Saturday, 24 March 2018

Every form of art...

Yesterday, I was listening  to the radio, I heard this phrase:

"Every form of art is a form of Literature".

On the face of it, it seems like a nice and sensible enough proposition... only problem, it is NOT actually TRUE.

Personally, I think that there are two fundamental ways to perceive reality, influenced by the nature of their main sensorial vectors, which in turn spawn two approaches to analyzing and reproducing it  - and, by extension, creating un-realities - and, thus , two extremely broad classes of arts.

The first one is "sequential" perception - its basic sense is hearing and its main art product is literature.

Its most important non-artistic product is... science. Science is, almost inevitably, a reconstruction of the universe in terms of a collection of narrations - the theories and laws found in schoolbooks, as well as every single article published by any researcher, are all small tokens of narrative literature. 

For the very physical nature of sound, its perception is based on sequences of events, that the mechanics of human auditory system makes it to be discrete in nature - notes in music, letters , pauses and stresses in language.

So, my idea is that  "Every form of sequential art is equivalent to every other form of sequential art". 

The other type of perception is "holistic", the object of which is perceived as a whole without a decomposition of it in a sequence of elements.

 Its sensory vehicle is sight but, as far as I can tell, the human mind as we know it is not really able to handle this type of perception any well.

Nor our sensory system is really designed for it - when we look at something, the cone of focused vision we have is about 30ยบ wide.

If the object of our contemplation occupies a visual space any larger, we are forced to move our gaze along its area, creating a mental sequence of something that has no defined sequence of its own.

The object may thus exist as a static image, but we are finally forced to perceive it as a sequence of partial impressions - this objective difficulty is such that we all but forget that things may simply... be.

Be, without an inherent dynamic of discrete elements susceptible of being aligned in a narrative thread. 

More than forget, we are so inured into narration that, when we cross something that could be perceived in a holistic way, we still analyze it through a decomposition into its formative elements - decomposition that may be completely arbitrary - and an argumentative discourse - i.e. a narration - about them.

I think that arts whose inherent vehicle is sight - paint, graphics, sculpture -  are not really bound to incorporate a definite sequential nature, though they may acquire it if so the artist desires.
Which artists all too often do, lest their public bemoans that the piece "does not say anything".
Language being the glue that keeps together human societies, and the most important tool available to gain and exert power in them, the arts based around its manipulation have always manifested a disproportionate influence - hence the prestige of  literature, that is at their roots, and the desire for practitioners of arts that are not inherently sequential to emulate the control that writers have over their readers through narration.

In the history of figurative arts, in much of the world, such a control has been produced manipulating the elusive quality called "composition", which essentially means exploiting assumptions and empiric observations about the psychology of viewers to guide the path of their eyes as they explore the piece.

But not all figurative arts are obsessed with it - many forms of sculpture live well beyond its reach, especially those related to product design, like much of pottery, some architecture and many car shapes.

Similarly, a good portion of Islamic art is as oblivious to narration as is it is to the reproduction of the human figure - Possibly because no lay narration should contend the primate of the Holy Book.

All these forms of art are not, really, forms of literature.

Yet they still are, most surely, art.

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Feel free to point me out conceptual, orthographical, grammatical, syntactical or usage's errors, as well as anything else