Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“Objects on which to lavish attention”

Susan Sontag, in “The Aesthetics of Silence” (Styles of Radical Will, 1969):

In one of its aspects, art is a technique for focusing attention, for teaching skills of attention. (While the whole of the human environment might be so described — as a pedagogic instrument — this description particularly applies to works of art.) The history of the arts is tantamount to the discovery and the formulation of a repertory of objects on which to lavish attention.
Back in grad school, I put these sentences on the syllabus for my freshman lit and comp class. Some nerve. I was an optimistic kid. Still am.

comments: 2

Fresca said...

This resonates for me in my new job that includes making art with people with Alzheimer's----painting calls for a focus of attention that many of the people I work with actively enjoy.

I'm too tired to write more now...
Enjoying your bits and bobs of thoughts, as always.

Michael Leddy said...

I would guess that such activity could be a wonderful way for someone with Alzheimer’s to be in or stay in the moment — in a continuous present? I’m not sure what I mean. I’d like to read more about it, should you post something.