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Lesson Plans

Re: A world without art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
taylorh (taylorh)
Sun, 31 May 1998 18:23:13 -0700 (MST)

On Wed, 27 May 1998, Jana Nicol wrote:

> Picture a world without the influence of art: There would be no music
> because music is an art, what about colors? How about clothes? Those
> need to be designed, I guess everyone would wear the same outfit? What
> about furniture, interiors, portraits? All of those are artistic.
> Houses? Would we all live in caves? Architects are needed to design
> houses (uh-oh, there's that "d" word!) Ha, ha.

Imagine a world a without art? The urban/industrial centers of the old
communist eastern block maybe? there was even art in that greyness...

An artist, maybe even one with work selling in a gallery somewhere drew up
that computer keyboard, monitor and cpu grilleface. That light swuitch
faceplate may have had similar origins... the wallboard, that box of
kittylitter, the pattern on your own toilet paper, the texture on the turn
indicator lever in your car... the no-skit texture getting on the bus...
all those things passed over an artists desk.

The electrician knew what to put where because of a drawing done with some
act of art. The guy who fixed that muffler used a manual. Seen any ads
lately? A world without art? Strip naked and walk into the nearest
wilderness being careful to leave no intentional marks on the way. Pay no
attention to the pattern of your toes in the dust and especially don't
play with the forms you see. No dancing, no rythmn, no putting aside
"pretty" or beautiful things; view the sunset without imagination. You're
getting closer.

Just about everything you can see from where you sit had some elementor
several that are the way they are because of an artist... see those trees
and flowers... landscape architect. Many, many, of these people also do
gallery work as well. Design is really on the same level as expressionism
or realism just another way of manipulating media on many levels.

On the other hand there are also people for whom "art" is synonymous with
a single artist and nothing else counts period. "If it isn't Rembrandt it
isn't art."

Imagine a computer without an artist involved... a lot of engineers can
"breadboard" up a mess of wires and electrionic components that function
so. Just lay the naked tube on the desk. it works just fine.. (most of the
time my own computer is a nest of wires in a frame with a ckeyboard and
screen attached, but my old boss would have fround on the practice in his
office. Get rid of the paint and pictures in the lobby and dump that gold
metal logo off the wall an artist drew that up and sent out the specs to
the fabricator just like Nauman and Christo do.

Aluminum foil makes a dandy sun block when you dump those artist
designed and specified curtains or shades. Crates work reasonable well for
sitting on and trash can be profitably recycled. If it matters how it
looks you are halfway into art already and it is a notoriously slippery

Your CEO can also forgo that letterhead paper. The kid who layed out the
design and colors for that started out in a 7th grade art class and got
the interest in kindergarten art.

You recover and get chipper again in a hospital room where art principles
have been applied to get that effect... In an aircraft cockpit or on the
instruments in the operating room guages and switches are arranged in part
because artists have with scientists worked to understand how the eye
moves within a pattern art and science together.

The great English Biologist William Bateson pronounced that science
depends on art and that art is the more critical skill... scientists can
work out how to answer the questions but Bateson felt it took an artist...
visual, literary, performance,,,what have you, it took an artist to come
up with important questions to answer.

Every eat a meal that was just slopped on the plate? Any one whos been in
the service or institutionalized probably has. We choose the restaurants
we do in part because of the presentation. even fast food wrapped up in
tissue has posters all over showing what its supposed to look like. Artist
designers called "food stylest" sweat bullets to make the food in those
photographs look just right and mouthwatering... Heck, I've even earned a
few advertising bucks as a "shoe stylest".

There are loads of straight lines and complex curves, colors, textures,
sounds (that click of thr keyboard keys is tuned and specified! the harley
exhaust sound is copyrighted trade packaging, as Yamaha discovered in
court! You get dressed every morning using principles of art and design or
does that CEO wear the same cutoffs to work everyday.

Ergonomics and psychology only go so far in shaping the world around us...
in the end its always the artist that puts the finishing touches on

Finally, there is the intellectual cognitive aspect of art and its impact
on your CEO's world.

How many decisions are made as a syllogism with the proper and formal
logic with al the "if's" and "thens" in the proper places how many are
made 'aesthetically" because it looks about right? How many deals are
consumated when it "sounds good to me" or "feels right"?

Those phrases mark aesthetic forms of decision. Decisions made without
each and every one of the FACTS being layed out before the decision was
made. Can we afford the time it takes to logically reason out each and
every step of every case. Can we afford sloppy "aesthetic decisions" which
are formed on the basis of an incomplete understanding of how patterns in
the world fit together?

I've asked scientists from labs such as Lawrence Livermore about
decisions and how and when logic is used and when more intuitional,
"artistic"aesthetic decisions are made. More oftten than you'd expect the
logic is filled in after the fact. A pattern was recognized and described
and tested and verified. Only at the end was the logic layed out. The
aesthetic process is a significant one and it is learned and more
importantly FORMALIZED in art classes.

Well, I said "finally" and went on another three paragraphs. I'm easily
excited. Playing with patterns is maybe the most important human skill,
the thing that most defines us as humans and what it means to be human.
For every case of silly play or ideosyncratic/weird art there must be a
thousand art-related events that have lead to the world we are living in
today. For better or worse, our world, our reality is founded first on the
arts and the skills learned in them. For your CEO, its not the objects
that are important but the thinking they lead to that provide the best
reasons for putting more art in the schools. If he doesn't need people
maybe he doesn't need art, but if people are important for him he can't
forget art without loosing out somewhere.

sorry for the length..