Friday, November 12, 2010

Material meaning

For a long time I've been thinking (and sometimes arguing with Richard) about meaning and material objects. In the highly entertaining book 'What Goood Are The Arts', John Carey describes this great thought experiment in which an established artist paints a tie with blue paint, and completely by chance and more or less at the same time, a child performs the same act, perhaps for very different reasons. Is the first one, because it is self-conciously part of the work of the artist, any different to the child's version? Carey succinctly expresses the point of view I have been taking. 'Meanings are not inherent in objects. They are supplied by those who interpret them.' (2005:20). Enter Bruno Latour as the door swings closed behind him (or was that Jim Johnson?).

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