enjoying the foliage

Posts Tagged ‘philosophy

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.

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I was skirting work of real substance this afternoon by Googling Brit philosopher Colin McGinn (whose contribution to philosophy of mind will be the primary focus of my term paper due in two and half weeks or so) when I stumbled across this. I love PBS like I love my mother. Its documentaries are of fairly decent quality for productions made for public consumption, and most of them are available online like this one. I haven’t listened to or read all of the interviews, but basically, this doc features Bill Moyers talking to a number of luminaries (all writers of some description, I believe) like Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Colin McGinn about faith and reason. Like most intelligent people over the age of fifteen, I don’t think that faith and reason are mutually exclusive avenues toward belief. We all dig our heels in somewhere along the ideological terrain and decide that this is where we will make our stand and start constructing shelters for our loves, lives, and hopes. For the most part, I’d like to think that these homes are built of a mixture of various rational materials, but regardless, I think that the ground they stand on must be faith of a kind. We believe in humanity or in God or in Truth or something just that firm because it can’t just be turtles all the way down. We need to stand on something. Anyway, I like PBS docs for somewhat intellectual distraction. I’ll probably watch these while eating lunch or something for the next little while.