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CHAT: Art appreciation and conlang appreciation

From:David G. Durand <david@...>
Date:Monday, November 22, 1999, 16:20
At 3:54 PM -0500 11/11/99, Boudewijn Rempt wrote:
>On Thu, 11 Nov 1999, Thomas R. Wier wrote: > >> The point is not whether you can appreciate it, it's the extent to >> which you can appreciate. The way I read Boudewijn, he was >> saying that there are multiple levels to a work of art, and while you mig=
>> be able to appreciate the general gist of it, you might not fully underst=
> >Well, I did pick Jan Steen for a reason - his paintings tell a story, >actually a lot of stories. When you first look at them, they often >depict a nice & chaotic scene in the local inn, but each and every >object in the painting has a meaning - hidden to us, but not to the >people for whom he painted.
This is true, but it misses the point that painting is actually a very accessible art. I am generally unable to parse the references to Dutch proverbs that add piquancy to the paintings of Bosch and Breughel, but I can enjoy them (and have) despite the fact that I miss much. It's true that in some ways what I have learned about the "meaning" of the paintings has deepened my knowledge of them, but this does not necessarily increase my enjoyment of them -- as I am not very sympathetic to the moral ideals underlying much of their content. What I've read about Spanish royalty who collected so much of their work indicates that much of this was also missed by them, though the religious content was certainly clear enough.
>> how the brushstrokes or the color interact with that gist. It's like... > >Thinking about the interaction of brushwork, colour, and so on, >is the only way I can think of that one can appreciate more recent >paintings. Surely, to the picture-viewer, there's little to like in >Klee, or even a Dali - you need to go deeper for that. Not that I >necessarily think of that as a good thing, but rather is a fact.
Again, these examples seem to disprove your argument. Both painters are rather popular and accessible, despite the opaqueness of many of their motivations to the casual viewer. Dali is interesting and weird even if you know nothing about Surrealism and Critical-Paranoiac theory. Klee has a flexibility of line and a childlike surface simplicity that charm even if the underlying notions of mystical transcendence are opaque to the viewer.
>Practice, knowledge and a fair bit of dedication. I know I lack the >dedication needed to appreciate certain forms of art - I don't terribly >like watching films. That's quite general, and I lack knowledge of >a lot of the idioms. Of poetry, I know that there are whole genres >I can't appreciate with my current knowledge, and the same holds for >sculpture - even though I am not a stranger to that field of art. > >Yes, in sum, I think you got my meaning completely.
I think that for conlanging, the level of naive appreciation is at the level of phonology and the sound pattern of complete utterances. Long before I had found the parsed version of Galadriel's song (or deduced any of the grammar), I was in love with Namari=EB, and the flowing sounds of the song. I loved the harsh finality and excessive regularity of the one extant sample of the black speech as well. If all this intellectual stuff were a requirement of appreciation, then art of any kind would not exert the hold that it does on children. -- David _________________________________________ David Durand \ \ Director of Development Graduate Student no more! \ Dynamic Diagrams --------------------------------------------\ m/ MAPA: mapping for the WWW \__________________________