Unit 1 – What is Art?

For this unit, we were asked to watch and provide our outlooks on various YouTube videos regarding the subject matter ‘Art’. The first video I watched – I surprisingly enjoyed. The video takes the form of a traditional, lecture-based what is artpresentation depicting a particularly interesting outlook on Art. The lecturer; Bostein, explains how ‘Art transforms the everyday’ and that it is a ‘fingerprint of our existence’. With this point, I agree. When I really delved into the phenomenon of ‘what is art’, I realised that we are consumed by art, and as Bostein states; art does transform the everyday. It develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. It teaches learning from ones mistakes, risk taking and being creative. Without art, some people could be unemployed, and without passion and creativeness. Bostein also goes onto describe that art helps us ‘escape limitations’, and that we find ‘imaginary worlds’ through it. I agree with this point immensely because a lot of pieces of art stem from imagination and are produced as surrealist pieces. Without such pieces of art, our imagination is just in our brains – whereas art enables us to express our thoughts and feelings and lets us see them. Not only does Bostein look at art through the perspective of everyday life, he also delved back to historical times. When I was listening to his thoughts on history and art, it made me think that art is eternal and that creativity and self expression have always been fundamental to our humanity. Dating back to the earliest expressions of art – where art was recorded in petroglyph’s, cave paintings, and ancient sculptures – art has always been there. Even children; some of the earliest things they do is draw. Art is a part of humanity.
Finally, Bostein ended the digital lecture with an idea that really got me thinking. He referred to art being an ‘artificial manipulation of our sensibilities through the work of an artist’, which, before now, I had never really thought about. We tend to get caught up in the illusion of realism. Take watching a TV series for example. We’re so caught up in the make believe story-lines that we feel as if it is real. I know there have been many occasions where I’ve watched ‘Eastenders’ and cried at the death of a character. The death isn’t real, yet the artificial manipulation creates an illusion of realism – therefore making us feel sympathy.
Overall, I was surprised to enjoy this digital lecture as much as I did. At a first glance, I thought it would be quite a dull and not very captivating outlook on art, but I found myself getting very engrossed with some of the points that Bostein made.

I did enjoy the second and third videos, but not as much as Bostein’s digital lecture. The second video was by Steven Johnson on ‘where good ideas come from’. To be completely honest, I enjoyed the style and presentation of his theories a lot more than his actual views on art. Johnson adapts a captivating style, where he draws his ideas as he is speaking them out loud. I enjoyed watching it because the more ideas he accumulated; the more drawings were created. In effect, he also produces art whilst he shares his views on it.

Lastly, I then watched Rhett and Link’s ‘Is this Art’ YouTube video, which was broadcasted on their Daily TV Show. Out of all three videos, I found this one the artleast effective as I think Rhett and Link’s views were very biased, and a bit too ‘try-hard’ with finding humour in the art pieces. However, as much as I found their comments quite tedious, I do feel the approach they took to art probably relates to what a lot of viewers think when they view certain pieces of art. Essentially, they would find a piece of art, and debate whether or not they thought it deserved to be classed as art. I have to admit that some pieces; I did agree with their ratings, so I feel that maybe their approach was done to connect with people who don’t really delve into the deeper reasons behind the art work and provide a kind of whimsical view.
In my opinion, it was good to see three different approaches to ‘what is Art’, but I definitely enjoyed Rhett and Link’s video the least. I think it was a bit too unnecessarily comical, in that they would find exaggerated humour in pieces that they did not believe to fit into the definition of art. So I found this view quite biased.

I watched the other videos, and found myself not finding much interest in the points that were made. So I chose to just give a short outlook on my thoughts regarding the three videos above. I thoroughly enjoyed this task, as art has always been something very important to me, so it was interesting to see other points of view and really get me engaging with some of the ideas.


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