Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: artlangs as engelangs

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Saturday, July 21, 2007, 18:07

On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 17:41:27 +0100, And Rosta wrote:

> Geehrt & gnaediger Joerg, I'll toppost a general response, > confined to conlang-pertinent issues, because the discussion > is getting very lengthy and is mostly only marginally connected > to the topic of artlangs and engelangs. If I were to provide > a longer reply it would be mostly taken up with correcting > ubiquitous instances of you attributing to me opinions that > have scant resemblance to any opinions I actually have; > but I don't think anybody would be interested in reading > such lengthy corrections.
True; so let us close this fruitless debate. I apologize for my mistakes and misunderstandings. It seemed to me like you had an opinion about the objectivizability of subjective aesthetic notions that went diametrically against my own; but that kind of discussion is off-topic and should not be carried through in this list. I am certain that you are not even close in your opinions to certain political movements I have mentioned in my previous posts; while I did draw such connections, that was only to highlight to what abuse the assumption of the existence of "absolute beauty" and similar ideas can lead if consequently followed through.
> It's true that when I first attempted to articulate a definition > of 'engelang' (in, say, 1999-2001) I said that engelangs have > objectively assessable design goals and artlangs don't. > (Where to 'assess' a goal is to judge how successfully it has > been achieved.)
This, I reckon, is more or less the standard definition in this community. Surely, the boundaries are somewhat fuzzy. It can be argued that any conlang that claims to represent a fictional human natural language can be tested against the various universals of human language; if it is meant to be a member of an existing language family (such as Romance), it can be examined whether it is based on plausible sound changes; nevertheless I would consider it an artlang because the *intention* behind it - namely to paint a realistic picture of an imagined reality - is artistic in nature.
> And that formulation of the definition does serve to get > it across. But closer to the truth, IMO, is a formulation along > the following lines: > Engelanghood and artlanghood (or more generally 'engeworkhood' > and artworkhood) are not intrinsic to the works themselves but > rather are alternative ways of considering (thinking about, > appreciating, etc.) them.
> To consider something as an engework is to consider it > in terms of its objectively assessable design goals. To consider > something as an artwork is to consider it in terms of the aesthetic > relationship it has with its receptor (= reader, audience).
Yes. Art and engineering overlap to a large degree (as, for instance, in architecture), and the ancient Greeks used the word _techne_ to cover both.
> Some works (namely, those we would normally call artworks) > are far more productively viewed as artworks than as engeworks. > But I argued that it is in some cases possible, but unproductive, > to view as engeworks what we would ordinarily call artworks. > Lastly, I was also maintaining that the aesthetic relationship > an artwork has with its receptor is also susceptible to rational > and empirical study.
This was the issue at which I took exception. Surely, there is no such thing as absolute, objectively measurizable beauty. Some criteria applied to artistic expression (such as the length and the "tempo" of a piece of music, a film, etc.) may be measurable, and you can of course conduct a survey whether people consider a given work of art beautiful or ugly, but the idea of "absolute beauty" is meaningless and leads to intolerance and suppression of artistic creativity.
> But this is not pertinent to the artwork/engework distinction.
No. ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf