Sense perception

I have always found it hard to ‘understand’ abstract art. To me it usually looks like something I could do in five minutes on Paint. I was really intrigued when I was reading through the TOK textbook and it talked about how people tend to become irritated or even angry when they can’t interpret abstract art. This is most definitely true in my case (and probably why I tend to get very irritated with Mr Saha’s mind-boggling puzzles at the start of every lesson). Abstract art doesn’t seem to me to follow any pattern or structure and therefore cannot make sense. My preference for simplistic, complementary and logical things is probably why I prefer art where the artist has ‘followed the rules’ – drawn inside the lines or joined the dots in a systematic way.

I also found it interesting in class when we talked about how an eyewitness can accidentally give false information (when an eye witness gave a completely incorrect account of the shot by the police a few years ago inLondon). I thought it was interesting to find out that this false information can be produced due to the stress put on an individual’s memory. This is similar to when someone keeps asking me to recall something from a while ago, my story probably keeps changing as the actual events mix with what I wanted or didn’t want to happen.

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One thought on “Sense perception”

  1. A well written post, Mary. I like abstract art myself. In many ways I find it more interesting than naturalistic painting. It seems to me to be almost a purer form of art linked to ideas rather than the world. Walter Pater said that, ‘All art aspires towards the condition of music’, and I think that this is what abstract art does as well. What I also think is interesting is that whilst abstract art might be disturbing and open to interpretation, that can also be true for naturalistic art, and indeed, for the nature of the world itself. Perhaps, the difficulty in interpreting abstract art which you talk about is relevant to any interpretation based on sense perception which we make. Your second point about the role of memory is also interesting. There are some sections in the textbook to do with this which you might want to look at if you haven’t already on pp32-33, 40, and 51.

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