The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

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The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby Asparagus on January 1st, 2018, 6:01 pm 

In this thread, I'll explore Heidegger's The Origin of the Work of Art. As my first guide, I'm using this article I found in the JSTOR:

Heidegger and the Origin of the Work of Art: An Explication
Author(s): Robert B. Stulberg
Source: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Winter, 1973), pp.
257-265
Published by: Wiley on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics

The Origin of the Work of Art was published in 1950. It's based on lectures Heidegger gave in the mid-30's. In it, his epistemology and ontology are exercised, plus we get to see how he dealt with a paradox which might give us a sense of how he thought in general.

So to begin, Heidegger show what's actually wrapped up in the title of the essay: what is the origin of a work of art? It seems obvious that it's the artist. But couldn't we just as easily say the artist is the product of the artwork? I think I spy something Hegelian here, because art is now appearing as a complex of interdependent entities.

So he asks what we can know about the essence of art (the origin of both artists and artworks.) A paradox appears. If we look to individual works, we can't know their essence without knowing the essence of art. And we can't know the essence of art without knowing the essence of the individual works of art.

Next time: What is a thing?
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby dandelion on January 1st, 2018, 7:40 pm 

Very interesting op, look forward to reading more of this thread.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby BadgerJelly on January 2nd, 2018, 1:38 am 

What annoys me, and has always annoyed me, about Heidegger is he comes up with a title like "The Origin of the Work of Art", then quickly changes the title in the first few lines and acts like he has addressed the agenda of the title.

If you think I am being needlessly critical this is the FIRST line (take this into consideration regarding the choice of title):

Origin here means that from where and through which a thing is what it is and how it is.


So really the title is chosen as a means to confuse and confound the reader rather than give them an idea about what he is talking about. It seems to me the title should read "What is a Work of Art", because that is really what he is asking and likely trying to create the façade of answering by not actually making any real effort of clarity.

The next lines go as follows:

That which something is, as it is, we call its nature [Wesen]. The origin of something we call its nature. The question of the origin of art asks about the source of its nature.


Let me break this down for you ... He states he is going to investigate what a work of art is and how it functions in human life. Then he says what it is, is its nature, and the source of its nature is the artist.

Again, there is no need to say any of this. We can simply ignore his nonsensical use of language and ask "What is a Work of Art?", "How do we create a Work of Art?", and "What function does the Work of Art perform in human life?"

See? No need for obtuse language and hiding behind words. Doe she make any reasonable headway into these investigations? Well, no. He talks rubbish - or as he terms it he took " a roundabout route" - for several pages and then says he has been talking rubbish to show that it is rubbish (something he does in Being and Time a few times.)

When reading Heidegger I recommend reading the first few lines and untangling the mess then jumping to the last paragraph of that section to see the kind of games he plays. Often reading whole chapters of his are completely futile, so its easier to skip to the last paragraph and see if you understand the direction from the first few lines. If not only then should you bother to read the filler between for clarity - of which you'll likely find none whatsoever (eg. Dasein is NEVER defined by Heidegger in a consistent manner because he continually does with his own terminology what he does with more common worded phrases (see the example of this above with the title of this work.)

Later on he makes some interesting claims:

The essence of all art is poetry


I think this is perhaps the most interesting thing he say to say in this work. It is still purposefully disingenuous and meant to trick the reader though. He should just have said what he meant, which is "ART" as we talk about it, produces its meaning. So we refer to "ART" because we communicate to each other through speech what is makes us think and feel like. This is a very important and powerful point, but one sadly hidden among a sludge of obtuse, lackadaisical verbosity (Yes, I'm being ironic!)

So really we can take away four questions from this work and then put it in the bin.

1) What is a Work of Art?
2) How do we create a Work of Art?
3) What function does a Work of Art perform in human life?
4) How Art is framed in human experience through verbal communication?

Just to be clear Heidegger does little more than make a covetous attempt to hide the simplicity of the questions in order to cover up his inablilty to say anything of serious use about them in a clear manner.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby Asparagus on January 2nd, 2018, 9:12 am 

I think it meant something different to each of us. That's cool.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby BadgerJelly on January 2nd, 2018, 10:05 am 

Asparagus » January 2nd, 2018, 9:12 pm wrote:I think it meant something different to each of us. That's cool.


Whatever it means to you please express it.

I certainly do not think every part of a philosophical text should be open to several different interpretations and be written so each reader can apply their own meaning to it. If that was the case there would be no point in reading it because there would be no inherent meaning or intent on the part of the writer.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby Asparagus on January 2nd, 2018, 11:45 am 

@Badger

Well, it's not like there's some philosophy police who prosecutes wrong interpretations. It's business as usual for people to take philosophical works in different ways. Whether or not that's a problem is a matter of personalities (as dandelion mentioned).

I once did a painting of a woman whose head was a giant lightbulb. She was sitting on the floor and an electric cord came out of her bellybutton and plugged into a socket in the floor. The light from her head mingled with light shining down from above.

A person saw this painting and then met me. She asked me what it meant, but before I could come up with an answer (I didn't have one), she launched into an epic story of what it meant to her. I became fascinated by this truth that she had found in my painting. I learned something about art that day: that it's not just about me and my art: other people are part of the whole thing.

There's no time like reading Heidegger to stop thinking that it's important to understand what the author intended. Just become aware of the truth that opens up to you (in the same way a person becomes aware of the sights and sounds around them.)

But anyway, as I said in the OP, there is something Hegelian about the title of the OWA. Or maybe Merleau-Ponty: an artist becomes an artist by creating artwork. It's mystical sounding language, but it's a simple insight. creator and created are interdependent. But Heidegger is saying that in the case of artist and artwork the two don't rest solely upon each other. I think he's alluding the part the rest of society plays in it. As with my story about the woman with the lightbulb-head, if I had just kept the painting in my basement, it would have just remained a dormant seed. It blossomed in somebody else's being. Does that make sense?
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby BadgerJelly on January 2nd, 2018, 12:41 pm 

Asparagus -

Well, yes of course it makes sense. He doesn't actually say anything though. He poses a question and doesn't seem to answer it. Instead he just states what a fascinating question it is.

This is a shorter, more precise, and wholly more beautiful line of reasoning:

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wilde/oscar/dorian/preface.html

What Heidegger fails to say clearly in fifty pages Wilde surpasses in one.

Don't get me wrong. I do like parts of what Heidegger wrote. I just find the majority of what he wrote to be needlessly obtuse and he'd have saved his readers a lot of time if he'd made his point then explained it for those who needed it explaining, rather than explain his point before making it (I've seen this in other works too, I just get frustrated with Heidegger because I believe he was talking about important ideas.)

note: There is likely something about his work I don't understand. I am not inclined to spend too much time going over all his work though because I find better purchase elsewhere. So if you can reveal more about his work I'd be glad to hear more - especially Being and Time.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby Asparagus on January 2nd, 2018, 12:55 pm 

@Badger
It sounds like he's really not your cup of tea. Remember you said that you felt a connection to Husserl because the way you are naturally? I'm that way about this particular essay. He's speaking my language for the most part. Some of what he's saying is not at all unique. It's in Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhauer, and a few more. He just puts it in a way that nails it. I wonder if that's just because he's closer to me in time than those others.

Don't know. But I won't be offended at all if you get off at this stop. I get it. :D I might explain a few more things about "things" and then leave it at that.
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Re: The Origin of the Work of Art -- Heidegger

Postby BadgerJelly on January 3rd, 2018, 1:01 am 

This is very much part of what I am "studying"/"researching" at the moment.

I'm not going to get off anytime soon. I'll be here to hammer away at what you say. Up to now you've not said a whole lot.

I've presented how needlessly obtuse he is and how he doesn't address his own question, merely hides it and pretends by hiding it he's said something meaningful (which I really don't see that he has other than the interesting remark about poetry - in which he is likely talking about "language" and being the descriptor of "art" and therefore enters into circular reasoning.)
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