Friday, September 15, 2006

Art is a Cat

And this being Friday, not only is it a cat, it's a big, subliminal (not to mention sublimnal) cat.

The blogosphere is on fire because of this cat-chy quote:

Imagine calling two pets, one a dog, the other a cat. Asking a dog to do something is an amazing experience. You say, "Come here, Fido," and Fido looks up, pads over, puts his head in your lap, and wags his tail. You've had a direct communication with another species; you and Fido are sharing a common, fairly literal language. Now imagine saying, "Come here, Snowflake" to the cat. Snowflake might glance over, walk to a nearby table, rub it, lie down, and look at you. There's nothing direct about this. Yet something gigantic and very much like art has happened. The cat has placed a third object between you and itself. In order to understand the cat you have to be able to grasp this nonlinear, indirect, holistic, circuitous communication. In short, art is a cat.

Cute, no?

Not only that, it's part of The Whole Ball of Wax, the article by Jerry Salz that's been the spark to this flame. Salz plumbs the question, can art change the world?

The anwer? No.

Except "incrementally and by osmosis". (Smashed had no idea that art was a liquid). This is how, subversively, sneakily: is part of a universal force. [...] Art is an energy source that helps make change possible; it sees things in clusters and constellations rather than rigid systems.

(So, Art is anti-Cartesian - something that Smashed can get behind! The author even refers to neo-Cartesians as aholistic. Smashed sees no reason to be rude).

Art is a bridge to a new vision and the vision itself, a medium or matrix through which one sees the world, and that grants that pleasure is an important form of knowledge. Art is not optional; it is necessary. It is part of the whole ball of wax.

More good news - not only is pleasure an important form of knowledge, it's part of something de rigeur, necessaire, - all work and no play, indeed. I think I'm going to the beach today.

The article continues:

...[Art] is a system for mapping, reflecting, prospecting, and creating consciousness. Art is a region where protocols are invented or suspended and things one doesn't understand change one's life.

Somebody should tell Daniel Dennett, he'll be surprised!

All right, enough MST3000-style musings, it's time to sling the code...


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