Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Critical Studies - Aesthetics and Ethics Debate

These are the notes that I took during the debate we had about aesthetics and ethics.  I'm pretty sure that I've managed to get everyone's contributions down but touch typing can only go so fast.  Therefore if I've left anything major out then left me know.

What is meant by the words aesthetics and ethics? Should aesthetics have an ethical aspect? Argue with reference to a range of different creative works to reinforce your argument.

| FOR:

People of note:
  • Graham Ovenden – His artwork was removed from the Tait gallery after he was convicted on inappropriate relations with a child even though the art in question was already pretty questionable.
  • Mary Whitehouse – 1970's Keep filth of television Campaigner [1]

Points made:
  • In a nutshell. aesthetics and ethics are tied to each other. Consider ergonomics and the evolution of the simple chair.
  • If ethics had historically been taken into account then we wouldn't be facing the environmental problem of overflowing landfills.
  • Advertising - The design of something is very impressionable on it's audience. A plain product (car, house) that is aligned with a certain image changes the product from something safe to something dangerous.

    There is a direct correlation between drink driving ads and safer driving [2]. It is causing people to change their behavior and has affected society in a positive manner [3].
  • Plagiarism – Ethics should always be on the moral high ground. “The job of a great artist or designer is to remember stolen information and change it and make it a great idea” [4]
  • Movies – which once influenced society. Films are being made to abide by the ratings system, which replaced the Hayes Code in 1969, and have become very subjective.  If the director feels that they are making something good for them then it's good for them but may be harmful to society at large.  Is the film still released? [5]
  • Ethics vs Morals – On one level Banksy is just another graffiti artists who defaces buildings but on another level his work is political in nature.
  • If you want to challenge the ethics of society then the aesthetics of what you create must have ethical considerations. How boring would it be to have artwork without any kind of message?
  • Religion – brings meaning to life, in this way you can see aesthetics as being God with ethics being the meaning of life.
    If you are making heaps of money then what's the point of ethics?  So yes, even though morals are evident in society if we all lived by the same rules then the world wouldn't be nearly as interesting because we wouldn't ever question anything that was going on.

    All of life is a test. The morals are a test and people like to challenge society which makes us more individuals [6]
  • Us vs Them – You, as an individual, define whether something is ethical based on the culture you are brought up in. What is acceptable over there is frowned upon over here.
  • Capitalism – Aesthetics have been taken to a whole other level in order to sell everything to everyone. Advertising is everywhere whether or not you want to see it.
  • War – The nuclear bomb was designed to prevent the Americans from having to invade Japan which would have resulted in many more deaths. Looking at it, with extreme objectivity, it was the lesser of two evils. - “Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds” Robert Oppenheimer
  • “There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written or badly written, that is all” Oscar Wilde, The picture of Dorian Gray

  1. Where filth is defined as anything that she didn't like.  Seriously, go read her wiki page and you'll be amazed at the stuff her group complained about.
  2. I've no sources to back this information up use with care.
  3. Which, according to Newtons third law, means that the opposite is certainly possible. Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction.
  4. I didn't get the name of the who said this unfortunately. Google tells me its Steve Jobs but that isn't the name I remember so for now I'm leaving it unattributed for now.
  5. Disney has locked "The song of the south" away in the vault and gone on record as saying it will never be rereleased.
  6. and also leads itself to social progress with all this it implies.

No comments:

Post a Comment