but when
    you do get into programming I think it's hard not to see the "thought"
    constraints imposed by the computer's rigid logic. How would you program a
    computer to establish a favorite flavor of ice cream? How would you lend it
    the capability to decide that a song that was it's favorite three years ago,
    now sucks (and after 5 more years, decide that it's good again)? These
    elements of personal, conscious subjectivity involve common human thought
    processes that I don't see how you could possibly program into a machine. I
    prefer to exploit the computer's pitfalls rather than to attempt to play
    into the myth of machine/artificial intelligence. I'm thoroughly convinced
    that the only way we can possibly achieve any sort of machine intelligence
    is through radical redefinitions of the term "intelligence" and in some
    cases that appears to be what is being done in an attempt to achieve machine
    intelligence.

    Pall
  • curt cloninger | Thu Apr 26th 2007 11:10 a.m.
    Hi Geert,

    Here is a paper I wrote this year for my MFA program. It is in explicit or implicit dialogue with Heidegger throughout. Don't feel obliged to read or respond (it's 25 pages), but maybe you'll find it useful:
    http://lab404.com/articles/studio_research.pdf

    Currently, "What is art good for?" is leading me to answer: "Art is good for freeing things up to be good at what they are good for." Which leads to the question, "What are things good for?" Which begs the question, "What are things for at all?" Which begs the question, "What are things?" I appreciate Heidegger's understanding that things gather the fourfold (earth, sky, mortals, and divinities), because it opens things up to God and humans and the world instead of simply reducing humans to mere things (or quasi-objects perpetuated by sub-networks of mere things). Jean-Luc Marion sees things as gifts that are given out of God's goodness. These gifts act as invitations to return thanks to God. So things become vehicles of a relationship between humans and God.

    Breifly stated, art can be a way of using things (light and sound included) to return thanks to God (less in a symbolic, mimetic, Michelangelo way and more in a phenomenological La Monte Young way), and letting things use me to release them to return thanks to God. Meister Eckhart says, “[Every creature] reach[es] up to my understanding as if to get understanding through me. I alone prepare creatures to return to God.”

    cf: Heidegger's "Building Dwelling Thinking" and "The Thing." Also Peter Schwenger's book, "The Tears of Things: Melancholy and Physical Objects."

    Hope you are doing well.

    Curt

    +++++++++++

    Geert Dekkers wrote:

    Art isn't useless, we just don't know what its for :)

    Incidentally, I'm reading Heideggers The Origin of the Work of Art at
    the moment. I'd be interested in knowing what the list members use as
    a reference for a wider and deeper understanding of art and its context.

    For me its a short list:

    - Francois Lyotard, Le Different (been reading and rereading this for
    years)
    - Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (see above)
    - the essay "Resitutions..." on the Shapiro Heidegger controversy
    lead me to reading Heidegger's original text

    Geert
  • Geert Dekkers | Thu Apr 26th 2007 2:44 p.m.
    Thanks. I posted that a while back, almost forgotten about it. Didn't
    actually trigger a lively thread :)

    And of course I will read the paper.

    Geert

    On 26/04/2007, at 7:10 PM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > Hi Geert,
    >
    > Here is a paper I wrote this year for my MFA program. It is in
    > explicit or implicit dialogue with Heidegger throughout. Don't
    > feel obliged to read or respond (it's 25 pages), but maybe you'll
    > find it useful:
    > http://lab404.com/articles/studio\_research.pdf
    >
    > Currently, "What is art good for?" is leading me to answer: "Art is
    > good for freeing things up to be good at what they are good for."
    > Which leads to the question, "What are things good for?" Which
    > begs the question, "What are things for at all?" Which begs the
    > question, "What are things?" I appreciate Heidegger's
    > understanding that things gather the fourfold (earth, sky, mortals,
    > and divinities), because it opens things up to God and humans and
    > the world instead of simply reducing humans to mere things (or
    > quasi-objects perpetuated by sub-networks of mere things). Jean-
    > Luc Marion sees things as gifts that are given out of God's
    > goodness. These gifts act as invitations to return thanks to God.
    > So things become vehicles of a relationship between humans and God.
    >
    > Breifly stated, art can be a way of using things (light and sound
    > included) to return thanks to God (less in a symbolic, mimetic,
    > Michelangelo way and more in a phenomenological La Monte Young
    > way), and letting things use me to release them to return thanks to
    > God. Meister Eckhart says, '[Every creature] reach[es] up to my
    > understanding as if to get understanding through me. I alone
    > prepare creatures to return to God.
  • Max Herman | Thu Apr 26th 2007 3:03 p.m.
    I'll have to read this later today for a full reply about objects and their
    relation to God, given the commandment against graven images and the intense
    religious problems of the world today. In America at a Crossroads it was
    mentioned that Westerners should or could try to take a stand for moderates
    within Islam, for example in terms of democracy and women's rights.
    Ferguson mentioned a disturbing observation that societies which strictly
    limit women's rights have much higher birth rates. Under all these and
    other pressures, it's been speculated by George Will and James Mann that
    China may not go democratic in this century and therefore democracy levels
    will go down across the board. Democracy has always been vulnerable to a
    vast array of pressures.

    Would Networkism as a reconciliation of objects and God yield a breathing
    room of peace that could create the lowest possible trauma during global
    climate change, increase common humanity, protect democracy, and keep
    security, or is it too risky? After all, Networkism would perhaps criticize
    artists John Currin, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and David Byrne, who
    supported the New Museum at their recent gala and which in turn governs
    Rhizome, on which I am typing.

    There is also the weird appearance on the local City Center shopping mall
    here in Minneapolis, reopening with renovations, which states on its
    external billboard "Our city is what it is because our citizens are what
    they are. -- Plato." If global poverty and violence are going to skyrocket
    in the next fifty years, then what claim can art have to act as other than a
    soporific buffer zone, soothing relaxant, or misdirection?

    Then again if art's uselessness in "this world," the material or object
    world, is offset by its life-giving and sanity-giving
    usefulness-within-itself in the spiritual or process world (network world),
    then that would be OK.

    Yet you wonder if making such a different view of art accessible would be
    much too inflammatory, like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. The art
    market might get rocky or something, loss of what soft power is still out
    there, exasperation of rich art-fanciers, etc. And who knows if the
    Democrats and Republicans are going to have an actual civil war with each
    other, like in the 1860's? But as Hamlet wrote "there's a divinity that
    shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will."

    Also Habermas has a criticism of Heidegger in PPP which I'll post later too,
    though I do in part approve of heaven/earth and divine/mortal.

    Good afternoon,

    Max Herman
    The Genius 2000 Network
    DVDs available now
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000

    +++

    >From: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >Reply-To: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >To: list@rhizome.org
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: is art useless?
    >Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 10:10:48 -0700
    >
    >Hi Geert,
    >
    >Here is a paper I wrote this year for my MFA program. It is in explicit or
    >implicit dialogue with Heidegger throughout. Don't feel obliged to read or
    >respond (it's 25 pages), but maybe you'll find it useful:
    >http://lab404.com/articles/studio_research.pdf
    >
    >Currently, "What is art good for?" is leading me to answer: "Art is good
    >for freeing things up to be good at what they are good for." Which leads
    >to the question, "What are things good for?" Which begs the question,
    >"What are things for at all?" Which begs the question, "What are things?"
    >I appreciate Heidegger's understanding that things gather the fourfold
    >(earth, sky, mortals, and divinities), because it opens things up to God
    >and humans and the world instead of simply reducing humans to mere things
    >(or quasi-objects perpetuated by sub-networks of mere things). Jean-Luc
    >Marion sees things as gifts that are given out of God's goodness. These
    >gifts act as invitations to return thanks to God. So things become
    >vehicles of a relationship between humans and God.
    >
    >Breifly stated, art can be a way of using things (light and sound included)
    >to return thanks to God (less in a symbolic, mimetic, Michelangelo way and
    >more in a phenomenological La Monte Young way), and letting things use me
    >to release them to return thanks to God. Meister Eckhart says, “[Every
    >creature] reach[es] up to my understanding as if to get understanding
    >through me. I alone prepare creatures to return to God.”
    >
    >cf: Heidegger's "Building Dwelling Thinking" and "The Thing." Also Peter
    >Schwenger's book, "The Tears of Things: Melancholy and Physical Objects."
    >
    >Hope you are doing well.
    >
    >Curt
    >
    >+++++++++++
    >
    >Geert Dekkers wrote:
    >
    >Art isn't useless, we just don't know what its for :)
    >
    >Incidentally, I'm reading Heideggers The Origin of the Work of Art at
    >the moment. I'd be interested in knowing what the list members use as
    >a reference for a wider and deeper understanding of art and its context.
    >
    >For me its a short list:
    >
    >- Francois Lyotard, Le Different (been reading and rereading this for
    >years)
    >- Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (see above)
    >- the essay "Resitutions..." on the Shapiro Heidegger controversy
    >lead me to reading Heidegger's original text
    >
    >Geert
    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >+
    >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • Max Herman | Thu Apr 26th 2007 9:50 p.m.
    Hi Curt,

    This is a pretty complex essay and a little out of my area of
    specialization. I approach religion from a much more secular standpoint
    (similar to William Blake's) and also have major concerns with Heidegger.
    Perhaps the main book that affected me before going to graduate school for
    English was Political-Philosophical Profiles by Jurgen Habermas. This book
    consists of essays about Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Bloch, Karl
    Lowith, Theodor Adorno, Arnold Gehlen, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse,
    Hannah Arendt, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Gershom Scholem.

    On Heidegger, Habermas writes "This peculiar reserve is not that of a great
    philosopher attaching value to proper distance; here the prophetic thinker
    is paying heed to a distinction of rank. Communication does not belong to
    the basic vocabulary of this philosophy." The "peculiar reserve" refers to
    Heidegger's use of the phrase "For the shepherds dwell outside the wasteland
    of the devastated earth."

    Habermas also ends the essay with a reflection on this phrase:

    Perhaps Heidegger's thought may be characterized indirectly by what it
    does not achieve: It understands itself just as little in relationship to
    social practice as it does in relation to the interpretation of the results
    of the sciences. As to the latter, it demonstrates the metaphysical
    limitations of their foundations and abandons them, along with "technology"
    in general, to the mistake [Irre]. For the shepherds dwell outside the
    wasteland of the devastated earth....
    The situation of the category of greatness is an odd one today. Its
    fragility is mirrored in our incapacity to set up monuments. Not even the
    most genuine feeling of the epoch can succeed here, as Reg Butler's "Unknown
    Political Prisoner" shows. The story of Heidegger's influence is great, and
    most would call his work itself great. Perhaps this very case makes
    understandable why our relationship to greatness is a broken one.

    So, Habermas could hardly be more negative against Heidegger. I never liked
    the superior but incomprehensible tone of writers like Foucault either, and
    so after reading this condemnation and how Heidegger had so many followers I
    decided not to read any Heidegger and never have. So, that's a caveat.

    Thus there's the problem of Heidegger not liking communication and social
    relationships, but other postmodernists were also against these things as
    being naive or shallow. Barthes for example was against the idea of
    communication between people. I on the other hand view the main part of
    human history as the history of broken communication as per
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000/OedipusAndHamlet.html, which I wrote in 1993
    before reading Habermas in 1994 incidentally.

    Yet sometimes breaking communication is the only way to prevent the horde
    from burning the city to the ground, as you might say China has to do in
    sanitizing the web there. Breaking communication is also the only way to
    overcome false confidence in the power of communication to do everything.
    Some things require internal individual contemplation and transformation, or
    just prolonged effort, or even war (the essence of which is deception as Sun
    Tzu states).

    The utopian vision that I would like to see is one where a new
    art-historical period (inclusive of literature, as Romanticism and Modernism
    were) reduces conflict levels based on expendable ethnic hatred and "men
    acting as wolves to one another" (Benjamin Franklin) and simultaneously
    enhances security against a global total war while maintaining "a balance of
    power that favors freedom" (Condoleeza Rice).

    Yet it is far from easy or likely that such a thing is possible when you
    look at the dissension among people based on religion, pride, money, being
    high on themselves, pretentious hogwash, desparing rage caused by poverty or
    other trauma, etc. Still, that's the goal, modulated of course by due
    caution and prudence etc. Plus a day job. :)

    Best regards,

    Max Herman
    The Genius 2000 Network
    DVDs available now
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000

    +++

    >From: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >Reply-To: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >To: list@rhizome.org
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: is art useless?
    >Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 10:10:48 -0700
    >
    >Hi Geert,
    >
    >Here is a paper I wrote this year for my MFA program. It is in explicit or
    >implicit dialogue with Heidegger throughout. Don't feel obliged to read or
    >respond (it's 25 pages), but maybe you'll find it useful:
    >http://lab404.com/articles/studio_research.pdf
    >
    >Currently, "What is art good for?" is leading me to answer: "Art is good
    >for freeing things up to be good at what they are good for." Which leads
    >to the question, "What are things good for?" Which begs the question,
    >"What are things for at all?" Which begs the question, "What are things?"
    >I appreciate Heidegger's understanding that things gather the fourfold
    >(earth, sky, mortals, and divinities), because it opens things up to God
    >and humans and the world instead of simply reducing humans to mere things
    >(or quasi-objects perpetuated by sub-networks of mere things). Jean-Luc
    >Marion sees things as gifts that are given out of God's goodness. These
    >gifts act as invitations to return thanks to God. So things become
    >vehicles of a relationship between humans and God.
    >
    >Breifly stated, art can be a way of using things (light and sound included)
    >to return thanks to God (less in a symbolic, mimetic, Michelangelo way and
    >more in a phenomenological La Monte Young way), and letting things use me
    >to release them to return thanks to God. Meister Eckhart says, “[Every
    >creature] reach[es] up to my understanding as if to get understanding
    >through me. I alone prepare creatures to return to God.”
    >
    >cf: Heidegger's "Building Dwelling Thinking" and "The Thing." Also Peter
    >Schwenger's book, "The Tears of Things: Melancholy and Physical Objects."
    >
    >Hope you are doing well.
    >
    >Curt
    >
    >+++++++++++
    >
    >Geert Dekkers wrote:
    >
    >Art isn't useless, we just don't know what its for :)
    >
    >Incidentally, I'm reading Heideggers The Origin of the Work of Art at
    >the moment. I'd be interested in knowing what the list members use as
    >a reference for a wider and deeper understanding of art and its context.
    >
    >For me its a short list:
    >
    >- Francois Lyotard, Le Different (been reading and rereading this for
    >years)
    >- Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (see above)
    >- the essay "Resitutions..." on the Shapiro Heidegger controversy
    >lead me to reading Heidegger's original text
    >
    >Geert
    >+
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  • curt cloninger | Fri Apr 27th 2007 12:12 a.m.
    Hi Max,

    I don't read Heidegger as being against communication or social relationships. He's suspicious of passing down received world views and language without trying to get at what was originally revelatory about them. I'm not a Heidegger disciple or anything. I'm just finding a lot of his observations useful in terms of the practice I'm pursuing.

    As far as world peace, that would be nice. I doubt the problem is that we are too passionate and committed. My guess is that the opposite is true. I have my doubts that a dispassionate relativism is going to lead to peace. The problem is not that I believe something passionately with which you disagree. The problem arises when I treat you discourteously, regardless of what we believe. I don't have to stop believing passionately in order to treat you courteously. Indeed, the power and humility to treat you courteously may well come from my passionate belief.

    As far as making art that leads to world peace, I can't see that far down the road. I can try to make art that awakens someone to the wonder of their being in the world, or I can try to make art that tricks out a heretofore unrealized way of being in the world, or I can try to make art that plays in the world and in so doing thanks God for his gift of being, but there's no gaurantee that any of those results will lead to world peace.

    Hope you are doing well up there.

    Curt

    +++++++++++

    Max wrote:

    ..Thus there's the problem of Heidegger not liking communication and social
    relationships, but other postmodernists were also against these things as
    being naive or shallow. Barthes for example was against the idea of
    communication between people. I on the other hand view the main part of
    human history as the history of broken communication as per
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000/OedipusAndHamlet.html, which I wrote in 1993
    before reading Habermas in 1994 incidentally.

    Yet sometimes breaking communication is the only way to prevent the horde
    from burning the city to the ground, as you might say China has to do in
    sanitizing the web there. Breaking communication is also the only way to
    overcome false confidence in the power of communication to do everything.
    Some things require internal individual contemplation and transformation, or
    just prolonged effort, or even war (the essence of which is deception as Sun
    Tzu states).

    The utopian vision that I would like to see is one where a new
    art-historical period (inclusive of literature, as Romanticism and Modernism
    were) reduces conflict levels based on expendable ethnic hatred and "men
    acting as wolves to one another" (Benjamin Franklin) and simultaneously
    enhances security against a global total war while maintaining "a balance of
    power that favors freedom" (Condoleeza Rice).

    Yet it is far from easy or likely that such a thing is possible when you
    look at the dissension among people based on religion, pride, money, being
    high on themselves, pretentious hogwash, desparing rage caused by poverty or
    other trauma, etc. Still, that's the goal, modulated of course by due
    caution and prudence etc. Plus a day job. :)

    Best regards,

    Max Herman
    The Genius 2000 Network
    DVDs available now
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Apr 28th 2007 12:09 a.m.
    well, i had to wait. But now we have to bring this into the new milennium.
    Is Art useless?
    I guess from a new media viewport as a word, it just might be.
    I have been trying to imagine a Topic Map based upon Art as the root of the knowledge base. It looks to be to broad, and contentious as well. How could I organize documents based upon that word as an organizational rule?
    Why is it too broad?
    No user could be identified as having a common understanding of what the word Art could be. Could we come to a consenusus where "ART" could be root of a document type definition(DTD) and drill down from there?
    No we couldn't.
    So from a strictly semantic perspective, and I mean semantic in the new media/semantic web use of the word, I cannot organize information based upon the word Art.
    see (http://www.ontopia.org)
    This is perplexing in many ways. We use/consume/deliver ART day after day, week after week and month after month. But it's too slippery to actually nail down (poor completion, but bare with me).
    The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last millenium as if they carried weight in a described ontology that is friendly to machines and humans alike. They couldn't forsee the machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists in. So what do we have then?
    Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berner Lee rather than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinker from the non-networked millenium we left behind. We could quote dead philosphers and seera of the past.
    That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    From a strictly ontological appraoch, something like "web art" or "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and quntification. But "ART", I do know a little bit about Information and Document theory and practice. From this small hill on the new media landscape the word "ART" is now just an adverb that connotes intent.
    I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART" and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure could be mine, but I think it has more to do with the way we now organize knowledge.

    Eric
  • Eric Dymond | Sat Apr 28th 2007 12:43 a.m.
    well, i had to wait. But now we have to bring this into the new milennium.
    Is Art useless?
    I guess from a new media viewport as a word, it just might be.
    I have been trying to imagine a Topic Map based upon Art as the root of the knowledge base. It looks to be to broad, and contentious as well. How could I organize documents based upon that word as an organizational rule?
    Why is it too broad?
    No user could be identified as having a common understanding of what the word Art could be. Could we come to a consenusus where "ART" could be root of a document type definition(DTD) and drill down from there?
    No we couldn't.
    So from a strictly semantic perspective, and I mean semantic in the new media/semantic web use of the word, I cannot organize information based upon the word Art.
    see (http://www.ontopia.org)
    This is perplexing in many ways. We use/consume/deliver "ART" day after day, week after week and month after month. But it's too slippery to actually nail down (poor completion, but bare with me).
    The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last millenium as if they carried weight in a described ontology that would be friendly to machines and humans alike.

    They couldn't forsee the machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists in. So what do we have then?
    Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berners-Lee rather than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinkers from the non-networked millenium we left behind.

    We could quote dead philosophers and seers of the past ad nauseum.
    That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    From a strictly ontological approach, something like "web art" or "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and quantification. But "ART" is not as easy.I do know a little bit about Information and Document theory and practice. From this small hill
    on the new media landscape the word "ART" is now just an adverb that connotes intent.
    I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART" and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure could be mine, but I think it has more to do with the way we now organize knowledge.

    Eric
  • curt cloninger | Sat Apr 28th 2007 8:07 a.m.
    Hi Eric,

    There are thinkers like Deleuze and after him Brian Massumi and Bruno Latour trying to think of ways in which art (and humans) might be different in a networked world. But they've all read their Heidegger and are in dialogue with him. Heidegger raises meta-philosophical questions that are still relevant. For instance: how novel is any system of ontological knowing that derives from an inherited way of being in the world which makes implicit assumptions about 'being' that have yet to be purposefully considered? Descartes says, 'I think therefore I am, and that's a pretty novel deduction,' and Heidegger replies, 'Seems like a fresh idea, but you're already making implicit medieval assumptions about what thinking and being even are.' You can construct new ontologies until the cows come home, but unless you've realized some new way of being in the world, and have considered at length what it means to create ontologies from this new place in the world, then you're not breaking with the past. You're simply carrying the past forward unawares.

    To take just one example, a regular coke can in my world *at all* effects my world much more radically than a coke can embedded with a smart chip tied into a network. A reading of Heidegger suggests we should spend some time wrestling with what a 'thing' even is before we launch headlong into trying to figure out what a 'smart thing' is.

    If Heidegger's understanding and treatment of "technology" needs some upgrading, it is properly done in dialogue with the specifics of what he claimed, not with a dismissive wave of the 21st Century reset button, which throws any useful suspicion he might have afforded us out with the bath water. [That last sentence mixes no less than four metaphors. Yes!]

    Duchamp said, 'the function of art is to question art' (I'm probably paraphrasing or misattributing altogether). Might the function of art be to question the whole project of ontological knowing? If such is the case, art is likely to perpetually evade your constructed systems of ontological knowing (whether they are based on Leibniz or Vannevar Bush or Berners-Lee or Bigfoot). Such evasion is one of the functions of art.

    Curt

    P.S. http://www.slanderous.org/curt.jpg indicates you think I'm http://www.curtcloninger.com . That is my uncle. We have the same name.

    +++++++++

    eric dymond wrote:

    ..The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last millenium as if they carried weight in a described ontology that is friendly to machines and humans alike. They couldn't forsee the machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists in. So what do we have then?
    Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berner Lee rather than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinker from the non-networked millenium we left behind. We could quote dead philosphers and seera of the past.
    That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    From a strictly ontological appraoch, something like "web art" or "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and quntification. But "ART", I do know a little bit about Information and Document theory and practice. From this small hill on the new media landscape the word "ART" is now just an adverb that connotes intent.
    I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART" and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure could be mine, but I think it has more to do with the way we now organize knowledge.
  • Barry Smylie | Sat Apr 28th 2007 9:29 a.m.
    art is a mystery
    art has been a mystery
    art will be a mystery

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf Of
    curt cloninger
    Sent: April 28, 2007 10:07 AM
    To: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: is art useless?

    Hi Eric,

    There are thinkers like Deleuze and after him Brian Massumi and Bruno Latour
    trying to think of ways in which art (and humans) might be different in a
    networked world. But they've all read their Heidegger and are in dialogue
    with him. Heidegger raises meta-philosophical questions that are still
    relevant. For instance: how novel is any system of ontological knowing that
    derives from an inherited way of being in the world which makes implicit
    assumptions about 'being' that have yet to be purposefully considered?
    Descartes says, 'I think therefore I am, and that's a pretty novel
    deduction,' and Heidegger replies, 'Seems like a fresh idea, but you're
    already making implicit medieval assumptions about what thinking and being
    even are.' You can construct new ontologies until the cows come home, but
    unless you've realized some new way of being in the world, and have
    considered at length what it means to create ontologies from this new place
    in the world, then you're not breaki!
    ng with the past. You're simply carrying the past forward unawares.

    To take just one example, a regular coke can in my world *at all* effects my
    world much more radically than a coke can embedded with a smart chip tied
    into a network. A reading of Heidegger suggests we should spend some time
    wrestling with what a 'thing' even is before we launch headlong into trying
    to figure out what a 'smart thing' is.

    If Heidegger's understanding and treatment of "technology" needs some
    upgrading, it is properly done in dialogue with the specifics of what he
    claimed, not with a dismissive wave of the 21st Century reset button, which
    throws any useful suspicion he might have afforded us out with the bath
    water. [That last sentence mixes no less than four metaphors. Yes!]

    Duchamp said, 'the function of art is to question art' (I'm probably
    paraphrasing or misattributing altogether). Might the function of art be to
    question the whole project of ontological knowing? If such is the case, art
    is likely to perpetually evade your constructed systems of ontological
    knowing (whether they are based on Leibniz or Vannevar Bush or Berners-Lee
    or Bigfoot). Such evasion is one of the functions of art.

    Curt

    P.S. http://www.slanderous.org/curt.jpg indicates you think I'm
    http://www.curtcloninger.com . That is my uncle. We have the same name.

    +++++++++

    eric dymond wrote:

    ..The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last millenium
    as if they carried weight in a described ontology that is friendly to
    machines and humans alike. They couldn't forsee the machinic world computer
    mediated knowledge exists in. So what do we have then?
    Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berner Lee rather than
    Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinker from the non-networked
    millenium we left behind. We could quote dead philosphers and seera of the
    past.
    That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word "ART" would
    survive in this millenium.
    From a strictly ontological appraoch, something like "web art" or "painting"
    can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and quntification. But
    "ART", I do know a little bit about Information and Document theory and
    practice. From this small hill on the new media landscape the word "ART" is
    now just an adverb that connotes intent.
    I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART" and failed
    to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure could be mine, but I
    think it has more to do with the way we now organize knowledge.
    +
    -> post: list@rhizome.org
    -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    +
    Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • Max Herman | Sat Apr 28th 2007 11:34 a.m.
    Hi All,

    This is a tough thread but hey that's OK sometimes too. Not liking so many
    "re's" at that start I've removed them for ease of use.

    I perceive many issues cropping up here, perhaps as many as a dozen or more,
    but that's OK too. These issues may be: is art useless, if not what is
    art's use, what writers/philosophers/theorists are people reading to get
    understanding of art, is Networkism the new art historical period, how do
    networks relate to religion and politics as well as art. I think these are
    the main ones for now, but there are always lots of others that crop up too,
    as each of these is very complex. Also the issue of document theory stated
    below, how to define art, and such like.

    By way of reference, here is a quote from a paper I wrote in 1995, at
    http://www.geocities.com/genius-2000/FoucaultHabermasPaper1995.html, titled
    "Critique and Aesthetics: Communication and the Foucault/Habermas Debate":

    Begin quote>

    In his essay "The Critique of Impure Reason," Thomas McCarthy writes of
    "genealogy and critical social theory" (McCarthy 248)--the respective
    theoretical approaches of Michel Foucault and the Frankfurt School
    (including its chief contemporary proponent, Jurgen Habermas)-- that

    "They hold in common that the heart of the philosophical
    enterprise, the critique of reason, finds its continuation in certain forms
    of sociohistorical analysis carried out with the practical intent of gaining
    critical distance from the presumably rational beliefs and practices that
    inform our lives. This would certainly place them much nearer to one
    another than to other varieties of contemporary theory, including the more
    influential forms of textualism" (McCarthy 247-8).

    This common project, however, is undertaken using approaches which, though
    they share many attributes in common, also have major differences. In
    fact, these differences take on the character of a struggle for
    pre-eminence. Each approach acknowledges the value of the other yet seeks
    to reserve to itself a degree of authority to decide if and when the other
    applies. In this essay, I will argue that whereas there are no fatal flaws
    in either theoretical system that might vitiate their claims to priority,
    the lack of ontological determinacy concerning the nature of reason tilts
    the scale toward Foucault's method on the basis of practicability (as
    asserted by Michael Kelly). I will also argue, however, that an
    unacknowledged but major factor in this greater practicability is the
    instrumental aesthetic theory which accompanies Foucault's critical method,
    and that in order to strengthen its claim to priority classic critical
    theory carries the additional burden of articulating a compelling aesthetic
    based on communicative principles.

    <End quote

    So, there is the theme of communication in art which I view as running
    somewhat contrary or complicatingly to instrumentalism in art (using art as
    an instrument).

    Therefore I see art as either communicative or instrumental in the above
    essay. This comparison is one of the main issues in Habermas. I think that
    this is a more complicated issue than it looks like at first glance, and
    goes to the basics of any technological species. It therefore relates to
    networks, art, religion, politics, and technology.

    If you wanted to define Art semantically, could you say it divides into
    Instrumental and Communicative parts? The word itself originates clearly
    much more from instrumental, as in "art, arm, armament, arthritis, order,
    etc. as stated at http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/roots/zza02300.html.

    If this question is still at work today in the internet age, then Habermas
    and Benjamin might keep some relevance. Also the question of objects versus
    processes is very important. This relates to Plato's parable of the cave
    too, as well as the second commandment. One might say, "the object is not
    the whole story, keep the larger processes and contexts in mind too."

    While this is easier said than done, it's not avoidable in my view for any
    technological species. Similarly, life could be described as a process not
    an object, living things being processes not objects, and so on.

    In closing I think networks go back much farther than the internet alone and
    therefore drag in all the complex issues of humanity going back to square
    one. It's not exclusively their newness that makes Networkism the new
    art-historical period, but the necessity and value of thinking of and
    practicing aesthetic-evolution based on Networkism now, because the
    challenges and opportunities are most creatively and productively looked at
    and dealt with in this framework so to speak.

    And there's epistemology too, as well as many weak paths that wrongly
    dismiss objects, create a falsely objective pseudo-process-image of
    networks, make errors of all kinds, and so forth. Not to mention that
    Habermas might be almost completely wrong, that objects of a particularly
    good type might be the only great hope left, and communication processes far
    too weak as yet to stake hopes on, and other concerns like that not at all
    unimportant.

    Best regards,

    Max Herman
    The Genius 2000 Network
    DVDs available now
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000

    +++

    >From: Eric Dymond <dymond@idirect.ca>
    >Reply-To: Eric Dymond <dymond@idirect.ca>
    >To: list@rhizome.org
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: is art useless?
    >Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 23:43:24 -0700
    >
    >well, i had to wait. But now we have to bring this into the new milennium.
    >Is Art useless?
    >I guess from a new media viewport as a word, it just might be.
    >I have been trying to imagine a Topic Map based upon Art as the root of the
    >knowledge base. It looks to be to broad, and contentious as well. How could
    >I organize documents based upon that word as an organizational rule?
    >Why is it too broad?
    >No user could be identified as having a common understanding of what the
    >word Art could be. Could we come to a consenusus where "ART" could be root
    >of a document type definition(DTD) and drill down from there?
    >No we couldn't.
    >So from a strictly semantic perspective, and I mean semantic in the new
    >media/semantic web use of the word, I cannot organize information based
    >upon the word Art.
    >see (http://www.ontopia.org)
    >This is perplexing in many ways. We use/consume/deliver "ART" day after
    >day, week after week and month after month. But it's too slippery to
    >actually nail down (poor completion, but bare with me).
    >The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last millenium
    >as if they carried weight in a described ontology that would be friendly to
    >machines and humans alike.
    >
    >They couldn't forsee the machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists
    >in. So what do we have then?
    >Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berners-Lee rather than
    >Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinkers from the non-networked
    >millenium we left behind.
    >
    >We could quote dead philosophers and seers of the past ad nauseum.
    >That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word "ART" would
    >survive in this millenium.
    >From a strictly ontological approach, something like "web art" or
    >"painting" can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and
    >quantification. But "ART" is not as easy.I do know a little bit about
    >Information and Document theory and practice. From this small hill
    >on the new media landscape the word "ART" is now just an adverb that
    >connotes intent.
    >I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART" and
    >failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure could be
    >mine, but I think it has more to do with the way we now organize knowledge.
    >
    >Eric
    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >+
    >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • Geert Dekkers | Sat Apr 28th 2007 2:01 p.m.
    Hi

    As far as I understand Being And Time (just halfway through my first
    reading) Heideggers object is not to answer the grand ontological
    question, but to discover effective ways in which to ask such a
    question. Heidegger covers a larger part of the philosophical
    discourse in order to find object and method of an inquiry into Being
    and Time. Which for me already answers the question "is art useful",
    (I know, a well-trodden path), it is useful not because it provides
    us with answers, but with ways to ask effectively.

    Now, of course, there are many valid art forms that do not address
    ontological problems and do not wish to. You might even concur that
    there are more important things to be done in this day and age. These
    art forms use symbol, metaphor, and other figures as ready-mades, or
    mine technological veins for new figures, in order to communicate
    content. Much activist art falls in this category. And -- again --
    this is not to say that good work is not being done. Absolutely, and
    I love and admire much of this work. Its "use" is obvious, because it
    clarifies and propogates issues that concern us all. But when I see a
    question of the "uselessness" of art, I inadvertedly mould this
    question into one of the "uselessness" of art projects asking
    fundamental, ontological questions.

    Furthermore, when the question "is art useless?" comes up, and
    especially if you read a discouraging NO in this question, you could
    also ask the same of Heideggers project in Being and Time. Is it
    useless to wish to ask these fundamental questions? Of course we then
    get into the notion of use, and uselessness. And again, Heideggers
    work, but now "The Origin of Art" can be called in. Among other
    things, Heidegger here attempts to clear the stage of "equipmental"
    work, in order to focus of the "work" of art. This clearing is in
    itself commendable. In other words -- there is "use" in this work,
    even if the object may never be reached.

    Well, where is ontological problem addressed in art? In Morandi,
    where he questions the objects. In Barnett Newman and other post-
    abstract-expressionists, where he questions the artworks. In Beuys,
    where he questions the artist. Now in computer art there has been
    much work done in this last realm, and more specifically concerning
    the production of artworks, where a computer program takes over the
    artist in the creation process. That this falls short at the moment
    is not withstanding the importance of the programme, and I'm sure
    with the advances made in AI, RDF/OWL and Jeff Hawkins' HTM, the
    project will gain momentum in the coming years.

    The importance of Heidegger is not so much in the conclusions he
    reaches, even if these conclusions are powerful. Even in the summary
    of The Origin of the Work of Art, you realise that the truth isn't
    all here, but just as much in the meticulous shaping of the text by
    Heidegger, and your close reading of it. There is use in this close
    proximity, there is love here. From writer and reader both.

    Geert Dekkers---------------------------
    http://nznl.com | http://nznl.org | http://nznl.net
    ---------------------------------------

    On 28/04/2007, at 4:07 PM, curt cloninger wrote:

    > Hi Eric,
    >
    > There are thinkers like Deleuze and after him Brian Massumi and
    > Bruno Latour trying to think of ways in which art (and humans)
    > might be different in a networked world. But they've all read
    > their Heidegger and are in dialogue with him. Heidegger raises
    > meta-philosophical questions that are still relevant. For
    > instance: how novel is any system of ontological knowing that
    > derives from an inherited way of being in the world which makes
    > implicit assumptions about 'being' that have yet to be purposefully
    > considered? Descartes says, 'I think therefore I am, and that's a
    > pretty novel deduction,' and Heidegger replies, 'Seems like a fresh
    > idea, but you're already making implicit medieval assumptions about
    > what thinking and being even are.' You can construct new
    > ontologies until the cows come home, but unless you've realized
    > some new way of being in the world, and have considered at length
    > what it means to create ontologies from this new place in the
    > world, then you're not breaki!
    > ng with the past. You're simply carrying the past forward unawares.
    >
    > To take just one example, a regular coke can in my world *at all*
    > effects my world much more radically than a coke can embedded with
    > a smart chip tied into a network. A reading of Heidegger suggests
    > we should spend some time wrestling with what a 'thing' even is
    > before we launch headlong into trying to figure out what a 'smart
    > thing' is.
    >
    > If Heidegger's understanding and treatment of "technology" needs
    > some upgrading, it is properly done in dialogue with the specifics
    > of what he claimed, not with a dismissive wave of the 21st Century
    > reset button, which throws any useful suspicion he might have
    > afforded us out with the bath water. [That last sentence mixes no
    > less than four metaphors. Yes!]
    >
    > Duchamp said, 'the function of art is to question art' (I'm
    > probably paraphrasing or misattributing altogether). Might the
    > function of art be to question the whole project of ontological
    > knowing? If such is the case, art is likely to perpetually evade
    > your constructed systems of ontological knowing (whether they are
    > based on Leibniz or Vannevar Bush or Berners-Lee or Bigfoot). Such
    > evasion is one of the functions of art.
    >
    > Curt
    >
    >
    > P.S. http://www.slanderous.org/curt.jpg indicates you think I'm
    > http://www.curtcloninger.com . That is my uncle. We have the same
    > name.
    >
    > +++++++++
    >
    > eric dymond wrote:
    >
    > ..The thread has quoted Habermas, and other thinkers from the last
    > millenium as if they carried weight in a described ontology that is
    > friendly to machines and humans alike. They couldn't forsee the
    > machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists in. So what do we
    > have then?
    > Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim Berner Lee rather
    > than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro thinker from the non-
    > networked millenium we left behind. We could quote dead philosphers
    > and seera of the past.
    > That is not the best route to travel to understand how the word
    > "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    > From a strictly ontological appraoch, something like "web art" or
    > "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for qualification and
    > quntification. But "ART", I do know a little bit about Information
    > and Document theory and practice. From this small hill on the new
    > media landscape the word "ART" is now just an adverb that connotes
    > intent.
    > I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate the word "ART"
    > and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of course the failure
    > could be mine, but I think it has more to do with the way we now
    > organize knowledge.
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > subscribe.rhiz
    > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > +
    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/
    > 29.php
  • Michael Szpakowski | Sat Apr 28th 2007 3:19 p.m.
    Hi all
    I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my big
    problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    Nazi.
    Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    michael

    --- Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:

    > Hi
    >
    > As far as I understand Being And Time (just halfway
    > through my first
    > reading) Heideggers object is not to answer the
    > grand ontological
    > question, but to discover effective ways in which to
    > ask such a
    > question. Heidegger covers a larger part of the
    > philosophical
    > discourse in order to find object and method of an
    > inquiry into Being
    > and Time. Which for me already answers the question
    > "is art useful",
    > (I know, a well-trodden path), it is useful not
    > because it provides
    > us with answers, but with ways to ask effectively.
    >
    > Now, of course, there are many valid art forms that
    > do not address
    > ontological problems and do not wish to. You might
    > even concur that
    > there are more important things to be done in this
    > day and age. These
    > art forms use symbol, metaphor, and other figures as
    > ready-mades, or
    > mine technological veins for new figures, in order
    > to communicate
    > content. Much activist art falls in this category.
    > And -- again --
    > this is not to say that good work is not being done.
    > Absolutely, and
    > I love and admire much of this work. Its "use" is
    > obvious, because it
    > clarifies and propogates issues that concern us all.
    > But when I see a
    > question of the "uselessness" of art, I inadvertedly
    > mould this
    > question into one of the "uselessness" of art
    > projects asking
    > fundamental, ontological questions.
    >
    > Furthermore, when the question "is art useless?"
    > comes up, and
    > especially if you read a discouraging NO in this
    > question, you could
    > also ask the same of Heideggers project in Being and
    > Time. Is it
    > useless to wish to ask these fundamental questions?
    > Of course we then
    > get into the notion of use, and uselessness. And
    > again, Heideggers
    > work, but now "The Origin of Art" can be called in.
    > Among other
    > things, Heidegger here attempts to clear the stage
    > of "equipmental"
    > work, in order to focus of the "work" of art. This
    > clearing is in
    > itself commendable. In other words -- there is "use"
    > in this work,
    > even if the object may never be reached.
    >
    > Well, where is ontological problem addressed in art?
    > In Morandi,
    > where he questions the objects. In Barnett Newman
    > and other post-
    > abstract-expressionists, where he questions the
    > artworks. In Beuys,
    > where he questions the artist. Now in computer art
    > there has been
    > much work done in this last realm, and more
    > specifically concerning
    > the production of artworks, where a computer program
    > takes over the
    > artist in the creation process. That this falls
    > short at the moment
    > is not withstanding the importance of the programme,
    > and I'm sure
    > with the advances made in AI, RDF/OWL and Jeff
    > Hawkins' HTM, the
    > project will gain momentum in the coming years.
    >
    > The importance of Heidegger is not so much in the
    > conclusions he
    > reaches, even if these conclusions are powerful.
    > Even in the summary
    > of The Origin of the Work of Art, you realise that
    > the truth isn't
    > all here, but just as much in the meticulous shaping
    > of the text by
    > Heidegger, and your close reading of it. There is
    > use in this close
    > proximity, there is love here. From writer and
    > reader both.
    >
    >
    > Geert Dekkers---------------------------
    > http://nznl.com | http://nznl.org | http://nznl.net
    > ---------------------------------------
    >
    >
    >
    > On 28/04/2007, at 4:07 PM, curt cloninger wrote:
    >
    > > Hi Eric,
    > >
    > > There are thinkers like Deleuze and after him
    > Brian Massumi and
    > > Bruno Latour trying to think of ways in which art
    > (and humans)
    > > might be different in a networked world. But
    > they've all read
    > > their Heidegger and are in dialogue with him.
    > Heidegger raises
    > > meta-philosophical questions that are still
    > relevant. For
    > > instance: how novel is any system of ontological
    > knowing that
    > > derives from an inherited way of being in the
    > world which makes
    > > implicit assumptions about 'being' that have yet
    > to be purposefully
    > > considered? Descartes says, 'I think therefore I
    > am, and that's a
    > > pretty novel deduction,' and Heidegger replies,
    > 'Seems like a fresh
    > > idea, but you're already making implicit medieval
    > assumptions about
    > > what thinking and being even are.' You can
    > construct new
    > > ontologies until the cows come home, but unless
    > you've realized
    > > some new way of being in the world, and have
    > considered at length
    > > what it means to create ontologies from this new
    > place in the
    > > world, then you're not breaki!
    > > ng with the past. You're simply carrying the
    > past forward unawares.
    > >
    > > To take just one example, a regular coke can in my
    > world *at all*
    > > effects my world much more radically than a coke
    > can embedded with
    > > a smart chip tied into a network. A reading of
    > Heidegger suggests
    > > we should spend some time wrestling with what a
    > 'thing' even is
    > > before we launch headlong into trying to figure
    > out what a 'smart
    > > thing' is.
    > >
    > > If Heidegger's understanding and treatment of
    > "technology" needs
    > > some upgrading, it is properly done in dialogue
    > with the specifics
    > > of what he claimed, not with a dismissive wave of
    > the 21st Century
    > > reset button, which throws any useful suspicion he
    > might have
    > > afforded us out with the bath water. [That last
    > sentence mixes no
    > > less than four metaphors. Yes!]
    > >
    > > Duchamp said, 'the function of art is to question
    > art' (I'm
    > > probably paraphrasing or misattributing
    > altogether). Might the
    > > function of art be to question the whole project
    > of ontological
    > > knowing? If such is the case, art is likely to
    > perpetually evade
    > > your constructed systems of ontological knowing
    > (whether they are
    > > based on Leibniz or Vannevar Bush or Berners-Lee
    > or Bigfoot). Such
    > > evasion is one of the functions of art.
    > >
    > > Curt
    > >
    > >
    > > P.S. http://www.slanderous.org/curt.jpg indicates
    > you think I'm
    > > http://www.curtcloninger.com . That is my uncle.
    > We have the same
    > > name.
    > >
    > > +++++++++
    > >
    > > eric dymond wrote:
    > >
    > > ..The thread has quoted Habermas, and other
    > thinkers from the last
    > > millenium as if they carried weight in a described
    > ontology that is
    > > friendly to machines and humans alike. They
    > couldn't forsee the
    > > machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists
    > in. So what do we
    > > have then?
    > > Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim
    > Berner Lee rather
    > > than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro
    > thinker from the non-
    > > networked millenium we left behind. We could quote
    > dead philosphers
    > > and seera of the past.
    > > That is not the best route to travel to understand
    > how the word
    > > "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    > > From a strictly ontological appraoch, something
    > like "web art" or
    > > "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for
    > qualification and
    > > quntification. But "ART", I do know a little bit
    > about Information
    > > and Document theory and practice. From this small
    > hill on the new
    > > media landscape the word "ART" is now just an
    > adverb that connotes
    > > intent.
    > > I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate
    > the word "ART"
    > > and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of
    > course the failure
    > > could be mine, but I think it has more to do with
    > the way we now
    > > organize knowledge.
    > > +
    > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > > subscribe.rhiz
    > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > +
    > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > set out in the
    > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/
    > > 29.php
    >
    >
  • curt cloninger | Sat Apr 28th 2007 4:09 p.m.
    Hi Michael,

    Not to be flip either, but that seems a convenient excuse to dismiss his writing carte blanche without weighing the merit of what he has to say. Althusser strangled his wife. Pollock was a drunk. Marx was a bum (and a Marxist!). Heck, Kierkeggard was a freaking *Christian* (for God's sake). Heidegger's involvement with the Nazi party seems less like an elephant and more like a bogey (depending on your particular flavor of literary criticism and how much it depends on the author's personal biography).

    I think Geert is right. Especially with Heidegger, a close reading is necessary (and surely in German would be even better). Especially in his later writings, he's coming to understand that denotative prose isn't the best tool to use to elucidate a project of re-examining the received and calcified presumptions of language. So his language gets necessarily more poetic, and the event of reading it is all part of his overall project.

    Admittedly, Heidegger is particularly keen on how a person actually lives daily in the world. He's a big proponent of doing rather than saying (which makes him useful to anyone who thinks art is a way of doing that explores realms in which words fall short). So the claims of his particular philosophy do invite a closer examination of his own personal way of being in the world than someone like Derrida. To me Heidegger's membership in the Nazi part illustrates not so much that Heidegger's philosophy is wrong or leads to wrong ways of doing, but that it takes more than a philosophy (right, wrong, or otherwise) or an art practice (paradigm advancing, politically engaged, or otherwise) to empower one to act ethically in the world.

    Respect,
    Curt

    ++++++++++

    michael wrote:
    Hi all
    I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my big
    problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    Nazi.
    Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    michael
  • Max Herman | Sat Apr 28th 2007 7:05 p.m.
    Hi Michael,

    Wikipedia does discuss that aspect. It would seem Heidegger is the least
    demonized of any Nazi artist or writer. Albert Speer's book on the fall of
    the Third Reich was pretty good though, I read that a few years ago. I
    think I've heard some people also say that Leni Reifenstal was a good
    director too despite her Nazi activities. It's interesting also that
    Heidegger went to France after the war and affected a lot of intellectuals
    there, such as Derrida according again to Wikipedia. I guess I never
    thought of Derrida as being Nazi-affiliated, so could that be part of the
    reason why Heidegger is not utterly rejected nowadays (completely consigned
    to the dustbin of history) the way that say "Mein Kampf" is? (The Wikipedia
    url below does quote Derrida on the Nazi nature of Heidegger's work. I
    should reiterate that all I've read on Heidegger that I can think of is
    Habermas's essay in PPP, "Martin Heidegger: The Great Influence.")

    Similar issues come up though not as acutely whenever an artist was part of
    a society which committed oppression or slavery, such as Sophocles, Mark
    Twain, maybe even Tolstoy. Heidegger might be the most extreme case of
    this, I don't know. Rudyard Kipling? I'm sure books and books have been
    written on the topic but honestly I have no idea how this question is dealt
    with in universities and so forth today. Is Heidegger still being taught?
    If so, then something must have been viewed as having survived his Nazi
    party membership.

    Max

    PS--here's the Wikipedia item on the Nazi affiliation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidegger_and_Nazism

    PPS--another interesting recent reference to Hitler, i.e. Norman Mailer's
    recent book on him: http://www.artforum.com/diary/.

    >From: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>
    >Reply-To: Michael Szpakowski <szpako@yahoo.com>
    >To: Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com>, Rhizome <list@rhizome.org>
    >Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: is art useless?
    >Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 14:30:31 -0700 (PDT)
    >
    >Hi all
    >I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my big
    >problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    >Nazi.
    >Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    >michael
    >
    >--- Geert Dekkers <geert@nznl.com> wrote:
    >
    > > Hi
    > >
    > > As far as I understand Being And Time (just halfway
    > > through my first
    > > reading) Heideggers object is not to answer the
    > > grand ontological
    > > question, but to discover effective ways in which to
    > > ask such a
    > > question. Heidegger covers a larger part of the
    > > philosophical
    > > discourse in order to find object and method of an
    > > inquiry into Being
    > > and Time. Which for me already answers the question
    > > "is art useful",
    > > (I know, a well-trodden path), it is useful not
    > > because it provides
    > > us with answers, but with ways to ask effectively.
    > >
    > > Now, of course, there are many valid art forms that
    > > do not address
    > > ontological problems and do not wish to. You might
    > > even concur that
    > > there are more important things to be done in this
    > > day and age. These
    > > art forms use symbol, metaphor, and other figures as
    > > ready-mades, or
    > > mine technological veins for new figures, in order
    > > to communicate
    > > content. Much activist art falls in this category.
    > > And -- again --
    > > this is not to say that good work is not being done.
    > > Absolutely, and
    > > I love and admire much of this work. Its "use" is
    > > obvious, because it
    > > clarifies and propogates issues that concern us all.
    > > But when I see a
    > > question of the "uselessness" of art, I inadvertedly
    > > mould this
    > > question into one of the "uselessness" of art
    > > projects asking
    > > fundamental, ontological questions.
    > >
    > > Furthermore, when the question "is art useless?"
    > > comes up, and
    > > especially if you read a discouraging NO in this
    > > question, you could
    > > also ask the same of Heideggers project in Being and
    > > Time. Is it
    > > useless to wish to ask these fundamental questions?
    > > Of course we then
    > > get into the notion of use, and uselessness. And
    > > again, Heideggers
    > > work, but now "The Origin of Art" can be called in.
    > > Among other
    > > things, Heidegger here attempts to clear the stage
    > > of "equipmental"
    > > work, in order to focus of the "work" of art. This
    > > clearing is in
    > > itself commendable. In other words -- there is "use"
    > > in this work,
    > > even if the object may never be reached.
    > >
    > > Well, where is ontological problem addressed in art?
    > > In Morandi,
    > > where he questions the objects. In Barnett Newman
    > > and other post-
    > > abstract-expressionists, where he questions the
    > > artworks. In Beuys,
    > > where he questions the artist. Now in computer art
    > > there has been
    > > much work done in this last realm, and more
    > > specifically concerning
    > > the production of artworks, where a computer program
    > > takes over the
    > > artist in the creation process. That this falls
    > > short at the moment
    > > is not withstanding the importance of the programme,
    > > and I'm sure
    > > with the advances made in AI, RDF/OWL and Jeff
    > > Hawkins' HTM, the
    > > project will gain momentum in the coming years.
    > >
    > > The importance of Heidegger is not so much in the
    > > conclusions he
    > > reaches, even if these conclusions are powerful.
    > > Even in the summary
    > > of The Origin of the Work of Art, you realise that
    > > the truth isn't
    > > all here, but just as much in the meticulous shaping
    > > of the text by
    > > Heidegger, and your close reading of it. There is
    > > use in this close
    > > proximity, there is love here. From writer and
    > > reader both.
    > >
    > >
    > > Geert Dekkers---------------------------
    > > http://nznl.com | http://nznl.org | http://nznl.net
    > > ---------------------------------------
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > On 28/04/2007, at 4:07 PM, curt cloninger wrote:
    > >
    > > > Hi Eric,
    > > >
    > > > There are thinkers like Deleuze and after him
    > > Brian Massumi and
    > > > Bruno Latour trying to think of ways in which art
    > > (and humans)
    > > > might be different in a networked world. But
    > > they've all read
    > > > their Heidegger and are in dialogue with him.
    > > Heidegger raises
    > > > meta-philosophical questions that are still
    > > relevant. For
    > > > instance: how novel is any system of ontological
    > > knowing that
    > > > derives from an inherited way of being in the
    > > world which makes
    > > > implicit assumptions about 'being' that have yet
    > > to be purposefully
    > > > considered? Descartes says, 'I think therefore I
    > > am, and that's a
    > > > pretty novel deduction,' and Heidegger replies,
    > > 'Seems like a fresh
    > > > idea, but you're already making implicit medieval
    > > assumptions about
    > > > what thinking and being even are.' You can
    > > construct new
    > > > ontologies until the cows come home, but unless
    > > you've realized
    > > > some new way of being in the world, and have
    > > considered at length
    > > > what it means to create ontologies from this new
    > > place in the
    > > > world, then you're not breaki!
    > > > ng with the past. You're simply carrying the
    > > past forward unawares.
    > > >
    > > > To take just one example, a regular coke can in my
    > > world *at all*
    > > > effects my world much more radically than a coke
    > > can embedded with
    > > > a smart chip tied into a network. A reading of
    > > Heidegger suggests
    > > > we should spend some time wrestling with what a
    > > 'thing' even is
    > > > before we launch headlong into trying to figure
    > > out what a 'smart
    > > > thing' is.
    > > >
    > > > If Heidegger's understanding and treatment of
    > > "technology" needs
    > > > some upgrading, it is properly done in dialogue
    > > with the specifics
    > > > of what he claimed, not with a dismissive wave of
    > > the 21st Century
    > > > reset button, which throws any useful suspicion he
    > > might have
    > > > afforded us out with the bath water. [That last
    > > sentence mixes no
    > > > less than four metaphors. Yes!]
    > > >
    > > > Duchamp said, 'the function of art is to question
    > > art' (I'm
    > > > probably paraphrasing or misattributing
    > > altogether). Might the
    > > > function of art be to question the whole project
    > > of ontological
    > > > knowing? If such is the case, art is likely to
    > > perpetually evade
    > > > your constructed systems of ontological knowing
    > > (whether they are
    > > > based on Leibniz or Vannevar Bush or Berners-Lee
    > > or Bigfoot). Such
    > > > evasion is one of the functions of art.
    > > >
    > > > Curt
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > P.S. http://www.slanderous.org/curt.jpg indicates
    > > you think I'm
    > > > http://www.curtcloninger.com . That is my uncle.
    > > We have the same
    > > > name.
    > > >
    > > > +++++++++
    > > >
    > > > eric dymond wrote:
    > > >
    > > > ..The thread has quoted Habermas, and other
    > > thinkers from the last
    > > > millenium as if they carried weight in a described
    > > ontology that is
    > > > friendly to machines and humans alike. They
    > > couldn't forsee the
    > > > machinic world computer mediated knowledge exists
    > > in. So what do we
    > > > have then?
    > > > Well, I'd prefer looking to Steve Pepper and Tim
    > > Berner Lee rather
    > > > than Benjamin or Habermas, or any other Euro
    > > thinker from the non-
    > > > networked millenium we left behind. We could quote
    > > dead philosphers
    > > > and seera of the past.
    > > > That is not the best route to travel to understand
    > > how the word
    > > > "ART" would survive in this millenium.
    > > > From a strictly ontological appraoch, something
    > > like "web art" or
    > > > "painting" can be accomodated, there is room for
    > > qualification and
    > > > quntification. But "ART", I do know a little bit
    > > about Information
    > > > and Document theory and practice. From this small
    > > hill on the new
    > > > media landscape the word "ART" is now just an
    > > adverb that connotes
    > > > intent.
    > > > I tried setting up Ontopia Navigator to accomodate
    > > the word "ART"
    > > > and failed to generate anything worthwhile. Of
    > > course the failure
    > > > could be mine, but I think it has more to do with
    > > the way we now
    > > > organize knowledge.
    > > > +
    > > > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > > > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > > > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > > http://rhizome.org/preferences/
    > > > subscribe.rhiz
    > > > -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    > > > +
    > > > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms
    > > set out in the
    > > > Membership Agreement available online at
    > > http://rhizome.org/info/
    > > > 29.php
    > >
    > >
    >
    >+
    >-> post: list@rhizome.org
    >-> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >-> subscribe/unsubscribe: http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >-> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >+
    >Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set out in the
    >Membership Agreement available online at http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
  • Max Herman | Sat Apr 28th 2007 7:44 p.m.
    I think this is fair and concisely stated. One can't out of hand dismiss
    Heidegger just because of his Nazi membership. It is completely possible a
    priori that a person could do something horrible and also something good,
    the same person in the same life.

    >From: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >Reply-To: curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com>
    >To: list@rhizome.org
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: is art useless?
    >Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 15:09:29 -0700
    >
    >Hi Michael,
    >
    >Not to be flip either, but that seems a convenient excuse to dismiss his
    >writing carte blanche without weighing the merit of what he has to say.
    >Althusser strangled his wife. Pollock was a drunk. Marx was a bum (and a
    >Marxist!). Heck, Kierkeggard was a freaking *Christian* (for God's sake).
    >Heidegger's involvement with the Nazi party seems less like an elephant and
    >more like a bogey (depending on your particular flavor of literary
    >criticism and how much it depends on the author's personal biography).
    >
    >I think Geert is right. Especially with Heidegger, a close reading is
    >necessary (and surely in German would be even better). Especially in his
    >later writings, he's coming to understand that denotative prose isn't the
    >best tool to use to elucidate a project of re-examining the received and
    >calcified presumptions of language. So his language gets necessarily more
    >poetic, and the event of reading it is all part of his overall project.
    >
    >Admittedly, Heidegger is particularly keen on how a person actually lives
    >daily in the world. He's a big proponent of doing rather than saying
    >(which makes him useful to anyone who thinks art is a way of doing that
    >explores realms in which words fall short). So the claims of his
    >particular philosophy do invite a closer examination of his own personal
    >way of being in the world than someone like Derrida. To me Heidegger's
    >membership in the Nazi part illustrates not so much that Heidegger's
    >philosophy is wrong or leads to wrong ways of doing, but that it takes more
    >than a philosophy (right, wrong, or otherwise) or an art practice (paradigm
    >advancing, politically engaged, or otherwise) to empower one to act
    >ethically in the world.
    >
    >Respect,
    >Curt
    >
    >++++++++++
    >
    >michael wrote:
    >Hi all
    >I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my big
    >problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    >Nazi.
    >Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    >michael
    >+
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  • Sean Capone | Sun Apr 29th 2007 2:13 a.m.
    Re: is art useless?

    A: Nope.
  • Barry Smylie | Sun Apr 29th 2007 9:48 a.m.
    I think that the string isn't about art.

    I think it is about trying to define the word "useful".

    I think aesthetic and decoration has a "use" but the early modern visual
    artists where following a train of thought, of dextral exploration, which
    questioned the traditional formulas of beauty and usefulness of art and the
    traditional role of artists as the playthings of the holy and secular courts
    and the bourgeois salons.

    We all know that in an era which finds great resource and efficiency in the
    concept that form must follow function; that art cannot contain wine but the
    goblet can be adorned with art but decorative art is not condoned. I would
    write that; decoration is a form of function which can contain meanings but
    not necessarily in its purest, modern form. A well formed vessel is art but
    it is not all that art can be.

    The lone modern hero launched like Odysseus going home.

    "Meaning" emerged as the content of art during the conceptual era of late
    modernism at the end of the 1960's decade because meaning and message has
    contemporary quickly obsolete usefulness. No one who felt the times
    believed that we would live to see the second millennium. It was backward
    thinking because meaning was being imposed upon artists by the academies
    which judged them for exhibition in thematic showings of the salons which
    revolted the impressionists. It wasn't a time for logic; it was a time of
    panic, of future shock and doom. We see daily calls on the Rhizome roots
    offing the chance for some recognition through an original interpretation of
    an often apocalyptic theme. A sign on a symbolic sandwich board reads,
    "repent". The only way to get beyond this impasse which arises from the
    complacent institutionalization of an anti-institutional movement by
    individuals seeking tenure is to accept the past, including modernism.
    Forgive and don't forget, remember. We can't go there again. It isn't
    logical and would probably be more obvious to revolt against the modern
    school and especially the longest lived movement of modernism, conceptualism
    but; the post-modern era must be different in its philosophical manifesto;
    evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Post-modern is inclusive and
    evolving and can contain exclusive hardened warrior combative institutions.

    The cult of originality was an interesting experiment but doing what has
    never been done before after a century and a half leads to a dead end where
    very little is possible, all having been done before. It is possible to be
    original within the convention of a landscape painting or in a landscape of
    plantings. Within the individual self we have found a limit. Everything is
    not contained in the self (which goes contrary to what our senses and egos
    inform us) but there is a portion of the being within us all which has a
    social desire. We have a need to know others and for others to know of us.
    It is that social need from which art emerges desiring to make contact
    across the vast expanses of space between individuals and the even greater
    expanses between generation gaps fearful of apocalypse and unsure of the
    future. The only carrier of our messages to each other which cannot
    obsolete and remain valuable after the message itself has no use is good
    workmanship and an appeal to common humanity. Eventually when the message,
    not necessarily of a joyful content, camouflaged, protected and carried
    forward by aesthetic and beauty, harmony and grace will emerge when it is
    once again required... or not. Who cares it already served its purpose.
    Maybe it will take on new meaning.

    Art does that from person to person, generation to generation.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf Of
    Sean Capone
    Sent: April 29, 2007 4:14 AM
    To: list@rhizome.org
    Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: is art useless?

    Re: is art useless?

    A: Nope.
    +
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  • Max Herman | Sun Apr 29th 2007 11:36 a.m.
    Barry Smylie wrote:

    Within the individual self we have found a limit. Everything is
    >not contained in the self (which goes contrary to what our senses and egos
    >inform us) but there is a portion of the being within us all which has a
    >social desire.

    Hi Barry,

    Interesting post with many good points. The above reminds me of one reason
    why Networkism should replace Postmodernism as the new art-historical period
    for the 21st c. I think the individual and the polis has a lot of relevance
    not only now but all through past art, so it's a useful lens to use today.
    It's not always simple though, I've found it a very complex issue.

    For example, Hannah Arendt (who I now know was Heidegger's mistress!) wrote
    that people joined totalitarianism so that they could get a feeling of
    strength by sacrificing their individuality to the mass movement
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origins_of_Totalitarianism). This means
    the urge to be part of the group can be very dangerous too. The best case
    is a balance of individual and group.

    After all, you don't have a real group in the strict sense if no one has any
    individual genius--you just have a sort of glued-together mass or blob. A
    group in the true sense (and in the morally desirable sense) is based on
    good, healthy, positive, free relations among good, healthy, positive, free
    individuals. Also arguably, fulfilled individuals need some degree of
    social existence or activity, yet it's not most correct I don't think to
    conflate the two types of genius completely.

    So I think that Networkism addresses this better than Postmodernism.
    Postmodernism strikes me more as the denouement of Modernism (which you
    aptly characterize with the modern Odysseus, a reference also used very well
    by Adorno and Horkheimer in one of my favorite books, "Dialectic of
    Enlightenment"). Postmodernism really keeps many many characteristics of
    Modernism I believe and not just the good ones. Particularly I think that
    Pomo replaced Modernism's Cult of the Master Originalist (as you also aptly
    mention here) with the perhaps divergent but not wholly satisfyingly so Cult
    of the Master Analyst (which, I would argue, is actually a long-term
    sub-category of Modernism orignating in Freud especially but also Marx and
    others).

    Hence, you could call Postmodernism really Late-Modernism or what may be
    most accurate of all, End-Modernism. Habermas however argues that modernity
    strictly speaking is unfinished, and thus perhaps Postmodernism is more a
    stylistic demobilization of Modernism with a big M, not an emergence out of
    modernity with a small m as may be mistakenly argued often. Hence by no
    means are we out of the woods with modernity. Could be that Pomo was
    wishful thinking in that respect, and understandable during the grueling
    First Cold War.

    The above would distinguish Modernism as the core 20th c. art-historical or
    aesthetic-evolutionary movement from modernity with a small m, which many
    consider to date from the Renaissance, i.e. everything after the Middle Ages
    ended around the 15th c.

    This would be a big change but it could get us out of what Geert Lovink
    recently called "techno-fetishism" which can be seen as afflicting internet
    art and/or new media art in this decade.

    You also mention institutions etc. I love my local museums, going to one
    today in fact because they recreate the art pieces with fresh flower
    arrangements once per year. Yet the big institutions would take interest in
    a new art-historical period only after it was quite worked out and in
    practice already by individuals whose early efforts had been rejected but
    they kept on, like say the Impressionists or Delacroix. In this regard
    Networkism would just work for free, using its own money from a day job, and
    maybe distribute art by new channels other than big galleries, museums, and
    academia. Then after a while there would get to be a sufficient level of
    Networkism content created and the large institutions would slowly gravitate
    toward it over a period of decades.

    Or to capture it another way, maybe Postmodernism is really the
    institutional world's internal qualification and coda of Modernism, rather
    than a new art-historical period in the assertive, creative, evolutionary
    sense. Not that denouement (or caesura) is not a crucial part of
    evolution--it clearly is. But it's not the only part.

    Regarding Heidegger, Wikipedia states that "Being and Time" was meant to be
    the first of two parts, the second being "Destruktion" which some say
    Derrida was after with "Deconstruction", i.e. the un-building of
    philosophical history. Heidegger never did the second part, which could be
    a clue to the context here. One big problem this calls forth is that you
    can't jump over your shadow, you can't just drop everything, and sometimes
    as the old expression goes you have to repair the boat while you're still at
    sea. Put another way, what if just Deconstructing everything only leads to
    a dead end, and is not creative or evolutionary but kind of just stagnant?
    How can you create forward with best results while avoiding shallow cheap
    Originality-mongering? Existing in time-space, humanity cannot ever just go
    back to square one and start over completely. We're always starting again
    in the middle or as they say "in medias res." In this regard I think
    Networkism is good and workable.

    Jonathan Swift seemed to imply that modernity and antiquity had to be like
    two sides of an arch, each supporting the other. I think that individual
    aesthetic evolution (in actual concrete examples and sui generis) and group
    or social aesthetic evolution (also in actual examples and sui generis) have
    to thus work together, neither claiming perfection or exclusion of the
    other, which can lead to collapse. Networkism in my opinion captures this
    dynamic creative tension in both theory and practice.

    But how would http://www.geocities.com/genius-2000/Pelicans.jpg relate to
    this? Could be thematically, visually, by context, by color scheme,
    allegorically, by being on the internet, traditional watercolor, etc.

    Best regards,

    Max Herman
    The Genius 2000 Network
    DVDs available now
    www.geocities.com/genius-2000

    +++

    We have a need to know others and for others to know of us.
    >It is that social need from which art emerges desiring to make contact
    >across the vast expanses of space between individuals and the even greater
    >expanses between generation gaps fearful of apocalypse and unsure of the
    >future. The only carrier of our messages to each other which cannot
    >obsolete and remain valuable after the message itself has no use is good
    >workmanship and an appeal to common humanity. Eventually when the message,
    >not necessarily of a joyful content, camouflaged, protected and carried
    >forward by aesthetic and beauty, harmony and grace will emerge when it is
    >once again required... or not. Who cares it already served its purpose.
    >Maybe it will take on new meaning.
    >
    >Art does that from person to person, generation to generation.
    >
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf Of
    >Sean Capone
    >Sent: April 29, 2007 4:14 AM
    >To: list@rhizome.org
    >Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: Re: Re: is art useless?
    >
    >Re: is art useless?
    >
    >A: Nope.
    >+
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    >
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  • Michael Szpakowski | Sun Apr 29th 2007 4:30 p.m.
    Hi Curt
    I wasn't being combative or having a tilt at you & I'm
    sorry if my rather quick & compressed formulation made
    it appear so, nor would I wish to simply dismiss
    Heidegger. I quite agree that insight (& indeed
    talent) isn't the sole preserve of the righteous,
    however defined.
    I *do* think there is a particular problem with
    Heidegger though -the man was a *member* of the Nazi
    party for over 10 years during the commission by the
    Nazis of crimes against humanity that were quite
    singular in their awfulness.

    Even his reflections way after the time were marked
    by, to put it at its most charitable, an insensitivity
    that is quite breathtaking (his comparison of the
    Holocaust with the mechanisation of agriculture).
    So what I find difficult to accept is that there was
    no connection *at some level* between the actions &
    the thought ( because if there *isn't* that connection
    *at some level* in a philosopher between 'say' & 'do'
    then their work is either meaningless or cant) of
    someone as smart as Heidegger clearly was. And that to
    me is troubling. I'm absolutely *not* arguing that
    everything he said is simply tainted & should be
    rejected tout court as a sort of contagion; only that
    a degree of caution is required. Therefore I guess I
    feel that if I see a discussion of Heidegger that
    doesn't at least once reference this pretty salient
    feature of his life, I feel obliged to point it out,
    on a kind of health warning principle.
    best
    michael

    --- curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com> wrote:

    > Hi Michael,
    >
    > Not to be flip either, but that seems a convenient
    > excuse to dismiss his writing carte blanche without
    > weighing the merit of what he has to say. Althusser
    > strangled his wife. Pollock was a drunk. Marx was
    > a bum (and a Marxist!). Heck, Kierkeggard was a
    > freaking *Christian* (for God's sake). Heidegger's
    > involvement with the Nazi party seems less like an
    > elephant and more like a bogey (depending on your
    > particular flavor of literary criticism and how much
    > it depends on the author's personal biography).
    >
    > I think Geert is right. Especially with Heidegger,
    > a close reading is necessary (and surely in German
    > would be even better). Especially in his later
    > writings, he's coming to understand that denotative
    > prose isn't the best tool to use to elucidate a
    > project of re-examining the received and calcified
    > presumptions of language. So his language gets
    > necessarily more poetic, and the event of reading it
    > is all part of his overall project.
    >
    > Admittedly, Heidegger is particularly keen on how a
    > person actually lives daily in the world. He's a
    > big proponent of doing rather than saying (which
    > makes him useful to anyone who thinks art is a way
    > of doing that explores realms in which words fall
    > short). So the claims of his particular philosophy
    > do invite a closer examination of his own personal
    > way of being in the world than someone like Derrida.
    > To me Heidegger's membership in the Nazi part
    > illustrates not so much that Heidegger's philosophy
    > is wrong or leads to wrong ways of doing, but that
    > it takes more than a philosophy (right, wrong, or
    > otherwise) or an art practice (paradigm advancing,
    > politically engaged, or otherwise) to empower one to
    > act ethically in the world.
    >
    > Respect,
    > Curt
    >
    > ++++++++++
    >
    > michael wrote:
    > Hi all
    > I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my
    > big
    > problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    > Nazi.
    > Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    > michael
    > +
    > -> post: list@rhizome.org
    > -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    > -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    > http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
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    > Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    > out in the
    > Membership Agreement available online at
    > http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
    >
  • Geert Dekkers | Mon Apr 30th 2007 4:55 a.m.
    Hi all,

    Just to tighten the circle somewhat around the subject of this thread
    -- a step back.

    In 1582 a Jesuit Cardinal named Gabriele Paleotti wrote a treatise on
    the position art should take in. The reigning form otf the time was
    Mannerism, an overly erudite, overly sophistocated, aristrocratic
    style. He advocated a simpler form, a form utilising everyday objects
    and scenes to better tell the story of the Catholic Church. This
    became the style of the Baroque.

    My point here concerning the question "is art useless" is twofold --
    one, that the question is about "art" -- and, as I suppose everyone
    knows, this didn't exist before around 1850. What the Cardinal is
    talking about is "image production" -- in a time that all images
    where created by hand. In his day, an image was not the product of an
    individual mind, but rather the outcome of a complex arrangement.
    Texts were consulted, programmes designed. It was a team effort. Much
    like an ad campaign today.

    The other thing -- and now we reach the "useless" part -- is that the
    Cardinal had something to gain from a successful image production
    concept. The stakes were pretty high in his day -- the Jesuit order
    was founded to combat the Protestant onslaught. It was essential to
    keep the ordinary man a believer of the Catholic faith. One of of the
    key factors was to use image production to instruct, uplift and move
    the spectator.

    The problem -- one of the problems -- artists have is that they must
    compete with this kind of image production that is now -- mistakenly
    -- called art. This is apparent in the visual arts, but also true of
    music. "Art", as it came to rise somewhere after mid 19th century, is
    the product of the individual mind -- preferably a genius mind,
    choosing content and form as s/he sees fit. It is NOT a team effort.
    There is no written "programme" for a work of art, no condoning by
    the community. The programme of the artist is "written" as s/he works.

    And from that moment on, also, "art" is in crisis. Exactly because
    the "programme" of the artist is not a product of community
    consensus, there is no intrinsic funding of a project. Artists
    produce artworks without security. The government -- a hugely
    disparate body compared to the initiators of contempory image
    production (ads) -- disinterestedly funds some projects. But of
    course budgets are laughingly low compared to what even a medium
    sized company spends on getting their message across.

    "Is art useless" -- well from the point of view of the general
    public, it is. At least, the funding of the production of NEW art is.
    Because for some reason or other, the big money gets to places where
    people congregate to see art, Preferably old art, or somewhat old
    art. It gets to the large museal projects that arise in our major
    cities. There, art is very "useful". Because where else would a
    tourist go to while in -- just to take a example from just down the
    road -- Amsterdam? Surely not just to visit that one smart shop. They
    go to the Rijksmuseum, to see a piece that was produced as (secular)
    image production. They go to the "ur" artist Van Gogh in his museum.

    New art is necessarily fragile. Production without team effort,
    without being condoned by a community, it's not difficult to chime in
    on a negative tone when the question of arts "usefulness" is raised.
    Which is of course why artists form groups, movements, build their
    own communities. New art is intrinsically useless -- the production
    precedes argument, precedes conceptualistion, precedes budgetting,
    precedes programme. Thus precedes use. Thus art IS useless?

    Geert Dekkers---------------------------
    http://nznl.com | http://nznl.org | http://nznl.net
    ---------------------------------------

    On 30/04/2007, at 12:34 AM, Michael Szpakowski wrote:

    > Hi Curt
    > I wasn't being combative or having a tilt at you & I'm
    > sorry if my rather quick & compressed formulation made
    > it appear so, nor would I wish to simply dismiss
    > Heidegger. I quite agree that insight (& indeed
    > talent) isn't the sole preserve of the righteous,
    > however defined.
    > I *do* think there is a particular problem with
    > Heidegger though -the man was a *member* of the Nazi
    > party for over 10 years during the commission by the
    > Nazis of crimes against humanity that were quite
    > singular in their awfulness.
    >
    > Even his reflections way after the time were marked
    > by, to put it at its most charitable, an insensitivity
    > that is quite breathtaking (his comparison of the
    > Holocaust with the mechanisation of agriculture).
    > So what I find difficult to accept is that there was
    > no connection *at some level* between the actions &
    > the thought ( because if there *isn't* that connection
    > *at some level* in a philosopher between 'say' & 'do'
    > then their work is either meaningless or cant) of
    > someone as smart as Heidegger clearly was. And that to
    > me is troubling. I'm absolutely *not* arguing that
    > everything he said is simply tainted & should be
    > rejected tout court as a sort of contagion; only that
    > a degree of caution is required. Therefore I guess I
    > feel that if I see a discussion of Heidegger that
    > doesn't at least once reference this pretty salient
    > feature of his life, I feel obliged to point it out,
    > on a kind of health warning principle.
    > best
    > michael
    >
    > --- curt cloninger <curt@lab404.com> wrote:
    >
    >> Hi Michael,
    >>
    >> Not to be flip either, but that seems a convenient
    >> excuse to dismiss his writing carte blanche without
    >> weighing the merit of what he has to say. Althusser
    >> strangled his wife. Pollock was a drunk. Marx was
    >> a bum (and a Marxist!). Heck, Kierkeggard was a
    >> freaking *Christian* (for God's sake). Heidegger's
    >> involvement with the Nazi party seems less like an
    >> elephant and more like a bogey (depending on your
    >> particular flavor of literary criticism and how much
    >> it depends on the author's personal biography).
    >>
    >> I think Geert is right. Especially with Heidegger,
    >> a close reading is necessary (and surely in German
    >> would be even better). Especially in his later
    >> writings, he's coming to understand that denotative
    >> prose isn't the best tool to use to elucidate a
    >> project of re-examining the received and calcified
    >> presumptions of language. So his language gets
    >> necessarily more poetic, and the event of reading it
    >> is all part of his overall project.
    >>
    >> Admittedly, Heidegger is particularly keen on how a
    >> person actually lives daily in the world. He's a
    >> big proponent of doing rather than saying (which
    >> makes him useful to anyone who thinks art is a way
    >> of doing that explores realms in which words fall
    >> short). So the claims of his particular philosophy
    >> do invite a closer examination of his own personal
    >> way of being in the world than someone like Derrida.
    >> To me Heidegger's membership in the Nazi part
    >> illustrates not so much that Heidegger's philosophy
    >> is wrong or leads to wrong ways of doing, but that
    >> it takes more than a philosophy (right, wrong, or
    >> otherwise) or an art practice (paradigm advancing,
    >> politically engaged, or otherwise) to empower one to
    >> act ethically in the world.
    >>
    >> Respect,
    >> Curt
    >>
    >> ++++++++++
    >>
    >> michael wrote:
    >> Hi all
    >> I really mean to be neither flip nor glib, but my
    >> big
    >> problem with Heidegger is that fact that he was a
    >> Nazi.
    >> Kind of elephant in the roomish really :)
    >> michael
    >> +
    >> -> post: list@rhizome.org
    >> -> questions: info@rhizome.org
    >> -> subscribe/unsubscribe:
    >> http://rhizome.org/preferences/subscribe.rhiz
    >> -> give: http://rhizome.org/support
    >> +
    >> Subscribers to Rhizome are subject to the terms set
    >> out in the
    >> Membership Agreement available online at
    >> http://rhizome.org/info/29.php
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    >
    > +
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    > 29.php
  • curt cloninger | Mon Apr 30th 2007 10:03 a.m.
    Hi Michael,

    No offense taken, and I think your warning is a fair one.

    There is the possibility that a philosopher's philosophical constructions may actually be more useful than his own particular applications of them. One example with Heidegger is his willingness to consign things other than quaint hammers and shoes to the evil realm of technology. So he reads "modern" technology as commodifying, as translating things from ready-to-hand to present-at-hand. Thus all new technology forces a kind of scientific/Cartesian reduction of things in the world. But McLuhan would say that a hammer is technology as much as a computer. Perhaps Heidegger's philosophical constructions are still robust enough to afford a more nuanced consideration of computers and atom bombs as things; but someone else will have to put his constructions to this test since Heidegger himself never did.

    peace,
    Curt

    +++++++++

    Michael wrote:

    Hi Curt
    I wasn't being combative or having a tilt at you & I'm
    sorry if my rather quick & compressed formulation made
    it appear so, nor would I wish to simply dismiss
    Heidegger. I quite agree that insight (& indeed
    talent) isn't the sole preserve of the righteous,
    however defined.
    I *do* think there is a particular problem with
    Heidegger though -the man was a *member* of the Nazi
    party for over 10 years during the commission by the
    Nazis of crimes against humanity that were quite
    singular in their awfulness.

    Even his reflections way after the time were marked
    by, to put it at its most charitable, an insensitivity
    that is quite breathtaking (his comparison of the
    Holocaust with the mechanisation of agriculture).
    So what I find difficult to accept is that there was
    no connection *at some level* between the actions &
    the thought ( because if there *isn't* that connection
    *at some level* in a philosopher between 'say' & 'do'
    then their work is either meaningless or cant) of
    someone as smart as Heidegger clearly was. And that to
    me is troubling. I'm absolutely *not* arguing that
    everything he said is simply tainted & should be
    rejected tout court as a sort of contagion; only that
    a degree of caution is required. Therefore I guess I
    feel that if I see a discussion of Heidegger that
    doesn't at least once reference this pretty salient
    feature of his life, I feel obliged to point it out,
    on a kind of health warning principle.
    best
    michael
  • Eric Dymond | Mon Apr 30th 2007 9:59 p.m.
    It's an important warning, but we deal with Edmund Burke when we discuss the Romantic in Art of the 18th century:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Philosophical_Enquiry_into_the_Origin_of_Our_Ideas_of_the_Sublime_and_Beautiful
    I don't like Burkes politics, but admit he had an important role in the development of Euro thinking. I'm trying to be concilliatory here.
    That said...
    I still have an issue with this whole euro-centric definition of art when Near Eastern and Far Eastern aesthetics are dismissed as secondary by Western/Euro based thinkers. They make note of it, but they never really incorporate it.

    Can western art embrace the *other worlds view* that art enjoys while it still trying to build upon the western view?

    It's not trivial. Islamic, Vedic, African, Farsi and Buddhist Scholars make important contributions to world aesthetics without ever making reference to Western European History, which at this point is getting smaller and less influential by the second.

    We can't throw it all out, but we need new views that aren't bound by the development of Aestehetics in Western Civilization.
    Did Hiedegger, Habermas, Derrida become products of Euro-Nationalist thinking? Did they ever consider there was a whole world that dwarfed (and dsimissed) thier view of the planet?

    Eric
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