In response to: Jeroen van der Most.

Hi Sabine,

It’s been quite a while, but to take the time for this is not necessarily a bad thing :). In response to our conversation:

Maybe it’s good to give a bit more detail about what inspiration is to me. I created the visual below with a more detailed definition that also shows the relation of inspiration to the four characteristics of artworks I mentioned. Plus, a person confronted with the artwork. In my opinion, good artworks inspire. The more the better. Art pieces inspire because they score high on the four characteristics to someone confronted with the artwork.

* This definition comes from a study by Trash & Elliot (Inspiration as a Psychological Construct, 2003)*, who used the Oxford English Dictionary and a broader study of literature about inspiration to conceptualize it.

Based on this I’ll respond to some to your input.

YES! But perhaps I have misunderstood: “When they are inspired, it is art.’ This implies to me that the essence of art is for it to be ‘inspiring.’ However, looking back at your text now, it suggests a necessary balance between the four factors in order to render art inspiring, or to constitute a good work of art. Did I understand that correctly?

>> The four characteristics determine the inspirational value of an artwork. In which a high value makes a good artwork in my opinion. So I think we’re agreeing to some extent, although inspiring to me is the essence of what an artwork should do. An ideal artwork would score high on all four factors. An artwork that scores low on one or more of the characteristics, could compensate for that by scoring high on other characteristic(s) and in that way still be an inspiring artwork.

 I cannot say I fully agree; a simple rock can be incredibly inspiring to me as well.

>> In my view a stone could be inspiring to someone and in that sense art. Although it is unlikely that it would have that kind of effect on someone. It would have to have a rational or emotional impact, or show for example craftsmanship, which seems improbable.

A casserole could inspire me to cook; can both be considered art? You could refute this idea by addressing the fact that a stone is not an artefact, of course. But what about cooking?

>> If you would get the idea to cook a normal diner, I would not really call that inspiring. Inspiration involves “transcendence of the ordinary” or some feeling, action or impulse of an “exalted kind”. Just getting the idea to cook another diner would be too ordinary to call inspiration 🙂 I would probably call some haute cuisine art though.

And to what degree does the space in which we encounter art play a role?

>> I would see the space in which art is presented as Context, one of the 4 characteristics, an important aspect of art. To me as a beholder and probably most other people, seeing an art piece in the context of for example a museum increases it’s inspirational impact compared to seeing it somewhere else.

Or its intention? Is a painting made by a three-year-old child art? If an elephant makes a painting with its trunk, is that art? Does art lose its significance if we subject it to a very broad definition?

>> For every person that which is inspiring (i.e. influences rational or emotional impact, context or perceived craftsmanship) can be different. If a painting would be made by a three-year-old or elephant, that in itself to me is not important. On the contrary, the ideas of a child might be very intriguing. I’d doubt very much however if the art of a three-year-old would have for example signs of good craftsmanship.

I experience a work of art very differently when I know that it is a replica, for example, even though my first aesthetic reaction was that I liked it. Now that I know it’s origin ( a replica or made by a two year old toddler instead of Pollock) it influences my experience of the artwork.

For example, I’d experience a work of art differently if I knew I was looking at a replica — even when I would have found it beautiful initially. Knowing it’s a replica (or a Pollock rendition by a two-year-old toddler) influences the way I experience an artwork.

>> Yes I understand. To me the quality of for example a Van Gogh is highly dependent on the context of time: Van Gogh painted reality in a particular way for the first time ever in history. If someone would just repaint it now, the whole contextual value is gone. Which makes it a much weaker artwork.

Even in the absence of knowing who is the maker, or where a painting has come from, we still maintain a concept of the image; the concept of what is a painting, and a certain expectation coupled with encountering an artwork. This psychological level, where concepts and expectations play an important role, is surpassed in this instance. Nonetheless, in my experience, it constitutes a vital element when considering the value of art.

>> I think this probably is quite in line with the framework and not ignored by it. It’s the artwork beholder that determines / receives the rational and emotional impact, and perceives the artwork’s context and craftsmanship. This could differ among people confronted with a piece.

What kind of attitude do you expect from your audience in order to catch on to this energy?

>> Probably just attention. That’s it. “Inspiration is evoked rather than initiated directly through an act”.

Once I read something about a drudgingly tedious dance piece, which caused the audience to swiftly abandon the act instead of remaining seated. Is it not precisely these kinds of things for which we should muster attention and contemplation, regardless of whether it inspires us or not? Sometimes reflection suffices, or to absorb the maker’s intention without having to do anything with it.

>> If I would see the boring play in a museum, to me this might still be a good, inspiring artwork, because it could trigger a rational response: thinking of why or why not this could be considered an artwork and why it is in a museum. It might also still have signs of good craftsmanship, for example a beautiful decor. In my opinion something that doesn’t trigger any response could not be considered an art piece. It’s a quite hypothetical example though, something in a museum that does not trigger any response is quite unimaginable.

It is not so much about AI as it is about the role of new technologies in the creation of art. The issue at hand is that some of these methods are so novel that the question remains unclear within the research. The question, and its answer, are eclipsed by a new combination of cross disciplinary methods. Its results — in the form of a work of art, a performance, or other — are often so inspiring that that we forget the process and the premise. Are the intentions and methods less important, and merely instrumental in directing our attention towards what is ‘inspiring’ about the work, in order to encroach limitations and discover new possibilities?

>> I do see the pitfall that using new technology just for the sake of doing something new does not always lead to good artworks. Great creation does not always follow strict question-research setups though. How strongly intent and method are judged as being important could differ per person. I realise that I’m probably in the range of those who judge them as quite insignificant 🙂

Speak to you soon,

Grts

Jeroen

Image by Jeroen van der Most: Flexible Form close up animation EM