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robertogreco : uselessness   3

Against a "Life Hack" Approach to Art Education | Claudia Ruitenberg - Academia.edu
"This paper critiques de Botton and Armstrong’s Art as Therapy project (2013-2015), a collaboration with art museums in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, in which labels in the gallery, as well a catalogue and website, explain how viewers might use works of art to serve therapeutic purposes in their lives. The paper argues that, instead of making art more accessible to those who, allegedly, do not find access to art on their own, the Art as Therapy project undermines the force and richness of art by first declaring it useless and inaccessible and then repurposing it as therapeutic life hack "



"I commend de Botton and Armstrong for their premise that art is not the exclusive preoccupation of the cultural cognoscenti, but can have a bearing on anyone’s life— as long as we’re willing to let it. I also commend them for highlighting that art is not a purely cerebral affair, that works of art do something to us, and that the emotions are involved in this doing. My main criticisms of their approach are that they predetermine what bearing art can and should have, and that they privilege the therapeutic over the aesthetic value of art.

There is an important difference between a life hack approach in everyday life, where household items are repurposed but also retain their original use-value, and a life-hack approach to art, where the practical utility of “repurposed” works offers redemption for purported uselessness. Life hacks typically repurpose discarded or cheap materials; people don’t turn objects they already value into life hacks. de Botton and Armstrong’s message seems to be that art is useless, but that with the help of their commentaries, these useless works can be turned into something viewers can benefit from.

Whatever else art is and does, it offers an aesthetic experience, which is to say that it intervenes in perception (“aesthetic” is derived from the Greek verb aisthesthai, meaning to perceive, sense). This intervention may have various further effects, including therapeutic ones, but art is not useless if its effects are not therapeutic. Art may make us laugh or cry or leave us indifferent. It may disturb or console us, give us nightmares or fits of giggles. It may do this and a whole host of other things—but it does not inherently need or mean to do any of them. When de Botton and Armstrong cite the “art for art’s sake” credo, they dismiss it as saying that art has no purpose. That, however, is not what the credo says. That art is done for the sake of art suggests that art has no purpose other than to be art —and the latter is quite a bit of purpose."
2016  claudiaruitenberg  alaindebotton  johnarmostring  arttherapy  lifehacks  accessibility  artastherapy  inaccessibility  museumeducation  education  aestheticexperience  experience  interpretation  interpretativefreedom  pedagogy  pedagogicalintervention  intervention  freedom  aesthetics  carelpeeters  uselessness  purpose 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: The day the rabbits died
"Somewhere around the end of February my Nabaztag rabbit stopped doing the only thing it did any more - announcing the time in odd, amusing ways, in a strange English accent.

It was an act any of you could have built with a couple of line of javascript and a voice over artist but it felt different because it was embedded in a plastic rabbit.

And, although I didn't notice straight away the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because one a routine failure faded into the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because they'd switched the servers off and I noticed it had died and I was sad.

I've owned three iterations of the Nabaztag/Karotz thing - each bought and connected in the fond hope that it would finally make the network talk to me rather than just appear on a screen. And each didn't quite work, and each attempt at hacking around it didn't quite work either and then they just became Minimum Viable Talking Things muttering to themselves in the corner of the room.

But there was still something to love about them.

Not least because they suggested there were alternatives to the Silicon Valley object design axis where everything sits somewhere on a line between Useful and Delightful. They found another interesting place to be, a line between Useless and French, and they explored what it meant to make the network into something funny, social and decorative. They didn't fail because no one wants that. They failed because the technology wasn't good enough and because hardware is hard.

This still feels to me, like fresh and unexplored territory - the network talking to you, not you talking to it. It doesn't need speech recognition, it just needs to connect to your feeds and friends and occasionally tell you what's happening. The Nabaztag took that further by embedding that capability in something charming and odd, something that didn't look and feel like 'technology'.

Now, though, the servers are off and it looks like my only option is to learn how to run it off a Raspberry Pi.

The rabbits have fallen apart."
2015  russelldavies  nabaztag  magic  uselessness  useful  delight  delightfulness  technology  ambient  karotz  hardware 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Chindōgu - Wikipedia
"Chindōgu (珍道具?) is the Japanese art of inventing ingenious everyday gadgets that, on the face of it, seem like an ideal solution to a particular problem. However, chindōgu has a distinctive feature: anyone actually attempting to use one of these inventions would find that it causes so many new problems, or such significant social embarrassment, that effectively it has no utility whatsoever. Thus, chindōgu are sometimes described as "unuseless" – that is, they cannot be regarded as 'useless' in an absolute sense, since they do actually solve a problem; however, in practical terms, they cannot positively be called "useful.""
japan  chindogu  technology  inventions  culture  design  gadgets  uselessness  usefulness  utility  sideeffects 
november 2011 by robertogreco

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