Unreal Nature

April 16, 2019

A Singer’s Throat

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:19 am

… the artist may find his talent … not only a help but a hindrance and an inhibition …

Continuing through The Sociology of Art by Arnold Hauser, translated by Kenneth J. Northcott (1982):

… Everything individual and particular in the phenomena of life remains nature and pure potentiality. The humanity of man, his existence as a historical being, and his participation in culture begin with the dissolution of the rigidity of his natural gifts and the change of his particular activities into parts of a unified totality.

In contrast to humanity’s cultural possessions is the whole psycho-physical equipment which serves for their acquisition — something objective and external, an empty vehicle or an instrument which is first silent and has to be made to sound, like, for example, a violin or a singer’s throat. It belongs to the person but is a foreign body, a tool, a machine with its own mechanical, spiritually alien conditions of functioning.

[line break added] As historically indeterminate and socially indifferent data, not only a person’s physical but also his psychic constitution is an apparatus which is idling, which leads to the production of meaningful and culturally valuable products only by the introduction of concrete temporally, spatially, and socially determined experiential material. Thus the artist may find his talent, strictly limited and sharply delineated as it is, not only a help but a hindrance and an inhibition which he has to master and which he has to disregard.

[line break added] This is not only because of the inflexibility of the direction that is more or less part of every talent and often increases with the magnitude of the talent, but also because of the singularity with which it opposes, as a mere instrument, the artist’s intention, intervenes between his self and his work, and alienates the former from him.

My most recent previous post from Hauser’s book is here.

-Julie

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