Thursday, 30 August 2007

how about this one ?

"Art is a kind of energy with subversive potential that can be wittingly infiltrated into other contexts which may then re-define its nature and evoke what he calls 'the inexpressible area', an area that can be approached not directly but only by heading in the opposite direction."
-John Lethbridge.

I've been trying to understand this one for years , sometimes I think I've sort of got it but then it's gone.


  1. Is this something like peripheral vision?

    I was riding my mountain bike the other day with a new tyre on the front and I looked down to admire it; as you do when bike obsessed. I noticed something I had never noticed before in my life. When I looked directly at the tyre the tread pattern was a blur, but when i looked away(a safe idea) for a nanosecond I could see the tread as if standing still. I thought I was imagining things, but every time I tried it exactly the same thing happened, Why? I know this isn't a science blog but art does concern perceptions.

    As for the quote from Elisabeth, the issue seems to be the difference between the conscious
    and the subconscious creative state. I always find when I try to make art in a conscious way it appears to me contrived, but when I try to stream my creativity I end up with a more personally pleasing complexity; kind of natural forms and ideas.

  2. I think the quote has internal logic problems.

    First - What is the original context this, "kind of energy" is found.
    "Other contexts", can't really be defined properly without knowing the original context.

    Second - What is this "kind of energy's" original nature.
    Hard to,"re-define" an unknown.

    Third - "The inexpressible area", is approached not directly. How do you know what your approaching, when your not able to express it?
    And then your approaching in the reverse direction. Again, how can you approach in reverse, especially a non defined, inexpressible area evoked by a mysterious kind of energy?

    Art needs no justification.

  3. take an object, a bit of art and put it in different environments / contexts. The meaning of the art and the environment is changed to some extent and part of that meaning can only be expressed by the object/environment. It can't be put in words (otherwise the expression of the idea through the medium of the art and its context would not be unique to the work and it seems to me, that the very point of using a particular medium of expression is to embody content that cannot be expressed in any other medium - it turns out that way whether you mean it to or not). And it is the missing part that results from the inability to interpret the totality of the meaning expressed in an art object (the inexpressible area) that can only be approched from the opposite direction to that in which lies. The direct route of interpretation forever missing the point. Go Sysiphus!

  4. I agree that there is a mystery in art, but what really works are the tangible parts of expression, that give entry for the viewer to the poetic. The poetic being a sense of acknowledgment of accord with the idea being expressed. This elation can be inexpressible but the points of entry and contact are not. The quote to me is hard to understand because of it's lack of definitions.But maybe that's the point he is making anyway. Those who focus on experience only, normally can't communicate meaning to another person.

  5. Put basically this is when elements are combined the result produces something more than was there before, but if you try to redo this effect it is never the same. For me this has to do with wanting control of the work in a constructed way as opposed to letting elements that don't need help, do their own thing. I really think that much of what we like in art is so complex that control freaks can't produce it(yet), otherwise big business would be pumping them out like big macs.


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