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The Question of Intentionality

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Carson Collins
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The Question of Intentionality

Postby Carson Collins » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:15 am

The whole notion of intent is one that fascinates me almost to the point of obsession; when looking at or making artwork I always wonder, what is the artist's intent for this thing that they are making?; what effect, exactly, is it supposed by the artist to have on others?... what effect does making it have on the artist?... and so on.

I find that this question of intent is strangely absent from most of what is considered "critical" thinking about art. Probably these things could even be meaningfully classified according to the various intentions and effects, but somehow this is never done.

For example: At what point does catharsis cease to be therapy and become art? At what point does it cease to be catharsis and become an assault on the viewer? It's an interesting topic, don't you think so?

Here's a link to a conversation that I had on the subject of intentionality with David Cohen, art critic for the New York Sun: http://www.artcritical.com/DavidCohen/C ... hange.htm; it follows Mr. Cohen's essay, "Ambiguity and Intention": http://www.interdisciplines.org/artcog/papers/11

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Gary Dee
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Postby Gary Dee » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:29 am

Thanks Hamlet,
The essay by Cohen is very interesting, as well as informative. I am wondering... where do you station yourself on intent, and futhermore, on ambiguity? I ask because we have some things in common, like the meditative time spent before a piece, and the familiarity required with the subject.
Hope I'm not getting too personal. :?
Gary Dee
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"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" *John Lennon*
Life is not about surviving the storm...its learning to dance in the rain.
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Carson Collins
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Postby Carson Collins » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:33 am

Hope I'm not getting too personal.

Not at all. The central theme in my painting is the search for stillness, the sort of profound and lucid calm that is the result of meditation or contemplation; another main theme is the relationship between humans, the ocean, and the atmosphere. The intent of my work is to create an ambiance where the spiritual dimension of this relationship can be experienced.

As for ambiguity, I think this is an essential aspect of all really great art. A good painting may tell a story. A great painting doesn't so much tell a story as evoke a story from the viewer. Only if there is some ambiguity can the viewer provide some of the content, thus becoming an active participant rather than a passive observer.

Now, I'm curious; how would you describe your intentions (for example) for your painting, Black Mountain Reservoir Sunset? Did you have the same, or a different intention for Dances With Flowers?

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Postby classicalworkshop » Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:34 am

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Carson Collins
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Postby Carson Collins » Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:16 pm

I applaud your willingness to engage a critic directly.

I'll accept the applause, with the provision that you also give Mr. Cohen due credit for his decision to publish the exchange in his magazine, which, in my opinion, shows a certain amount of integrity and good sportsmanship.

Thanks for taking the time to read the "conversation" and for your thoughtful response. I find that I actually agree with every statement you've made here, so, for the moment, there's not much more to be said.

If you'd like to read the rest of the conversation (the latter portion of which was not published by Cohen) it's on line at my web site http://www.theoceanseries.com/bio2.html#conversation2

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Postby classicalworkshop » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:54 pm

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geezermon

please excuse my simple intrusion of views

Postby geezermon » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:17 am

:shock:
goodness the discussion is interesting to read. sort of like a discussion on the meaning of life, existence etc., but relative to art worlds.

i do fully agree with the reasons for museum displays being as they are. history is slanted, if not totally alterred, to the society in which the records exist. in 1969, i was taking a required class in Paris on French History of the USA. the contents were not anything close to what i had learned in the USA.

in 1971, at The Maryland Institute of Art College, i was taking a course with one Forestal, friend of Margret Meade, on ethnological art. there i found out about the international global trading center in Central America hundreds of years before Columbus. not some small enterprise, but persons from Northern Europe and Asia etc. carrying on commerce.
then i understood why the large heads in the Americas looked African. also why the Aztecs did sacrifices very similar to Celtics...

in each of those environments, art existed for various reasons. i do imagine, if i might be so bold to suggest, even then non-artists controlled the whole displaying and creatiing of art for various reasons, often hidden in mysticism rites known only to them.

regardless of who...and also what[organizations]... give the nod or axe to any art created, the pursuit of a global unit of definition per intent of art creation is an impossible dream. aside from the biological construct within each brain [artists and non-artist], the variations of social arrangements in all areas natural and unnatural life experiences, unexplained experiences, imagined or deluded experiences, social educations, anti-social educations on and on and on> just the possibilities for one person...add another to interact with...etc. into the infinite realms of possible combinations
>>>resulting in an image on a surface or a dimensional creation [including virtual beyond 3D]...
it is easier to find the meaning of life itself.

the whole pursuit enters into the realms of belief over tangible objectivity and/or philosophical disputes and/or agreements.

why does art exist because it does exist. why do artists strive to create art? because they exist to do so...create even if the action or reaction to art results in pain or joy or satiations of desires of the imagination [both tangible and/or etheral ghosts of the mind].

any judge of art...such as an art critic...is only an expert if the society they function in certifies them as such. an expert of 'adult <hentai> art' in one country is lauded for their opinion. place them in another country, beheaded for their sins of cooperation with the 'demonics image makers'. :?

art critics exist as a part of the particular society needing some guidelines within the floods of imagery.
this 'flood' was not evident until i discovered internet postings. it rose up like a Tsunami one night when i first began international surfing...and buried me in the shock :shock: of just how many persons were posting art on the internet.

i realized just how important the use of control and advertising was to the commercial art studios etc.
their INTENT IS MAKING WEALTH through control of the masses of artist with infinite intents.

as you can see this is a circular reasoning ending up at the original question without any single answer.
sure it is maddening. i want to know the answer too, but i also know there is not one. but...as an artist... i want to know...but...why?
i just want to know...and...why i want to know why.

this seems the reason why commercial studios are intent on the making of wealth: it is a definite purpose with rules. but not really art creation.
:D :wink:

geezermon
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classicalworkshop
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Postby classicalworkshop » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:22 am

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geezermon

i love museums too

Postby geezermon » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:39 am

:shock:
artists, who succeed commercially or exhibiting, are being a part of the processes of social interaction.
the amusement, whether intellectual or just plain being awed, is there within museums.

museums have a purpose. so does Star Wars.
mental stimulation is human. being excited or bored or awed or sad is being alive.
how this happens and where is part of living.

museums are part of most countries. their contents and who decides is not as important as the stimulation they provide, whether pure delights or educational history [even if it is bent toward the history of the country they are set up in].

there is an ancient saying:' better a live dog than a dead lion.'. to paraphrase:'better a live human enjoying being alive, than a stone cold body in a grave.'

how one enjoys life is determined by numerous factors within the Matrix of societies. 'are we having fun?' includes visiting museums. personally i go to be among the awed moving crowds...little thinking and a lot of emotion. although i had a hard time being awed by the rusty desert wire horses, but then i am not from the West.

sometimes food for thought is difficult to chew.
however, toughness does not mean it is not good for the 'mental body'.
geezermon
geezermon

driving home this occurred to me

Postby geezermon » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:45 pm

Hamlet, here is something you might find bothersome to consider.
1. if you are the end result of random events leading up to your existence as an artist, you might be lost in wondering why a being from ancient genetic random circumstances would value creating art.
you might reason: my biological constructs are random. every living human is the same:a construct from infinite random events and infinite genetic patterns resulting in a being with infinite possible circumstances of education of all types.

you might reason: therefore, why did 'i' the infinitely random being choose to create art: my intent.

or...why would an 'animal being' choose acts resulting in illusions of realities existing in my random biological random construct: my physical brain? why?

there is no answer based upon facts accepted and taught globally.
:shock: or...

the other side of this spinning 'coin of living humans' is:
i am the carefully designed and created genetic being originating from a distant past construct by an infinite designer, who incorporated a 'biological hardware matrix, which included the desire for beauty and imagery that satisfied that desire.".the intent's origin source.

no guessing, no frustrating unanswerable questionings... just a simple fact:
humans are created beings of intelligent design, who take the internal programming and create art.

the only problem is the education that denies such reasoning. the social viruses distorting the hardware like some computer with a corrupted bios: i now have two Pentium 4s i cannot use due to such a thing.

******************************************
but one might choose the unanswerable frustrations of random existence. so, such is a choice...i am not debating this forever debated duality of societies globally.
*****************************************
a third view might be to dump the whole reasoning on any part of the 'intent thing' and get on with the latest art work.

i do have my personal choices. regardless, i think creating art is simply a really fun and often exciting thing to do and share with others.

whys would be pressing one side of the coin or the other. FM is presenting art etc....enjoying the whole process and sharing views and imagery.

and...some debate on intent, i guess rallys the determination to show those critics whatfor! :roll: :shock: :wink:
geezermon

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