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Arts, Volume 11, Issue 4 (August 2022) – 12 articles

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Article
Unsure Theory: Ambivalence as Methodology
Arts 2022, 11(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040078 - 18 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Ambivalence is often regarded as a ‘negative’ emotion—an ‘ugly feeling’ as Sianne Ngai outlines—where not knowing and being unsure are seen as suspicious or mentally unhealthy. In this article, I outline the initial exploratory stage of the development of a new affective theory [...] Read more.
Ambivalence is often regarded as a ‘negative’ emotion—an ‘ugly feeling’ as Sianne Ngai outlines—where not knowing and being unsure are seen as suspicious or mentally unhealthy. In this article, I outline the initial exploratory stage of the development of a new affective theory that I have termed ‘Unsure Theory’, in which ambivalence is observed as a mobile and aporetic state that, from an individual perspective, embraces the holding of multiple contradictory personal opinions. Unsure Theory also outlines ambivalence as an appropriate contemporary, meta-modernist response to late stage capitalism, our current socio-political moment, and its often negative impact on mental health. The aesthetics of ambivalence is explored through embracing a hesitant vernacular, an oscillating humorous, dry and ironic to sincere tone, and an internal, anecdotal first person voice that often addresses the reader. This exploration of Unsure Theory operates in an adjacent, feminist lineage of, and in homage to, Sad Girl Theory, as coined by writer, critic and artist Audrey Wollen, and Sick Woman Theory, by artist, writer and musician Johanna Hedva, as well as Lauren Fournier’s critical responses to both. Written within the genre of art writing and in reference to my own interdisciplinary creative practice, this article exemplifies autotheoretical writing as an extension of contemporary visual art practice. This article is partially situated within my own personal experience of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from 2020–2022 and reading the autotheoretical novel Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles at the beginning of 2021. Through unpacking these personal experiences, I begin to outline an argument for embracing ambivalence, particularly within autotheoretical practice, where Unsure Theory seeks to repoliticise uncertainty towards a new generative, critical and personal perspective on not knowing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autotheory in Contemporary Visual Arts Practice)
Article
Region-Based Approaches in Robotic Painting
Arts 2022, 11(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040077 - 11 Aug 2022
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Abstract
An important aspect of robotic painting is replicating human painting techniques on machines, in order to automatically produce artwork or to interact with a human painter. Usually, painterly rendering techniques are transferred to the machine, and strokes are used as the basic building [...] Read more.
An important aspect of robotic painting is replicating human painting techniques on machines, in order to automatically produce artwork or to interact with a human painter. Usually, painterly rendering techniques are transferred to the machine, and strokes are used as the basic building block of an image, as they can easily be mapped to the robot. In contrast, we propose to consider regions as a basic primitive to achieve more human-like results and to make the painting process more modular. We analyze the works of Kadinsky, Mondrian, Delaunay, and van Gogh to show the basis of region-based techniques in the real world and then transfer them to an automatic context. We introduce different types of region primitives and show procedures for how to realize them on our painting machine e-David, capable of painting with visual feedback. Finally, we present machine-created artwork by painting automatically generated sets of shapes in the styles of various artists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Review of Machine Art)
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Article
Emotions in the Psychology of Aesthetics
Arts 2022, 11(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040076 - 09 Aug 2022
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Abstract
Ever since Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) introduced the concept of aesthetics, the prevailing idea has been that the fine arts provide an alternative source of knowledge to the traditional sciences. Art, however, has always been closely associated with emotions. Taking Baumgarten’s treatise on [...] Read more.
Ever since Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) introduced the concept of aesthetics, the prevailing idea has been that the fine arts provide an alternative source of knowledge to the traditional sciences. Art, however, has always been closely associated with emotions. Taking Baumgarten’s treatise on poetry as a point of departure, I argue that Baumgarten laid the ground for a conception of art that emphasizes emotion rather than cognition with a particular appeal to psychology to provide principles of aesthetic appreciation of art. This appeal is met here with a phenomenological discussion of a series of precepts within contemporary emotion theories, which provides the necessary and sufficient conditions for a psychological theory of aesthetic appreciation of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Theory and Psychological Aesthetics)
Article
Holding Our Nerves—Experiments in Dispersed Collective Silence, Waking Sleep and Autotheoretical Confession
Arts 2022, 11(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040075 - 05 Aug 2022
Viewed by 292
Abstract
As part of my practice-based research, I host a monthly radio show based on the principle of ‘waking sleep’, resulting in a largely silent experiment in dispersed communion with an audience. Silence—though frowned upon in standard broadcasting—has long been a feature of artworks [...] Read more.
As part of my practice-based research, I host a monthly radio show based on the principle of ‘waking sleep’, resulting in a largely silent experiment in dispersed communion with an audience. Silence—though frowned upon in standard broadcasting—has long been a feature of artworks from Marina Abramović (1973–present), to John Cage’s 4′33 (1952), to Gillian Wearing’s Sixty MinutesSilence (1996). The power of collective silence is harnessed by many doctrines: in Quaker meetings for worship, in the practice of Zen Buddhism, and in the Memorial observance of a minute’s silence. The practice of ‘waking sleep’ was coined by Ned Hallowell M.D. as a means of refreshing the brain and combatting the effects of ADHD. It is simply the act of letting the mind wander, without feeding it the next dopamine hit from a stimulant like a conversation or screen-scroll. Holding My Nerve is a radio show, and an ongoing autotheoretical artwork. It is part-field recording, part-endurance performance, and tracks my research process as it evolves. Using transcripts of the show, diaristic writing, and reflections on art history and my past works, this article explores the often-fraught relationships between autotheory, visual art, neurodivergence, and practice-based research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autotheory in Contemporary Visual Arts Practice)
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Article
After the Wave, the Flood? Finding a New Autonomy and Relation to Work
Arts 2022, 11(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040074 - 02 Aug 2022
Viewed by 478
Abstract
How do changes in the perception of the arts stemming from activism, government policies, precarity and the ongoing crises unfolding in the world affect the autonomy of the artist? In this article, I analyse three cases of young and emerging theatre makers in [...] Read more.
How do changes in the perception of the arts stemming from activism, government policies, precarity and the ongoing crises unfolding in the world affect the autonomy of the artist? In this article, I analyse three cases of young and emerging theatre makers in Flanders and Brussels that each deal with the economic, social precarity of the arts, as well as the general precarious state of the world. Camping Sunset, Ne Mosquito Pas, and Anna Franziska Jäger and Nathan Ooms each explore new ways of maintaining autonomy, be it by collective collaboration, creating a network and an aesthetics of failures and cynicism or a performance of overpositivity and a revaluation of the comic. My claim is that these artists find autonomy in the ‘making’ of a work itself, placing poetics back at heart of artistic work instead of performance. I argue that their poetics can be described as a poetics of inoperativity (Agamben), which places resistance and criticality on the level of making theatre and performance itself instead of making large societal claims. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flemish Art: Past and Present)
Article
Embroidering the Life of Thomas Becket during the Middle Ages: Cult and Devotion in Liturgical Vestments
Arts 2022, 11(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040073 - 27 Jul 2022
Viewed by 313
Abstract
From the early studies of Tancred Borenius (1885–1948) to the present, the iconography of the archbishop Thomas Becket has drawn attention among scholars. Numerous studies have been published on the representation of Becket’s martyrdom in mural painting, sculpture, and reliquary caskets. Despite this [...] Read more.
From the early studies of Tancred Borenius (1885–1948) to the present, the iconography of the archbishop Thomas Becket has drawn attention among scholars. Numerous studies have been published on the representation of Becket’s martyrdom in mural painting, sculpture, and reliquary caskets. Despite this attention, many questions concerning the selection of episodes embroidered in liturgical vestments and textiles, as well as the commissioning of these objects, remain unresolved. How devotion to Becket spread globally in the Western world has not yet been satisfactorily determined, and there may have been a number of different factors and transmitters. Thus, medieval embroidery could also have been a driving force behind the development and the dissemination of Becket’s cult—notably in the ecclesiastical and, more specifically, episcopal milieu across the Latin Church. This type of production quickly reached ecclesiastical patrons, who were interested in the opportunity of wearing a headpiece or vestments (copes and chasubles) that would serve as reminders of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was the perfect opportunity for a papal curia that, since Alexander III, had tasked itself with promoting Thomas Becket’s legacy, integrating the saint within Christian martyrial history and within a history of a militant Church. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue St. Thomas Becket in Art: Image, Patronage and Propaganda)
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Article
The Memories of Journeys: Spatialization of Time in Wong Kar-wai’s Nostalgic Films
Arts 2022, 11(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040072 - 20 Jul 2022
Viewed by 273
Abstract
There is usually an agenda behind the rewriting of history. As an acclaimed Hong Kong director, Wong Kar-wai has made several nostalgic films set in 1960s Hong Kong, namely, Days of Being Wild (1990), In the Mood for Love (2000), and 2046 (2004). [...] Read more.
There is usually an agenda behind the rewriting of history. As an acclaimed Hong Kong director, Wong Kar-wai has made several nostalgic films set in 1960s Hong Kong, namely, Days of Being Wild (1990), In the Mood for Love (2000), and 2046 (2004). Relating to Hong Kongers’ anxiety over the 1997 handover, Wong’s films are part of a wider symptomatic cultural phenomenon in Hong Kong cinema. In his nostalgic films, time is often spatialized. With his constant interest in mobile space, such as hotels and trains, he creates an alternative perspective to question the grand narrative of history. In his reconstruction of the past, there is never any cultural purity or origin to revisit. Rather, the past is presented with itinerant characters, mobile space, and cultural ambivalence, enabling multiple narratives of history. Focusing on the use of space, this paper analyzes how Wong’s films engender a reflective form of nostalgia, and challenge both official history and the linear concept of time. Wong’s nostalgia, I argue, is not only a response to Hong Kong politics, but also a paradigmatic text illustrating nostalgic writing’s resistance to official historical discourses. Full article
Editorial
Introduction: The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games
Arts 2022, 11(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040071 - 11 Jul 2022
Viewed by 351
Abstract
We live in a world of adaptation, and a failure to study that world means we must ignore an increasingly important part of contemporary culture [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Article
Physical and Metaphysical Visualities: Vasily Rozanov and Historical Artefacts
Arts 2022, 11(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040070 - 06 Jul 2022
Viewed by 356
Abstract
In Russian modernism, the work of writer Vasily Rozanov (1856–1919) presents an understudied case of constructing a worldview based on the study of the parallel history of human physicality and artefacts, which he articulated within the framework of the physical and metaphysical. I [...] Read more.
In Russian modernism, the work of writer Vasily Rozanov (1856–1919) presents an understudied case of constructing a worldview based on the study of the parallel history of human physicality and artefacts, which he articulated within the framework of the physical and metaphysical. I argue that Rozanov widened the domain of what was viewed as “compelling visuality” at his time, in line with the subjective synthesising principles of his worldview. He looked in art for the manifestations of that which he considered to be eternal and trans-historical: the mystery of the metaphysical roots of human sexuality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Slavic and Eastern-European Visuality: Modernity and Tradition)
Article
A Son of Nikon or Nikon Victorious: A New Inscription on a Fragment of a Pseudo Panathenaic Amphora
Arts 2022, 11(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040069 - 05 Jul 2022
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Recently, an inscribed fragment of a closed vase made of buff pinkish clay, covered with a red-orange wash, 11.8 cm wide and 8.4 cm high, and decorated with black, lustrous clay-paint surfaced briefly on the Swiss art market. It preserves a small section [...] Read more.
Recently, an inscribed fragment of a closed vase made of buff pinkish clay, covered with a red-orange wash, 11.8 cm wide and 8.4 cm high, and decorated with black, lustrous clay-paint surfaced briefly on the Swiss art market. It preserves a small section of the black tongue pattern on the shoulder and a wide black strip separating ornament and a panel with a straight glossy black line angled upwards; and the incomplete inscription TONIKONO[… . This paper endeavours to place the inscription and the name Nikon in a wider context and to examine the use of Pseudo-Panathenaic Amphorae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A 10-Year Journey of Arts)
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Article
Can There Be Such a Thing as a Sociology of Works of Art and Literary Texts? A Very French Epistemological Debate
Arts 2022, 11(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040068 - 30 Jun 2022
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Abstract
Is it possible to undertake a sociological analysis of works of art? This article considers the arguments for both the negative and positive answers to this question that emerged in France in a vivid manner at the turn of the millennium. It examines [...] Read more.
Is it possible to undertake a sociological analysis of works of art? This article considers the arguments for both the negative and positive answers to this question that emerged in France in a vivid manner at the turn of the millennium. It examines the main arguments exchanged by the supporters and detractors of this sub-discipline of the sociology of art, notably those relating to the problem of interpretation (how does one verify this process sociologically when it is applied to a work of art?) and to the ways of presenting evidence. The discussion of these various arguments does not lead to the conclusion that it is impossible to explore heuristically the sociology of artworks in a pertinent way but to an insistence on heightened vigilance and to the formulation of certain principles for the use of sociologists who engage with such objects, if sometimes without the requisite caution. Full article
Article
Landscape Projection and Its Technological Use in Conceptualising Places and Architecture
Arts 2022, 11(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11040067 - 27 Jun 2022
Viewed by 608
Abstract
The manipulation of landscape and the technological use of its views can be a strategy for place-making and a way of creating architecture and making it original. The methods used for this can be different, for example, by mechanically revealing and obscuring views, [...] Read more.
The manipulation of landscape and the technological use of its views can be a strategy for place-making and a way of creating architecture and making it original. The methods used for this can be different, for example, by mechanically revealing and obscuring views, optical or film projection, directing the viewer to specific frames, using mirrors, etc. This approach is alternative and somewhat in opposition to the natural incorporation of the object into the landscape. In modernism, different architectural views of the surroundings were tested and used differently. These experiences are now transposed to contemporary architectural objects thanks to technological developments and the scenographic shaping of space. The article refers to the sources of transferring landscape views in popular dioramas and the effects of the development of photography, cinematography, and IT media. It describes the possible consequences of perceiving such a created landscape and more general—the world. An example of such a means of expression being fully and consciously taken is the now-defunct Charles de Beistegui Paris apartment. It was designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in 1929–1931. The apartment was selected for analysing as a case study and confronted with contemporary realisations that use various creative techniques involving the landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Review of Machine Art)
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