Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!

Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!
From: bill thompson (
Date: Wed Aug 03 2005 - 05:40:39 EDT

> Sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box. But think
> carefully about what actually causes you to feel
> things.

not at all, i'm enjoying the conversation.

maybe i have a very different idea of what is art
because i'm not concerned with the 'other'...which to
be honest, i'm not. i'm much more concerned with that
feeling of the aesthetic which i can very much
experience 'attending' the world (non-intended as art)
as i can listening to something created by an
individual as 'art' in a gallery or concert hall.

for me, i tend to think art fails when the artist is
too obviously there, his fingerprints all over the
work as it were. i usually think or experience
something as artful when it seems as though the
artists hasn't contrived this 'thing' but that it, and
every part of it, is inevitable, like what i find out
in the world. unselfconscious, inevitable, unconcerned
with 'me'. for me, an art object is most successful
when it seems natural, uncontrived, unselfconscious,
subtle...and that's exactly what i strive for in my
own works. if a piece sounds like i've put a lot of
work into it, then i'm not finished with it yet.

if we want to 'define' art as a thing made by man to
inspire an aesthetic experience, then fine. most
people do, but i think we loose something by not
remembering that that aesthetic experience existed
before art, and exists outside of it, and for me, is
carried by the individual to be experienced both when
he's looking at something made by an artist
(potentially) as well as in the world when he
recognizes beauty around him. but it's in the
recognition, not the thing.

indeed, for me that is one of the useful byproducts of
art, to teach us to look, to settle down, to pay
attention, to recognize beauty by focusing our mind,
and to carry that awareness out of the gallery, the
concert hall, into the world, and recognize that
beauty is around us, every day, if only we pay

b. to an object making you feel something, you're
right of course, a bullet would make me feel bad.
what i meant to say was that an 'art' object can't
make me have an aesthetic experience, and that's a
fact. if i'm not feeling into a show, it doesn't
matter how good it is, i'm not into it. if i'm hungry
and tired and facing 2 hours at the tate, i'm likely
not to experience much of it as art, but rather as a
long walk between me and my next chance to sit down
and eat. that is unless i'm able to put my hunger
aside and actually observe the objects in there and
consider them as art and be open to them as art. but
what if i'm not into modern art? what if i'm into
classical greek vases? i have a friend like this who
can stare at a greek vase and tell me all about the
various wondrous qualities it has, this line there,
this figure, this shape and how beautiful it is...but
she goes cold looking at pollock or rothko or
raushenberg. both are art right? but the power of the
aesthetic experience doesn't just lie 'in' them, in
the object, but in her and her willingness to meet it,
to recognize it, to be open to it...and even then, she
still might not experience it with the pollock (she
doesn't). i do though...and not so much with the
vases, where there clearly is an other (much less then
in the pollock i would say).

--- Michael Gogins <> wrote:

> No object is ever experienced by anything other than
> a subject. No subject ever experiences anything but
> an object -- even the ego is object to the subject.
> Only the subject ever acts, actually does anything,
> feels anything, or knows anything; but it's all
> subjective. Only objects can be studied, well,
> objectively. To distinguish between object and
> subject as your messages seem to attempt is, in my
> opinion, not going to work.
> An esthetic response... call it beauty... is not
> art. Art consists of objects or physical phenomena
> such as performances that artists intentionally
> create. Do not confuse them with natural phenomena
> or subjective experiences. I think that if you
> carefully study the quality of your experience of
> natural objects with the quality of your experience
> of art objects, you will find many instructive
> differences, important differences. Not least, for
> most modern persons, natural experience contains no
> 'other', no god or demon, while the artist is always
> lurking behind the experience of an art object.
> An object can indeed 'make' you feel something, this
> is my entire point. A bullet can 'make' you feel
> dead, a annoying boor can 'make' you feel angry,
> and an art object can 'make' you feel something, no
> doubt about it, our whole civilization is shaped by
> the power of art to 'make' us feel and do things.
> There would be no ad industry were this power not
> real. Even if you are Buddha, an annoying boor will
> still 'make' you feel angry. Though if you were
> Buddha you would understand the process instead of
> simply experiencing it.
> You have far less subjective power over your
> subjective feelings than you think you do, that is
> what I am trying to tell you. This condition, which
> is normal and common and not at all peculiar to you
> and also includes me, is technically termed
> 'alienation' or 'reification'.
> Some artists dislike this condition and combat it,
> other artists simply contribute to it. Most artists
> that history calls great have managed to do
> something about it. To a considerable degree, 'human
> nature' itself, the structure of our subjectivity,
> is the deliberate creation of artists.
> Sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box. But think
> carefully about what actually causes you to feel
> things.
> Regards,
> Mike
> -----Original Message-----
> From: bill thompson <>
> Sent: Aug 2, 2005 4:57 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!
> hi mike,
> i hear what you're saying...but i confess an agenda,
> or at least a certain perspective that i can't fit
> within a world where art (or the experience of art)
> is
> only due to an 'object' made by man.
> if the object of art is to inspire the aesthetic
> reaction, and i can experience that reaction by
> observing such varied things as Beethoven, Rothko, a
> building in the wind, the sea at dusk, cars blowing
> their horns in a truck blockade, the sound of an
> animal breathing in sleep etc. how much of that is
> the 'object' and how much of that is me? especially
> considering that some people don't 'get' Beethoven,
> Rothko, or the building as being beautiful. it
> seems
> the same object doesn't work the same for all
> people,
> or at all for some the art really in the
> object then? or just in some objects, for some
> people,
> for some of the time? this experience of art seems
> to
> shift quite a bit amongst objects, but not always
> residing in the same object the same for all people
> etc. so maybe we need an object to direct our
> attention to, but it's not so much the object but
> the
> attending that's the key(?)
> for me, there are so many situations that are
> unintentional, not intended as art, yet that inspire
> the aesthetic in me...could they be art objects too?
> or is it how i'm observing them, the manner in which
> i'm lending them my attention? it's perplexing, but
> if
> i can achieve the same aesthetic feeling by
> observing
> the world around me as i can in a gallery, then i
> tend
> to think (at least for me) that art, or the
> experience
> of it, has more to do with what i'm doing then any
> object's effect on me that isn't part of my own
> self-directed way of
> observing/considering/experiencing. in other words,
> an
> object can't 'make' me feel anything that i don't
> want
> it to, that i'm not sensitive to, that i'm not
> interested in etc. even if the object was
> jam-packed
> with 'art', if there isn't someone there who
> experience it as such (and by saying so, i've just
> posited that experience within the observer) it is
> nothing more then perhaps some burlap with pigment
> splattered on it or banging on wires etc.
> well, who knows! maybe we've found that crevice
> between the two (object/subject) that philosophers
> have been staring across at each other for a long
> long
> time...and i'm sure that it's not an either/or
> answer,
> and more then just both probably. could be we're
> focusing too much on if it's in one or the other.
> i'm
> sure it has more to do with the relation BETWEEN the
> two and how that's achieved/navigated/contemplated
> etc...
> thank you for the posts though, it was good for me
> to
> search why i felt the way that i do and try to put
> it
> into's one thing to think you know
> something is true for you but quite another to try
> to
> articulate it...not sure that i achieved that though
> :)
> cheers,
> b.
> --- Michael Gogins <> wrote:
> > Well, I guess my response is, to the extent you
> can
> > conjure up the esthetic experience of listening to
> > Beethoven without any Beethoven objects or sounds
> > around, or even conjure up esthetic experiences of
> > equivalent power without such stimuli, then the
> > experience is in you not the object. To the extent
> > you can't do that (and somehow I very much doubt
> > that you can!) then it's in the object, isn't it?
> >
> > Of course both you and the object are required for
> > there to be any experience at all, but lots of
> > different people can have the Beethoven experience
> > once you give them them the Beethoven disc or the
> > Beethoven ticket, but not so many people can make
> > the Beethoven disc or justify the Beethoven
> ticket,
> > so I guess that's where the weight falls, where
> the
> > esthetic power lies.
> >
> > I would say that you and I are equal partners with
> > art objects in making esthetic experience possible
> > and therefore in making it real, but we are NOT
> > equal partners in giving esthetic experience shape
> > or power.
> >
> > Regards,
> > Mike
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: bill thompson <>
> > Sent: Aug 1, 2005 6:49 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!
> >
> > hi mike,
> >
> > that was a great post, thank you. i would have
> > responded immediately but it reminded me so much
> of
> > a
> > certain chapter i've just read that i wanted to
> > compare notes as it were.
> >
> > it has a few sentences that practically mirrored
> > yours, particularly the part about an art object
=== message truncated ===

"The more you think about things the weirder they seem." -Calvin

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