October 30, 2012
Art and Answerability
What is Art? Skill acquired by experience or study, a branch of learning or an occupation requiring knowledge or skill. The use of skill and imagination in the production of things of beauty are all definitions, according to Webster’s Dictionary. However, according to Art and Answerabilty, written by M.M. Bakhtin, the definition of art can be interpreted as even deeper than the example found in the dictionary. Rather, it is more like art, representing a bigger picture, in which the meaning of art is explained as viewing the importance of one’s life as a hole. This article seems to examine and include advice on how life was supposed to be viewed by defining each life with interpretation and purpose. Art is oftentimes a complex concept. It can be interpreted in countless ways according to its audience or the context in which it is viewed. Artists often create what they themselves have experienced, which in turn to the viewer makes for difficult interpretation unless the viewer has too gone through similar experiences. Art is often taken to be an individual experience, that’s half the beauty in it. Art gives us the privilege of being able to look at the same thing a thousand different ways. However this means that the artists true intentions are not always clear, various things in piece of artwork could be interpreted differently depending on cultural, religious, family or societal values. The Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo demonstrates this concept. Catholics view The Sistine Chapel with a higher standard than say a non-religious individual would. Although Michelangelo doesn’t intend for this occurrence, it is the consequence of different experiences.
In other words, to be fully engaged in life by taking every moment and each action with thought should be the ultimate goal of all humans. Like a crafty sculptured work of art that hangs in a museum, that kind of energy, pride and sculpting should be the example of how we set our goals to achieve life’s greatest accomplishments. As Bakhtin suggests, we should paint the best picture of life not only for ourselves but for future generations to come. That should be our life’s work. Not just the work that we define ourselves as, teachers, students, officers. Those are occupations, but those are not examples of living an art filled life. Oprah Winfrey coined the phrase “Live your Best Life” which has become a great motto and standard for many to follow. This motto would have been most likely admired by Bakhtin as he stated “I have to answer with my own life for what I experienced…” This idea of living a life that is filled with choices mean one will have to accept their own service, happiness and purpose or living with a self-centered chaotic , confusion that results in unhappiness. This does not mean there will not be challenges to conquer regardless of which path we choose, but, simply, we should continue to push forward by not giving up on our dreams and our goals while reaching out to help others do the same. Instead, we should master our missions in life so that we can be of service to the world. To take it a step further, as we grow and mature, the art of our lives should include learning lessons, passing on the wisdom learned and setting examples for others to follow.
After all, we should take our lives and others seriously by seeing the beauty in it, even when things are not as pleasant as we would like. This does not mean taking a selfish approach to life either, this he explained in the line “art is too self-confident, audaciously self-confident and too high flown, for it is no way to bound to answer for life.” We have to remember to be humble in our art of life by defining our moments in time with clear and detailed images that help promote good will to all mankind.
With that said, there is another part of the Bakhtin’s article in which he calls