“As the man who acts must, according to Goethe, be without a conscience, he must also be without knowledge; he forgets everything in order to be able to do something; he is unfair toward what lies behind and knows only one right, the right of what is now coming into being as the result of his own action.”
OBSERVATION: This quote was extracted from a piece done by Joseph Kosuth. In the context of the art, Kosuth also quoted a newspaper cartoon describing commercialization in art, free thinking and how it is necessary to sometimes sacrifice integrity and values in order to participate in the system where art is simplified in order to be better suited for mass consumption.
There have been times in art history when artists led the pursuit of social responsibility, and freedom of intellect. The lines of art, and commercial production have become blurred in recent years, where the production of art has been centered on the prevailing attitude of conspicuous consumption. Each artist must recognize the purpose of their individual direction, follow that path, and ultimately reap the reward for that personal responsibility: Nietzsche: “the result of his own action”.
Following are press releases describing the upcoming Beuys/Kastner show to be held at: Ico Gallery, 606 West 26th Street, NY, NY 10001, 5-28 August, 2010, Opening Reception: Friday August 13, 2010.
For further information regarding dates and times for the exhibition, please contact Skylor Brummans at Ico Gallery: 1.212.966.3897, or contact David Kastner directly @ www.davidkastner.com
Idries Shah, Thinkers of the East, Idries Shah, 1971.
p 84 “Awad Afifi had a book in which he had written the accounts of a conversation with sages and philosophers during twenty years of travel and studies.
One day a scholar called to see him and asked if he could make a copy of the book.
‘Yes,’ said Awad, ‘you may certainly do so. I will charge you however, a thousand gold pieces for the service.’
‘That is a tremendous sum to pay for something that you have here, which I am not even going to deplete by copying,’ said the scholar, ‘and besides, it is unworthy to charge for knowledge.’
‘I make no charge for knowledge itself,’ said Awad, ‘for knowledge is not in books, only some of the ways to gain it. As for the thousand gold pieces: I intend to spend them on the travel expenses of pupils who cannot afford to travel. And as for the greatness of the sum: I have spent fifty thousand on my travels, plus twenty years of my life. Perhaps you might care to let me know what that amounts to?’
OBSERVATION: Encountering a true teacher is a rare moment in the life of any individual. The special relation between teacher and student requires the recognition of the genuine value found in the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. While knowledge is a recognizable characteristic, it is also ephemeral, transitory, and difficult to define in absolute terms. Perhaps, more than anything, the teacher must recognize the needs of the student, provide direction, mis-direction, and a path to stimulate the capacity of the student, acting as an enzyme or catalyst.
The link embedded in this statement reaches the NGV News page regarding the exhibition of Joseph Beuys and Rudolf Steiner held 26 October 2007-17 February 2008 in Australia.
Some of the ideas included are: politics, economics, intellectual freedom, ‘social sculpture’, direct democracy, sustainable economic forms.
C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination, Oxford, 1959.
p 3 “Nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that within their everyday worlds, they cannot overcome their troubles, and in this feeling, they are often quite correct: What ordinary men are directly aware of and what they try to do are bounded by the private orbits in which they live; their visions and their powers are limited to the close-up scenes of job, family, neighborhood; in other milieux, they move vicariously and remain spectators. And the more aware they become, however vaguely, of ambitions and of threats which transcend their immediate locales, the more trapped they seem to feel.
p 161 …..The life of an individual cannot be adquately understood without references to the institutions within which his biography is enacted. For this biography records the acquiring, dropping, modifying, and in a very intimate way, the moving from one role to another. One is a child in a certain kind of family, one is a playmate in a certain kind of child’s group, a student, a workman, a foreman, a general, a mother. Much of human life consists of playing such roles within specific institutions. To understand the biography of an individual, we must understand the significance and meaning of the roles he has played and does play, to understand these roles we must understand the institutions of which they are a part.”
OBSERVATION: Social scientists discover the meaning of human life evidenced by human activity and interaction. Mills points out that it is imperative to know the institutions in which humans live in order to understand the individual. The data and interactions necessary to gain a full understanding of one individual in society requires an accumulation of vast amounts of information (in order to genuinely understand the nature of that person). While the accumulation of data is required, it is important to recognize the organic nature of the data, with its constant ebb and flow. Equally, it is necessary to see the individual as a component of other larger groups, and again, organically linked. An interesting examination of social consciousness is currently being studied at: The Global Consciousness Project, subtitle: Meaningful Correlations in Random Data.
Singh, The Heart of Buddhist Philosophy-Dinnaga and Dharmakirti, Munshiram, 1984.
p. 63: ‘Another major ground on which Dharmakirti is ranked as an Idealist is the theory of self-consciousness (svasamvedanavada). It is a fact that Dinnaga and Dharmakirti have expounded the view that every cognition of an object is always self-conscious, or that knowledge has a double aspect, cognition and cognition of cognition, and does not need any other agent (such as a soul) to make its cognition. It is like a light which reveals other objects and at the same time reveals its own existence and so does not require any other light to reveal it. The knowledge of blue and the knowledge that it is blue are not two different things, but two aspects of one process. Dharmakirti elaborates on this in two contexts:
a. while dealing with the four-fold nature of sensation (pratyaksa) and
b. while refuting the Nyaya-Mimamsa theory of a difference betwen a source of valid cognition (pramana) and a result of cognition (pramana-phala).
OBSERVATION: In reading Thomas Aquinas, the reader will encounter the word (aevum), meaning the concept of a soul which has a beginning but no end. Dinnaga and Dharmakirti demonstrate in their argument that the moment of cognition and cognition of cognition are independent of any need to defer to an aspect referenced by Thomas Aquinas, such as a soul. Recent inquiries into quantum physics describe the ability of contemporary mechanics to control single photons. These single photon mechanical systems are utilized in encryption and firewall protection for computer systems. Physicists have recognized that a single photon changes when being observed, demonstrating subtle phenomena, and the elusive nature of any definition of reality in a conventional sense.
‘THE EUCHARIST INCLUDES THE RELATIONS OF MEANING WHICH THE ELEMENTS GENERATE IN THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO EAT THEM’
Fuller, Beyond the Crisis in Art, Writers and Readers, 1980.
p. 221 “I have to take you into the relations existing between ideology and perception, because it is here that I find my own critical criteria.
The consciousness of men and women, of which their ‘ways of seeing’ form a part, is self-evidently subejct to continuous change and development…..Since it would be absurd to assume that modifications in ways of seeing were solely the product of the inexorably slow biological evolution of the human perceptual apparatus, I conclude that the dominant mode of peception–the way in which objects are seen–at a given historical moment, and also those modes which oppose themselves to that which is dominant, are themselves determined by historical forces.
Let me give a single example. In the seventeenth century, soon after the discovery of the microscope, scientists began to study human spermatazoa beneath the lens. Within each individual sperm, they reported seeing a homunculus, that is a diminutive but fully formed little man, within whom, they claimed, was another homunculus, and so on, ad infinitum…..It is not, and I would stress this, a question of saying that their ideology pervaded and distorted what they thought about what they saw. The distinction between perception and cognition had vanished….their perception itself was forced to conform to an elaborate degree with their pre-existing framework of prejudices. If this is sometimes (and perhaps more often than is usually admitted) true of scientists, actively trying to identify the attributes of objects, we may readily understand how much more true it is of perception exercised within the territory of aesthetics; here, we find that what people see is very often simply swarming with homunculi, as the art columns of our Sunday newspapers demonstrate week after week.”
OBSERVATION: Bias, and subjectivity actively form personal opinion. The statement ‘anything can be art’, is an interesting entry point for examining what art is. Is everything art? Can anything be art? Perhaps anything and everything can be art, though we might observe that not everything is art. Every standard, definition, context, and connotation of the word (art) must be held under severe scrutiny in order to fully comprehend a genuine meaning. The base of knowledge and experience brought to the aesthetic encounter determines the level, or levels of cognitive and perceptual contact activated by such an encounter. What one sees, and what one perceives in an aesthetic encounter result from accumulated life experience, sensory capability, and the ability for every person to participate fully in such an experience.