Feb 2010

Limits of ArtAre there any?

Visual art, music and games all have something in common. They are all expressions in a medium, have very little definition and contain a very, very broad range of content.

For myself, I think I've defined some minimum for these, based on a couple of things you could find on-line, like a blank canvas, a game of the same name.

Visual, contrast

The bare minimum of art is contrast. This will be achieved through shape (where the art is, or is not) or color. A blank canvas is not art (as it contains no contrast) but a dot on that canvas is. Of course one can easily say that it isn't particularly good art. But as that is all in the eye of the beholder, we're not going to go there.

Of course to cheat the system you could make a dot so small that it's barely visible. There is still contrast then, but difficult to notice. A brick can be art too, just by placement and it's shape alone. Again, no comment on if it's good or not.

Music, harmony

The bare minimum of music is harmony. This means that two tones/sounds are required for something to go beyond sound and into music. This definition includes percussion based music as well, as there is no reason why that would not be music. A bit like art, a blank canvas (silence) is not music, no matter how well defined that silence is. However, the absence of music can certainly be called meaningful, as it allows people to realize/listen to other things.

Games, interactive

No matter what game you are looking at, be it hide-and-seek or pong, a game is interactive. Your actions should influence the outcome in the setting of that game, else it is not a game, but merely an ending. This is where the game 4:33 is very clever, as the interaction relies not on your own, but on others. As long as no one else plays the game, you win.

So, for that definition it is a game, but only as much as a single dot on a canvas, or a brick on a pedestal.

So what does it all mean?

Not much, really. It's just my thoughts about definitions and meanings within certain types of art. Incidentally, have you looked at any of the art here?

  • sneaky smile*