The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate that you can use aesthetic principles in your own reasoning, and to look at an object in a new, perhaps more open-minded, way. Ideally you should learn something about what you value, and gain some insight into how others might perceive the world a bit differently.
You must submit your responses to the assignment below in an essay format.
- Your essay should be a minimum of 1000 words, not including your “Works Cited” section at the end of your essay.
- Submit your responses in the text box provided when you click on “submit assignment.”
- Do not attach any files to your submission. To include a picture of your object of analysis, use the “Image” tool available in the text submission box (signified by a “tree” in a box), or upload your picture to a website and include the URL in your essay.
- Your essay will be automatically checked through the “Turn It In” system, so make sure that you are responsibly citing your sources, including quotation marks around quoted material, and using your own words for any summarizing or paraphrasing.
- First, find an object THAT YOU HAVE PHYSICALLY ENCOUNTERED (do not use things from online) that you do not normally consider art, or even aesthetically valuable. You may have encountered this item in a normal daily setting, or in a museum, art store, or other venue.
- Examine the object for a while, and then write out a brief description of the object (if necessary, take a picture of the object and include that with your assignment, pasting the picture into the submission text box.).
- Second, indicate (in approximately one or two paragraphs) why you normally would not consider the object art or aesthetically valuable. You should include what your original definition of art is (what do you normally consider art, and why), and you should clearly explain why this object does not meet your preconceived notions about art.
- Next, try to examine the object in a new way, using the principles of aesthetic reasoning (either functionalist or formalist, but not both). Give an argument, which integrates facts about the object and the aesthetic principles, for why someone could consider the object art or aesthetically valuable. The aesthetic principles you use must be true of the object. You must choose to use either functionalist principles or formalism, but NOT BOTH since functionalism and formalism are incompatible. YOU CANNOT USE, OR EVEN MENTION, THE LAST PRINCIPLE ABOUT “NO ARGUMENT CAN BE GIVEN TO ESTABLISH AESTHETIC VALUE” (since the assignment REQUIRES YOU TO PROVIDE AN ARGUMENT, this last principle is not compatible with the assignment).
The more reasoning and depth to your analysis, the better. You should submit an essay of 1000 to 2000 words in order to ensure you have developed your ideas adequately. Don’t forget to include your in-text citations and a Works cited section at the end of your essay.