Thursday, 26 February 2009

Techne, Technology and Technique

Maya Deren - 'Meditation on Violence' 1948



this is one of the most used films in vjing.

All Tomorrows Parties - last one curated by Jake & Dinos Chapman - how does curating a party differ from simply being an event organiser and selecting the line-up??

Fine Art/Popular Art - differentiation. Masters students could be said to be masters of what? like martial arts has a certain level of skill. 'Arts' in different places and at different times many different things were considered art forms e.g. in the past surgery was considered an art - is plastic surgery an art?

The way of the master - body and physical art. How does technique in one form of creative practice relate to technique in another? Is the computer replacing older manual techniques, how can you assess mastery?
This used to be clearer as there were limited media and techniques but now many are combined and people are developing new techniques with computer related technologies constantly.

There are 3 general types of art:

  • Creation of Beauty - this is still prevalent and problematic in cont. British culture e.g. in CCW
  • Discovery of Truth - e.g. Astronomy
  • Production of Knowledge e.g. Anatomist - Surgeon.
The research approach is towards the production of knowledge, different kind of art. Moving from the creation of beauty to the production of knowledge - how is this possible?

Types of Practice:

  • Physical - body centred practices (e.g. martial arts, healing, dance etc) Techniques without technologies - no materials.
  • Mental - mind centred practices (e.g. learning, knowledge, soothsaying, memory)
  • Instrumental - practices which use man made tools, instruments, devices. (e.g. writing, archery, painting, film, surgery).
Why don't we have musicians in art schools?

The Fine Arts is a cultural invention - 18th C (more about this in the culture of craft). An attempt to save the fine arts - elevated in position. The fine arts legacy is from a continuing Romanticism - the artist is a genius.

Whereas mass art like cinema has multiple authors, director, actors and is a combined effort of creativity. Involving many people, made for a huge audience. Walter Benjamin's essay - Art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Print production - started from Goya. Warhol was aware that mass culture was a very important force but still signed things, also aware that the artist is genius thing important.

'Do whatever' culture is from the last 50 years - a freedom of expression. Fine art on a pedestal, since Duchamp. Fine art is just choices - all about the intention of the artist.

Now this is in a direct conflict with the university wide initiative of having a responsibility historically to create 'reflective practitioners'.

Designers - clarity of communication just as likely to produce beautiful artefacts as fine artists. Fine art developed a deliberate obscurity - distancing itself from 'craft' and 'sunday painters'.

At this point the whole lecture descended into a debate about art/design/craft which was very interesting but people are still so touchy about how they are labelled. The fine artists were protesting about John's viewpoint and background coming from a graphic designer and his bias towards craft maybe and put across the interesting point that if you had a phd in physics - you wouldn't expect a layperson to understand the concepts so why does fine art have to lower itself for the masses to understand in the same way?

...Techne = making in Greek. Aristotle - 'artificier' is one who takes a raw material and applies to it a set of ideas and procedures to produce an object. In ancient greek culture there was no division between art and crafts. (Note - talking to Maiko today she said that the division between art and craft is so much more pronounced in the UK than in her experience in other countries).

Hearts of Glass - film by Werner Herzog (1976) couldn't find the clip on youtube of the expert glass blowers.

Heidegger - significant shift in the meaning of technology from craft to modern industrial technology, digital systems - detachment from the hand - apocolyptic feeling. Tactile, sensual feeling is lost. Alienation between producer and consumer. and now the mechanical relationship to the machine that is being lost. Are we losing the potential for aesthetic understanding?
Lucy McKenzie - Scottish artist, in fine art but learnt traditional craft techniques.

Style is making a difficult thing look easy.

Heidegger - influenced continential philosophy of essence and of being.

The Question concerning Technology (1954)
Building, Dwelling, Thinking

had to leave lecture early at this point :(...

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