Posts Tagged ‘Studio Art Pedagogy’

Recognition Within Art

March 13, 2011

            For some time now I have been bandying around certain co incidentals, never quite able to clearly understand the correlation. Jacques Ranciere’s juxtaposition of aesthetics and politics hinges primarily on dissensus. Dissensus is used both in comprehending politics as well as aesthetics (“And, in particular, the sensible pertaining to art and that pertaining to the beautiful only ever conjoin in the mode of ‘the dissensual’, since art cannot but know and to will, while the beautiful can only be thought of as that which does not result from knowledge or will.” The Use of Distinctions pg. 211 Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics). The political is understood in terms of the demos, and the role played therein by equality (“From the moment that the word equality is inscribed in the texts of laws and on the pediments of buildings; from the moment that a state institutes procedures of equality under a common law or an equal counting of votes, there is an effectiveness of politics, even if that effectiveness is subordinated to a police principle of distribution of identities, places and functions.” The Use of Distinctions pg. 207). Ranciere originates/ elaborates his understanding of equality with The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. This interpretation of the equality of intelligence forms the basis of communication between the demos, equality and politics. This description may bleed over into the art/aesthetic interpretation (“since art cannot but know and to will”) but that tack comes across as rather incomplete (and unsatisfying). With aesthetics, Ranciere’s tack is to reconfigures western art history in order to distinguish what he terms Art (in the singular and with a capital). He dwells extensively on the aesthetic regime of art (part of this reconfiguration) which makes Art possible (comprehensible). Equality of intelligence contributes to the comprehension of the workings of democracy and politics (within a democracy) but it does little to help grasp the workings of Art within the aesthetic regime (Why Emma Bovary Had To Be Killed). Indeed, the “equality” found in the aesthetics has more to do with representation, what can be said, and how. The agency aspect of intelligence, its subjectivity, and by extension the equality, is rather marginal to the account given of the aesthetic regime and Art. The analogous relationship seems to come unraveled here. We can’t seem to trace it back to a wonderful narrative like The Ignorant Schoolmaster. Or can we?

            Ranciere recognizes the classical distinction made between technique and creativity with regard to art (collectively and without a capital). With technique, equality cannot be posited since hierarchy is fundamental to definition (greater or lesser proficiency). But with creativity something else is at play (literally play). For Jacotot, that the mother tongue was learned by all without “a master explicator” was reason enough for an equality of intelligence. In like manner creativity is manifest early on by all. What is not present, the lack of which gives rise to the western distinction of Art Stars and those who abhor any association with art, is the one who recognizes (to paraphrase, a master recognizer). Like the Jacototean interpretation of intelligence, creativity cannot be taught and does not rely on an other (who appropriately dispenses creative capacity). It can be developed (Gasp!) but not necessarily through the required presence of a “master” (of creativity). With this interpretation, there is an equality of creativity. Recognition underwrites and insures the reproduction of academically educated art and artists. At its inception during the Renaissance, the academy primarily focused its attention on the development of technical skill (greater or lesser proficiency). Within the aesthetic regime, and Art (with its ontology of everything-can-be-anything, and the uniqueness, isolation and “separateness” of the art experience), a slippage has occurred with regard the required necessity of the schools in fostering the technical and their new role as adjudicators of creativity. Small wonder that so many abhor association with Art; that there is so much dissension to the policing of what is deemed Art and what is not.

            This subject is certainly worth revisiting again.