Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Ecology of Art:
ART: by definition
1.  the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
2.  the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, aspaintings, sculptures, or drawings:  a museum of art; an art collection. See fine art, commercial art.
3.  a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
4.  the fine arts  collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
5.  any field using the skills or techniques of art:advertising art; industrial art.

Art is beautiful; or is it?  Are all beautiful things art?  Paintings are artistic, but some are not pleasant to see.  Photography is an art form, but it also captures the ugly side of life.  Do parents declare as artful, the music their kids listen to?  Are all the sounds immortalized on recordings art?  Words too are immortalized.  Is Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ on an artful plane with Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’?  Does Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ stand with Frost’s ‘Stopping by Woods…’?  Some call dance an art form.  Rhythmic movement, pleasing to the eye, why not?  But what of a prancing mustang stallion, or a soaring eagle?  So all things labeled as art are not beautiful and all beautiful things are not art.  Art then is the epitome of the subjective; in the eye, ear, nose or tongue (culinary art) of the beholder.  We, the beholders, the living organisms, interact with our environment and decide which of our experiences can be called “ART”.  Absolute subjectivity!

Living organisms, interacting with their environment?  That’s a definition of ‘Ecology’ and ‘Ecology’ is a science, isn’t it?  And science is objective, isn’t it?.  I am inclined to agree with a wise teacher of mine who declared that objectivity is a ‘myth’.  The root word, ‘object’ is ‘subject’ to numerous definitions.  Put the object on the table.  “Your honor, I object!”  JFK set an ‘objective’ to put a man on the moon.  An objective, a goal, a vision, unseen before fruition, ‘subject’ to much discussion and planning before achieving reality.

Art and ecology both consider composition, energy flux, niche diversity, adaptations, interpretation, structure, interdependence, change, permeable boundaries of interdisciplinary applications and resource management.  The art of science and the science of art are eternally entwined.  Technology is one of the links in the similarity chain.  Surgeons and sculptors both use lasers, as do the lighting techs for rock concerts.  The work done in artist’s studio and scientist’s labs is enhanced with computers.  A botanist performing thousands of cross pollinations to produce a black rose has no more patience than a painter assembling millions of dots of color to create a river side scene.

Artists and ecologists pursue their passions by looking at the world through an ever changing set of lenses.  Microscopes and sub-atomic colliders show that everything in art and nature are microcosmic images of what we know of as the universe.  Everything in time and space looks the same.  We need not search for inter-relationships, they are already there, all around us.