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RE: Invisible Art

in #art6 years ago (edited)

Interestingly philosophy never have been able to come up with a satisfying definition of art. That is probably the reason for the muffled definition of Merriam-Webster :) One of the earliest attempts were the semi-religious Greek muses. Both lesser goddesses and symbolic representatives. Music was indeed part of that art view, but not the creation of objects!

I tend to consider art a complex expansion of basic language like simple sounds or words, body language, facial expressions etc. Humans just do this when they speak. Intonation, funny words, rhythm, different voices... it is basically music, but it is also literature. Patterns and meaning weaved together. But it doesn't stop there. The tool we make with our hands are also able to transmit the same thing and it even has the ability to save the language after the death of the person. Writing (including scores), pottery, painting, architecture, recordings... it goes on forever. We even invent new languages. There are so many ways we can do this.

Just listen how this little girl! already a language master.

And thanks for the video. It will listen these coming days.


:-D cute kid

An all encompassing definition of art is indeed elusive. There was a US supreme court justice who was asked to define pornography, and said, I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. That kind of works for art too ;-)

Visually one could argue that we can't compete with nature:

Music seems to be one spot where we really shine.
(Images from

I guess we all know what it is, but just lack a water-proof definition. Quite common with language actually even though we . Meaning is defined through consensus and art is maybe one of the factors that moves the consensus to new definitions. And I am not sure music is different from Images or words. Sounds in nature can be a very strong, and what you see with your eyes rather frameless. We create the patterns to understand it all, or maybe we see and listen and find the patterns that governs it all?

I am interested in what the judge would call this. Pornography or Norpography.

Uh oh, I'm embarrassed to admit I've never heard of "norpography" and couldn't find a definition. I'm guessing the late judge would have been similarly bewildered with the word and the gif ;-)

I should have been more careful in expressing my thoughts on visual art. I don't want to leave readers with the impression that I don't value visual art. Your point about framing is very important. Visual art has the power to express of emotion and meaning. Also it can transform reality in new ways. It challenges us to see our reality differently.

For decades I went around thinking there was one reality, but with time I came to believe that there isn't one reality. Instead, each of us walks around with our own version. No doubt that is also true in relation to what we consider art.

Your point about the beauty and power of natural sounds is also important, I didn't mean to minimize that, but I do feel that for some mysterious reason humans have been given the gift of music. As I perceive it, it's not a representation of natural sounds -- music transcends them, it is its own reality, like the elegance of math.

Architecture is (for me) another art form that is somewhat independent of the beauty of nature, yet it can intersect and enhance nature. Great architecture is something that transcends our known reality and enriches it. Like music and math it is elegant.

This is an expansive topic, and I am admittedly an artistic illiterate -- but it's better to be thinking along these lines than what spews out of the television ;-)

Haha, yes, I invented the word, norpography :)

It is true that music has a synthetic feel to it, less natural and possibly closer to the strange unworldly world of mathematics. But the older I get the more I do refer my musical experiences to the natural world. The heartbeat, the sound of the sea, noises in all their annoying glory. Gustav Mahler says it here:

"He explains the method once when, on a country walk, his companion complains of fairground noises that disturb the peace – a crackle of shooting galleries, puppet shows, a military band, an amateur choir. ‘You hear that?’ cries Mahler. ‘That’s polyphony and this is where I get it from. As a small child in the Iglau woods … a racket like this: a thousand birds singing, the howling of a storm, the slap of waves, or the crackle of a fire. Just like this – from different sides – the themes appear, different from each other in rhythm and melody."

Copy pasted from here.

Mathematics is indeed independent of nature, it is the language that only exist in the heads of men (almost) without any relation to the human senses (except it is impossible without the human and the human is impossible without senses). Music lends from this abstraction. It is patterns like in Islamic pictorial art. But music is also physical in a very direct way, that is at least how I feel.

An expansive topic indeed.

No doubt about it, nature can deeply influence music -- I was thinking of Debussy's "La mer, trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre" when writing my previous comment.

As beautiful as a chorus of birds, frogs and crickets at night, a babbling brook, or the surf of the ocean are, some music seems to connects us to a higher consciousness outside of our earthly existence.

“Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.” Kurt Vonnegut

Yes some music, even good music, "can" seem synthetic, but most of the music I love feels organic and soulful -- even when electric guitar is involved. This kind of music draws inspiration from creation, but my suspicion is that it is more cosmic creation than earthly if you know what I mean.

I think we are orbiting a similar view. Synthetic in the sense that it is man made, like math with no real natural reference. The fact that math does fit strangely with what we see in nature has an even stronger case in music, because we know it with our bodies. This is the nature I am talking about, and to me that involves all of the universe (where math also seems to be in sync.)

Yep we seem to be on the same wave length on a lot of these questions.

My intuition tells me that we (and pretty much everything) is about frequencies of some sort -- color, music, objects. Math and physical laws we aren't even aware of (yet) are in play.

Existence is a wild ride!

It is indeed!

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