Re: Extropic art: symbolism, interpretation & association

Kathryn Aegis (
Sun, 16 Mar 1997 19:39:42 +0000

Two replies:

>In a message dated 3/17/97 6:07:42 AM, Kathryn Aegis wrote:
>>[I]f the artist decides that the piece of art serves a
>>particular purpose, then it serves a particular purpose.

>I stongly doubt the veracity of that claim. Artists very often fail to
>foresee how others will interpret and use their works.

I agree with this statement when applied to general art, but there is
a particular class of artworks that serve a definitive purpose, and
that purpose is usually clearly understood among the target audience.
My preferred genre of poetry has a long history of serving political
and satirical purposes, especially among populaces that are
non-literate. Oral poetry is often utilized for the purpose of
chronicalling history, as in the Viking and Greek sagas. The verse
that we now think of as nonsensical nursery rhymes was carefully
crafted to satirize events of the time in order that those vocalizing
such opinions could escape jail. More recently, during Yeats' time, the
practice of 'rat-rhyming' served to harshly criticize those in authority
in Ireland under the guise of entertaining for one's supper--and yet the
target audience quite well understood the intention. During our own
slave era in the U.S., poetry served as a direct means of communication
between separated kinsmen. In South America, many poets have been
jailed and tortured because their poetry serves as a thinly-veiled
call for revolution, (again well understood by the populace) as
documented by Amnesty International. Really, among world nations the
United States is one of the few that holds no such role for its
poets, preferring to maintain them in the realm of pure expression.

I particularly love Yeats' blistering invective directed toward his own
countrymen after Parnell's defeat:

Come, fix upon me that accusing eye.
I thirst for accusation. All that was sung
All that was said in Ireland is a lie.
Bred out of the contagion of the throng
Saving the rhyme rats hear before they die.
Leave nothing but the nothings that belong
To this bare soul, let all men judge that can
Whether it be an animal or a man.

Gregory Houston, in re my objections to his definition of art:
>The fact that you do not subscribe to it does not make it any less

Actually, my main objection stemmed from your seeming insistence that
this was the only definition of art in existence.


Kathryn Aegis