This exhibit is designed to be shown at the Baltic in Newcastle and explores the questions of ‘what is art?’ and ‘what is aesthetic experience’ through different mediums and perspectives.
Brief: Develop the key arguments and ideas of one of your Block 3 Readings as an exhibit. The exhibit should translate the central ideas of the text into a temporal and live exhibit. Design an encounter that provokes the audience to consider the main arguments in the text.
Readings: Click here to view the written submission for the readings in Block 3.
Chosen Reading for Exhibit: Transculturality, Art and Aesthetic Principles by Eugenio Benitez
Process and Development
This project started with the readings of Transculturality, Art and Aesthetic Principles by Eugenio Benitez and Design by Tangible Stories – Enriching Interactive Everyday Products with Ludic Value by Tek-Jin Nam and Changwon Kim. After seleting Benitez reading to concentrate on, I explored his ideas and my own cultural ideas of what is art? Once I had the general idea of the exhibit experience I wanted to convey, I needed to find a space that would work. That is how the Baltic in Newcastle was selected. I had been there before and knew it had a balcony, which was what I was looking for.
This exhibit is named Is it? and is more about provoking questions than answering them. The experience is meant to be visually enjoyable but also get you thinking about the main themes that Benitez brings up. Does where you are from affect how you perceive which part of the exhibit is the art? is any of it?
This exhibit plays on the idea of perspective. When you are looking closely at the painted canvas, is that art? Or what about the musician making music? Or the artisit painting the musician?
Then then you move upstairs, are the people in the room part of some kindof performance art?
Or is any of it a work of art? Maybe its an aesthetic experience? Or neither, or both?
The exhibit includes paper lavender buds hanging from the ceiling around the musician inspired by the following passage in Benitez’s paper.
“Notice that an aesthetic experience is always a partial experience of the world. It involves an awareness of some things as opposed to others. It involves “foregrounding” and “backgrounding”. A way of making this clear is to go back to my example. I could pull back from the lavender bud and notice that there is a bee hovering over it. I could listen to the buzz. I could pull back further and notice the sea of lavender, and several bees all moving in a kind of dance. I could pull back and notice myself as observer in-the-midst, and so on. But I would have to be superhuman to attend to everything. Attention can go in further as well as out, I could focus on the richness of colour, for example, or the pattern of a single leaf. To have an aesthetic experience of the whole would be impossible; it is just as impossible to attend to nothing in particular (not the same thing as becoming inattentive). So an aesthetic experience already separates something out of the field, is already selective. But that does not make the thing experienced a work of art, or even, yet, an aesthetic object.”
(Benitez, 2015, p.47)
Benitez, E. (2005). Transculturality, Art and Aesthetic Principles. Literature & Aesthetics , 15(1), 42–56.
Baltic images from: https://manchesterhistory.net/architecture/2000/baltic.html
Floorplans from: Balticplus.uk