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Class “Color Experience”, Stanford, Fall 2016
Today is such a time, when the project of interpretation is largely reactionary, stifling. Like the fumes of the automobile and of heavy industry which befoul the urban atmosphere, the effusion of interpretations of art today poisons our sensibilities. In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect at the expense of energy and sensual capability, interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.
Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world – in order to set up a shadow world of ‘meanings.’ It is to turn the world into this world. (‘This world’! As if there were any other.)
The world, our world, is depleted, impoverished enough. Away with all duplicates of it, until we again experience more immediately what we have.
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation
Contrary to the current presumption, if there is any man who has no right to solitude, it is the artist. Art cannot be a monologue.
Albert Camus, Create Dangerously
Just as we should view art not as an accumulation of so-called art objects, but as a way of approaching knowledge, we should also view knowledge not as an accumulation of data, but as a flexible mechanism for reorganizing reality.
Luis Camnitzer, An Artist, a Leader, and a Dean Were on a Boat…
Player: “Maestro, please let me know when to start playing!”
Karajan: “Start, when you can’t stand it no more!”
Itay Talgam, on Herbert von Karajan
… reasoning pushes people not towards the best decisions but towards decisions that are easier to justify.
Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber, Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory, 2011
Allowing people to perceive their perceptions – making them aware of their perceptions. We’ve decided to investigate this and to make people conscious of their consciousness. …
If we define art as part of the realm of experience, we can assume that after a viewer looks at a piece, he “leaves” with the art, because the “art” has been experienced. We are dealing with the limits of the experience – not, for instance, with the limits of painting. We have chosen that experience out of the realm of experience to be defined as “art” because having that label it is given special attention. Perhaps this is all “Art” means – this Frame of Mind. …
The object of art may be to seek the elimination of the necessity of it. …
The experience is the “thing”, experiencing is the “object”. …
All art is experience, yet not all experience is art. The artist chooses from experience that which he defines as art, possibly because it has not yet been experienced enough, or because it needs to be experienced more. …
All art-world distinctions are meaningless.
Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Ed Wortz, A Report on the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1971
If we ignore what other people are thinking, or have thought in the past, then rational discussion must come to an end, though each of us may go on happily talking to himself. Some philosophers have made a virtue of talking to themselves, perhaps because they felt that there was nobody else worth talking to. I fear that the practice of philosophizing on this somewhat exalted plane may be a symptom of the decline of rational discussion. No doubt God talks mainly to Himself because He has no-one worth talking to. But philosophers should know that they are no more godlike then other men.
Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, preface to the English edition
The silly myth that the genius has to “suffer” is the sly excuse of a society which does not care for its productive members unless their work promises immediate technological or economic applications with calculable profit.
Theories deal with the world on its own terms, absolutely. Models are metaphors, relative descriptions of the object of their attention that compare it to something similar already better understood via theories. Models are reductions in dimensionality that always simplify and sweep dirt under the rug. Theories tell you what something is. Models tell you merely what something is partially like.
First, we recognise space as the product of interrelations…
Second, we understand space as the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity… Without space, no multiplicity; without multiplicity, no space…
Third, … we recognize space as always under construction. … perhaps we could imagine space as a simultaneity of stories-so-far.
Doreen Massey, For Space