Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | February 21, 2010

The Play of Art -Gadamer

‘For in human fabrication as well, the decisive moment of technical skill does not consist in the fact that something of extraordinary utility or superfluous beauty has emerged. It consists rather in the fact that human production of this kind can set itself various tasks and proceed according to plans that are characterized by an element of free variability. Human production encounters an enormous variety of ways of trying things out, rejecting them, succeeding, or failing. “Art” begins precisely there, where we are able to do otherwise. Above all, where we are talking about art and artistic creation in the preeminent sense, the decisive thing is not the emergence of a product, but the fact that the product has a special nature of its own. It “intends” something, and yet it is not what it intends. It is not an item of equipment determined by its utility, as all such items or products of human work are. Certainly it is a product, that is, something produced by human activity that now stands there available for use. And yet the work of art refuses to be used in any way. That is not the way it is “intended.” It has something of the “as if” character that we recognize as an essential feature of the nature of play…’

-from ‘The Play of Art’ (1977) (translated from the German)

–Photo by Dali


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