Whether it's bacteria or consciousness itself, science and philosophy examine specific object that stands apart from the observer. Art is more collaborative, says Noë. It changes us as we change it. Noë's latest book is "Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature" (http://goo.gl/lP37w7).
Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/alva-noe-on-art-as-a-strange-tool
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Transcript - Artists make things not because the things they make are special but because making is special for us. We are makers. We are as human beings manufacturers. If you go back 30,000 years to the dawn of the psychologically modern human being what seems to inaugurate that beginning is precisely this explosion of making practices of tool making and tool using practices and pictorial practices and linguistic practices and clothing. We are makers and I think that artists make things to unveil that fact about ourselves. So I say that works of art are strange tools. They’re not just more tools with this or that function or application. They’re tools that in their strangeness are meant to exhibit the place that tools and technology have in our lives.
Too often I think when we come to thinking about art and we’re scientists or cognative scientists or philosophers is we think of art as if it were a phenomenon, something that we can put under glass and explain. The view that I’ve come to is that actually art is itself it’s own research practice. It’s itself a way of trying to understand the world and ourselves. And that better strategies for trying to really get a handle on the questions that interest us what is art? Why does art matter so much? What does the fact that it matters so much tell us about ourselves? Is actually to look at art as our collaborator rather than the object of our investigation. The art situation becomes an opportunity to really put one’s own perceptual consciousness or other aspects of what’s consciousness and understanding sort of interview for oneself. And that’s one of the reasons why I like to say that art is something like a philosophical practice. Because what I’ve just said about art really is paradigmatically philosophical. This idea that art or philosophy are somehow in the business of unveiling us to ourselves and in doing that it’s supplying us with resources to change.
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