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Aesthetic Orientations & Research in Art

Kekule, Dewey, Cezanne, and Mandelbrot Orientate Aesthetic Research

Kristopher Holland

on 1 November 2012

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Transcript of Aesthetic Orientations & Research in Art

Beauty, Truth and Being From Plato to Kekule Cezanne & Neuroscience Kunstkammer Artistic, Philosophical & Research Trajectories: Benoit Mandelbrot John Dewey Embodied Mind + experience = Reality Fractal Geometry Arts-based-research Benzene Rings & Isomers Aesthetic experience as 'an' embodied experience Learning to create works of 'art as experience' by 'Tracing' Derrida Notion of the Trace différance The work of art 'to come' [à venir] Mathematics and Conceptual Art foundational themes in my work as an artist-scholar: The Arts: Conceptual & Visual Philosophy: continental & Critical theory 1. French Theory (esp. Jacques Derrida & Gilles Deleuze) notions of Embodied experience 1. John Dewey, George Lakoff & Mark Johnson 1. philosophy as a visual practice Studio [Archive Project + Kunstkammer Kits] Aesthetica: The Blood of a Poet Modeled after the ‘cabinet of curiosity’ (Kunstkammer) of the Baroque period, this piece is constructed of wood, and contains within it a number of art experiences that are designed to be aesthetically interesting and educationally functional. I have created 33 ‘conceptual kits’ or ‘conceptual art experiences’ in which the participants examine notions such as gender, memory, creativity, the self, etc. In essence, these art kits both teach and develop inquiry skills simultaneously. While my current art practice researches how conceptual art experiences transform everyday life and sparks aesthetic imagination, in general I see art as helping students develop inquiry skills to critically read, understand, and articulate problems in culture and society. To that end, as I complete my Aesthetica project within the next year, I envision the cabinet as both an art piece to be exhibited for its aesthetic merit, and a pedagogical tool used in classrooms to guide students in the development and application of inquiry skills. 2. Critical Pedagogy (Book Project) K. Holland, 2008 As a high school and college drawing instructor, I have found that the current rhetoric used in pedagogy to be foundationally linked to the Enlightenment notion of the brain and what is means to be a human being.

The 21st century understanding of the way the brain works is fundamentally different than the deep seeded Enlightenment notions our culture take for granted. The Eighteenth Century Brain
Enlightenment Reason
1. Conscious (we know what we think),
2. literal (Mirror of Nature) able to fit an objective world precisely, with logic of the mind able to fit the logic of the world),
3. logical (consistent with the properties of classical logic),
4. universal (the same for everyone),
5. unemotional (free of passions),
6. disembodied (free of the body, and independent of perception and action),
7. value neutral (the same reason applies regardless of your values) and
8. serves self-interest (serving one’s purposes and interests, we are rational self interested decision makers) “This theory of reason has been shown to be false in every particular, but it persists” The Twenty-first-Century Brain / Contemporary Cognitive Science

1. “most reason is unconscious” 98% of thinking your brain does you are not aware of (insight of Sigmund Freud – Andrea Rock) This conception of unconsciousness means we don’t ‘know’ what we think & language requires unconscious thought –

2. *embodied (‘mirror neurons’; There is neither pure top-down rationality nor pure bottom-up empirical action, but rather pragmatic interaction between these two processes, which un-intuitively are not located in any one location, but each distributed through brain, body, and world),

3. emotional (reason is emotional),

4. empathetic (interactions in the real world effect and affect us…),

5. metaphorical (‘the conduit metaphor’: metaphor is conceptually – the matter of thought – with language secondary), and

6. only partly universal (human structure and – *language structures) The 21 century Mind Combating the Cartesian world view 2. Much like the draftsperson is altering the world onto their piece of paper, the brain, through the process endowed by evolution draws a picture of reality that is altered from the sensory information first ‘rendered’ – the brain is a draftsperson... 2. the 'Embodied Mind' or the '21st Century Brain Milieu' My objects are to be seen as stimulants for the transformation of the
idea of sculpture, or of art in general. They should provoke thoughts
about what sculpture can be and how the concept of sculpting can be
extended to the invisible materials used by everyone.

Thinking Forms – how we mould our thoughts or
Spoken Forms – how we shape our thoughts into words or
SOCIAL SCULPTURE – how we mould or shape the world
in which we live: Sculpture is an evolutionary process;
everyone is an artist.

That is why the nature of my sculpture is not fixed and finished.
Processes continue in most of them: chemical reactions,
fermentations, color changes, decay, drying up. Everything is in
a state of change.
-Joseph Beuys, Life Course/Work Course 1979 It has been repeatedly intimated that there is a difference between the art product (statue, painting or whatever), and the work of art. The first is physical and potential; the latter is active and experienced.
-J. Dewey Art as Experience 1934 Art as Experience Therefore, in Visual Arts Education, we understand the nature of aesthetics to be intertwined with the notions of experience described in those philosophical terms and how dealing with them has the potential to:

1. Understand how we perceive the world (both objective - real & perception interpreted) visually,

2. Critique the structures, (social, political, economic) distortions in this ‘seeing,’

3. Work to change the 'aesthetic conditions' of the world in order to '(re)make it.' To give people agency to produce a more just and equitable place. The moment your perception becomes knowledge imparting is not the same moment at which you were simply aware [of the object]. That original moment has always already gone by by the time you feel you know the object is before you. It is as if your attention has to shift from simply being aware to being aware that you are aware. These two experiences can never be simultaneous. Différance is neither a word nor a concept.

In it, however, we shall see the juncture – rather than the summation – of what has been most decisively inscribed in the thought of what is conveniently called our ‘epoch’: the difference of forces in Nietzsche, Saussure’s principle of semiological difference, differing as the possibility of [neurone] facilitation (clearing a path), impression and delayed effect in Freud, difference as the irreducibility of the trace of the other in Levinas, and the ontic-ontological difference in Heidegger. The true work of art is not the object that sits in a museum nor the performance captured on film or disc. Rather, it is the experience occasioned by the production or the experience of appreciating objects and performances. For the artist, those two forms of experiencing are one. Another way of thinking about these interchanges with art objects that result in enduring changes in both the experience and the experienced is to label them educative. They are so, Dewey would say, because of their liberating effect on future experiences. Dewey's definition (of the work of art as experience) is logically inadequate (since he tries to define aesthetic experience and regard it as indefinable). 0. Subject/object; Mind/body; Art object/Viewer are all 'rethought' (non-binary thinking)
1. As long as we remain immersed in a situation, we cannot fully describe it.

2. Any experience in 'itself' becomes 'undefinable' without a 'body' - an embodied mind.
3. We are both altered and are altering our environment (immer schon/ always already) Educational Philosophy Cultivating the Philosophical Imagination Conceptual Art Derridian texts Kunstkammer Critical Pedagogy Addressing the Gilles Deleuze Michel Foucault Examining Critical Pedagogy with Teachers, Students, & Administrators (2011) Word of Mouth: Wittgenstein's Language Game The Habermas Machine Foucault: Course of Discourse Being Blue...being blew away... Heidegger's hammer Confucius: Tune in - The Transmitter Derrida has office hours Graphie + on the way to… mark… Embodied Consciousness and Human Nature The Philosophical as Artistic imagination Society of Control Joseph
Beuys The term philosophical imagination describes an enlarged concept of what is typically labeled moral imagination. This term is used by many thinkers, such as Martha Nussbaum [See Nussbaum, 'Love’s Knowledge']

Simply put, philosophical imagination focuses on thinking about philosophical ideas within other forms of text, such as novels, film, music, art, etc., in order to develop knowledge of concepts while imagining their use. This simultaneous developmental trajectory of the concepts experienced in theory and practice serves to enlarge the field of possibility for student learning. Das Wort “Sprachspeil” soll heir hervorheben , daß das Sprechen der Sprache ein Teil ist einer Tätigkeit, oder, einer Lebensform. [Here the term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a life-form.] The central concept to be learned in this conceptual arts-based participatory simulation is the idea that words and definitions depend upon the interaction of people to give them meaning. Words in-themselves cannot mean anything without their use. Thus, like the chess analogy in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, the piece named ‘king’ only means ‘king’ within the enacted rules of the game Participatory Simulations In 1960 Jerome Bruner claimed “any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” A half century later, the success of educational implementations known as participatory simulations—a family of designed experiences also including augmented reality, virtual worlds, and computational tools—is demonstrating that Bruner’s controversial proclamation may have been right on the mark. Philosophers, themselves, often present their own work in a vividly experiential manner—consider Plato’s allegories, Lewis Carroll’s logic puzzles, Kierkegaard’s parables, and Sartre’s plays. To read their work is to enact a performance—to partake in an event—that engages one’s sensibilities for inquiry, curiosity, and play. To simply read about their work, however, is to miss these performances and the opportunities they provide for deepening and enriching one’s philosophical imagination. As Martha Nussbaum argues, to divorce the philosophical content from its original form is to preclude the visceral experience otherwise provided by literary forms such as Plato’s dialogues, Epictetus’ Aphorisms, Nietzsche’s novella, Emerson’s journals, and Voltaire’s wit Foucault’s card game is designed to experientially parallel and support parrhesiastic free-speech during group discussions on philosophical issues (although arts discussions or science topics will work as well). Before the class discussion, students are dealt three random cards that they are allowed to play at any time of their choosing. Each card functions to open up a particular idea, insight, or position in the discussion to further consideration and evaluation. Thus, the cards punctuate the discussion with moments of risk and indeterminacy (as opposed to merely generating codified and predictable responses) by opening up discussants’ arguments for explicit deliberation. Engaging in parrhesiastic speech This participatory experience reveals the paradox in which the limits of language and the simultaneous requisite for using language in mediating experience and expressing ideas is evoked and joins the philosophical imagination of the students. Participatory simulations serve as opportunities for participants to cultivate their philosophical imaginations. Use of participatory simulations offers another supporting and non-exclusive way of presenting the ideas found in primary texts to ‘readers’ and ‘participants’ who may find third-person encounters of texts to be a mode of presentation of ideas that is not conducive to learning for reasons explored by educational psychologists (i.e. Bruner). The links between conceptual art, philosophical concepts, and game design present art education a vast opportunity for creative initiatives in student learning. This lecture presents three exemplary examples that relate philosophical concepts through conceptual art to students. Due to the active nature of these works of art, students do not just learn philosophical concepts, they literally perform these concepts; thus, engaging each at an experiential level. Each piece rewards replay as students are challenged to design their own solutions to philosophically-rich and enduring problems (such as the difficulty of language to express experiences). Discussing the role of conceptual art in transforming otherwise abstract philosophical concepts into accessible experiences will serve as the focus of teaching these three games as a best practice within Arts Based Research (ABR). Further, this practice envisions art as a participatory simulation; an experience constituted by puzzlement, other participants, and self-reflection as one investigates philosophical mysteries. Art, viewed as an experience, activates creative possibilities with regards to student learning. I have developed experiences that are designed to parallel difficult art and philosophical concepts. These activities are conceptually art based and involve participatory action to evoke an experience that mirrors complex ideas (such as: the sublime, intersubjectivity, language games, and différance). Each experience requires participants to transform and generate novel forms of discourse. By doing so participants learn and practice these complex philosophical concepts while fashioning their own creative responses to them. These experiences explore ongoing research into conceptual art as Arts Based Research (ABR) by depicting theoretical foundations along with analytic practices for (a) using conceptual art as transformative and creative discourse and (b) assessing the significance participants attribute to this discourse in their own self-development and conceptual understanding. This book attempts to create a true space for dialogue by empowering those in various positions of the schooling system to speak in their own voices. Through each teacher’s, student’s, administrator’s, and community member’s own words we begin to construct a conversation that allows each educational stakeholder to communicate respectfully his/her/their goals and ideals for education. This communicative engagement will hopefully allow multiple voices to construct an educational dialogue collaboratively founded on speaking “with” rather than speaking “to” one another. It is this dialogical process that we feel provokes a critical pedagogy. The editors understand critical pedagogy, generally speaking, as teaching that is reflective toward the maximization of social justice, as best practiced and identified by the practitioners themselves. It is the intent of the editors to begin a new conversation toward an emergent definition of critical pedagogy rather than explore one placed on schools from the ivory tower. Producing a critical pedagogy from the ground up, through dialogue and conversations is the guiding principle and backbone of this book. 2. the 'spectre' of conceptual art ('de-objectification/materialization' of art) “Such a play, then – différance – is no longer simply a concept, but the possibility of conceptuality, of the conceptual system and process in general.” The result of différance & the trace points us to how Derrida addresses many things. For example in his thoughts about justice and law he remarks: “Justice remains, is yet, to come à venir, it has an, it is à venir, the very dimension of events irreducibly to come (à venir).”
-J. Derrida – ‘Force of Law1992 [The ghost] -reality is constituted by traces, not words, difference, not meaning, and writing, not spontaneous spoken words.
The play of différance between the written and spoken is loaded on the side of those things which produce immediate and present effects in Western philosophy: the voice of the living man, rather than his dead inscription; the full presence of his mind and ideas, rather than a book to be interpreted; firm, ideal meanings, rather than memory and the future. The writer writes in a language and in a logic whose proper system, laws and life his discourse by definition cannot dominate absolutely. He uses them only by letting himself, after a fashion and up to a point, be governed by the system. And the reading must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he uses…a signifying structure that critical reading should produce.
- Jacques Derrida (1997, p. 158) 1. Links to Jacques Derrida and the 'un-decidability' of experience (Derrida's trace, and the work of art 'to come')
2. Links to ideas of 'embodied experience' (science and experience)
3. Links to educative imperatives tied to the use of concpetual art practice for art and its education (kunstkammer) Who are Artists without Objects? Sol Lewitt - Wall Drawing [directions] #232 Person Drawing Sol LeWitt's Directions Barnes Collection - Aesthetic arrangment Picasso Studio 1956 For Dewey the work of art is Picasso drawing, the action, the experience of the situation. In addition the 'work of art' for the future viewer is not found in the object(s), but in the 'interaction' with them - with their interactive 'embodied experience.' Future Implications: (Artists without Objects) 1. The Cartesain Worldview of the Mind (from the Enlightenment)
2. 21st Century Philosophical & Scientific Understanding of the Mind A Paradigm Shift Initial Conclusions: From Embodied experience to conceptual art 1. Rather that 'retreating to the mind' (pure-subjectivity a la Jürgen Habermas) Conceptual art leverages embodied experiences

2. 'Conceptuality' is an experience, therefore the work of art is in/an experience [the idea or concept is in 'transaction' with the 'object'-subject] which does not privilege the artist or object (of art)

3. Art experiences provoke 'artistic & philosophical imagination' making them function in a critical, social, and communicative role - revealing the complexity of everyday life... Research Claims for Conceptual Art after Beuys: Joseph Beuys is an artist without objects; the work of art is, like Dewey, relational (role of experience is key – experiences generates the art work), and educative (the possibility of change in one's Being and being is presented – transformation of being & Being). Examining the Beuysian Spark for my The work of art as critical social theory Describing Trace: Dewey's Future and Derrida's Trace: The play of Différance as embodied experience 1. Because experience is structured this way it is undecidable - always in a movement towards the future - always in 'play' 2. Because experience requires/ is the body, the physicality of the organism causes a 'process' delay, a trace of experience, is our experience. Representation within Dewey's and Derrida's matrix 1. The difference between an experience and its representation is key
2. The/an object of art alone cannot be the 'work of art' "This dream of the autonomous work of art - an abstract idea that responds only to its own internal criteria rather than to an external referent in what is commonly called 'nature' - has often been understood as the signature of modernism." - Jonathan Fineberg "Art Since 1940" 3. Not only are we representations to ourselves (in experience), but even in Dewey's terms the 'products of art' as representations of the 'work of art' -[which is a representation of experience... (trace)[ - is in the economy of 'phenomenological existence' Derrida's work describes... This is precisely the case... This results in thinking human nature and the human subject are: rational, self-interested & competatively-structured creatures. 1. Humans are empathetic, emotional-reasoning, cooperative beings. 'Rethinks' the work of art through
John Dewey, Joseph Beuys and Jacques Derrida. A Tuning... Marcel Duchamp: Artists without Objects:
A Foundational Inquiry into Conceptual Art with
John Dewey, Joseph Beuys, and Jacques Derrida à la Søren Kierkegaard philosophically grounding the 'conceptual mode' of art experience and production. -From the notes of M. Duchamp 1913 (from Francis Naumann - Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 1999, p. 74.) Can one make works which are not works of ‘art’? Ultimately, it [the Readymade] should not be looked at… It’s not the visual aspect of the Readymade that matters, it’s simply the fact that it exists.… Visuality is no longer a question: the Readymade is no longer visible, so to speak. It is completely 'gray matter.' It is no longer retinal. -Marcel Duchamp in “Marcel Duchamp Speaks," BBC - Third Program, October 1959 P.W. Jackson, remarks on John Dewey’s definition for the 'work of art,'
in John Dewey and the Lessons of Art , p.5 Sol LeWitt advanced the notion that separates the creation of a work from its execution Joseph Kosuth, 'One and Three Chairs' (1965) Two Caveat's: Stuckist demo outside White Cube Gallery, Hoxton Square, London,with coffin marking the death of conceptual art, 25 July 2002. 1. The Death of conceptual art 2. The Spectre of Conceptual art Sol Lewitt Joseph Kosuth Sol Lewitt Joseph Kosuth Kosuth discarded the conventional art object in favour of a documented critical inquiry into the artist's social, philosophical, and psychological status ...a transformation of art from being formally constituted as an object, to be working conceptually with materiality. By this I mean that instead of understanding dematerialization as a negation or dismissal of materiality as such, it can be comprehended as an extensive and fundamental rethinking of the multiplicity of materiality beyond its connection to the entity of the object. Conceptualizing Materiality – art from the dematerialization of the object to the condition of immateriality http://umintermediai501.blogspot.com/2008/01/conceptualizing-materiality-art-from.html Conceptual art is: -Jacob Lillemose [After Dewey...] ...by trying to 'de-objectify' art (dematerialization), ironically the conceptual art movement may have made the question of 'materiality' in Art, -the question- for 'Art'... Artists without Objects Kristopher Holland Philosophy of Education Indiana University Ph.D. Canidate Art Education Kristopher Holland Dewey's Notion of experience Collapse of 'subject-object' paradigm in philosophy and psychology From Rationalism & Empiricism to Pragmatism Dewey rejects the rationalist position because it fails to take into account the role of the senses and the natural functioning, or the biology, of a human and the natural world Dewey rejects the classic empirical position because it characterizes the subject as an ‘empty vessel’ that ‘inactively’ receives information about the world Dewey's Pragmatism William James (1842-1910), Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), and Henri Bergson (1859-1941) were all interested in re-conceiving of philosophy beyond the mind-body split Erasing the subject-object distinction See* 'The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology' 1896 Dewey applied the then current biological advances in evolutionary theory The center of knowledge is no longer the mind or the objective world, it is the interaction, or as Dewey terms it, the 'transaction' between mind and matter. From Pragmatic experience to aesthetic experience... Dewey's Pragmatic Lessons for
the Experience of art Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi The King is dead. Long live the King Conceptual Art is Dead, Long Live Conceptual Art A Critique of Dewey's Definition of Art -Richard Shusterman, Pragmatist Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art 2000 -We are 'embodied' in all situations; we cannot leave our bodies to describe the universe. The Embodied Mind... -Philip W. Jackson, remarks on Dewey’s definition for the work of art, in John Dewey and the Lessons of Art, 1998, p.6 It is not experience which is experienced, but nature – stones, plants, animal, diseases, health, temperature, electricity, and so on. Things interacting in certain ways are experience; they are what is experienced. -John Dewey, Experience and Nature, 1925, p.4 ...[For Dewey] there is no being outside event and event always includes human activity. Inquiry is part of reality and changes reality. -Phil Francis Carspecken and Xuehui Xie, Philosophy, Learning and the Mathematics Curriculum: Dialectical Materialism and Pragmatism Related to Chinese and U.S. Mathematics Curriculums, 2008, 5. You no longer just 'see' a work of art, as emdobied experience informs us we have a full range of somatic responces. -These points are echoed and summarized in a similar fashion in Lakoff & Johnson's Philosophy in the Flesh 1999. 'Homo economicus' or 'Economic Man' -George Lakoff, The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics, 2009, p. 5 -These points are echoed and summarized in a similar fashion in Lakoff & Johnson's Philosophy in the Flesh 1999. [See the work of Antonio Damasio] [*See Jeremy Rifkin for a 'popular' treatment of this idea] [*See George Lakoff] [*See Jacques Derrida for philosophical version of this] [*See Andy Clark, Lawrence Shpiro, Anthony Chemero, Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, Elanor Rosch, John Dewey] With Joseph Beuys, the execution of the work of conceptual art becomes not merely a part of the 'machine,' but questions the very status of concept before experience (object). As Participatory Simulation What we take to be true about the world is not then born of the pictures in our minds, but of relationships. Understandings of the world are achieved through coordination’s among persons – negotiations, agreements, comparing views, and so on. From this standpoint, relationships stand prior to all that is intelligible. Nothing exists for us as an intelligible world of objects and persons until there are relationships. This suggests that any words, phrases or sentences that are perfectly sensible to us now could, under certain conditions of relationships, be reduced to nonsense. From Beuys work of art
to Derridian Text -Kenneth Gergen An Invitation to Social Construction 2009 K Holland, Right to Obsession, 2001 It has been repeatedly intimated that there is a difference between the art product (statue, painting or whatever), and the work of art. The first is physical and potential; the latter is active and experienced.
-J. Dewey Art as Experience 1934 Derrida: Artists without Objects Derrida’s theory of writing was, after all, here in America turned into a theory of reading. It is returning to Derrida’s grammatology, his theory of writing, that is the work of art as experience (a la Dewey) is generated.

For Derrida, the reader (of the work) is ‘producing’ the structure of the representation (signifying structures) at the same time they are 'absorbing' it (like pragmatice experience)

But the authorship of the work of art is deconstructed, in play, undeterminable, - ‘the reader writes’ the language in the performative act of experience –i.e. ‘reading’ is actually writing (experience) – the work of art is not an object, it is the experience of it as 'writing' in Derrida's terms. It is in this sense that artists work without objects, just as we are all caught up in, ‘entangled in’ everyday life as embodied experience. Final Thoughts... We are all in a sense artists without objects if we think of our minds as sculpting (Beuys) or writing (Derrida) the traces of the real world's infinite movement, and representing this to ourselves and others... with insights from Dewey, Beuys, and Derrida... 1. How is the concept of experience related to the concept of art? 1a. Can this research point to new theorizing within the 'spectre of conceptual art' milieu? Dewey sees experience in both an ontological and epistemological sense Being (existence) and being ('beings' -things) [ontic-ontological] & knowing Pragmatism is: a situation when knowledge and action are entangled - an action orientation toward future in which the senses and reason are combined to action or ‘transaction’ – knowledge is in action –is active – not found in either subjects or objects in the universe – but the relational moment between the two… Embodied experiences are 'educative' in a general sense *See documentary 'THE ART OF THE STEAL' (connects to Derrida...) Articulating ‘Embodied Mind’ Through a re-conceptualization of drawing instruction Transformative & Generative Discourse Beuys gives us complexity - reconfigures conceptual art to fit a notion of experience - what it is, and how we articulate it... J Beuys, Unterrichtstafel aus dem Büro für Direkte Demokratie
(Blackboard from the Office for Direct Democracy), 1971 [with D. Phelps] Highlight the Tension Between
Experience - Concept Philosophers, themselves, often present their own work in a vividly experiential manner—consider Plato’s allegories, Lewis Carroll’s logic puzzles, Kierkegaard’s parables, and Sartre’s plays. To read their work is to enact a performance—to partake in an event—that engages one’s sensibilities for inquiry, curiosity, and play. Artistic-philosophical imaginative with Joseph Beuys If as has been said the work of art is relational (role of experience is key), and educative (the possibility of change in one's Being and being is presented), then Derrida’s work on experience and text is an interesting turn in the discussion. Full Disclosure... "Scrupulous" 2. Artists without objects evokes the 'play' of experience.
(I do not mean artist don't use objects, but artists work 'beyond objects'...) 2a. The work of art is 'indefinable' as either an object alone, or subjective interpretation... which corresponds to Dewey, Beuys, and Derrida's insights Artists without Objects 'Rethinks' the work of art through
John Dewey, Joseph Beuys and Jacques Derrida. after Dewey, Beuys, and Derrida... 1. How is the concept of experience related to the concept of art? Conceptual art is: ...a transformation of art from being formally constituted as an object, to be working conceptually with materiality. By this I mean that instead of understanding dematerialization as a negation or dismissal of materiality as such, it can be comprehended as an extensive and fundamental rethinking of the multiplicity of materiality beyond its connection to the entity of the object. -Jacob Lillemose Conceptualizing Materiality – art from the dematerialization of the object to the condition of immateriality The concept of justice, the subject, etc., everything within a framework or notions of trace and différance are à venir - to come. We understand with Derrida that the subject is ‘to come’. The self, or subject as a notion cannot be crystallized and made into a foundation for any system. For it is always, radically, ‘to come’.

As such the work of art, within embodied experience, social milieu's, and structured in the economy of the trace & différance is à venir - to come. -Jacques Derrida in Speech and Phenomena 1968 – Jason Powell, Derrida's Biographer 2008 -Phil F. Carspecken, Critical Ethnography, 1999 Object Exercise... J. Derrida - Différance in Speech and Phenomena 1968, pg 140 (*See Maryanne Wolf - Proust & the Squid) Aesthetic Orientations & Research in Art What is the Nature of Experience? Brain Research / Mind Guessing Stereochemistry What is the Nature of Experience? Drawing is Blindness Joseph Beuys Thinking is Form... The act of drawing is thinking, we draw the world out of its wholeness... The brain –is always 'making sense' - not interested in camera like reality
Coherence and contrast are stressed, often at the experience of accuracy –

Top-down processing –how our brain interferes our actual sensations
Two paths – fast (prefrontal cortex) – slow (visual cortex) -
the slow information arrives 50 milliseconds after the fast information –

Experience is always a trace of itself (Derrida)

We see everything twice – the ‘top’ of the brain decides what the ‘bottom’ sees –
the information is ‘rendered’ (My word)

Form is imposed onto the formless rubble of the V1 (Beuys) Embodied Experience Parallel Descriptions John Dewey Antonio Damasio Wholeness of experience Embodied Mediation Homeostasis Transactional Adjustment Mind William James 'Maps' of body / self Modes of Experience Cognition (thinking) - Aesthetic -etc. 'The Self Comes to Mind' Feedback loops 'efficiency' Subjectivity is an event (The Value to Art Ed.) *Drawing is not an act done in isolation from the embodied situation - it is not just done with sight... Visual Arts Education is concerned with advancing research regarding

1. How Art is 'Thought' (theorized or 'visualized'),
2. How Art is Practiced (pedagogy) and
3. Consumed (perception & visual culture). Foundational to this endeavor is the term: αἰσθητικός / Aesthetics Aesthetics: Typically this term associated with ‘what is beautiful, or good looking.’
In Philosophy it is understood differently (much to the surprise of other subjects like science and the 'public at large').
Today aesthetics is a vital practice that is concerned with:
1. Inquiry into perception and sensory experience &
2. How this 'human condition' shapes reality. (21st Century understanding of the Mind). Aesthetics examines the question of perception and reality.

The Orange:

Can we measure it?
Can we weight it?

But can we all agree on how it tastes? or
what type of color orange it is?
What is its Orange-ness? This question on the overall 'nature of experience' presents us with fundamental lines of thinking in which aesthetics (as I will frame it) begins to answer via three fundamental 'roads' of philosophical inquiry and artistic practice:

1. Ontology (Why are you here? -The question of Being),
2. Epistemology (How do we know what we know? What is the truth of reality? i.e. The Matrix), &
3. Metaphysics (Why does the invisible realm make the universe appear to us in certain ways? What is the ‘before’ the 'meta' of of reality?) Sculpture...err...Chemistry deals with the manipulation of three-dimensional objects. Therefore, every chemical transformation is affected by the spatial arrangement of atoms within molecules, which in turn means chemistry is actually 'stereochemistry.' Stereochemistry:

- a 'relational aesthetic' or arrangement of the universe via 'positioning of parts...' in three dimensions.

Humans have developed the ability to use this as a 'medium' of creative force... we 'sculpt' molecules and have created many 'synthetic' arrangements of chemicals (good & bad). Stereochemistry is inquiry into the special arrangement of atoms within molecules.
Simply put: the number and type of atoms in a molecule can be similar – but based on their physical arrangement –or relational interaction –the molecules can be a completely different substances. Enter August Kekulé (1829-1896) & his 'imagining' of the Benzene {C6H6} Ring Here the Atoms of Carbon must be arranged and bonded in a specific way in order for the molecule of benzene to form. If there is another arrangement with the same atom group (six Carbon and six Hydrogen) then a different molecule is formed. The spatial arrangement determines the chemical structure. The creative process & stereochemistry – a conceptual art medium?
The thought here is that the nature of experience is connected to its relationship between things, not simply the things themselves. On a fundamental level, one might argue chemistry and chemists can be considered creative, or that the creative process in manipulating three dimensional objects in chemistry connects to how artists manipulate three dimensional objects to change and challenge our own perceptions of the world. Human designed protein - Vanderbelt University Benoit Mendelbrot Conceptual Artist… f (z) = z2 + c

“I don’t play with formulas, I play with pictures.”
-Benoit Mendelbrot “Art is about those things which we do not always immediately recognize or understand. Artists help us to see things more clearly, revealing previously hidden patterns to us. Art is fractal. Art reflects and expresses the fractal nature of our conscious perceptions of the world, as interpreted by our fractal brains.” (remember Cezanne, and Dewey here...) And Fractal Geometry Leads to Art... The Geometry of the Universe, since Plato, Euclid, Descartes and Newton had been idealism (ideal shapes – curves). Mendelbrot used mathematics to ‘see’ the geometry of the universe differently – he ‘re-wrote' the texture of reality. Neuroscience and Vision From Photon to Information Our World Depends on 50 Milliseconds? Neuroscience model: 'Processing reality' (visual cortex)
v1 = (first stage of our visual cortex - 'gathering info.') –
What is there: angles of lines – contrasts and edges- (over brightness and curves) our vision is made of lines - [later we will say Fractals]

This is the 'abstract reality' Cezanne was after and is similar to what (in spirit) is what the mind 'has to reveal' if we could only 'see' via the 'v1 processing model.' The Mind Must Intervene: Points of 'Reality' 1. The (embodied) brain –is always 'making' sense - not interested in camera like reality - but making it for you

2. Coherence and contrast are stressed, often at the experience of accuracy – (Cezanne & Neuroscience)

3. Top-down processing (not bottom up)– how our brain interferes our actual sensations - (perceptions come from brain to reality)

4. Two paths – fast (pre-frontal cortex) – slow (visual cortex) - the slow information arrives 50 milliseconds after the fast information – reality 'arrives' after the 'perception' - you make the world...

5. Experience is always a trace of itself (Derrida) - the nature of experience is 'delayed' -

6. We see everything twice – the ‘top’ of the brain decides what the ‘bottom’ sees – the information is ‘rendered’ (My wording) - we are drafts-people of reality...

7. Form is imposed onto the formless rubble of the 'image in your head' - (Fractal Geometry) - Cezanne wants you to fill in the 'gap' - to finish the painting...
- This disrupts the 'natural' progression of sight - and gets us to rethink how we perceive or invent reality...
- Cezanne wants us to be an 'active' viewer...
- & understand that we 'draft' or 'draw' reality... 1. The mind is not a mirror (Rorty's Critique)

2. The process of seeing alters the world we observe (from Kant & Heisenberg)

3. Reality as we actually experience it is different from reality itself (Derrida)

4. Neuroscience confirms these insights from aesthetics (philosophy and art) – namely that: visual experiences transcend visual sensations (*) – Lessons from Cezanne and Neuroscience for Aesthetics: Aesthetics, as the 'philosophy of art,' in some respect studies how 'the creative process' happens: how we 'arrange,' 'relate,' 'draft' (or draw), and 'smooth' the universe around us... how our embodied sensory perceptions are both 'shaped' and 'reshaping' the world around us every second - all the time... (John Dewey & pragmatism...) Plato thought that the universe was reducible to small parts or the ‘Platonic solids.’ In a way he was correct... but Kekule: The Creative Process - Visualization of Benzene... synthetic molecules designed by humans Stereochemistry & Rethinking aesthetics... Today's Talking Points Are about aesthetic orientations that address some of these issues. 'Stereochemistry' simply sees the importance that the arrangement of atoms has in determining reality. We can arrange invisible things to alter the visible world, and beyond.

This is a strong element of research is visual arts education:
What invisible forces are creating the world around us... It was Democritus (a contemporary of Plato) whom thought of the 'atom' as the smallest unit of the material world. He also saw the arrangement of these 'atoms' as what 'makes' the world appear as it is... Cezanne: Searching for the 'World' before it is ‘seen’... In fractal geometry things that appear to have smooth lines are 'known' through mathematics to be 'rough' As we think about nature, were are the smooth edges?
If we 'zoom' in we find continuous roughness.
Like a shoreline. How would we measure it exactly?
How far down do we go? To subatomic levels?
The math leads to Fractals.... 1. Plato, Democritus, Kekule & Stereochemistry (the arrangement of atoms determines reality)
2. John Dewey and Aesthetic Experience (the relation of us in/as the world determines reality)
3. Paul Cezanne and the 'ordering of sight' (the mind ‘drafts’ reality from too much information)
4. Benoit Mendelbrot and Fractal Geometry (the mind makes smooth the edges out of rough reality)
Full transcript