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PostPosted: 24 Aug 2013, 10:46 
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thanks mjrh, what I get from Benjamin's text is that he sees this ability to see beyond categorisations as a child-like quality, or uses a child's vision as a metaphor for this "artistic" mode of perception. Personally I dislike this theme of praising the "special ability" of children (which adults unconditionally lose unless they are artists or autistic) a la the little prince (a book i found particularly annoying haha, maybe its just that the kind of youth obsession we already have today makes it less tasteful).

But anyway- it is inherent in human logic that categorisations are merely names which cannot describe "things", only qualities within them. And yet it is equally an inherently human thing to categorise- which is why I think the constant redefinition of art is important. Its a discourse which allows art to progress, to identify what it is now, and then to renew itself from that.

Another thing that is important in art (and fashion) is the novel- another reason why categorisations and rationality hold weight. without a consciousness of what *now* is, we cannot fathom a past nor present and that makes fertile ground for a mental breakdown. Novelty is the driving factor of art and fashion- and there is a crucial social experience and understanding of the new.


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PostPosted: 24 Aug 2013, 16:39 
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pursuit of novelty for its own sake has distinctly negative connotations to me, though when i try to understand my bias towards the things i appreciate, they are often somehow set apart from what resides within the popular consciousness. some element that serves to make them maybe more alien than novel, but it still seems very different to me than belaboured taxonomies or products resulting from effort at novelty, especially in industries and areas of interest where such pursuit of novelty is the primary driving force (Fashion with a capital F, the gallery-industrial complex..) in part because they seem to stem from a different (and less personal somehow) creative urge than what moth outlined as "the very subjective feeling that some inner necessity decided of its existence."

also, very much agree with you on that nauseating 'child-like innocence of artists and autistics' motif.

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PostPosted: 25 Aug 2013, 02:37 
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yes maybe the word novelty has too many negative things attached to it, but what I mean is that there has a to be a sense of spontaneity, that there is such a thing as the new, even beyond all these capital F Fashions. Whether we look into the past or the imagined future, the outcast or unique, there is still a conception of something which is new and interesting to ourselves.

The mass manufacture of the new is I think an inevitably banal artifice which on the other hand brings ourselves to question what is truly new and interesting to us.


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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2013, 17:55 
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came across this and thought it relevant to this thread. i'll be picking it up to get a better sense but the review sounds intriguing:

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"Anyone who is not perplexed by the complex issues surrounding the loss of works of art hasn’t thought about them sufficiently.” This call to contemplation by the writer and rare-book dealer Rick Gekoski is the animating force behind Lost, Stolen or Shredded, a collection of essays about the gaps and missed directions in the recent history of human culture, the precious works of art that have been destroyed or pilfered, irrevocably distorted or never created in the first place. Its grouchy tone also belies the appeal of its author. Gekoski has an ear for lively prose and a nose for a good story, particularly if it involves a degree of mystery. “There is, after all, something wearying, predictable and banal, about knowing things”, he writes, citing Franz Kafka as an author who profits by exclusion. In his foreword, Gekoski tells the story of Kafka and Max Brod’s visit to the Louvre in 1911. The pair travelled from Milan and queued to get into the room that housed the “Mona Lisa”. Eventually, they pushed their way to the front. But they had not come to see the painting: they had come to see its absence. One week earlier, it had been stolen.

Much of the ground in this anthology has already been covered, but even the more familiar tales benefit from retelling. The fifteen discrete chapters form what Gekoski calls “my own internal museum of loss”, and although the author insists that he can offer no overarching thesis (“it is not my aim to write generally about the nature of loss”), we are reminded, time and again, that the creation of a work of art is merely the beginning of its narrative, that “to be without loss is to be without change”, and that an artwork is more than the sum of its parts. Context, for Gekoski, is everything, as Marcel Duchamp, or Jacques Derrida, would doubtless have agreed. One writer also notable for his absence in this erudite and wide-ranging collection is Walter Benjamin, who wrote, in his famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, about the “aura” of a work of art. This, for Benjamin, is what gives art its authenticity, both aesthetically and – of interest to a dealer such as Gekoski – in market terms. “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element”, Benjamin wrote: “its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” This notion of “aura” seems to hang heavy in Lost, Stolen or Shredded as Gekoski considers the various ways in which it can be negated, enhanced or interfered with."


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PostPosted: 06 Sep 2013, 22:26 
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^wonder how much the collective fascination with mystery and absence is conditioned by the age of the internet? i'm always flummoxed when i can't just google something.

merz wrote:
pursuit of novelty for its own sake has distinctly negative connotations to me, though when i try to understand my bias towards the things i appreciate, they are often somehow set apart from what resides within the popular consciousness. some element that serves to make them maybe more alien than novel, but it still seems very different to me than belaboured taxonomies or products resulting from effort at novelty, especially in industries and areas of interest where such pursuit of novelty is the primary driving force (Fashion with a capital F, the gallery-industrial complex..) in part because they seem to stem from a different (and less personal somehow) creative urge than what moth outlined as "the very subjective feeling that some inner necessity decided of its existence."


amen to this, but there are two types of novelty, and what you call "novelty for its own sake" is really no different than normalcy, it's a knee-jerk reaction to the norm; in a certain sense, somebody that consciously sets out to differentiate themselves from others is always going to seem just as cookie-cutter as somebody that consciously sets out to blend in (some kiddie punk wannabe wearing expensive ripped jeans to protest against society or whatever). dancing to the beat of your own drum is altogether different than trying to stand out.

hlee- i agree there's value in using novelty as a tool to produce new directions in art and culture as long as it's not taken as a be-all-end-all. btw agree about the whole cult of the child nonsense but the little prince is really one of my favourite books :lol:

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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2013, 04:52 
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ah man benjamin's aura- it reminds me of art school theory class powerpoints, slide after slide the tutor would feign interaction with uninterested students, ask them their opinion of the artwork and some retarded jewellery student would chime in "I think it has an aura!"

but yes, MJRH, an extension of what you were saying, it certainly is more interesting in this post internet climate of infinite reproductions, simulacra, repetitions, when there is something that cannot be found, it seems to becomes more elusive and unique than ever. That's probably why the internet/technology/augmented reality will never fully take over the human experience and its quite funny when people get into hysterics announcing the downfall of humanity anti social network blah blah etc.

but I have to clarify- novelty is not a tool in art- its a condition of art. Now I don't know if this applies to the hobby artists or the teacup painter or art therapy- and not that these are illegitimate forms of art- but novelty is not a tool and i would say it is when it becomes a "tool" in art, thats when art gets crap (as we've kinda been discussing)

I don't think I'm capable of elaborating at the moment but Alain Badiou explains novelty as a condition of art in The Handbook of Inaesthetics, available on aaaaarg should anyone want to access it right this moment


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2013, 06:13 
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lol@ "aura", cuz i have an aunt that uses that word altogether too much, heh. you also describe well why i gladly quit college in under a year, in that first paragraph.

hysteria over social networks is amusing precisely because the human experience is inextricable from said networks. we are fborg, you will be assimilated—always reminds me of folks saying eyeglasses are evil, i know that's reductionist, but c'mon, if you don't like how people use facebook, just go ahead and use it differently. guns don't annoy people, people annoy people.

i do have to disagree with one point of yours, at least for the sake of discussion: novelty is entirely a tool. as well as a condition. maybe we're just quibbling over defintions, i can't tell. but ya can take novelty out of your toolbox, and apply it to your understanding of art. or, you can just look at art in terms of "value," exclusive of novelty, exclusive of the conditions in which art arises. i see it as related to the nature/nurture argument, kinda, art's circumstances are important, undoubtedly, but not final, right?

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