actual work of art is what the product does with and in experience, the result is not . reader should be carried forward, not merely or chiefly by the j mechanical . its true origination, and art for its higher estimation. ART AS EXPERIENCE. John Dewey. Experience occurs continuously, because the interaction of live. Art as Experience. The Later Works of John Dewey, Volume , Edited by Jo Ann Boydston Carbondale and. Edwardsville: Southern Illinois.
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BY JOHN DEWEY. THE QUEST FOR CERTAINTY. INDIVIDUALISM OLD AND NEW. PHILOSOPHY AND CIVILIZATION. ART AS EXPERIENCE. ART AS. The year marks the th anniversary of John Dewey's birth Dewey's Art as Experience ﬁrst established pragmatist aesthetics on the. Art as Experience () is John Dewey's major writing on aesthetics, originally delivered as .. Archived from the original (PDF) on Retrieved.
Under conditions of resistance and conflict, aspects and elements of the self and the world that are impli cated in this interaction qualify experience with emotions and ideas so that conscious intent emerges. Oftentimes, however, the experience had is inchoate.
Things are experienced but not in such a way that they are composed into an experience.
There is distraction and dispersion; what we observe and what we think, what we desire and what we get, are at odds with each other. We put our hands to the plow and turn back; we start and then we stop, not because the experience has reached the end for the sake of which it was initiated but because of extraneous inter ruptions or of inner lethargy.
In contrast with such experience, we have an experience when the material experienced runs its course to fulfillment. Then and then only is it integrated within and demarcated in the gen eral stream of experience from other experiences.
A piece of work is finished in a way that is satisfactory; a problem receives its solution; a game is played through; a situation, whether that of eating a meal, playing a game of chess, carrying on a conversa tion, writing a book, or taking part in a political campaign, is so rounded out that its close is a consummation and not a cessation.
Such an experience is a whole and carries with it its own indi vidualizing quality and self-sufficiency. It is an experience. Philosophers, even empirical philosophers, have spoken for the most part of experience at large.
Idiomatic speech, however, refers to experiences each of which is singular, having its own beginning and end. For life is no uniform uninterrupted march or flow. It is a thing of histories, each with its own plot, its own inception and movement toward its close, each having its own 35 particular rhythmic movement; each with its own unrepeated quality pervading it throughout.
A flight of stairs, mechanical as it is, proceeds by individualized steps, not by undifferentiated progression, and an inclined plane is at least marked off from other things by abrupt discreteness. First, an aesthetic or integral experience is known by its simultaneous integration with and demarcation from surrounding experiences.
The examples Dewey employs are the experiences of a wonderful meal or a tumultuous but successful journey by ship to Europe. Both of these experiences are temporal sequences of events that comprise an overall experience. They are not unrelated to surrounding experiences—one remembers how they got on the boat, to the restaurant, and so forth in connecting present and surrounding past experiences. Second, the integral experience has a certain kind of individualizing quality among its parts; it has some emotional meaning or tone that makes it that noticeable stretch of experience.
It is the experiential quality of that meal that makes it not just any meal. Third, the parts of such integral or aesthetic experience possess a meaningful unity among them. This accounts for the existence of an individualizing quality in this stretch of experience. As indicated previously, the vital point of the temporal nature of an aesthetic experience is also implicated here.
There is not a flat unity among its parts, but a unified build or consummation. A creature has an impulse to engage the often resistant environment; in the world of expression, it is the material environment of the art object that offers resistance. Such impulsion at the hand of the artist is not mere discharge. At its best expression , it is an ordered and intelligent reaction to the resistances of the material that comprises the art object. Expression happens in the temporal expanse from the old e.
After the objective means offers forth its variety of resistances, the artist redoubles their engagement with the object, albeit in a more meaningful way. The resistances have been accounted for, according to Dewey.
As the painter places pigments upon the canvas, or imagines it placed there, his ideas and feelings are also ordered. As the writer composes in his medium of words what he wants to say, his idea takes on for himself perceptible form. These elements to a very real extent compose the artistic effect that is desired. They are means that could be otherwise. They do not comprise the end desired like the paint did with the painting.
Regular gas could be replaced by diesel or biodiesel; this replacement would be motivated simply by external concerns— pollution, efficiency, or availably.
If one changes the paints used for a certain painting, however, one changes the painting itself. Using different words for a poem makes it a different poem. The experience of creating and hearing those words by a subject be it artist or audience is the aesthetic experience. The material of the art object both causes the aesthetic experience and constitutes it as instantiated. The medium is the end desired, and not a mere means to an external end. This externality may even be regarded as a definition of the non-esthetic.
The internality of ends and means says something vital about the art object.
I will eventually argue, however, that it also says something significant about our subjective orientation toward activity in general. In terms of art, the object will be a vital part of the experience of some subject, since it is the focus of attention in the aesthetic experience.
The subject can be either the artist or the audience. Both sets of aesthetic experiences are temporal, involve individuating qualities, and consummate with a new and renewed meaning at their conclusion.
He resisted the museum concept of art not because traditionally-defined art objects fail to be aesthetic, but because such art objects might lead us astray in determining the core of what the aesthetic is and what could possibly be aesthetic.
Notice how Dewey segues from his discussion of artistic expression in his Art as Experience to art as experience. Only outwardly, then, can it be designated by a noun substantive.
Since it adheres to the manner and content of doing, it is adjectival in nature. When we say that tennis- playing, singing, acting, and a multitude of other activities are arts, we engage in an elliptical way of saying that there is art in the conduct of these activities and that this art so qualifies what is done and made as to induce activities in those who perceive them in which there is also art.
Yet Dewey leaves open the possibility that the conduct of a range of activities can be artistic or artful. This must mean that they imply or contain the same sort of qualitative distinctiveness of the aesthetic, as well as the integrity of it as media. Do the various activities that make up playing tennis, say, meet the status of being a medium and not a mere means?
It is unclear that they are replaceable, as might be the case with different types of fuel in certain engines. The act of playing tennis is not simply winning; that is the goal. The act itself is the executing of certain moves and skills that comprise a certain level of tennis facility. In a very real sense, then, the act of playing tennis is comprised of that set of swings, serves, and so on.
Any different set of actions would render it a different game of tennis, just as different paints or words would render a certain painting or poem a different work of art.
What might fool us into thinking that such activities lack media-status is that they seem everyday and ordinary. They also strike one as too spontaneous—one is simply lunging at that ball, say, and this is different from the forethought put into the creation of great works of art.
As Richard Shusterman has demonstrated, however, there is a vital role for the body in pragmatist aesthetics. Such actions can be done with more or less attention and skill. This is what renders them artful to some extent. True artists, be they great painters or grand tennis players, possess the somatic control, habituation, and foresight to evoke The Art of Experience 39 a certain feeling in those observing their struggle with some external material or environment.
Yet one must not make the miss-step of thinking that the embodied activities paradigmatic of artful, embodied activity are those of institutionally identified artists. The live creature and the engaged tennis player can have unity in experience in the same way that a successful performance art piece might bequeath to its doer and audience. One does not need to transcend or challenge the everyday or the ordinary to reap the rewards of the aesthetic on the account of Dewey that I have given.
One merely needs the unity and build in object and in experience to get the heightened immediacy that the aesthetic represents. But here I have gone beyond a wide theory of art objects and into even more general ground. And a defense, or at least explication, of such a move must be made.
The Art of Experience: Activity as Aesthetic There is art in the creation of an object; there is also art in the creation of experiences with certain qualities. One may then ask, How can the experience of any activity become aesthetic on Deweyan grounds? If the aesthetic captures a phase or quality of experience that is particularly delightful and meaningful, this question comes with great implications.
For instance, long before he became comfortable or qualified enough to opine on art objects as traditionally conceived, he spoke on the artfulness behind activity and life. In his earlier Outlines of a Critical Theory of Ethics , he clearly made the point that the aesthetic or the artful can encompass most of life.
Speaking on this connection of art to the various activities implicated in life, Dewey states: Living itself is the supreme art; it requires fineness of touch; skill and thoroughness of workmanship; susceptible response and delicate 40 SCOTT R.
STROUD adjustment to a situation apart from reflective analysis; instinctive perception of the proper harmonies of act and act, of man and man. As was the case in the previously used example of tennis playing, the activity itself is the medium. In other words, the activities undergone by an agent comprise the larger endeavor e. The nuances and idiosyncrasies of the activities qua means become media when they infect and compose the details and particulars of the whole object in question.
In the case of activities such as sports, dining, or even artistic activities like dance, the period of effort and application of skill to activity is the art object. The means here become media given their internal relation to what they create and compose.
Why must we struggle to attain this heightened notion of unity, quality, and build naturally resident in every experience in some amount? Talking about the expressivity of art objects, Dewey gives us our clue. The definition of the aesthetic does not merely mean internal unity of parts of the material world of an environment.
Familiarity induces indifference, prejudice blinds us; conceit looks through the wrong end of a telescope and minimizes the significance possessed by objects in favor of the alleged importance of the self. Much, if not all, of our non-aesthetic experiences might be causally conditioned by the habits we take to them. The first example involves a simple everyday activity—a variety of passengers commuting into New York City by ferry boat.
One glances around randomly, seeing this building, pronouncing its name, and then glances at another one.