Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

What is art? What is beauty?

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Terrapin Station » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:30 pm

Pluto wrote:It [Derrida] is heavy going.
I just have a very low opinion of him as a philosopher--low opinions of him not being that uncommon. A lot of (analytic) philosophy departments more or less rejected him outright and he got stuck in LitCrit instead. He's often incoherent, and often seems to be willfully so.

Anyway, it's important for this question to have some notion of what truth is in the first place. On the received view in analytic philosophy, and I agree with this insofar as it goes, truth-value (so truth, falsehood, fuzzy values in between if you allow them, etc.) is a property of propositions--propositions being the meanings of declarative sentences.

It's also important for this question to have some notion of what art is. There's really no established/received view on this aside from things that are conventionally accepted as art in various contexts (for example--"the arts" in an academic setting include painting, music, etc.) On my view, a fundamental characteristic of art in what I call an "interpretational" sense is the following (quoting myself from something I've previously written and published):
One facet of the interpretational sense is that things an individual considers "art" are parsed with a focus that is different from what the object normally, "literally" is--that is, what it is in a material, practical, sense. For example, a painting, materially, is just a canvas (or something similar) with colored pigments-via-some-medium applied to it, with those pigments arranged into different shapes, textures, etc. If you see it only as that, you're not seeing it as an artwork in this respect. To see it as an artwork on this facet is to focus on things like ideas it conveys, things it might represent (if it is representational or if you interpret it as representational, even if abstract), emotions you see it as conveying, and so on.

Note that the above does not include simple, normal language usage, behavior, symbol usage, etc., because simple, normal words, behavior, etc. conveying ideas, emotions, etc. are how we normally or "literally" look at those things. The word "abstract" normally, literally conveys a particular idea; Joe making that face normally, literally conveys that he's angry; a red, octagonal sign with the word "STOP" on it literally conveys stopping at that intersection, etc.

Think of a drop-cloth that a painter might use beneath his canvas. That's not art to most folks because they only read it "literally"--as pigments on a piece of canvas or other fabric. However, you could read it as being about ideas, as being representational, etc., and it would be art to you. And yes, I'm saying that this doesn't hinge on whether someone intended it to be read in particular ways.

An upshot of this is that nothing in an artwork can necessarily be taken literally. That includes things that might appear to be propositions. Insofar as they're taken as necessarily literal, they're not taken as art. Hence why I noted this above:
That's not to downplay the ability of artworks to comment on various aspects of the world, including psychological and social aspects, especially from an meta, interpretive level, but that's more about the interpreter using the work as a catalyst for thinking about the world.

artisticsolution
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by artisticsolution » Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:16 pm

Pluto wrote:
artisticsolution wrote:
Pluto wrote:The central question to be asked about art is this one: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?
No. Art is a mirage...it is a magic trick...it is an illusion of aesthetics.

Truth? There is no such thing. Truth is a delusion of the gullible.
When you ask your kid to tell the truth, that exists. Who broke the vase, how did it happen, to tell the truth would be inline with what happened. I'm moving away from art here but maybe it will come back round to it.
And when your kid tells you his brother broke it, do you believe him? And then there is the problem of who is more to blame for the broken vase in the first place...the child, who may or may not be telling the truth, or the parents for setting up the circumstances by putting the vase there, and/or having the child, who is almost certain to promote some sort of collateral damage on the earth at any given moment.

What I see is that humankind is damned and determined to punish. They invent , set up, imagine all sorts of "truths" they can't possibly know for sure, in order to have the satisfaction of retribution. It is a sickness.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Pluto » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:36 pm

It's also important for this question to have some notion of what art is.
I'll have to have more time to take in what you've written, but on the above sentence you wrote I thought of Boris Groys' response to this question. Maybe it's relevant or not, but perhaps worth listening to for whatever reason:

At 00:34
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYdFgTeHZEI

Walker
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Walker » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:23 am

artisticsolution wrote:What I see is that humankind is damned and determined to punish. They invent , set up, imagine all sorts of "truths" they can't possibly know for sure, in order to have the satisfaction of retribution. It is a sickness.
The punishment mentality is everywhere, in the big things and the little things. It is basic, common, ubiquitous. It is woven into the fabric of society. It is conditioned into perception. It is so common that it is assumed to be part of every situation. It’s a fact of life. It’s an industry of professional blamers, paid advocates of rationality entrenched and self-protected from tort reform.

A credible researcher has concluded that Vincent took the whole ear, not just a bit of the lobe.
Self-punishment likely had a hand in that, somewhere.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Pluto » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:11 am

The ear story is also up for grabs, recently it has been changed to - it was someone else who cut it, not the artist.

Truth enables a floor, without a notion of it, you have to make it up, but now the made up stuff is being played around with.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Walker » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:18 am

Pluto wrote:The ear story is also up for grabs, recently it has been changed to - it was someone else who cut it, not the artist.

Truth enables a floor, without a notion of it, you have to make it up, but now the made up stuff is being played around with.
The law of karma says that anyone who has their ear cut off, has a hand in it somewhere along the line, even if he did piss off a woman. Hardly seems fair, does it.

In fact, the physician's sketch shows that only a bit of lobe remained.

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Greta
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Greta » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:56 am

Pluto wrote:The central question to be asked about art is this one: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?
I haven't read the article but definitely, yes. A great painting can capture aspects of a subject that a camera cannot - sometimes features need exaggeration, or the Picasso cubist method of providing two simultaneous perspectives comes to mind. In music, too, emotions can be touched, resonated with, in unique ways.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by artisticsolution » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:20 pm

Walker wrote:
artisticsolution wrote:What I see is that humankind is damned and determined to punish. They invent , set up, imagine all sorts of "truths" they can't possibly know for sure, in order to have the satisfaction of retribution. It is a sickness.
The punishment mentality is everywhere, in the big things and the little things. It is basic, common, ubiquitous. It is woven into the fabric of society. It is conditioned into perception. It is so common that it is assumed to be part of every situation. It’s a fact of life. It’s an industry of professional blamers, paid advocates of rationality entrenched and self-protected from tort reform.

A credible researcher has concluded that Vincent took the whole ear, not just a bit of the lobe.
Self-punishment likely had a hand in that, somewhere.
Yes, and I believe it's mankind's most worthy attribute and goal to fight these impulses because that is where unreasonable thoughts and actions lie.

We have the ability to escape these thoughts of hate and replace them with reason.

I refuse to take the defeatist attitude you promote.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by uwot » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:34 pm

artisticsolution wrote:Yes, and I believe it's mankind's most worthy attribute and goal to fight these impulses because that is where unreasonable thoughts and actions lie.

We have the ability to escape these thoughts of hate and replace them with reason.

I refuse to take the defeatist attitude you promote.
I wish I had said that. (Although in the future, I almost certainly will.)

Walker
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Walker » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:58 pm

artisticsolution wrote:
Walker wrote:
artisticsolution wrote:What I see is that humankind is damned and determined to punish. They invent , set up, imagine all sorts of "truths" they can't possibly know for sure, in order to have the satisfaction of retribution. It is a sickness.
The punishment mentality is everywhere, in the big things and the little things. It is basic, common, ubiquitous. It is woven into the fabric of society. It is conditioned into perception. It is so common that it is assumed to be part of every situation. It’s a fact of life. It’s an industry of professional blamers, paid advocates of rationality entrenched and self-protected from tort reform.

A credible researcher has concluded that Vincent took the whole ear, not just a bit of the lobe.
Self-punishment likely had a hand in that, somewhere.
Yes, and I believe it's mankind's most worthy attribute and goal to fight these impulses because that is where unreasonable thoughts and actions lie.

We have the ability to escape these thoughts of hate and replace them with reason.

I refuse to take the defeatist attitude you promote.
You misinterpret with all the accuracy of identifying and promoting the false and imaginary virtues of the Hillary.

Always, the attitude is to persevere.

uwot
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by uwot » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:05 pm

Walker wrote:You misinterpret with all the accuracy of identifying and promoting the false and imaginary virtues of the Hillary.

Always, the attitude is to persevere.
Do you talk like this in real life, Walker?

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Walker » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:12 pm

uwot wrote:
Walker wrote:You misinterpret with all the accuracy of identifying and promoting the false and imaginary virtues of the Hillary.

Always, the attitude is to persevere.
Do you talk like this in real life, Walker?
Grunts and mumbles, 'specially when the knuckles drag.

This is called writing in real life.

Thought, voice, writing (mind, voice, body). The same, but different.

uwot
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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by uwot » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:03 pm

I'll take that as a yes.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by Walker » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:35 am

uwot wrote:I'll take that as a yes.
Commendable. Yes affirms life when existence is words. A person can exist as a thought, as a word, or as a thing, and experiencing existence as a thought or a word is different than as a thing.

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Re: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:34 am

Greta wrote:
Pluto wrote:The central question to be asked about art is this one: Is art capable of being a medium of truth?
I haven't read the article but definitely, yes. A great painting can capture aspects of a subject that a camera cannot - sometimes features need exaggeration, or the Picasso cubist method of providing two simultaneous perspectives comes to mind. In music, too, emotions can be touched, resonated with, in unique ways.
Taking the question at face-value ( yeah, I didn't read the article either!) - it needs to be taken apart.
What kind of art; type of truth. Capability - the power to do something. Medium - a means of doing something - material or form used as intermediary between sensory impressions, interpretations, expressions.

I agree that 'art' ( umbrella term for diverse range of human creativity, visual, auditory etc.) has the power to act as a middle state conveying a type of truth. As you suggest, there is a touching of our senses which can resonate in unique ways. It can be exciting - as in sparks of energy and those wow moments which are open to us, if we are open to other ways of looking at the world. Art is a shared experience; powerful in its ability to manipulate. Manipulation is an art in itself. Whose 'truth' can we be sure of? An important question; our decision-making abilities depend on sifting through sometimes shifty works of art. Other times, we are uplifted by simply reading an inspirational quote on a beautiful background, which may or may not exist in the 'real' world. The words ring true to us, at the time - but time, place and persons shift. Truth is relative.

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