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 Post subject: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Is artistic ventures limited in the amount of idea's that can be applied to all mediums? I am not talking about talent but artistic idea's.

Lets view some common mediums:

Music:

Contrary to popular belief Music isn't art it is math. There are limited variations to music. It is a simple mathematical reality. A 1-4-5 chord progression is a blue's progression whether it is used in country, blues or pop music. A new naked teen singing over the same shit is irrelevant.

There hasn't been an original idea in music since the 18th century.


Painting:

Isn't impressionist or modern art really just a result of the renaissance period doing every realistic thing that could be done?
People paint a red dot on a white canvess and call it art because quite frankly no other idiot has done it yet?

Photography:

Taking pictures of reality and telling people it isn't real is kind of odd. I am not sure this is even art.

Books:

A side from the fact that people don't read anymore and selling 10k books makes it a best sellar I am not sure how much of a medium fictional reading is anymore. Certainly you can count on one hand the amount of popular fictional writers. They keep writing about the same story.

Films:

Since every summer film is a re-make of some TV show, Comic Book, or has a roman numeral next to it has the film industry run out of idea's? Over half of the movies produced in the last 3 years are not original idea's. Some of the ones that are were just bad idea's.

Television:

Every fucking network has a hostpitol or detective show. Name a time on television when a network didn't have one on.

From Doctor Kildare, Emergency, St Elseware to ER or Perry Mason, Adam 12, Hill Street Blues to Law and Order/CSI.

Give me a fucking break. After 50 years is this the best you can do?

Gaming:

There was a time when 3 to 5 good titles would come out a year. I am lucky if I get one now. The single person gaming industry is crap and they are pretty much all of the same kind. There are really only 4 types of games, FPS, Sports RPS or Real Time.

After 20 years that is it?




It would appear to me that quite honestly artistic idea's are either very rare or they are only so many idea's out there per meduim.

When a meduim is new the idea's are abundant however the older the meduim gets the more everything is the same. Pretty much with out a uniqueness everything just gets catagorized based on what works.

Maybe the right side of our brains is not what we thought it was.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:34 pm 
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I've thought about this before. I'd love to try my hand at writing a book, but the first barrier I came up against was the realization that it's impossible to write anything truly original. Sure, nobody has written this exact story before but the concept, whatever it is has already been done by someone else, somewhere else.

Strangely, I think my change of heart came when I watched Mel Gibson's "The Patriot".

There is nothing original about that movie. It's a very standard action movie formula: retired man wants to live a nice quiet life in the country and raise his family in peace, but someone comes along and shoots his kid and burns his house down and you find out that what he retired from was murdering people with an axe, and he was really good at it, and he still has that axe. So when he leaves the body of his dead kid and goes into his burning house to find his war chest and pick up his axe, you know Shit's Gonna Go Down.

Go to the action section of Blockbuster and there will be at least 50 movies there about this exact thing. (The other 50 will feature a police detective who is just about to retire...)

But "The Patriot" did it well. I decided that what was important in art wasn't "originality". Originality is fast becoming impossible and frankly, as with your dot on a canvas example, if nobody else has done it yet, it's probably because it really sucks. What's good in art is to take an old concept, maybe even a popular one, maybe even a cliche, and do it again, but maybe better than anyone else has ever done it. Maybe with a more modern spin on it so that people can enjoy the old concept again, or maybe just so that people who haven't yet been exposed to that concept can find it first with yours.

Because when you think about it, what makes something "cliche", anyway? Why is that bad? It's cliche because its been done so many times. Its been done so many times because it's popular and people like it and they'd probably still like it if you did it again.


I'm sure that when Harry Potter came out, there were probably a hundred writers around the world who broke their pencils in half and threw their typewriters out the window because they were also writing a book about teenage wizards attending wizard school, or had already written that story and couldn't get it published. But, as with The Patriot, I don't see why "unoriginal" should be a negative. It's all unoriginal these days. If it's original, it's probably because it's shit.

What's important is doing your art and doing it well, not doing something that hasn't been done before.

Additionally, as an artist, I would think the important thing isn't trying to best the masters but rather, trying to reach that point yourself. Having followed web comics for a while, it's pretty interesting to go back a couple years and see how the art has changed. Maybe their art isn't bringing anything new to humanity but you can certainly see how, from their perspective, every year is a new personal triumph for their own skill progression, and if someone else happens to like it and buy a t-shirt now and then, well, that's okay too. They aren't trying to invent new art or raise humanity to the next level, but they're doing something they enjoy and putting their own personal spin on an existing concept.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:40 pm 
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I agree. The other thing to consider is that it doesn't have to be new or original to everyone. It only has to be new and original to some people. The easiest target audience are new people aka. kids.

Every new generation is an opportunity for a new artist to present a new spin on something old and sell it well.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:08 pm 
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Every story is pretty much based on the same basic human archetypes and just remade with details relevant to the culture and time it is being told.

The new Battlestar Galactica is just the Aeneid for 21st century nerds. (Humans are the remenants of destroyed Troy fleeing for a new home, baltar is the Trojan Horse, Adama/Apollo Aeneas/Aecanius, New Caprica = Crete, etc. etc.)

I always love when a music/literature/film critic calls something derivative, as if there has been a truly original piece of 'art' in the past 2000 years. Every idea builds off of other ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Jakensama wrote:
The new Battlestar Galactica is just the Aeneid for 21st century nerds. (Humans are the remenants of destroyed Troy fleeing for a new home, baltar is the Trojan Horse, Adama/Apollo Aeneas/Aecanius, New Caprica = Crete, etc. etc.)

Did Aeneas ever cry, get drunk, throw paint on the walls and ask his first officer to stab him with a spear?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:21 pm 
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He did renege on his duties and sit around for a year with a crazy bitch instead of leading his people to their homeland, much like Adama wasted time with cancer girl. They also raped all the Latins like the Battlestar survivors would have had to rape the cro-mags to spread their genes on new earth.

Incidentally, I think the reason people notice unoriginal material these days is because there is so much more of it. There used to be 4 TV channels, now there are 400. Sure, theres lots of shit to wade through, but most of the best TV shows have been made in the past 10 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:28 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
I agree. The other thing to consider is that it doesn't have to be new or original to everyone. It only has to be new and original to some people. The easiest target audience are new people aka. kids.

Every new generation is an opportunity for a new artist to present a new spin on something old and sell it well.



Maybe that is the worst thing about getting old. You stop experiencing new things. At my age you really do find yourself saying "same ole shit" alot. Having a frame of reference and living long enough to see things repeat themselves really isn't very fun.

Maybe old age is just boredom.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:39 pm 
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Maybe, but it's also security and it can be fun to see the new ones experience things for the first time. I tend to view it as my responsibility to point out the good shit from the bad so they don't waste their time.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:13 pm 
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I also think you tend to find more ruts in areas that require big investments to get into.

If you have a crazy idea for a book, you can just go write it. You can even self-publish it on the web for basically free. Maybe nobody will ever read it but you can at least do it and get it out there.

Can't really do that with games, movies or TV shows, though. ... although actually, TV shows and movies are getting to the point where high production values and special effects can be done for a reasonable budget -- see "The Guild" and "Star Wreck".


Computer games are lagging though. Tools are improving but I don't think we're going to see the Purge MMO anytime soon because we still lack the time and expertise required to actually create our own game with our own specifications.

So for now, you need money and time. Mostly money. Lots of money. That means there's a big risk involved and people who have money don't seem to like to hear that you want to try something new and unproven, especially if there's a high degree of technical expertise required.

MMOs are a relatively new field and there's plenty I can think of that could be tried that either hasn't been done in an MMO or hasn't been done in a computer game period, but I don't have the time, money or expertise to attempt it.


And I'm sure this is true in other areas, too.

Anything that can possibly be put onto a canvas, probably has been, by somebody, somewhere, because that costs like three bucks. I doubt that all facets of cruise line design have really been explored, though, because that's expensive. If you have a hundred million dollars and want to fiddle with innovative cruise liner design, I'm sure there's room for new creativity in that area. The more something costs in R&D, the more the industry tends to just find one thing that works and keep doing that thing.

I think we be entering a time where you're going to see some interesting shows start coming out, but they'll be on the web. Interesting games may yet be some way off as our tools need to become much simpler to use, in order to open the game creation market to more than just a handful of elites.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:23 am 
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Yup, hard to convince investors to fork over cash for unproven things. Why try a smart/funny/interesting show like firefly, carnivale, arrested development when they were all cancelled despite great reviews?

Because the average plebian would rather watch American Idol or read pseudo-literature like Dan Brown or John Grisham. (When the tops of 3 New York Times best seller lists are Brown, Grisham, and Beck, it tells you something about the intellectual state of the 'reading' population of America).

Entertainment is an industry and the money is in appealing to the lowest common denominator.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:44 am 
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Read The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_w ... sand_Faces

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:38 am 
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I've had this discussion numerous time with numerous people. Most people tend to argue my views (which are basically the same as most views listed above) at first, but after a short discussion on the topic and it becomes clear that I have won them over, at least to a certain degree. Now to be fair, I have obviously thought about this topic before ever bringing it up to someone, so I have a nice head start in the supporting arguments area of the discussion, while they were basically just blind sided by the whole idea.

I too have thought about writing a book, but the same fear that Slamz had is the same one I had, on top of the fact that no one reads anymore (so it would basically be pointless to tell a story on a medium that is rarely used).

I also blame the internet. As stated before, when there use to be 4 channels on TV and now we're in the hundreds upon hundreds, seeing templated and reused unoriginal ideas even more frequently, the internet only adds to this. Now everyone feels like they have the right, scratch that, the NEED to put up their random oh-so-original "art" for everyone to see, so we get even more flooding of the useless crap we've all seen before but with some new "twist" on it to claim it's originality.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:10 am 
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Vllad, completely disagree. There is plenty of originality, you just can't go looking for it in prime time TV or the multiplex. Sure, there's a great deal of derivative crap, but that's because people like to stay in their nice safe comfort zones. It's like going to McDonalds - you know exactly what you are going to get, it's familiar, and it's doesn't challenge you or make you think.

My art form of choice is film. For every Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, or Jerry Bruckheimer there's a Lynch, Miyazaki, Almodovar, Jonze, Coen Brothers, del Toro, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:29 am 
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That's an interesting thought Grieve that I'll take a step further. Maybe it's not that contemporary art is more unoriginal these days but, perhaps that as we consumers get older the original stuff out there is so unfamiliar, we knee-jerk disregard it and fail to give it a fair shake. I have a pretty broad taste in music these days but grew up on primarily Led Zeppelin, CCR, the Beatles, etc. When I started listening to electronic music very few of the people that I used to listen to rock and blues with could make the transition to electronic with me and I'll stand by the statement that there is some really brilliant electronic music composition out there that rivals or even surpasses in emotion, complexity and nuance the staple library of rock, folk, blues if not that of classical.

Those friends who are married to classic rock will argue that there's no good rock and roll being made anymore and that may be true but that doesn't mean that there isn't good music being made some where it just might not suit everyone's tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Also, when some type of art is easily created and distributed (music, paintings, books) there ends up being mountains of the stuff and most of it either isn't to your taste or just genuinely sucks. Something really new and awesome may well be out there but finding it in the mountain of rubbish is hard.


So when you have 4 channels, you're only going to try and create shows with mass appeal. If reality shows are popular, you'll get 4 channels of reality shows. If you have 40,000 channels, there's room to try new stuff with risky appeal, but then you'll never find it.


To some extent, computers and social networking can help. I still occasionally find music, books and things to watch from Amazon or Netflix because they have so much input on what people buy or watch that they can come up with recommendations for you based on that. "You liked this and based on purchase data from around the country, you might also like this."

Pretty soon you'll be able to sit back and say, "Computer, I want to read a book about a detective who is also a wizard. Show me the top 5 by rating."


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Yup, Indie Rock may not be alot of people's cup of tea but the prevalence and circulation of bands has moved from MTV to circulating on the Internet, which has allowed many more bands to put out material since the smaller labels are able to produce more music.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:39 pm 
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Exactly. I think the proliferation of recording equipment (because everything anyone does is recorded now) and the distribution capabilities of the internet have lead to an information overload. In the past, you had to really have a passion and drive to have something recorded or written down and those records had to have a high level of demand to stick around. These days it takes little effort to record something and once it's recorded it stays around forever instead of having a natural cycle of decay.

I think this is going to be one of the greatest challenges of our society. Think about the impacts of this. PHD students have to do something original to get their degrees and it's increasingly more challenging to find original research projects, this is particularly true in the liberal arts like we've been discussing. How many times can an English major rethink or recontextualize Shakespeare before it becomes basically plagiaristic? I was speaking with my Dad and he said there's actually a movement in medicine to restructure the MD programs in the country because the increase in the body of knowledge that is medicine has increased so much that medical colleges can barely fit it into a 4 year curriculum. They are thinking about allowing students to specialize right out of pre-med instead of going through gross anatomy and other general knowledge courses.

Projecting this out a little, it seems clear that the rate at which we are adding information to the universe of human knowledge is leading us into an era of hyper-specialization. This is good in the sense that we have more answers to our questions but it is also making us hyper-dependent on other people in our day to day lives. It's exciting and frightening at the same time. Who really polices how we treat each other in day to day transactions? We used to have a strong judeo-christian ethic that you could count on when interacting with people but I think that ethic has really eroded and continues to erode. Internet anonymity is going to be a huge catalyst in this erosion. We rely on total strangers for so much that people used to rely on themselves or friends and family for.

Someone should really write an Orwellian type novel about the dangers of having this huge volume of information. It's so easy to manipulate people because information of any sort is so easy to come by that true or accurate information is washed out in the process. I also think that society can develop ADD exhibiting the same symptoms as an individual human. The truncation of the news cycle is evidence of this.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Grieve wrote:

My art form of choice is film. For every Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, or Jerry Bruckheimer there's a Lynch, Miyazaki, Almodovar, Jonze, Coen Brothers, del Toro, etc.


There is a difference from being commericial versus being original. Your examples certainly are not commercial but they aren't original either.

Forget the money for a moment.

Are there actually original films being made out there today that are any different then 50 years ago?

I know for a fact Music hasn't changed in 200 years let alone the last 50.

I am asking are there truly new idea's out there in the artistic mediums? I don't see them. This is a subject realitive to gaming since it is its own medium which is why I bring it up as phylisophical question.

For example does the film industry have a shelf life? If so what is that shelf life? Will there come a day when the medium (like books or newspapers) will die?

OR

Like "Painting" will the medium slowly fade because really there are only so many things you can put on canvas. That doesn't mean people won't continue to paint but is painting really relevant?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:34 pm 
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I'm not sure what you're getting at Vllad. It's getting fairly existential. Is Bach really that different from Mozart? Would you say they weren't being original each their own? Their works both have roots in the same mathematical structure but managed to come up with some really beautiful work. I don't understand your definition of original. There is a lot of original sounding stuff out there.

The new genre of Zen video games is really original as well. So are games like Rock Band. I think you are viewing art history as a series of discreet innovations when they are certainly more evolutionary in nature. If there are gaps in art history it's because their evidence is lost and not because something didn't fill those gaps.

Your questions seem more about new technologies replacing the old and the relevancy of old technologies and not the relevancy of the art itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
I'm not sure what you're getting at Vllad. It's getting fairly existential. Is Bach really that different from Mozart?


To put my questions in perspective Tupac has more in common with the Dixie Chicks then Bach had with Mozart. I would still throw Music out of the Art discussion though because Music isn't art with exception of the performance factor. Music is so mathematical that it was never destined for artistic variences anyway. I think that is why Music will always be a constant because Music is constant by its nature.

That isn't true for the other mediums.



Hoofhurr wrote:

There is a lot of original sounding stuff out there.



Are you sure? Let me expand.

Has paintings really improved since the time of David? Is Picaso famous because he was better then David? No. His works are famous because they were original. The common individual knows Picaso and Monet and the many inbetween mattered because the medium was still being expanded upon. The same could be said for fictional books.

In other words did technology kill books or did the lack of new stories kill books. One would think that books would translate well to the today's technology but that really hasn't panned out. Has it?

Hoofhurr wrote:
Your questions seem more about new technologies replacing the old and the relevancy of old technologies and not the relevancy of the art itself.



No I am not talking about new tech because with new tech comes new mediums and with new mediums comes new idea's. The younger a medium is the more original the idea's are. Guitar Hero is a great example. It is an original product when put to gaming standards.

I am asking the question; Does technology dismiss older mediums or does technology advance because older mediums have run there course? Ask yourself what are the most important mediums today?

Are Books, Scultures, Paintings and Photography less influencial today then in the past? If so why? Will movies and television have the same slow death as books? Because of the lack of new idea's for television and movies will a new medium of entertainment be successful because of the lack of new material from the older mediums?



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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:33 pm 
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Vllad, your opinions are based on what you personally see and not other people's reality. You are what a 40 something parent in a non-urban area? What access or interest do you have in what is considered art beyond what is commercially available to you?



Are there actually original films being made out there today that are any different then 50 years ago?

My God, yes. There have been countless films that take the standard film template and turned it on its head. Movies are still original, and still tell amazing stories, youre just not looking in the right places for them.


I know for a fact Music hasn't changed in 200 years let alone the last 50.
I completely disagree. Electronic music didnt exist in the past 50 years. Electric guitar revolutionized music. Sythesizers have changed music. Your previous examples in your previous thread represent commercial music only. There is plenty of amazing, unique artists out there that exist outside the mainstream.

I am asking are there truly new idea's out there in the artistic mediums? I don't see them. This is a subject realitive to gaming since it is its own medium which is why I bring it up as phylisophical question.
For example does the film industry have a shelf life? If so what is that shelf life? Will there come a day when the medium (like books or newspapers) will die? Film will die, in that it will no longer be shot on film. But there will always be a desire to see stories told in some medium.

OR

Like "Painting" will the medium slowly fade because really there are only so many things you can put on canvas. That doesn't mean people won't continue to paint but is painting really relevant?
As long as there are artists there will always be art. Most of the greatest artists in history were poor and died poor. There will always be people who wish to express themselves in some extroverted way and particularly "painting" an artform that has existed for as long as homo sapiens have walked the earth, will always exist in some form.

You seem to be talking specifically about commercial products. Things that cost money to produce, and therefore rely on formulas that have proven to be profitable, and safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:35 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
There is a difference from being commericial versus being original. Your examples certainly are not commercial but they aren't original either.

That's where we'd have to disagree. I think the way David Lynch tells stories is entirely original. Where have you ever seen something like Blue Velvet or Mulholland Drive before? Same for Miyazaki and Almodovar. I also can't recall ever seeing anything quite like Pan's Labyrinth or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There is plenty of originality out there, you just have to go looking for it.

Of course, that's not to say I don't love a good blockbuster as well. Love Spiderman, X-Men, 300, etc. And movies like Star Wars and Indiania Jones are a perfect example of entirely unoriginal concepts reaching artistic heights through sheer imagination and brilliant filmmaking.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:02 pm 
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I guess I just don't understand the metric you are using to really differentiate two pieces of artwork. How many distinguishing characters do they need to possess to be considered different and if different, then original?

You can draw a common thread and find common elements between any two pieces of art. You have novels and comics and then you have graphic novels. Aficionados of graphic novels would tell you that while they borrow elements from both novels and comics they are original works in their own right because of the unique medium.

I wouldn't call the Lord of the Rings movies original in the sense that they are book adaptations but I would call them original in the sense that they are probably the first high fantasy movies that were done with care and proper funding and set a new standard for fantasy movies well into the future.

Does everything have to be as original as the Theory of Relativity for it to be considered original?

Tupac and the dixie chicks have more in common musically than Bach and Mozart? I disagree. More importantly Bach and Mozart are simply the most well known representatives from their respective classical genres and while they characterize those periods for modern listeners they certainly didn't create their music out of thin air. They were very much influenced by other musicians and the style of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:38 pm 
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Wow Vllad, so jaded. Did your mother take your crayons away at and early age.

Your trying to define the art into some bucket you think it is.

This from Wikiepdia

Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings.

Has there been original music? yes. Not that I like it, but Rap wasn't around in the 18th century. Blues were not present in the 18th century. At not from my definition. You can argue that rock came from the blues, but why do you think that variation on a theme or modifying an artistic thought is not art?

Ive seen some original movies too. Even concepts of worn out genre's like westerns. Unforgiven was a fresh look at a western, and frankly I would call it good art. There are many others that while they me be compared to an old thought, the original thought and expression of it, is art.

There ave been some really well written books too. In fact all the examples have shown good variations of art. The one argument that I have had with people is related to Photography. Some people just snap a pic, hang it up and call it art. Agree. But photography isn't about the picture. Its about the photographers eye and capturing what they want to see is art. Some very good. Some not so much.

You can argue if there is good art. You argue if you like it compared to someone who doesn't. But I don't think you can argue if there is original art. Every variation on a theme is orignal. If this wasn't true then there is no difference between Mozart and a cave man beating a club on a hallow tree.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Art Limited?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:22 pm
Posts: 11551
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Maybe art really is getting limited, apparently we are remaking our 80s cold war propaganda movies as anti-chinese propaganda movies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn_(2010_film)

I mean come on, in the original Red Dawn the 500 million screamin chinamen were our only allies!


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