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  1. Post on Prose vs. Poetry in Explore

    By Tzela Vieed, posted
    “I said that the legitimate meanings of the word poetry were themselves so many as to embarrass the discussion of its nature. All the more reason why we should not confound confusion worse by wresting the term to licentious use and affixing it either to dissimilar things already provided with names of their own, or to new things for which new names should be invented.” --A.E. Housmann, “The Name and Nature of Poetry”


    I agree with Housmann. The difficulty of defining poetry doesn’t come from poetry’s nature being indistinct, or hard to grasp, but from the application of the word to too many different modes of writing during the past century or so. There’s practically no common ground between the various kinds of poetry that isn’t also shared by prose.

    By this time, I don’t think there’s any use in trying to narrow its application. Try telling someone that what they wrote isn’t poetry, and they’re certain to assume that you’re making an aesthetic judgment rather than a taxonomic one. ( Davidm, DaveT, I’m afraid you’ll just have to accept that your forum posts aren’t poetry )

    A more constructive approach might be to consider each of the modes of writing we call poetry on its own ground first—if we can’t define what it has in common with all the others, we can at least define what makes it distinct. I suspect that the line-break poem will never be written that says something that couldn’t have been said better in some other mode, or in straight-out prose, but if someone wants to persuade me otherwise, let them. Just don’t ask me to write any.
  2. Post on Confession in Extend

    By The Heretic, posted
    I sent the following to a friend, and I will get permission to post his response later.


    Reading savage, brutally and tortuously honest prose by great thinkers like Cioran makes me embarrassed to admit that my life has been so shallow in comparison. I have led an easy life and that probably prevents me from writing profound prose. I don't have dramatic experiences to that are rich enough to delve in and spin out insights on a universal scale. I just live life like anyone else, all surface & without originality, and this lack of unique experiences is painfully obvious in my writing. Nietzsche said that the discipline of suffering alone has created every elevation of mankind up till now. But today in our leisure and luxurious society we hardly suffer - much beyond sitting in traffic and stubbing our toes in the dark. We complain only about the smallest of things. That's why our art is horrible and ugly and lacks all originality or creativity. All we can do is parody or satire. So what the fuck?
  3. Post on Relevant Art in Explore

    By Tzela Vieed, posted
    Three Questions:

    1) What does it mean for a work of art to be relevant?

    2) Why is poetry, which is being written in more copious quantities than ever before and studied in universities to an unprecedented degree, read by very few who aren’t practicing poets or academics?

    3) Are the answers to the first two questions related?


    I think many people would answer question 3 with a resounding ‘yes’-- but there would be considerable variation in their answers to question 1. And, as there is no shortage today of poets trying their hardest to be relevant, it could be that those answers are where the trouble lies. Or else the better answer to question 3 is actually ‘no’, and poetry owes its marginal status as an art to other factors.

    All three questions are interesting ones-- of personal interest, for me-- but for the moment, what concerns me is question 1. This thread is for exploring that question, and the ways it might be answered.

  4. When it comes to art and opinion, we are always reminded of the latin maxim: De gustibus non est disputandum (There’s no disputing taste). However, in the animeHyouka (13th episode) the issue of art and subjectivity is raised by two high school girls, between Mayaka Ibara and her senpai, the president of the manga club.

    Senpai: 100 manga reviews? No oner's going to read something that boring. And there's no point in reviewing manga anyway. It's a total waste of time! Right?

    Mayaka: What do you mean by "a waste of time", Senpai?

    Senpai: It's all up to the reader.

    Mayaka: the reader?

    Senpai: That's right. Any manga is just as entertaining as any other.

    Mayaka: No matter who writes it?

    Senpai: Yes.

    Mayaka: Then what makes one more interesting than another?

    Senpai: Don't you understand, Ibara? That's up to the reader. It all boils down to whether the reader has a tall or short antenna for what's interesting. That's all there is to it.

    Mayaka: So you're saying that someone with a short antenna won't find anything interesting?

    Senpai: That's right. That's why writing reviews is pointless. Everyone should just read what they like and laugh their hearts out.

    Mayaka: [to herself] All manga are the same? [to Senpai] I won't accept that. According to your theory, there shouldn't be such a thing as a masterpiece.

    Senpai: Of course there are masterpieces.

    Mayaka: What decides them?

    Senpai: The works that get passed through the sieve over and over through the years and still survive. That's a masterpiece.

    Mayaka: You're wrong. A masterpiece is born a masterpiece.

    Senpai: Even one that hasn't withstood the test of time? Then it's just your personal opinion.

    Mayaka: You're wrong!

    Senpai: About what?

    Mayaka: This is a matter of experience. You've just never been hit by something that made you say, "This is it!"

    Senpai: Oh? You've got some nerve.

    Mayaka: There are definite differences between writers' technical abilities. Senpai, did you read a manga called "A Corpse by Evening" that was sold at the cultural festival last year?

    Senpai: [shocked expression, then turns her face away in disgust] Never heard of it.

    Mayaka: Then I'll bring it tomorrow. If that doesn't convince you then I have nothing more to say.


    The average person believes that aesthetic judgment consists of nothing but opinions, but I disagree, much like Hume argues in Of the Standard of Taste: there exist a criteria that determines competency for judgment, and most particularly in art.

    In other words, not everyone is right in their judgment whether some artwork is awesome or sucks the sweat off donkey balls.

    When I declare something to cause a boner and a turd in my shorts simultaneously, I am declaring something concrete and meaningful about that artwork. My judgment is at least a recommendation to another that she may also find that artwork equally moving and judge it gorgeous as well.

    If she challenges my judgment, I try to back it up and defend it with evidence or plausible interpretation. Therefore, my judgment that something is great means MORE than a mere expression of opinion.


    In the Of the Standard of Taste, Hume is concerned about the evaluation of art and presents a set of rules for aesthetic judgment. They are based in the judgment of individuals, and are about those judgments. Hume cleverly focuses on the spectator who judges and seeks the patterns of the spectator's sentiments. Since many of us are in agreement on what is beautiful and what is ugly, Hume claims that means there are qualities calculated to please and those that do not. But such agreements are neither solid nor permanent. Some of us may disagree on certain artwork -- I may think Sam Francis' Towards Disappearance is obviously awe-inspiring, while another person may think it's far too abstract or empty to elicit any aesthetic emotion in her.



    Hume's solution to such disagreement is to locate a person who provides the best judgment on art. This true judge is an appropriately competent critic who has the following qualities: serenity of mind, delicacy of taste, well-practiced, well-versed in comparison of artworks, independent of prejudice, and possess good sense. Whoever have those qualities are true judges that we may appeal in order to decide which artwork is truly amazing, beautiful and qualifies as a masterpiece.

    My judgments are partially subjective -- in which they depend on several tastes that I always had -- an inclination towards originality or bold, confident lines -- but at the same time, they are also partially objective in which I have studied some formal art theories and taken art history classes. That mixture increases the possibility of my turning into a good judge, but since I am still a neophyte I have a ways to go: more museums to attend, more artwork to see in person, more people to share my perspective and experiment with my judgment. It doesn't matter if I do finally become a true judge, partially because I am not in the business of offering professional views about art, but it does matter to me personally that my views do not fall back into prejudice and ignorance that I should continue to work at it.
  5. If the precondition of great art or masterpieces is an advanced culture that needs a working class, then it follows that a working class who declares its existence unjust and reform that culture will not yield in any great artwork.

    The social question where democrats who intend to liberate the masses and persuade them that everyone is dignified as well, will result in the masses perceiving their situation as a flagrant injustice and demand equity.

    The masses hardly have any trouble noticing the gigantic gulf between their shitty circumstances and the glamor of high culture, and resent it because it's not for them. Moreover, they know all too well that the material precondition of their labor sustains that very high culture.

    However, the crux is this: the claims to social justice/liberation from exploitation are unjustified.

    Life is tragic where enormous suffering, death and cruelty abounds. There are two main options to the essential purpose of culture: the well-being of the greatest possible number of people or the success of individuals.

    Morality argues for the well being of the greatest possible number of people.
    Aesthetics argues that the meaning of culture is within the apex of great works.

    If only the creative people produce great cultural achievements in art, philosophy, sciences, then those achievements are the fruits of exploitative labor. sometimes those very creative people are themselves works of art as well.

    These giants of culture aren't justified only by their social utility, but also by their distinguished existence. They embody the better possibilities of humanity. Therefore, culture is justified only if such highest examples live and create in them.

    On the other hand, if the happiness & freedom of the greatest possible number is given priority, then the result is a democratic culture where mass taste reigns. The orientation of democracy is welfare, human dignity, egalitarian justice, and so forth -- all of them are impediments to prospects of great individuals.

    The working class society is an example how refinement & culture relies on a stark, brutal truth. In order to have a fertile soil for artistic potential, the majority must be subject to the necessities of life in order to support a minority beyond their individual needs.

    What is the problem with the dignity of work or humanity? Such glorification is self-deceptive because such dignity of work does not change anything about the fundamental injustice of life which already predetermines physical labor to some and creative work to the gifted.

    Older societies were brutally lucid about their inequities, while our modern societies feign contrition but refuses to give up exploitation for the sake of culture.

    If art justifies our existence aesthetically, it does so on the benchmark of cruelty.

    In other words, existence is an open wound and every culture is essentially cruel. Art offers a remedy -- as aesthetic justification -- by sustaining this wound. Workers sacrifice their sweat for the beauty of art. Then the existence of art adds on top of the injustice of existence.

    If you are one of the privileged few that enjoys the aesthetic justification of existence, then you must be prepared to defend the working class.

    Art is culpable, for it profits from the injustice of the world. In order to remove this guilt-ridden entanglement of art, we must destroy the basic elements of advanced cultures.

    If we take the principle of equality, justice to their logical conclusion, we release unmitigated hostility on culture. Since art profits from injustice, those of us who enjoy the privilege of art must not lapse into arrogance. We must be cognizant of the relation between art and guilt.

    The flip side of the coin: social progress is a threat to art. In the 20th century, art has been betrayed by a solidarity with suffering. In 1855, Henrich Heine predicted all of this:

    "...with their red fists they are smashing all of the marble structures of my beloved art world... the shopkeepers hawking their goods will use my Book of Songs for shopping bags, to store coffee or snuff for the old wives of the future."

    Tolstoy, in response to the social ills, stopped writing at the end of his life and demanded other writers to contribute to society in practical ways rather than making up stories. He was a precursor to the epoch of a great destruction of culture in the name of social progress.

    Art ended up in a dilemma: be destroyed by social revolution or lose its dignity as an end in itself by selling out and conform to social utility. Either way, art became subjugated to social oriented movements or joined force and degenerate to politics.
  6. Here, we can upload any drawings or paintings that you have made. I will upload a few samples of my own, since I am a very avid artist. I also do requested works, so if you want to make any requests, do it here!!