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marquisedemerteuil's picture

meaning and exchange

nothing that we have said in class implies that there is no meaning in art. our conclusion is that meaning does not come from outside people; we create meanings, instead of following preexisting ones. there, of course, is a problem with this philosophy, because i think that deciding "oh, life is about creating your own meaning" is a way of avoiding larger questions. what is meaning in art the product of? well, often writers and readers have a similar understanding of literary devices, iconology, symbolism, that allows writers to transmit meaning to readers. we go to school basically to learn this code. so if this is true, meaning is not based on random chance at all, the author invents a meaning he feels is persuasive and gives it to readers. yet i also warn against trying to find the intention of the author when reading. we don't know the author, so this is impossible, and it just stifles more creative interpretations. i see it this way, the artist provides a text, and the readers find whatever meaning they see in it, and it's persuasive as long as they can prove it. when we come up with meaning, we don't usually think, "i'm making this up and i like it" that feels too random, we're creating something we think is persuasive in a larger realm, even if we don't believe meaning comes from the outside. the difficulty of meaning can come from, as our dear (and departed! noooo!) baudrillard would say, the impossibility of its exchange with anything else. if the world cannot be exchanged for anything, there can be no perfect representation of its reality in art, there is no double or exchange of earth that can be captured, and this is why art always feels inadequate to a degree, and this is why art does not seem to have meaning. meaning cannot be exchanged, it does not come from any identifiable source, so if we do not believe in it (religiously) it feels fake. it is fake, because it's as real as anything else.

there's your dose of postmodernism for the day. have a nice dinner. 

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