We spent a lot of Tuesday’s class talking about what art is and what art is not. Also discussed was why certain objects were art and why others were not art. I want to talk here about the role of the object in what we call art. Here ‘object’ means the object with which we engage when we participate/consume art including paintings, movies, music, sculpture etc… First, I want to dismiss the idea that an object has to be pleasing or pretty to be considered art. Objects we consider to be art range from pleasant to repulsive, affirming to challenging, and offensive to pleasing. When we try to identify unifying physical or structural characteristics of objects of art we begin to realize that the body of work is so diverse as to render any project of identifying unifying physical or structural characteristics of objects of art impossible. Instead, I like to think about objects of art in a similar way Seel:

“Objects of art are a medium for an experience that takes place as a process of an understanding that is not oriented towards a result of an understood. .. . Understanding art is more about an otherwise impossible meeting with otherwise impossible possibilities of perceiving ourselves” -Seel

When we were answering the question “Why is the Brillo Box art?”, it took 10 or so comments to get to a comment about the inherent qualities of the Brillo box. The vast majority of  our commentary was about the way the Brillo box made us think, or feel, wether it be confusion, anger, laughter, etc… We struggled equally while trying to figure out why TBBBR was design and not art. I don’t have an answer for that; Dunne and Raby claim its necessarily design and not art. Here, the intention of the artist is brought into question. I think intention in art is a great topic, along with the correlative topic of consumer agency, but Ill save that for another blog post soon.

What does this have to do with design then? Most of us will be making digital objects, wether they be websites, apps, or some other interface. Does the object matter more in design than it does in art? Are designed objects more intentional in their purpose?