Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Personally, I always find this kind of research to be annoying. If you want to study the brain and it's reaction to stimuli, fine. That in itself can be fascinating. The process of all these electric impulses working together to form a concept of reality, real or created is interesting and profound. But trying to measure beauty, or to say that there is such thing as "universal beauty" seems to me ridiculous. We do not all find the same things beautiful. Maybe there are specific parts of our brains that "activate" when we find something beautiful, but any composite potrait I've seen, claiming to create "the perfect face" does nothing for me. And comparing brain centers lighting up during a deeply moving experience looking at a painting, to someone responding to it's financial or cultural "value" is just silly! (and a superficial understanding.) Obviously they are not the same in any real way. Though there are some images many people respond to positivly, I think  personal experiences including memories and dreams have as much if not more to do with personal taste then some concept of universal beauty, or an external value system. Of course we are all influenced by our cultural experience and maybe to some extent by genetic memory. I wonder what someone from a completely different culture would think, looking at some of our "masterpieces. I can't help but be reminded of the movie "the Gods must be Crazy." It seems to me this article is extremely eurocentric and egocentric on the part of the author and his subject. Their attempts try to neatly package the power of the language of art by breaking it down to compartments which they observe, but in my mind, don't understand. The part of this article I found most interesting was the concept that it is nearly impossible to translate what is in an artists mind to actualization.  I thought the idea that the reason we relate to unfinished works is that realization of the impossibility of perfection in a finished piece was correct. Now that I'm writing this, it sounds rather highbrow and pretentious. but still, somthing about it is interesting to me. I think an unfinished artwork, invites the viewer partly to finish it with thier own mind. They become part of the creative process. And that is satisfying on some level.

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