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 Thinking the art-object.

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PostSubject: Thinking the art-object.    Thinking the art-object.  Icon_minitimeMon Dec 12, 2011 2:06 am

I'm very interested in the distinction Heidegger draws between readiness-to-hand and the present-at-hand, which is, put more simply: the difference between naive sense experience and transcendental sense experience. To grasp the pen that sits to my left naively, in its readiness-to-hand, is to apprehend it immediately as a writing utensil, an instrument I may grasp in my hand and use to write words on a page. But when I reflect on this object, this pen, which is of course what we do when we "do philosophy," is to alter it in some way, it is to allow the pen to slip from its being as readiness-to-hand, to do away with my naive apprehension of it. When I reflect, I grasp the pen as present-to-hand: I understand it as an object that appears to me as black because of its relation to its horizon, a horizon constituted in part by the lamp that illuminates it and the notebook that casts a shadow over it. Now the pen appears to me as a cylindrical object, constructed toward some purpose, painted a certain colour, manufactured by a certain company, and so on. But that immediate sensation I felt when I reached for it in the urge to write something down completely alludes me; the pen is no longer simply ready-to-hand, its being as a pen eludes me. I understand it transcendentally, but something has been lost. This goes for all of experience, all of being. When we reflect, when we engage philosophically with the world, we're allowing something crucial to elude us.

I write this here because I believe that art holds the key to apprehending an object in its readiness-to-hand. In its abstractness, I think art allows us to understand and reflect upon those conditions of the thing that typically escape us. As such, I believe there may be some truth essential to art, that art may contain within itself the potential for "world-disclosing," to speak with Heidegger. I want that this will be a beginning: I will continue to post in this thread as I continue such thoughts -- I urge those of you with similar dispositions to do the same.

And as a side-note: It should not escape us that the artistic realm is not confined to depicting objects like pens; indeed, art is capable of "disclosing" being itself, if it so chooses, if it is up to the task, that is. I believe this is the reason the later Heidegger became fascinated with the poetry of Holderlin.

 

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“…to act is to modify the shape of the world…”
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PostSubject: Re: Thinking the art-object.    Thinking the art-object.  Icon_minitimeMon Dec 12, 2011 11:38 pm

Yes, art, providing for meaning a home which is sufficiently abstract/form-less, which is to say a general enough sense impression into which the observer (or creator) inserts and grows his own personal sense of meaningfulness, produces an equally personal sense of value. This value appears as more emancipatory with respect to the individual's own desires, interests, possibilities, because it does not attain under a pre-scribed form - it is not a closure pre-fabricated somewhere else, even if this somewhere else is only a previous moment in the individual's own past.

Heidegger's distinction between readiness and presence at hand are useful here, because he is using this "artistic" "relative formlessness" as a lens to view anything through. Or rather, to be more precise: Heidegger takes the method of art (proper artistic method) and gives it a means, a form with which to be applied to what is "not-art". What is this, really? It appears to be a making-artful of the not-artful? Things, "tools" or "objects" are then viewed from the perspective of an artist, as a abstract model/form into which meaning-content is projected - we see not what the thing "is" but what it could be, which is to say we pierce into the very essence of the thing. Yet Heidegger does not ONLY offer this vastly useful method, however, but takes it even further by effecting a certain analysis of the difference between artistic and non-artistic perception (present at hand and ready at hand, respectively). You will perhaps need to fill me in a bit on the specifics of what Heidegger draws out from this analysis, as I have not finished Being and Time in its entirety. I would be interested to learn more, based on your own readings, of specifically what Heidegger uncovers with this analysis, which implications stem from it.

For one, I can imagine the idea of "recovery of that which is lost" within artistic perception, in other words the "naivete" and (self-) ignorance characteristic of the modes of non-artistic perception. The idea that something is lost is easy enough to grasp - the notion of its possible recovery or sublimation would be more interesting, particularly in light of the utilities which such naivete can provide (e.g. enduring structurality for various functionalities and mechanisms of the psyche). Where one has not yet forged one's consciousness deeply enough, deliberately and comprehensively enough, this naivete acts almost as a safeguard, storing away what later may come to be taken up and intentionally ennobled-transformed. In this sense the non-artful appears as an condition or possible inception point for artistic perception. Much like how the infant must be protected and safeguarded away from harm for a sufficient enough period of time (in the womb, as well as after birth) in order for there to be a possibility that it will later come into full intentional consciousness of itself, take possession of itself.

I think this view leads to the notion that ready at hand and present at hand are best seen not as oppositions but as two interacting points along the line of certain developments of (methods of) consciousness, with respect to the possibilities FOR this consciousness.

 

___________
“Be clever, Ariadne! ...
You have little ears; you have my ears:
Put a clever word in them! —
Must one not first hate oneself, in order to love oneself? ...
I am your labyrinth ...”.  -N

“A man is not great if he is not small, and he is not small if he is not great. Concepts flirt with the loss of their significance in the oscillation between ambiguous states, and this is in part the function and purpose of concepts.” -Primer on Meaning
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PostSubject: Re: Thinking the art-object.    Thinking the art-object.  Icon_minitimeSun Dec 18, 2011 6:06 pm

Quote :
When we reflect, when we engage philosophically with the world, we're allowing something crucial to elude us.
You hit a long forgotten nerve with this observation. Philosophy, as it has existed so far, has been attempt at neutralization of perspective. The term "crucial" refers to the what way may call the least neutral modus of a perspective - valuing something as "of necessary utility". By this valuing, the thing is made into an instrument - the various physical properties one may observe in a pen become subservient to its function.

Ontological philosophy has long consisted of moving away from the utility of things to their "true nature" - and as such the distinction between what is on its own - beings - and what is only by virtue of beings having use for it - instruments has become unavoidable. As much as Heidegger interests us with his descriptions of the emerging of a thing as it presents itself to us, he does not force on us the simple step of distinguishing manufactured object from entity. There is a due respect for the fact that creation is also an emerging. Manufactured objects are part of what we are, both to the world and to our own mind, Objects can be described as additional power.

A difference that holds my mind in suspension here is between manufacturing, and designating function.
In the case of specialized instruments, industrial man designates function to an object before manufacturing it, before it exists. It exists as a function of the industrious mind. In the case of rudimentary tools that one picks up from the ground, there is a spontaneous attributing of function, either after the fact of discerning the object, or as the very act of discerning-as-object. It is unclear to me how the modalities of this attributing purpose to an object -- this valuing as a means to power - sensing it, which is what I read as the something crucial we are missing when we philosophize, in the traditional manner of detachment -- how much they vary from individual to individual. It seems to me that here the entire spectrum of morality and character unfolds, plays out. Characters vary greatly in the extent to which they absorb sensory perception for its own sake, or allow things to form as they are pleasant. There is a pleasantry that is not useful - an in-the-moment, to the end of which a lot of philosophy has been built, by a thinker who had glimpses of this and wanted to establish its existence logically. There is a displeasure in attributing function, as with it comes the transformation of man from reflective to active. Once a purpose has been assigned to the object, when a black cylindrical thing has become a pen, one is no longer observing, but not-writing. I would guess, that conscious assignment of function to anything raises the mind to a frequency of beta-waves, makes it 'restless'. The reflexive consciousness of observing the pens properties non-teleologically would be occurring as alpha waves - the frequency of the mind is raised as the utility of an object becomes its center of activity - the being prepares itself to become-more, to act again, to see life for what it is, to confront himself with his conditions, with all this comes the possibility of failure, the change to success, accomplishment - which activates again the imagination, connectes the beta to the alpha range and finalyl produces "inspiration" - - man experiences himself suddenly very differently, he begins to imprint his focus on the world as his medium, something becomes under his influence.

When shifting from contemplation of experience to function-attributing, man shifts his valuing of his direct experience to the discernment of the potential for a growth. This is the "crucial", this potential to more, the command of life itself - the activity of valuing in terms of oneself as increasing power. Philosophy has aimed away from this.


Quote :
I write this here because I believe that art holds the key to apprehending an object in its readiness-to-hand. In its abstractness, I think art allows us to understand and reflect upon those conditions of the thing that typically escape us. As such, I believe there may be some truth essential to art, that art may contain within itself the potential for "world-disclosing," to speak with Heidegger. I want that this will be a beginning: I will continue to post in this thread as I continue such thoughts -- I urge those of you with similar dispositions to do the same.

And as a side-note: It should not escape us that the artistic realm is not confined to depicting objects like pens; indeed, art is capable of "disclosing" being itself, if it so chooses, if it is up to the task, that is. I believe this is the reason the later Heidegger became fascinated with the poetry of Holderlin.

I agree that Hölderlin is significant. It would make sense to include a small study of his poetry in this thread. In general the road you take here may be what is required for a a real disclosure of Heideggers meaning. He is still largely unmined and I would say entirely unused. To put his thought-work to use, a future has to be disclosed not only as a theoretical possibility but as, excuse the profanity, an object of faith. To this end it must be seen, and this is difficult from the mechanical perspective we are embedded in now. In order to interpret Heideggers observations as functional, in order to operate such philosophy as a tool, what may, taking brainwaves as an analogy, be necessary is an intellectual increase of pulse, a becoming more alert - this time not to selective functions such as driving a nail into a board of wood without hitting the thumb, but to all of life in one, to encapsulate all that we know and are into one intention facing this new tool we have, tis thought -- to apply ourselves to a thought... this means that our entire physicality is changed in hierarchy, our being becomes an arrow towards sublimation - we are becoming "gods" - compared to what we were.

 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
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PostSubject: Re: Thinking the art-object.    Thinking the art-object.  Icon_minitimeFri Jun 18, 2021 8:56 pm

without-music wrote:
I'm very interested in the distinction Heidegger draws between readiness-to-hand and the present-at-hand, which is, put more simply: the difference between naive sense experience and transcendental sense experience. To grasp the pen that sits to my left naively, in its readiness-to-hand, is to apprehend it immediately as a writing utensil, an instrument I may grasp in my hand and use to write words on a page. But when I reflect on this object, this pen, which is of course what we do when we "do philosophy," is to alter it in some way, it is to allow the pen to slip from its being as readiness-to-hand, to do away with my naive apprehension of it. When I reflect, I grasp the pen as present-to-hand: I understand it as an object that appears to me as black because of its relation to its horizon, a horizon constituted in part by the lamp that illuminates it and the notebook that casts a shadow over it. Now the pen appears to me as a cylindrical object, constructed toward some purpose, painted a certain colour, manufactured by a certain company, and so on. But that immediate sensation I felt when I reached for it in the urge to write something down completely alludes me; the pen is no longer simply ready-to-hand, its being as a pen eludes me. I understand it transcendentally, but something has been lost. This goes for all of experience, all of being. When we reflect, when we engage philosophically with the world, we're allowing something crucial to elude us.

I write this here because I believe that art holds the key to apprehending an object in its readiness-to-hand. In its abstractness, I think art allows us to understand and reflect upon those conditions of the thing that typically escape us. As such, I believe there may be some truth essential to art, that art may contain within itself the potential for "world-disclosing," to speak with Heidegger. I want that this will be a beginning: I will continue to post in this thread as I continue such thoughts -- I urge those of you with similar dispositions to do the same.

And as a side-note: It should not escape us that the artistic realm is not confined to depicting objects like pens; indeed, art is capable of "disclosing" being itself, if it so chooses, if it is up to the task, that is. I believe this is the reason the later Heidegger became fascinated with the poetry of Holderlin.


Art indeed

and as we write, disclose, stay in that moment keep entering the doorway, never 'have entered' just be in front of the thing and approach it, never be at it, touch it;

Thinking the art-object.  Jj10

 

___________
" The strong do what they can do and the weak accept what they have to accept. "
- Thucydides
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