CHAPTER 11 Areas of Knowledge - ibdiploma.cambridge.org
Chapter 11 Areas of knowledge The arts Cambridge University Press 2011 What is art? (1) Calling something art because of the intentions of the artist Something is a work of art if the maker intended it to evoke an aesthetic response. If something is intended as a work of art, then it should not be made with a practical use in mind.
Criticism: Does intending something to be art automatically make it art? Or might it just be junk? Cambridge University Press 2011 What is art? (2) Calling something art because of the quality of the work
The idea of quality is connected with the idea of skill. A great work of art is a combination of content and form. It may not be beautiful. It may even be intended to shock. Criticism: A work of art may be technically excellent but lack originality, e.g. kitsch art clichd or mass-produced art, forgeries. It may be original but lack technical skill, e.g. Picassos Bulls
Head. Cambridge University Press 2011 What is art? (3) Calling something art because of the response of the spectators A work of art requires people to appreciate it. Experts may understand the meaning of a work of art better than the artist who made the work. Criticism: The response to a work of art may:
change over time (or may be just a fashion) differ between ordinary people and experts. Cambridge University Press 2011 What is art? (4) Calling something art because it is found in an art gallery French artist Marcel Duchamp (18871968) took everyday objects, renamed them and exhibited them as art called readymades. So where does art begin? Is everything art? Or does that
devalue the idea of art? Or is everything art if you just look at it differently? Cambridge University Press 2011 Aesthetic judgements Are they objective or subjective? Examples of canonical works (the classics): literature: Oedipus Rex (Sophocles), works of Shakespeare and Goethe visual arts: Leonardo, Picasso music: Mozart, Beethoven
Cambridge University Press 2011 The paradox of aesthetic judgement It is accepted that there are standards to judge by. However, different people have different tastes which are fully valid for each of them. Cambridge University Press 2011 Should aesthetic judgements be disinterested? (1)
If I say I like this painting and you say you dont like it, these two statements can coexist. If I say that the painting is beautiful and you say that it is not beautiful, the two statements contradict each other. To say that something is beautiful implies that other people ought to find it beautiful. Cambridge University Press 2011 Should aesthetic judgements be disinterested? (2) Kant (17241804) said that, unlike personal tastes,
aesthetic judgements are disinterested. If you like a piece of music because it reminds you of a happy time in your life, you are interested. To be disinterested, we should go beyond our personal tastes and preferences so that we can appreciate a work of art on its merits. Parallel with sport: someone may not like a sportsman but may appreciate that he/she is technically good. Cambridge University Press 2011 Are there universal standards
in art? (1) Psychological factors Look at the two paintings on p. 341 of the Coursebook. Discuss the emotions aroused by the two paintings. Look at other paintings: Do horizontal lines in paintings always give a feeling of peace? Do diagonal lines generally give a disturbing feeling? Cambridge University Press 2011 Are there universal standards in art? (2)
Komar and Melamid (Russian artists) conducted research into visual art. They: examined the most popular paintings across a wide range of cultures found that popular paintings depict landscapes in which the viewer can see without being seen. Possible explanations: Our preference for such landscapes may result from our evolved survival instincts. The world is dominated by US culture globalisation of taste.
Cambridge University Press 2011 Are there universal standards in art? (3) Komar and Melamid also found a similar universality in musical taste. Sense of rhythm in music may reflect the human pulse. Cambridge University Press 2011 Are there universal standards in art? (4)
Cultural differences Comparing art is difficult: some people are inclined to see similarities between things and others to see differences. Contrasting cultures may not understand the nature of art in other cultures without help. Other examples: Opera: Chinese and European opera differ greatly. Sport: baseball differs from cricket. Cambridge University Press 2011 Art and knowledge (1)
Art as imitation Mimesis is Greek for imitation. The mimetic theory suggests that the purpose of art is to copy reality. Example artists include Michelangelo (14751564) and Auguste Rodin (18401917). Important developments: Fifteenth century: development of perspective Nineteenth century: invention of the camera Why try to copy reality in paint when it can be copied at the click of a button? Led to revolutionary changes in the nature of visual art, music and
literature. Cambridge University Press 2011 Art and knowledge (2) Art as imitation: criticisms The copy theory does not apply to music. Art does not merely copy reality, it creatively interprets it. Paul Klee (18781940), a Swiss painter, said that Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible, i.e. it helps us see things we would not otherwise notice. Art can also influence the way we subsequently view the
world, e.g. paintings, plays, books, music. Cambridge University Press 2011 Art and knowledge (3) Art as communication The language of art is a form of communication between the artist and the spectator. Implies there may be a grammar and vocabulary of art that needs to be learned to allow understanding. Art can arouse in a way that words cannot, e.g. the last movement of Beethovens Ninth Symphony.
Art as communication has: breadth, e.g. literature can project us beyond personal experience and help us to learn from others depth, e.g. ordinary language may not adequately express deep emotions. Cambridge University Press 2011 Art and knowledge (4) Art as education Art provokes emotions that can influence decisions/actions links to ethics.
It may challenge us to question our assumptions. Cambridge University Press 2011 Science, art and truth (1) Patterns Both look at the patterns in things. Art expresses patterns in more altruistic, intuitive, imaginative forms. Science expresses patterns in mathematics, logic, formulae, reason.
Cambridge University Press 2011 Science, art and truth (2) Beauty Both may be seen as beautiful, e.g. Einstein said that the theory of relativity was too beautiful to be false. Mathematical beauty is no guarantee of truth. Cambridge University Press 2011 Science, art and truth (3) Prior knowledge
Art does not always need prior knowledge to appreciate it. Science usually needs prior knowledge to appreciate it. Cambridge University Press 2011 Discovered or invented? Most people agree that science is discovered and art is invented. However, some artists feel their work is already there, just waiting to be uncovered, e.g. the sculptor releases the sculpture hidden in the marble.
Cambridge University Press 2011 Science and art as complements Science and art could be seen as complementary ways of making sense of the world. Science looks at things from outside; art looks at things from inside. Subjective experience is important as well as objective, measurable facts. Cambridge University Press 2011
The arts and truth The paradox of fiction Fiction can reveal deep truths about the human condition. Humans often turn to fiction in search of truth. Two scientific theories may be mutually exclusive. Two works of art may equally reveal truth. Cambridge University Press 2011
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