Philosophy of Art (Fall 2002)

Professor Arisaka


Project Proposal and Outline Suggestions

Select ONE approach from below (or, if you have a project of your own in mind, let me know)

A.  Further Explorations of the Question, “What is Art?”

1.  Select a medium of your choice (music, visual arts, performance, architecture, literary work, etc)
2.  Make an in-depth analysis, using 5-10 pieces, to illustrate your theory of art (Try to articulate an answer to the question, “What is Art,” in your own way.)
3.  Refer to or use as many of the authors we have covered.
(Example:  Perhaps your answer to the question, “What is Art?” is something like Tolstoy: “Art is Communication of Feeling.”  Maybe you would make an album consisting of all the artworks you think convey this meaning.)

B.  Philosophical Reflection and Its Relation to Art

1.  Select a philosophical question you would like to explore (What is Beauty?  What is the Good?  What is Truth?  What is Justice?  Why am I here?  Who am I?  What is Human Nauture?   Why Do Humans Have Art?  Are We Good or Evil? What is Expression?  Is there God?  What is Human Society?  Etc etc…)
2.  Select a medium of your choice (same as A above)
3.  Using your medium, show in what way your philosophical question is addressed by your choice of art.
4.  Again, refer to as many of the authors we have covered.
(Example:  The question of “Who am I?” could be explored through reflecting on all the music you have liked, since childhood to now, and you could put together a tape, with a series of music, to make a personal statement about who you are and what you are. )

C.  Philosophical Analysis of a Particular Medium of Art

1.  Select a medium—music, painting, theatre performance, dance, architecture, poetry, etc
2.  Then ask a question, “What is X?” (“X” then is your choice of medium—as in “What is Music?”)
3.  Then collect a wide variety of material related to your medium (many different kinds of music, different examples of performances, etc).
4.  Analyze what, philosophically, you can say about them—answer the question, “What is X?”  Maybe you will find some kind of a unifying “essence” (say, of music).  Maybe your collection would be so diverse as to defy such an essentialized conception.
5.  Again, try to refer to the material we covered in class.
(Example:  Steiner’s handout is a philosophical reflection that tries to answer the question, “What is Music?”)

D.  Art, Human Existence, Culture, Politics

1.  Select a framework “theme”—culture, technology, politics, history, globalization, etc.
2.  Select a medium or several media
3.  Explore the relation between the medium/a of your choice and your framework theme
4.  Again, try to refer to the authors we have read
(Example:  How does technology change art and humanity?  You might explore this question through examining some digital music or virtual art—do these things fundamentally change the way in which we view humanity?  Or, select several examples of “globalization art,” in order to explore the blurring of cultural boundaries.  You might also use such examples to talk about politics, oppression, cultural empowerment—how do art contribute to one’s identity, ways of life, cultural history, etc?)

Release your creativity!  Make a project that would strech your mind as well as your artistic boundaries!

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