RE: [-empyre-] Re: Method Manifesto

> > > > My feeling on the matter is that saying 'X is art' is a bit like saying 'This
> > > proposition is not
> > > > provable' since one arrives at a contradiction should one say it is false; no
> contradiction
> > > > seems to arise if one says it is true, yet neither then is it provably true. Nor is
> > > it an axiom
> > > > completely independent of the rest of the language system, for if it were, its
> > > negation would be
> > > > an acceptable alternative to the proposition itself, but it is not. It is an unprovable
> > > > statement that nonetheless must be accepted as true. Each new piece of art is thus
> > > more like an
> > > > axiom than a theorem.
> > > >
> > > > ja
> > >
> > > It seems to me that the status of an object as a work
> > > of art in any meaningful sense is dependent on more than the will of an
> > > individual. After all, Duchamp's readymades were not immediately accepted as
> > > art just because he said they were art. It took some time for his ideas to
> > > become institutionalised. The idea that an individual can determine what is art
> > > seems reactionary to me, since it constitutes an extravagant claim for dominion
> > > over both social and subjective conditions of reception, reflecting a somewhat
> > > authoritarian view that disingenuously obscures the power structures that
> > > support it.
> > >
> > > jsa
> >
> > Hmm, one could proceed in several directions from here. Let me think about that and
> get back to
> > you later on, jsa.
> Ok, ja.
> > In the meantime, I should add that the above paragraph of mine relates to Godel's
> ideas about
> > "undecidable propositions". An undecidable proposition (like "This proposition is
> not provable")
> > is one that cannot be deemed false yet is not provably true. It is not
> independently axiomatic,
> > either. The parallel postulate is an independent axiom of geometry: one can assume it or its
> > negation (but not both) and arrive at different geometries accordingly. Not so with
> undecidable
> > propositions; one is forced to deem them true, though they are not provably true
> like a theorem
> > is. There is perhaps some larger independent axiom that is missing from the system
> which, when
> > added to the system, would turn the undecidable proposition into a theorem? Or not?
> >
> > And if there were such an independent axiom, then its negation would be an acceptable
> > alternative, and in that case, the undecidable proposition would have to be true
> (but perhaps
> > provable in one case and not in the other or...?).
> You're losing me a bit with Godel. I am not too familiar with it. My problem is
> with attempts to reduce art to propositions or to functions of propositions.
> > But my initial reaction to your point, jsa, is that nobody really knows what art
> is. And that
> > isn't a matter of rectifiable ignorance, but something else in the nature of art.
> >
> > ja
> Yes, I probably agree. The definition of art is the bugbear of anglo-american
> philosophical aesthetics, which is where it should stay.

Well if you agree with that, jsa, then I fear for your position in the above to which I said I
would reply later. For if you agree that nobody really knows what art is, then it is also true
that institutional and historical judgements about what art is have no more ontological
authority than your or my feelings and ideas about what art is. Though they may seem to. And may
be taken more seriously by most people than your or my feelings and ideas about what art is.
Because the institutional and historical judgements about the art of the past are presumably
informed with a collective wisdom and experience of a gamut of art and ideas that an individual
cannot possibly encompass.

Yet there is also the Terry Eagleton notion that the history of art is the history of barbarism,
and that institutional and historical judgements about art are a history not primarily of
enlightened critical judgement but reflect power struggles for influence where the prize has
typically gone to s/he who validates the world view of those with art clout.

In any case, if no one really knows what art is, then what is taken for art is not a matter of
ontological acuity but of a whole range of other considerations, none of which are necessarily
more valid than your or my feelings and ideas about art. And in this sense (and in others), yes,
"an individual can determine what is art" with as much authority as anybody or anything else.

"We continue to think to continue."
Joseph Keppler


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