Reading two distinctive chapters from “the Human condition” book, whose author tried to explain the function over the durability and usefulness of subjectivity over objectivity in terms of human productivity of Works of Art had thus far succeeded to rebuild a nearly unjustified argument whether the End justifies the Means or not.
Being studied over hundreds of years, man came to an edge where Works of Art cannot be determined as Works of Functions, if I may say so. If the modern age of humanity has thus far failed again to define relative terminologies against human acts, then unfortunately we’re welcoming another age of supreme terms as it was before the age of renaissance when the church has all truth of terms over reality- the argument hence continue whether “they must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority”, as the English poet, Gerald Massey has said once.
In the 24th chapter, The Disclosure of the Agent in Speech and Action, where I would definitely start this argument if I may call, the author indicated two distinctive features of human mortality where Action is fundamentally different than Activity for which I would be pleased to remind myself of one action over activity that changed the entire world as we know it.
Adam and Eve story from the Old Testament can make a good yet not scientific example of the latter terms. Basically, yet unfortunately this example is taken from a religious scripture that I don’t like to make scientific reference to but in fact as already indicated, human beings’ actions cannot be reliable until being spoke of, the Bible whether we believe it to be a word of god or a historical reference of man, can be a good form of action in its formation of human thoughts for at least two thousand years. Adam and Eve used to live in heaven and everything was purely beautiful and serene, until Adam has performed an Action when he was seduced to eat the apple for which Man had to come down to earth in his mundane form for the rest of his life, the story indicates. Surprisingly, the Author implied that even when we call ourselves equal creatures and differ our personalities by brain intelligence which he would like to disagree with, this is to ensure the otherness we strive to glorify, which can be seen in the above example when Adam, not eve nor the snake were responsible for this form of action whose each personality, according to the author’s point of view about uniqueness, was as rare as the action Adam has done- Action is done when performing an initiative, in other words when responding contextually. The Action in its pure form was a response to the very determined seduction Satan had performed by which the two components of an act were achieved, since an action is never considered unless it responds to a question.
In his book “Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within”, Osho defined creativity to be innovative which innovation is considered by the action made, not activity. And here, we relate the example above to the creativity Adam performed when acted innovatively toward Satan who was doing nothing but activity, the same as Eve was doing for the endless life she ever had before.
To sum things up, Action over Activity is what makes a Work of Art, being a sculpture, a painting, a poem or even a white canvas different. This is to be explained prior to this paper in chapter 23, The Permanence of the World and the Work of Art. Individuality, as I aim to refer to modern age of human action, is a one-enough-term to define this chapter.
In 1435 the world as we knew had changed. Artworks became available to everyone and thus became a competitive field for individuals to attain their personal glories. Function, as it was under the church’s demand has no longer dominated Artworks which in return flourished the age of creativity in action rather than activity. A good example can be seen in an old, yet present, form of Art called Iconography when only dedicated monks were allowed to perform this Art in which functionality is the highest form of usefulness. Fortunately, this is no longer the aim.
Currently, churches’ representative from all around the world visit auctions for such form of Art as they started to evaluate these icons from a different point of view, which the author clearly stated it as uniqueness over age- A couple of centimeters squares piece of some of Picasso’s sketches that can be found to be sold for millions is a good example in this regard.
I would definitely agree that there are also some forms of use and productivity would have been treated the same as Artworks if they were considered Art, Wine for example. Almost everyone agrees that the more age we save wine, the more expensive in time it becomes. Although wine is not a chair or a table to be called functional but the fact that the Art of tasting is what makes preserving wine, not wine itself, another form of Art.
The Art of preservation is no less than any other forms of Art. But the thing that guided me through this example is that the author almost always referred to Artists as mortal beings, which I definitely agree in terms of biological mortality. But being preserved for hundreds of years by a mortal being after another even before being tasted makes it a better example for valuing Artworks. What makes Wine is less in evaluation is that it contradicts the author points of view about the thoughts being transformed into materials which leads us back to the previous paragraphs when we studies Action over Activity but can be more into evaluation when quoting the author that the price of an Artwork can be evaluated by the time it was created but of course the value of time and price varies from a form of Art to another.
In the second part of the chapter, the author referred to Time Arts as some of the classical era historians love to name it. Verbal Arts as in Poetry is a great example the author implied because almost every Arabic historian can refer to this example when speaking of the Arts in the Arabia before the Islamic culture to rule the place. In their history, Arabs always refer to poetry to be the beginning of their civilization yet to become the total obsession in all the old bazars in Baghdad and Aleppo where poetry was performed improvised “impromptu” in public from the back of the minds of the poets which the author stated it to be valued as an act of remembrance and that the memorability determines the durability. Audience used to hire people to carry the terms for them and to mind-save the poem as being said. That was a great era of human intelligence since Arabs had no physical forms of Arts as they were called nomads who were travelling all over the place in different times in the year to find food and water which could not help performing physical Art that requires more resources than time. In recent days, Arabs do value written poetry of the past as it helped shape their present on which the author explained that tangibility of the spoken words what is to be evaluated at the end. A work of Art being tangible is defined by the durability of its tangibility, the author stated.
In fact, as we track history, it wasn’t until the twentieth century, from later studies by some theorists and philosophers, did visual history begin at last to show a spirit of compromise and adopt a universal code as written scripts. Thanks to Freud’s essays on both man’s conscious and unconscious perception on this regard. The difference which lies in between is that historians are still in doubt weather writing – say any form of writing – came before or after language; just like the most debatable question about the chicken and the egg.
Beyond all those controversial academic definitions, comes a thought. A thought, by which the author stated its immortality, can be indeed endless and as old as Man’s span of life is. A thought can’t be traced if historians and anthropologists, above personal contributions, don’t do their jobs. If a thought is endless, then it has no beginning; for which some materialists would disagree with the term “immortality”, but when relatively speaking of life spans, we can assume, as the author argued, that even if everything has a beginning will have an end that doesn’t eliminate the fact that a though can be as old as the beginning of our life span- if ever there was a beginning. Unfortunately, not every thought resulted a profound material because a thought which has no sense of cognition has no ever started to be considered to lead to cognition. Cognition is above all, has a start and has a beginning which give it profound state of existence by which we can refine the previous statement that a cognition that doesn’t lead to a result cannot be called upon.
A former claim was raised for many years by some anti-Marxism figures on the existence of a supernatural God that Man cannot understand its creator because creation is always simpler than the creator in terms of taxonomical definitions. Indeed they were right because how can a recording machine understand its creator? It will never do because there is a huge intelligence gap between the creator and the creation. Although a recording machine is more intelligent in terms of recording than humans are, this doesn’t lead that a recording machine is more intelligent than human being in washing dishes which leads us to the fact that production is not the always-aim of everything. Art, for instance to be durable, has nothing to do with function.
Being told that Art has reached a stage of a great no-way-to-define work, it is still in its age of categorization. Marcel Duchamp’s fountain was a good example to define what is NOT art rather than what is Art. According to the author, usefulness doesn’t make something ugly or beautiful on which he gave an example of an ugly table doing the same usefulness as any other beautiful table. Subjectivity, as stated, is nothing compared to objectivity of the work.
Back to Duchamp’s fountain which was a great leap in understanding work exhibitions. Although it wasn’t but a porcelain urinal, which was signed “R.Mutt” and titled Fountain. Submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, Fountain was rejected by the committee. It wasn’t until later times by some art historians and theorists of the avant-garde, such as Peter Burger, the work was regarded as a major landmark in 20th-century art. This is to be said, the work itself had nothing to do with usefulness, and it just found its Place to be seen. Objectivity is what made this porcelain urinal a Work of Art.
All to be included, we, human race, couldn’t reach this level of intelligence without a profound objectivity. Human beings, who we tend to call them in relation to their refined “techne”, Artists, Writers, Poets, and Musicians and so on, helped maintain our activity intact with our present and will do for the future. Without them, respectfully, our product of activity would have never survived. Because only when they initiated an action instead of an activity, could we preserve our present. The same we do with the wine. It has been said that when nobody is listening, it is hard to be heard. And that is the action of tasting a well preserved wine; it is the same to taste the past activities being turned into actions.
Usefulness, functionality, activity, instrumentality, beauty, scalability and mortality are no longer criteria to measure the Works of Art. Remembrance and durability is above all the most important objectivity to be told.