In this particular instance, the item itself is not meant to be perceived. To your point, it is indistinguishable from an empty hard drive (or whatever the contents are); there may be a valid issue to discuss, but there is nothing to perceive. Someone asserts there is "$5M of pirated software" there; I assert it contains a single trillion-digit random number, and there is nothing there to perceive in differentiation, even in theory - human perception of one data storage device is indistinguishable from a duplicate device containing different data.
This "exhibit" is qualitatively different from even the "blank canvas" "art" rhetorical device. The "1m square, 2 shades of black" painting I recall from a museum at least was in and of itself meant to be looked at, even if it required 3 pages of explanation to justify its pathetic existence. John Cage's 4'33" was in fact meant to be heard, though the pianist played no notes. Resounding voids they may have been, yet they were still meant to be perceived.
In this instance, the physical artifact could be replaced by any storage device of sufficient capacity. The alleged content may be the same, but the audience cannot perceive it in any way.
It's not art. It's a point of discussion.
Now, if the "artist" had, say, covered a wall with a trillion dots colored corresponding to that alleged data content, we'd have something for humans to perceive for the purpose of perceiving it - to wit, art. The audience could examine, at least in practical theory, the totality of the image and conclude there is something of value there. And if the opposing wall were likewise marked, but instead depicting a single trillion-digit random number, the audience could decide if there were any life-affecting difference between them, or conclude that the creation & viewing was a complete waste of time.
PS: I think most people would get a much stronger reaction from looking at the tarp than they would looking at most pieces of modern art.
The Hope Diamond doesn't need to be covered by a tarp for 99.999% of the population to fail to distinguish it from a solid fake. I think the "is that diamond real?" question is a decent equivalen to the "is that hard drive empty?" one. Using special tools, both can be verified.
Edit: I realize that the hope diamond probably is not art, so my main point has to be about the intrinsic value of the object.
Whether the mind perceiving an object is trained to comprehend what is perceived is a different issue from whether the nature of the object can be perceived at all. This is why much of "modern art" is accompanied by several pages of explanation: given the education required, the audience has at least a hope of comprehending what is striking the senses. 4'33" makes some kind of sense given preliminary background/training; "Thidreks" is great literature if one but learns Old Norwegian; a viewer may be persuaded Pollock's paintings are great art ... in all cases, the material is there for perception, and is what it is regardless of training. Most viewers may be unable to discern the Hope Diamond from like-shaped glass, but that's not the cutter's problem - the outstanding beauty is there for the viewing, stifled only by the viewer's mind. You're hard-pressed to fake the Hope Diamond, and a solid fake WOULD share the artistry outside of the intrinsic value.
In this case, there is NOTHING in the exhibit for the audience to perceive. No application of senses can reveal what's there. Plugging it into a computer for conversion to perceptible form may reveal its intrinsic value, but as there is nothing to perceive otherwise then there is no art any more than sticking the Mona Lisa into a welded-shut steel box, covering a sculpture with a tarp, or displaying the Hope Diamond before it was cut to shape.
That is actually quite Kantian. But maybe best left there: recommending a normal person look up the 'Critique of Judgement' would be like recommending a normal person read a book on computational type theory . . .
(sorry I couldn't find it in another language). Basically a visitor of Venetian Biennale left a pack of biscuits in an empty space, took a couple of pictures and suddenly people started queuing at it, trying to find it in the catalogue and taking pictures too.
If someone mistaken it as trash and throw it away when cleaning up the gallery, then it is not art.
If trashmen are arguing whether or not a piece is art, then it is borderline art.
If they ignore it, then the art piece is art.
Otherwise, we have no standard at all, and the art world would only belong to elitist who can't draw a damn and status seeking idiot who up the price of a particular 'art piece'.
Beautiful is not in the eyes of the beholder.
If someone mistaken it as trash and throw it away
when cleaning up the gallery, then it is not art.
Dane did not even come over to NZ from his residence in Berlin, or send any artwork to the competition. He simply phoned in instructions to the janitor to wait until all the other exhibits had been prepared and their packing and scraps had been cleaned up, and then told the janitor to empty the contents of the rubbish bin and enter it as his sculpture :-)
So, Pollock: http://www.terraingallery.org/Pollock-Number-One-1948.jpg
And random art from 1500s: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ec/Mon...
I wouldn't call the first one "art", but perhaps it's just me. So 1500's...
The truly amazing thing about the experience was really how completely by surprise it took me, I had no expectations or pre-conceived notions. I was just walking around the museum and all of a sudden there was this painting that I couldn't take my eyes off of. I probably spend half an hour just standing there studying it.
Conversely seeing the Mona Lisa in the Louvre left me completely unmoved. I mean don't get me wrong I totally get it's almost unprecedented cultural and historical significance and as an historic artifact I'm really glad I've seen it, and I completely appreciate the amazing skill and craftsmanship that's gone into it. But as Art and as a profound artistic experience it falls far short for me.
And I'm sure there are a lot of people who agree with me, but less who will say so.
The emperor has no clothes.
When I first came across them I was sure it was a joke or a fraud, but people seem serious about seeing some kind of art in them.
So what is it? As best as I can tell it seems to be a form of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia
While the form is chaotic, the palette and composition are delectably on target. I am very much reminded of this image: http://cache.foxsaver.com/thumbnails/2008/01/04/205959019l.j...
It's something like seeing atonal free jazz.
Are forgeries art?
Are movies art?
Is literature art?
Is pornography art?
Is a pianist playing a piece composed by Liszt an artist?
Is cuisine art?
None of these questions are answered by your definition.
Art isn't about beauty.
> Otherwise, we have no standard at all,
But there clearly isn't a standard. If there was, there would be somebody trying to break it.
In the same vein you want to leave it to trash men and cleaning ladies to decide what is valuable culture. I don't think it is a good idea (and I am trying hard to avoid Godwin's law here...).
By definition, the shit in a can is also art.
That's not a good definition.
I personally think that anything that was made with intention can be qualified as art; the only things that don't have any artistic merit are thos that are made completely by accident or hapenstance.
There is a world of difference between claiming that something fits the common definition of art and claiming that we need to use an extremely expansive definition of art. I thought the argument here was about the former. If it's about the later then I'll not fight; I'll just note that we're not even discussing the piece and bow out.
Why does it have to be "art OR not art"? Can't it be a spectrum? Like love? Or beauty? Or any other subjective concept you can think of?
Ex. Grey is a color but that doesn't make it a color tv.
I've also found this simple info graphic helpful: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgxn5uEJox1qbobrso1_500.jp...
Being an art student I love seeing new modern art like this hit the news. Even though I'm just studying Industrial Design, I always get a kick out of this kind of obscure shit. I'll always remember my trip to NYC last year when I browsed the modern art galleries for hours. If you ever get a chance, there's a particular street lined with them (I forget which). It promises some of the most interesting stuff you've ever seen.
Edit: The downloads seem to be password-protected, so this guy's not a total maniac.
The artist should have used the valuation usually claimed by the media companies when dragging young kids to court and he'd have gotten a valuation of somewhere in the billions.
Frankly, the fact that we're seriously discussing it here is adequate proof that it is art.
It is what it is. A one terabyte hard drive that contains illegally downloaded data valued at 5 million dollars. By presenting the drive in a certain way (on a pedestal, with a title, …) certain properties are specifically pointed out.
Is that art? I don’t know. Is it important to answer that question? I don’t think so.
It’s a nice piece all about the value, nature and availability of digital goods, bringing all these aspects together in a nice and compact way. Well done, creator.
The question pertaining to whether or not this is really art isn't very interesting. It's an old argument. What I find fascinating are the very passionate arguments against things labeling things like this art, sometimes coming from people who might not even follow art.
The objection must stem from the fact that the term 'art' automatically connotes a cultural/economic value and a signifier of class. There is a legitimate worry that the message from the art world is that you just aren't very impressive if you aren't just infatuated with Kadinsky, De Kooning and, by some perverse extension, Jeff Koons.
Calling something an installation like this art has the value of framing a very, very specific statement: something would be lost by not calling this art. That said, I wouldn't buy this, nor make any effort to see it in person. That would hardly be necessary. Nor would I label someone who didn't 'get' this a 'prole' or 'not with it' (as if my opinion counted.)
Still, this would not be enough to sway one holding on to a conservative definition of art. His or her value as a human being is at stake. Who can blame them? It's a shame, because these political concerns limit art in many thousands of tiny ways with a net result of making a more boring world. I guess politics of status limits activities in many other ways. Nothing new here.
Starting out with a calculation based on retail price is pretty shrewd and helps fuel the conversation.
Yes, modern art is cynicism and relativism at its best, with a touch of snobbishness... At least, one indisputable advantage is that it pisses off conservatives :)
The deeper question is whether that should be against the law in the first place.
I don't care if it's art or not. Art is such a vague label that calling something "art" is meaningless. A far more meaningful criteria are pretty/not pretty, enjoyable/not enjoyable, or intriguing/not intriguing. Something can be pretty, enjoyable or intriguing without being labeled as art. The term "art" is for people who want to feel superior at the cost of others (snobs).
In my opinion this hard drive is neither.