Sunday, May 9, 2010

Art and Philosophy

Following up on my previous post
Levi Briant has generously responded to my comment with a post on On Art and Philosophy.

Exerts from his post, keeping in mind that he is "still working through these issues, so [...] not committed to these positions in a hard and fast fashion. This is amusing... as--being no philosopher, I am never committed to what I write in a 'hard and fast fashion!"
...philosophy and art engage with being, just in different ways. Good art, I believe, operates in the split between qualitative manifestations and withdrawn being. Indeed, good art, I think, suspends or defamiliarizes the domain of the actual or qualitative beings.


[comparing 1984 and The Trial] Great art, I believe, instead operates at the split between the actual and the virtual, suspending the reign of the actual and alluding to that which is withdrawn at the level of the virtual. Great art alludes to another world rumbling beneath the familiar actualities and thereby defamiliarizes the domain of the qualitative or of sensuous manifestations. Where Orwell gives us determinate answers as to why the distopia is organized as it is, for Kafka the principle of this organization is always withdrawn and in doubt.

Of particular relevance to the fetish of 'realism' as understood by certain critics (think James Wood)...

This calls for both a new concept of mimesis and realism in the domain of the arts. Mimesis here can no longer mean the representation of the world as it actually appears. Rather, mimesis, if we are to insist that it is imitation, is an imitation of being. Ordinarily we think of the mimetic on the model of the photograph, treating it as a likeness of that which it depicts. Yet true mimesis is not likeness, but is instead an imitation of withdrawal. It is precisely that artistic practice that produces effects of withdrawal in the work, thereby enacting the split between real objects and their qualitative manifestations. Such is the difference between art and kitsch. Kitsch is pornographic. It wants to deploy everything before the gaze, restricting beings to the level of qualitative actuality, eradicating any dimension of excess or withdrawal in being. [...] for nowhere have they adequately addressed the status of objects as split between the sensuous and the real, but rather they perpetually treat objects as bundles of fixed and static sensuous qualities.
Likewise, realism here has to be understood in entirely different terms. Just as mimesis is not likeness, realism is not representation or adequation between a sensuous qualitative state-of-affairs out there in the world and a representation. Realism is not mirroring. In this respect

Read all of Bryant's post on LARVAL SUBJECTS

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