RE: [-empyre-] Re: Method Manifesto

In message <a05111b02b9b7c80af06a@[]> Sean Cubitt <>
> >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.
> ><snip>
> >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.
> The word is 'ontological': concerning the reality-status of
> a) art
> b) a particular work or job of work
> The question concenring what art is  - is art
> Art is that practice which meticulously questions its own ontological 
> status. The art 'object' is an object that struggles to exist. That 
> struggle, that puzzle over whether it exists and in what mode 
> (conceptual, phenomenological, virtual . . .) is what constitutes art
> at least in the Western tradition

Hi sean,

This is a sufficient description of western Modernist art and after, but one 
can imagine a form of western art (of the past, perhaps)that does not 
wrestlessly examine its own condition. More in line with Heidegger, I would 
modify this position, dropping the bit about conscious questioning, whilst 
emphasizing the struggle, manifest in the work of art perhaps alone among 
objects, between the silence of its materiality, and its setting up of a world 
of meaning. In this way, the work of art is an "event" or temporal modality of 
an object that reveals the presence of this struggle between material and 
meaning. Maybe this evades the question of ontology.



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