Assignment using aesthetic principles to view an object in a new, perhaps more open-minded, way.

flip to next page Vonice Berry Philosophy 025 Professor Harrison April 26, 2015 Aesthetic Reasoning: Art and the Thought of It At first glance of the book, Freedom as It Happens by Tshombe Sekou, I am thinking: this is just a book—a mere representation of one man’s ideas. In the same glance, I am asking what is so very artistic about ideas; aren’t they but thoughts or opinions that everyone holds the ability to possess? Glancing again, I conclude that the object is not an object of art, and that it is precisely what I initially thought it was a book—just a book. Nothing fancy; nothing special. The book is not aesthetically valuable because it is merely filled with thoughts. Everyone has thoughts, even me. I wonder then, whether or not my thoughts would be considered valuable, and too, the thoughts of everyone. Or, is aesthetic value only held for the very famous, very philosophical, very scientific. And then, I wonder how the so-called famous, philosophical, scientific get to be that way. Are their ideas better than everyone else’s? Generally, I see art—real art—as drawings, paintings, or sculptures. Real art is that of the very elite like Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, or Rembrandt. Then I further conclude that the object does not meet my preconceived notions about art. It is certainly no Rembrandt. It was a given to me as a gift and upon receiving it, I found the cover to be interesting and very visually appealing. However, surveying the cover cannot account for what is inside. It is not an art book, but just a book with words and ideas. A deeper glance and I was beginning to see the book differently. Using the principles of aesthetic reasoning, I decide that aesthetic functionalism would best describe the book. According to our text and the eight aesthetic principles, I determine that
flip to next page  Vonice Berry Philosophy 025 Professor Harrison April 26, 2015 Aesthetic Reasoning  Art and the Thought ...
back next Berry 2 principles one through six, are similar in that they “identify aesthetic value with the capacity to fulfill a function” (Moore and Parker 406). Okay, makes sense—kind of: function, functionalism. But I know there’s more to it, so I read over each of the eight principles carefully and settle on principle five as the one which best describes the object. The object contains the ideas of Tshombe Sekou in his book, Freedom as It Happens and can, in actuality, be regarded as artistic because the speaker shares thoughts that channel meaningful emotion, grant the reader access into an alternate world, and lend accompaniment on a journey beyond subjective experience. Tshombe Sekou’s words are of aesthetic value, which flow as an introspective stream of inspired memories, imparted lessons, and awakened imaginings. In the first stanza of the opening poem “Fear” the speaker seems to search soul and mind, as Tshombe Sekou expresses with: I have no fear of dying for I have survived the trials of life and many of its deaths and reincarnations ignorance is one of them love yet another…as much as self-deception. (Sekou 1, lines 1-5) It seems a memoir in which the reader is invited to recollect the pretentiousness of youth-hood as it is poured forth from a fully developed appreciation for naturalness as a being. Perusing over principle number five again, which, according to our text, is explained as thoughts or ideas that are objects of aesthetic value, “…if they have the capacity to produce certain emotions we value, at least when the emotion is brought about by art rather than life” (Moore and Parker 406). In Sekou’s poem, “Fear” the speaker presents lessons as lucid nudges of wisdom from an adept student of life. Also, as described in Aristotle’s Poetics, in which he analyzes fear to be a feeling we are hesitant about in real life. Eric Gans, in his article “Aesthetics and Cultural Criticism”
back  next  Berry 2 principles one through six, are similar in that they    identify aesthetic value with the capacity to ...
back next Berry 3 writes, “Our relationship to the imaginary world of the artwork oscillates between our participation in the content of that world and our this-worldly return to the sign as its formal basis” (Gans 68). In Sekou’s work, the reader is urged to partake in a perceptive light, radiant and resonant with prolific imagery. In the work—or the art—speaker and reader have become a cohesive entity, at least in the readers mind. In functionalism, according to Jerrold Levinson, “One concept of art [is seen] as tied to the mimesis, imitation, or representation of the external world” (Levinson 5). This is to say that art, as an outlet of expression, can only strive to mimic, or imitate life. In order for the reader to gain access into an alternate world, or the world imitated or recreated as life, by way of the artist—or author’s—expression, we learn that words do more than send and receive information. The words, as our text states, “… that constitute reasons can have an emotive force directing our attention to particular aspects of a work” (Moore and Parker 413). For instance, in Sekou’s Freedom and in the poem entitled “Green” one can feel the emotion of the speaker emulating verve through words that offer up meaning in his thoughts, as Sekou commences in the first line of stanza one, “I / ever tried to explain the color green— subtractive...” (Sekou 40, lines 1-2). Near the end of the poem in the sixth stanza, Sekou writes: mint and evergreen unexplained words too soon spilled from lips; it’s the jaded ugliness of beauty the scar so beautiful it is unblemished (Sekou 41, lines 36-41).
back  next  Berry 3 writes,    Our relationship to the imaginary world of the artwork oscillates between our participation...
back next Berry 4 In such, the speaker’s descriptions replicate something seen, heard, felt—dreamt. But, what are the reasons for such descriptions? Elliot W. Eisner, in the book, The Arts and the Creation of Mind, gives an interesting account for attempting to understand the role of art. In that, humans establish contact with their world or environment and, as Eisner asserts, “That environment is, in its most fundamental state, a qualitative one made up of sights and sounds, tastes and smells that can be experienced through our sensory system” (Eisner 1). The artist/author illustrates the natural world around him with an interest to connect and convey these sensory interpretations. The reason is his adaptation of depictions as stimuli that are, perhaps, his way to approach his own perception of the qualities of an object. Tshombe Sekou’s Freedom as It Happens is the author’s appraisal of depictions, approaches, and perceptions, while the reader is invited along on a journey through the speaker’s thoughts. This creative venture takes shape by way of the observations and sensitivities in the work/art of the author/artist. The speakers within the works aesthetically approach the interpretations by constructing a pathway for the reader to travel through; according to the way the author perceives and connects with the environment around him. In the book, this concept is presented in another poem, “Mulatto Blues” in which Sekou utters, “if you get pas[t] the aesthetics you’d find / a dark lit alley / littered with spit and piss…” (Sekou 52, lines 17-19). Here, the four letter words, although not as offensive as most four letter words, still evoke rather coarse images—even scents. According to Moore and Parker, who affirm in the text that, “These prescribed ways of seeing evoke favorable (or unfavorable) responses or experiences” (413). An explanation of aesthetic value is given in the fifth principle of the eight aesthetic principles, which states that “objects are aesthetically valuable if they provide their audience certain emotions” (canvas chapter outline). Within such, we may be able to recognize how these
back  next  Berry 4 In such, the speaker   s descriptions replicate something seen, heard, felt   dreamt. But, what are th...
back next Berry 5 thoughts and ideas become conveyed as emotions, descriptions and devices of the author’s perception. As we discover ways in which aesthetic reasoning helps in the formulation of judgments, and aesthetic value brings about a functionality of creation and stimulation, we may come to see how principles assist in our appreciation of art. Our object functions to identify the ideas of Tshombe Sekou as artistic. His book of poetry, Freedom as It Happens, supplies an avenue of expression that lets the reader approach the author’s ideas, and to pass through his imagination. Is a book of poems merely a writer’s meandering of thoughts and ideas, or does it hold true artistic value? Perhaps, aesthetic reasoning is helpful in this aspect. However, and ultimately, these questions can be better answered as we learn to analyze art with reason, as a way to make more sound judgments about various objects.
back  next  Berry 5 thoughts and ideas become conveyed as emotions, descriptions and devices of the author   s perception....
back next Berry 6 Works Cited Eisner, Elliot W. The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Harrisonburg: Yale University Press, 2002. Print. Gans, Eric. "Aesthetics and Cultural Criticism." boundary 2 25.1, Thinking through Art: Aesthetic Agency and Global Modernity (1998): 67-85. Web. 25 April 2015. . Levinson, Jerrold. The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics. Oxford university Press, 2003. Print. Moore, Brooke N and Richard Parker. Critical Thinking. 11th. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. Print. Sekou, Tshombe. Freedom as It Happens. Yokosuka: Emet Productions, 2014. Print.
back  next  Berry 6 Works Cited Eisner, Elliot W. The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Harrisonburg  Yale University Press, ...