pdp1@EARTHLINK.NET on mon 26 apr 04
In a common-sense way, as Artisans, we are concerned with
making things as work well ( when they are supposed to 'do'
something), and as are pleasing (in some way, to someone or
other) in how they do so.
The actual function something has, is seldom without
additional confluent, or synergistic, or simultaneous
functions, as are in the whole of something's form or in the
aesthetic in which that form is apprehended. The 'what it
does' tending to be several if not many things at-once, even
if some observers miss them, or are uninterested in
them...or do not find them to their likeing or uses...
...is this what you are after here?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathy Forer"
> On Apr 22, 2004, at 8:24 PM, Lee Love wrote:
> > There is room for both functional art and
> For the record, FWIW, I was NOT disparaging functional
art, but merely
> questioning the a priori assumption of forms. It's
difficult enough to
> make art without luxury -- of time, of heart, of space, --
> more difficult to make functional objects that do not
> their functional requirements but go beyond them and
reassess forms in
> new ways.
Kathy Forer on tue 27 apr 04
What you say is pretty much what I mean. My present concern is the
bifurcation of art into form and function, whichever one whoever deems
it so says is a priority.
The division between the materially useful and the unnecessary, when
taken to extremes by theorists and adherents, allows that only luxury
qualifies as art or as culture and that functional objects which meet
our material needs are base economic products.
Unfortunately, the corollary is that only the functional has intrinsic
meaning and socially accepted economic value; non-functional forms and
objects, art and luxury, are placed outside in a subjectively
independent authoritarian realm where value is relative and preordained
and may not even exist. And therein lies my problem with this whole
theory that splits objects into utility and luxury.
The developments of form and the intentionality behind its creation is
based on either pre-conceived dictates or a discovery process, with or
without applied purpose. The primary difference, if there is one, is
not between useful and useless*, or even intent and purpose, but lies
in a range between contrivance within established schema and the
development of new forms.
Just as form outranks ideas and theories by its ineluctable presence,
our needs can also be met by luxury, just as the useful can embody and
reveal form and awareness.
As Wes Rolley wrote <am I?>>, I aver that I may not understand why things are the way they
are, or even what they mean, but I know what I like. That may be the
easy way out, but I like form. And it doesn't matter whether it's
useful or extravagantly luxurious. It can be in a painting, teapot,
exhaust stack, bridge, orange or swan.
If that's a cult of form, then okay, fine, it has the power to balance
and offset our growing dependence on materialism. But it's about time I
made something utterly useless and possibly perceived as narcissistic
or even nihilistic.
Lat: 40N Lon: 74W
rain, more rain
* or functional and luxurious, they all work as antipodes
The more I read about ceramics, the more it seems like quantum
mechanics, and what I've been doing is a wave theory of relativity.
Nonetheless, I believe, if not in a grand unifying theory, nor in a
topsy-turvy anything-goes world, then in a mediating, bridging factor,
a realm where both function and form hold equal sway. Long after the
theory and the practice, the object remains, and our perception and
interaction is a singularly unique event that supersedes all others.
Left with that, everything can have meaning, only our individual value
systems judge how it touches us.
Rebecca Pocai on tue 27 apr 04
> Unfortunately, the corollary is that only the
> functional has intrinsic
> meaning and socially accepted economic value;
> non-functional forms and
> objects, art and luxury, are placed outside in a
> independent authoritarian realm where value is
> relative and preordained
> and may not even exist. And therein lies my problem
> with this whole
> theory that splits objects into utility and luxury.
What about when the first electric appliances came
about? Ever see those old advertisements where
appliances were advertized as a luxery! Beautifuly
rendered, classy technology, AND a luxury item.
Peoples perceptions change over time. If you take into
account that hardly anyone really uses a teapot
anymore (except my grandmother); does that push
teapots into the catagory of being non-functional
simply because it is not used as much in modern
society as it once was?
Also an observation I have made from self experience-
When a person can appriciate and identify with a piece
of art it serves a function. No matter how
non-functional it is! It becomes an emotional means of
expression not only for the maker of the object but
also for the person who appriciates it. It expresses
their feelings and attitude in a way they are unable
to do without a little help.
For example: Interior desingers often tell a client to
purchase art that expresses their individual
personality. When you walk into a person's home you
can often decern a few accurate qualities about their
personality by the objects they own and how they
These objects, that are special to someone who owns
them or appriciates them, may not be functional to
anyone else but they still have intrinsic value to
that person. Everyone has an object like this. It may
be a worn, and now useless, security blanket or a
pressed rose from your fist prom. These objects are
not functional but they serve an emotional purpose.
They have just as much value as functional objects.
But their value is personal and not so easily
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