"This is sometimes another stumbling block, particularly to the Romantic notion of the practitioner whose aim is the expression of the self. We need to differentiate between activities that are to do with the personal development of the practitioner and his or her creativity, and activities that are significant for others in the field. It is only an activity that is significant for others that can be regarded as research. Personal development does not make a contribution to the 'advancement of knowledge, understanding and insight', except in the most parochial sense, i.e. my advancement. To illustrate this let us consider the discipline of arts therapies. It is the purpose of arts therapies to improve the well-being of the client through an intervention involving the client doing some kind of arts activity such as painting, music or drama, etc. Whether the client produces art, in the sense of 'a work of art' mentioned above, is irrelevant to the process. The activity is aimed at the personal development and self knowledge of the individual and not at the advancement of knowledge, understanding and insight into some issue shared by others. Of course, the client's case may contribute to the advancement of knowledge in arts therapies, but this would be an outcome for the therapist and not for the client. In addition, the client's productions may subsequently achieve the status of 'works' but this would be incidental to their original function in connection with improved well-being. Thus I would distinguish between (1) art as therapy (for the individual), (2) art as cultural practice (the production of works of art), and (3) art as research (meeting certain criteria under discussion). It is my claim that (1) and (3), that is, art as therapy and art as research, are mutually exclusive. I should emphasise that this does not mean that I deny that there is such a discipline as arts therapies research!"
(Michael A. R. Biggs, 2003, Practice as Research in Performance)
"Interpretation in our own time, however, is even more complex. For the contemporary zeal for the project of interpretation is often prompted not by piety toward the troublesome text (which may conceal an aggression), but by an open aggressiveness, an overt contempt for appearances. The old style of interpretation was insistent, but respectful; it erected another meaning on top of the literal one. The modern style of interpretation excavates, and as it excavates, destroys; it digs 'behind' the text, to find a sub-text which is the true one. The most celebrated and influential modern doctrines, those of Marx and Freud, actually amount to elaborate systems of hermeneutics, aggressive and impious theories of interpretation. All observable phenomena are bracketed, in Freud's phrase, as manifest content. This manifest content must be probed and pushed aside to find the true meaning -the latent content -beneath. For Marx, social events like revolutions and wars; for Freud, the events of individual lives (like neurotic symptoms and slips of the tongue) as well as texts (like a dream or a work of art) -all are treated as occasions for interpretation. According to Marx and Freud, these events only seem to be intelligible. Actually, they have no meaning without interpretation. To understand is to interpret. And to interpret is to restate the phenomenon, in effect to find an equivalent for it.
Thus, interpretation is not (as most people assume) an absolute value, a gesture of mind situated in some timeless realm of capabilities. Interpretation must itself be evaluated, within a historical view of human consciousness. In some cultural contexts, interpretation is a liberating act. It is a means of revising, of transvaluing, of escaping the dead past. In other cultural contexts, it is reactionary, impertinent, cowardly, stifling."
(Susan Sontag, 1966)
Susan Sontag (1966). "Against Interpretation: And Other Essays". Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
"In a masterstroke of design, the curator of Chaos and Classicism, Kenneth Silver, chose a work of art to illustrate the Nazi annexation of neoclassicism that at first glance is anything but threatening. The Four Elements by Adolf Ziegler decorated the walls of Hitler's Munich apartment. A member of the Nazi Party, Ziegler was charged by Hitler in 1937 to stage-manage the purge of modern art in the notorious Exhibition of Degenerate Art. Ziegler's depiction of four nude women who symbolize fire, earth, air and water, the four elements of nature recognized in antiquity, personifies little but the pretentious sterility of culture under the Third Reich. Yet, it is the perfect embodiment of the banality of evil."
(Ed Voves, 4 October 2010)
Fig.1 Adolf Ziegler, The Four Elements: Fire, Water and Earth, Air, (Die vier Elemente. Feuer, Wasser und Erde, Luft), before 1937, Oil on canvas, three panels, left to right: 170.3 x 85.2 cm, 171 x 190.8 cm, and 161.3 x 76.7 cm, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Sammlung Moderner Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
"Fountain is one of Duchamp's most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth-century art. The original, which is now lost, consisted of a standard urinal, laid flat on its back rather than upright in its usual position, and signed 'R. Mutt 1917'. The Tate's work is a 1964 replica and is made from glazed earthenware painted to resemble the original porcelain. The signature is reproduced in black paint. Fountain is an example of what Duchamp called a 'readymade', an ordinary manufactured object designated by the artist as a work of art. It epitomises the assault on convention and good taste for which he and the Dada movement are best known.
The idea of designating such a lowly object as a work of art came from a discussion between Duchamp and his American friends the collector Walter Arensburg and the artist Joseph Stella. Following this conversation, Duchamp bought an urinal from a plumbers' merchants, and submitted it to an exhibition organised by the Society of Independent Artists. The Board of Directors, who were bound by the constitution of the Society to accept all members' submissions, took exception to the Fountain and refused to exhibit it. Duchamp and Arensburg, who were both on the Board, resigned immediately in protest. An article published at the time, which is thought to have been written by Duchamp, claimed, 'Mr Mutt's fountain is not immoral, that is absurd, no more than a bathtub is immoral. It is a fixture that you see every day in plumbers' shop windows. Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view - created a new thought for that object.' ('The Richard Mutt Case', The Blind Man, New York, no.2, May 1917, p.5.)"
(Sophie Howarth, April 2000)
"L'opera a cui sto facendo riferimento è La ricotta, un mediometraggio di Pier Paolo Pasolini datato 1963 ed inserito all'interno del film ad episodi Rogopag - Laviamoci il cervello.
La pellicola di Pasolini descrive alcune fasi della lavorazione di un film sulla passione di Cristo: ci troviamo dunque in ambito metacinematografico: un film in cui si parla di un film. "
1). Paolo Pasolini (1963). 'La ricotta'
2). 'Tableaux vivants', http://www.mediastudies.it