Nana Adwoa Sey
Sector A: Philosophy and Science of Seeing
Elizabeth Camp (PHIL), Brent Wahl (FNAR)
Discourse/Art: On the Importance of Artistry as Uniquely and Universally Human
Why isn’t art important? Why don’t you care about art?
This thesis and the accompanying visual project and social experiment, Discourse/Art, are the result of an exploration into the nature of the relationship between art and human consciousness. Driven by personal experience and research into what it means to be an artist, I attempt to uncover why it is that the universally and uniquely human ability to be an artist is not adequately recognized. If only humans can make art, why is this not given the attention it deserves as a uniquely human activity? Furthermore, if all humans can be artists, why does the myth of the specially gifted artist exist, separating artists from everyday people? I perceive a contradictory relationship between what I believe art should be—something all humans are capable of and should take advantage of—and what I see art to be in actuality—a limited pursuit that many feel intimidated by and restricted from engaging in.
Discourse/Art is an exercise that provokes the public to engage in a critical conversation about art, challenging them to recognize the barriers that they perceive and evaluate the level to which these barriers affect their perception of and relationship to art. The conclusion is a project that challenges and provokes thought about art, what our relationship to it is as humans, and how we might begin to unravel a solution to this paradoxical problem. Whether one decides to embrace art or to shy away from it entirely, the hope is that this decision will be founded in careful consideration and introspection. The goal is for one to make an informed decision based on experience and first-hand knowledge, uninhibited by cultural or mental barriers such as the myth of the artist or fear of judgment.