Not a Particularly Amusing Aesthetics Post. -Aiden
I was going to present but while writing the script/speech/lyrics or words, I realized I wouldn’t be able to remember them all. So this will be just like that but you read it in my place, and maybe a cow will be in it.
My main questions were: what is beauty, what is art, what is an aesthetic experience.
My main source of criteria for an aesthetic experience came from the two column chart in the aesthetics workbook.
So. My version of aesthetics is closest to Beardsley’s. His theory revolves around the criteria of.
Attention fixed on field
Release from temporal concerns
Object set at emotional distance
Sense of personal integration and self expansion
And active exercise of powers to meet challenges.
I agree with Beardsley on the whole. However, I believe his view is rather narrow. his criteria is too exact. Both Csikszentmihalyi’s flow experience and Beardsley traditional theory seem to focus on challenges faced and overcome. I disagree. I believe, in a general sense, an aesthetic experience is when you mentally take a step back and appreciate what you’re sensing. When you’re at the bus stopand see fog rolling in over the snow tinted Rockies. When you head home from SFU and see the place where the earth meets the sky. When you have some really tasty b b q. Freshly brewed coffee, perfect steak, beautiful music, a nice view n stuff. If you can stop and appreciate your senses, and what you sense is extraordinary, then it’s an aesthetic experience.
This is similar to Beardsley, but replacing challenges with appreciation.
I feel like I should broaden my definition of appreciate here. I see the verb “appreciate” as firstly, appreciating what you sense. Either viewing the world on a larger scale, or perhaps appreciating something you wouldn’t ordinarily, like the detail of moss. Maybe you appreciate the difficulty of what you or someone has done, as in Mr. C’s theory.
K moving on. My theory of what is beauty is connected to my theory of aesthetic experience. Something beautiful is confined to the senses of sight and sound. You can see a beautiful view, hear a beautiful harmony, but you can’t rub beautiful rust. Can’t sniff beautiful odours, or beautiful food. Again, beauty counts as something that you can appreciate, perhaps something which triggers introspection and uh. Extrospection?. Outside stuff.
Hence art would be something man, but beautiful. Art is a representation of something beyond itself. So a painting of a woman, or a happy little trees are art, because they are a representation of something else. A screaming man, a melting clock, a swirl of stars, they are art. This is key. A ponytail nailed to a board is not art. Splatter paintings are not art. A cows head being eaten by flies or 90 tins of human feces are not art.
Just to be clear, it must be a representation. A hunky bro, a towering sequoia, they are not art on their own.
An aesthetic experience is when you do or sense something which makes you appreciate.
Beauty is an aspect of something you see or hear which you can appreciate.
Art is a representation made by man or something beautiful.