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Art Forms - Relations to Space and Time

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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Burning ghost
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Art Forms - Relations to Space and Time

Post by Burning ghost » October 3rd, 2018, 5:16 am

Through various artistic means the artist creates something - be it “poor” or “rich” in subjective/objective value - to some/many/all in various degrees due to individual taste and aesthetic sensibilities. The act of artistry in this way produces an “artifact” - a product of the artistic endeavor. The muscian produces “a song”, the painter “a painting”, the photographer “a photograph, and so on.

These items are of some magnitude. My concern here is with the comparative magnitudes through “time” and “space” with each medium of art - that is not merely the physical magnitude, but the human experience of the art temporally and spatially.

For example if we take “a photograph”. This is clearly not a item that stretches across time. It is an instant captured. Whilst on the other hand we can think of some movie we’ve seen recently and quite obviously understand it as being drawn out across time not experienced in a single instant.

My observation here shouldn’t be anything extraordinary I hope. I hope we can all see that experiencing every musical note in an instant would render a musical composition meaningless. For these briefly outlined reasons I am proposing that art that manifests itself in an instant (such as a photograph, sculpture, or painting) aims to essentially have the viewer of the “artifact” stretch the instant out across time from a singular instant captured in space, whilst at the other pole works that span temporal experience (films, poems, novels or musical compositions) aim to essentially bring the viewer to compress the experience into one instant.

The “photograph” is meant to be taken as positioned in time and thought of in reference to the past and future, whereas the “play” is meant to be taken as a stretch of time with a beginning, middle and end, that is to be captured in a singular position in time once the performace is over.

If you can bolster this idea do so. If you find it questionable then question it and offer counter arguments to this brief analysis. If however you understand the gist of what I am saying the I would like to know what you believe to be the “middle ground” and for what reasons? To be clear I mea whether you regard something like “a sculpture” to be the most appropriate “middle ground” between the “photograph” and the “play”? Or the “painting” to be the “middle ground” between the “muscal composition” and the “painting”? Basically what for of artistic medium has one foot in both the “instant” and a “span” of time?
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cavacava
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Re: Art Forms - Relations to Space and Time

Post by cavacava » December 9th, 2018, 11:02 am

Questions of space and time as they relate to great works of art, are answerable only in respect to their use in those works, which is not to say that hermeneutically it is not be profitable to understand how such use changed historically. I think that Kandinsky was right in trying to make the invisible visible and that it is in accomplishing this magical feat that all great works of art differentiate themselves from kitsch.

Photography is a good example because I think it is one of the most difficult mediums to produce a work of fine art, because the camera leaves such a narrow space within which the imagination can create a work of fine art that can affect the viewer. [The camera must be one of the most disbursed tools of image capture in our times, I've read that 45 billion cameras are projected by 2022.]
For example if we take “a photograph”. This is clearly not a item that stretches across time. It is an instant captured. Whilst on the other hand we can think of some movie we’ve seen recently and quite obviously understand it as being drawn out across time not experienced in a single instant.

My observation here shouldn’t be anything extraordinary I hope. I hope we can all see that experiencing every musical note in an instant would render a musical composition meaningless. For these briefly outlined reasons I am proposing that art that manifests itself in an instant (such as a photograph, sculpture, or painting) aims to essentially have the viewer of the “artifact” stretch the instant out across time from a singular instant captured in space, whilst at the other pole works that span temporal experience (films, poems, novels or musical compositions) aim to essentially bring the viewer to compress the experience into one instant.

The “photograph” is meant to be taken as positioned in time and thought of in reference to the past and future, whereas the “play” is meant to be taken as a stretch of time with a beginning, middle and end, that is to be captured in a singular position in time once the performace is over.
The internal versus the external, where the visible or external or spacial arts such as photography, painting and sculpture present their particularity, their story immediately, while the poetic or internal or temporal arts develop their narratives into stories. Each is effective in so far as they are affective, a photo can be more affective than a narrative (a picture is worth a lot of words ;) ) Clement Greenberg said:

"The art in photography is literary art before it is anything else: its triumphs and monuments are historical, anecdotal, reportorial, observational before they are purely pictorial. Because of the transparency of the medium, the difference between the extra-artistic, real-life meaning of things and their artistic meaning is even narrower in photography than it is in prose. And as in prose, “form” in photography is reluctant to become “content,” and works best when it just barely succeeds in converting its subject into art—that is, when it calls the least attention to itself and lets the almost “practical” meaning of the subject come through.

This is why there are so many pictures made with documentary intent among the masterpieces of photography. But they have become masterpieces by transcending the documentary and conveying something that affects one more than mere knowledge could. The purely descriptive or informative is almost as great a threat to the art in photography as the purely formal or abstract. The photograph has to tell a story if it is to work as art. And it is in choosing and accosting his story, or subject, that the artist-photographer makes the decisions crucial to his art. Everything else—the pictorial values and the plastic values, the composition and its accents—will more or less derive from these decisions."

There are a few photos that have made a difference one that hit the viewer, going beyond their content or form of the image, such as the image of Phan Thi Kim Phuc the 9 year old Vietnamese girl whose was pictured running naked from her village, her back severely burned by napalm. It is said (NY Times) that this picture changed the course of the war. There are many photos from this war and that period that still haunt the American imagination, of the boomer generation.

So, I can only agree in a very limited sense with Leonardo Da Vinci's “Painting is mute poetry, and poetry is blind painting”. Painting is not superior to poetry, nor the other way around. Only specific works can be compared, and in doing this only in corresponding registers, not in terms of magnitude or superiority.

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