Art: Experience Clarified, Intensified, and Interpreted

11 June 2017

Recently I came across an idea of art that I enjoyed. I haven’t ever held a particular definition of art, although for me, especially looking at certain works of art, it can be quite ambiguous, almost meaningless, or often times just confusing. In the book Sight Sound Motion, which is a media aesthetics textbook I had laying around from college that I started reading, Herbbert Zettle begins the book by framing it within this idea of art being firmly linked with life and our attempt to understand it. He even says that art seems to be necessary to life a life with quality and dignity. What I liked about it was that it gave a different interpretation to art and what art could be.

The philosopher Irwin Edman pioneered a new aesthetic concept more than half a century ago that stresses the close connection between art and life. He wrote: “So far from having to do merely with statues, pictures, symphonies, art is the name for that whole process of intelligence by which life, understanding its own conditions, turns these into the most interesting or exquisite account.” This process presupposes that life is given “line and composition” and that the experience is clarified, intensified, and interpreted. “To effect such an intensification and clarification of experience,” Edman says, “is the province of art.” Herbbert Zettle / Sight, Sound, Motion

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