Monday, October 06, 2008

"Art and the Commons"

An essay I wrote for Hungry Hyaena in January of 2007, "Creative Restraint and Responsibility: Artists, Documentarians and Copyright," was referenced by Chris Desser in a lecture given at The California College of Arts on March 10, 2008. Desser is a fellow at On the Commons, an organization dedicated to encouraging cross-disciplinary engagement and an open-source approach to all resources, be they natural, artistic, or intellectual.

The text of Desser's lecture, entitled "Art and the Commons," is reprinted on both the On The Commons and GreenMuseum websites. It's worth a read, particularly on the heels of my previous post, about finding our way back to wonder via a more integrated approach.

Excerpted from "Art and the Commons":
"It is perhaps an inescapable part of the human condition to 'divide up the world' into mental categories. The categories may be immensely useful, but they are also partial and misleading. Philosopher and scientist Jacob Brownowski has described the process of science—the process by which we gain empirical knowledge—as that of decoding a 'completely connected world.' This decoding requires dividing that completely connected world into what is relevant and what is not relevant to the matter at hand, in order to create a meaningful context for study. But this division, Bronowski warned, does violence to the actual, organic nature of the real world. We must always bear in mind that we are 'certainly not going to get the world right, because the basic assumption that [we] have made about dividing the world into the relevant and irrelevant is in fact a lie.'"

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