Sunday, May 18, 2008

quality & art 5: where to turn

ok. more positive now, as promised. cup half empty is cup half full etc.

somehow, art & quality cannot be about two completely different things. (will you grant me that feeling, then the following train of thought hopefuly will make sense.)

robert pirsig describes (in zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance) a meeting that phaedrus (his overintelligent former self) has with a visual artist. a very interesting meeting, because it breathes that art has an intrinsic, pre-logos quality. even the book title `...& the art...' makes clear that this intrinsic quality is what we're looking for. in art, yes, but in life perhaps even more.

the question then becomes: where to find this quality. phaedrus tried to find it by thinking. in what one could call a quantum leap, the post-electroshock phaedrus - pirsig himself- finds it (at least by my standards) in zen-like experiencing.

although not in one-one correspondence, it reminds me of the duality: look for quality by outside criteria (generalized page-rank, gpr, see previous posts) or look for quality by intrinsic criteria: what does my heart tell me.

for me it has been difficult to recognize this dilemma and the potential behind it. i wouldn't be surprised if this is similar to the dilemma that phaedrus was grappling with (i'm currently rereading the book but haven't gotten to that part yet, perhaps i will be seen to have been simply repeating it only less compelling...!)

let's have some positive yadiyada: i believe that -for me and many others- wonderful art develops when an artist chooses for intrinsic quality. when the heart and head are open, like a sensitive antennae/dish array, to many many signals, and where the inner compass of the artist then is given as much rein as possible. this inner compass, inner light, whatever...i think it is only confused by gpr.

obviously, this view of art is personal, although it is probably shared by many and also by many `experts'. this holds for probably any more or less coherent view on any subject, i only repeat this to emphasize that i do not believe in one view of art for all. i would like to share some of my thoughts on gpr and intrinsic quality, especially with artists who like myself struggle to find a sense of direction because they feel that the gpr-approach isn't what they want. this can be a lonesome struggle, because by gpr's nature, the gpr-aficionados drown out other approaches.

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