When Art Happens

Most people think of art as the thing which remains at the end of the creative process. I’ve been moving to a position that art happens at a series of points of creation in space-time, that the remaining artifact is evidence that art was performed. A CD might be a sound recording of a performance in a studio or be modified by the work of a producer.

This week, I heard a snippet of conversation on BBC Radio 4 that suggested an alternative interpretation: that art only exists when it is experienced by another individual, who projects a personal interpretation onto the work, which might be different for everyone. This could be a performance-art audience member, whose reaction gives feedback into the creative process and whose memory might be the last remaining artifact.

Choose your Truth. Is art an act of inexact communication? Can an unread poem be a work of art? If a tree falls over in the forest and there’s no one there to make paper…


3 thoughts on “When Art Happens

  1. Reblogged this on Today X and commented:
    Liking these thoughts. I’m sympathetic to the view that Art is undefinable and cannot be pinned down. Indeed to define it is to kill it. More important is not what Art is, but is whatever we are looking at any good?

    1. Thanks.

      Are we all able to form an individual opinion of what is good, without discussion? I feel I still have a lot to learn of the visual languages of art, when and if they exist. For example, I think I miss a lot of the meaning in Pre-Raphaelite paintings through not understanding the Victorian language of flowers or being sufficiently familiar with classical myths.

      To discuss the success of a piece of art, don’t we need to arrive at a shared understanding of the parameters of what art is and what it is trying to achieve?

      1. Indeed an increased understanding of the context within which works are created is important. A good question and while a shared understanding can be interesting it’s by no means a necessity. A lot can still be learned from others who hold an entirely different set of parameters. One of the eternal enchantments of art.

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