enjoying the foliage

a metaphysician’s nightmare

Posted on: Friday, June 6, 2008

So I was talking to some BFA (bachelor of fine arts) friends of mine last night, and this conceptual art exhibit, Shedboatshed, came up. Basically, the artist, Simon Starling, came upon an old shed by the Rhine one day and decided that he would reconstruct it into a boat, row the boat to the museum he was having an exhibit at, and then rebuild his boat into a shed. It won the Turner prize in 2005. I thought it was a neat piece right away just because it automatically made me think of the good old Ship of Theseus paradox about object identity (as much as I hate that kind of metaphysics) – is Starling’s shed at the museum the same shed as the one he found by the river? But other than that, I think it still raises a lot of interesting questions – from ‘what counts as (good) art?’ to ‘in what ways do manufactured objects relate to us specifically, people in general, and the world around us?’. I suggest scrolling down to the bottom of the Tate page (first link) and listening to the audio clips or reading the transcripts from them about Shedboatshed. It’s nice to note the thought behind the piece rather than just dimissing it as a weird, postmodern act of futility.


2 Responses to "a metaphysician’s nightmare"

in my opinion, the intent behind the piece is just as important, if not more than the piece itself. art is nothing without analyzing the meaning behind it, and the choices the artist makes in displaying that meaning. i’ve been getting into similar fiction as of late. it is most def neat stuff.

to be more on topic – in my opinion the shed reconstructed at the museum is fundamentally different than the old shed by the river.

Yeah, we talked about artist intention vs. audience interpretation a lot that night. It was interesting to hear what they had to say, since they were in fact artists themselves. What fiction have you been getting into?
I was being a little facetious about whether the shed was the same or not. Shedboatshed in fact poses no metaphysical problem; the process of the art just sounds like a lot of silly metaphysical thought experiments I’ve read over the years, so yeah, you’re right; shed 1 and shed 2 are completely different.

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