Philosophy: ART OBJECTS

Art Objects as a modal realism

The sections take on the big question relating to art objects. The first section surveys a key influence from early modern philosophy. A turn in ontological realism came around the turn of the twenth century. However, it is new theories of mind influenced by quantum emergence that impact the conception of outdoor art as a genera. The indoor gallery is moving out into a plethora of substitutes that has similarities to classic outdoor art.

Early modernist philosophy primer for surveying art objects.

The article initially introduces early modern philosophy from the main blog, Outdoor art, introduction. This further analysis is in part due to the enduring appeal the this classic mechanistic world view that at the time replaced the classic Roman/Greco Aristotelian concept of objects. A paradigm shift gave way to relativity, and with that modernism. There are articles that go into philosophical issues that modernism bring up, and those are linked to throughout this article.

Philosophy of aesthetic functionalism

Substance functionalism and early modern philosophy.

The question being, could an art object be distinguished from general things? It is from ‘real essences’ things are known through primary and secondary qualities (introductory article). However real essences are abstractions, and what makes an object distinct and discreate is the object has nominal essences. It is these nominal essences that are mind dependent, and therefore have modes of distinct categories.

Objects that are nominal essences

Objects acquire human definitions are nominal essences. These definitions are super mental entities allowing people to communicate that which is apart from the nature of the objects real essence. So for Locke we should be sceptical about our ability to know the real nature of ordinary things. However human perception requires distinct and meaningful objects. So using the clock analogy. It has an internal structure known by the maker who knows its real essence, but not necessarily by the user of the device. The example Locke gives is of a ‘gazing country man’ who marvels at a grand clock towers appearance, but not its internal workings. This is what Locke thought of how humans understand general discreate objects.

Solidity and modes as a method to view the art object.

So for Locke to know ordinal objects required some way to go beyond the primary qualities and secondary qualities of things. That is an objects real essences render objects as unknowable. The analogy given is a clock maker. The clock maker knowns the internal working of the clock better than a staring country man. Locke refers to solidity of objects as a general object of knowledge that at the time praised Newton for a theory of attraction of solid objects.

Early modernist world view from atomist perspective.

The question of what sort of knowledge holds as empirically valid about general appearances has an implicit impact on the art object and if it could even exist outside as a entity. The shelter contains aesthetical things of value which are framed, or placed on some familiar structure. Locke thought this had to do with geometry as a measure of human knowledge.

It is because we know the real essences of geometrical figures that that subject consists of ‘certain and universal knowledge’ obtained by a priori intuition or demonstration. But we do not know the real essences of the substances of natural philosophy, so all that we can do is to observe and list their properties, and form only beliefs and opinions about them.

The Empiricists. R.S. Woolhouse

Early modernism Empiricism and outdoor art.

A set of universals, such as geometry, and sense phenomenon, such as colour, can be known. However, these universals make little sense when applied to discrete objects. So, nominal essences give the art object its particular properties. These properties become vague as they refer to entities outside the human sphere of influence, and it is this where outside art sets itself as a vague object of knowledge.

What further articles survey early modernism.

Nature of consciousness and art objects further extends Locke’s account of modes that seeks out certain discourses around formalism, as well as Descartes substance dualism that concludes that art is for Descartes about truth, so well suited for the media age of photo journalism. (article still being compiled for publication)

Tropical abstract compositional art as a formalism from early modernism epistemology.

Outdoor art is akin to a form of metaphysics that translates into the particular order in the modernist system. It many well pertain to a tropical metaphysics that I discuss further in the philosophy of modal realism. The sense of being within a complex tropical system renders the art object as a abstract art form. The role of finding profound representations of any system maybe the role of artist as distinct from the technical roles within manufacture.

The search for the profound is akin to a teleological role of consciousness shared by all humans which makes all humans natural artists as meaning makers and conveyers of forms of truth through reason.

This search for truth as an art object may be a conscious by-product of the macro universe, and so an intrinsic abstract impulse shared by all humans.

The moving image and digital modernity.

Multi compositional art forms

Projection of self

The depiction of projected graphics images on CBD structures and the urban raw is an example of the moving image supervening on city environments. The genera of street and urban photography is a great example where the enthusiast can engage in a grassroots sense with urban renewal through photography. There are various photographic methods for this though my favourite is exploring compositional potentials through the use of various camera angles so as to best place the print within a mixed media context for compositional art..

International travel as philosophical idealism.

Intentional states

  • Essentialist point of self reference for art production.
  • Situationist materialist approach to composition.
  • Intentionality as unitary or multi layered modal (could be that).
  • Intentionality supervenes art object.
Graphic image that illustrates the theory of a multi compositional art object

Art of Personal identity.

The following account is based on Derek Parfit theory of identity known as the teletransportation paradox. Parfit being the master of the art of personal identity par excellence.

  • Personal identity suggests the same person who begins the art work project is the same person who finished the artwork, therefore the author of the artwork .
  • Personal identity suggests travel over distance entails the sameness of identity at the beginning to end.
  • These accounts suggest a philosophical bias to the ego theory of what it is to be a person.

Ego theory verses Bundle theory

  • person persists as a mental thing- a soul, or spirit
  • a person is a material thing but has a supervening series of mental states or events- a person, social identity.

Art object as ego or bundle theory

  • art object as contingent on either a soul/spirit or a series of mental events
  • art object persists as a reflection of a soul so exists as a statement of soul
  • art object persists as a social event attributed to a persons life phase

Artist belief and unbelief

Suppose an artist entered a workshop sealed off from any outside interference as an artist pod. The artist then presses a button that sets off a quantum scanner that records all brain states and cellular structure attributed to the creative process. The belief is a new art project. Hopefully, an outcome will be an artwork to be exhibited at a central gallery. Your choice as an artist is to either believe in the ego theory or bundle theory. You begin to work on the block of marble.

Thought experiment

However, unbeknown to the artist a replica of that artist , the scan produces a replica. Replica begins at the same instant in another art pod at the opposite pole position on earth. The outcome of the resultant artworks is identical in all visible respects. Question being , can an artwork be ascribed to one and only one artist? (The account is a reworking of the teletransportation paradox thought experiment)

Comparing the ego theory to bundle theory as to teletransportation paradox.

  • ego theorist might say there are two bodies but one original ego/soul.
  • therefore one artwork attributed to one and only on ego/soul
  • bundle theorist might say, there are to identical sets of physical and mental process.
  • therefore there must be two artworks attributed to two sets of physical/mental process operating in distinct spacial categories.

Will the artwork be yours?

So on the first account the artwork must be yours. There would be no doubt of originality that even if the two works had been swapped by the gallery staff. However on the second account it becomes less clear. Arguably there are two distinct artworks that look the same but attributed to distinct persons with their reasons.

Modal realism & art in the Tropics

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What is modal realism.

The view that the world at any instance could be distinct in some way from the present state of affairs. That is so long as there is no contradiction of any state of affairs. Thought experiments pertaining to personal identity best clarify the central philosophical problem

What has modal realism got to do with art?

Any ascribed art object is an ordinary object. Though possibly any ordinary object could never be an art object. Therefore ordinary objects could be art objects.

What has modal realism got to do with art in the tropics?

It the approach I take to philosophy, as a situational, given the current location when writing is in tropical Queensland, Townsville.

Necessity of the art object

The problem modal realism poses to the artistic pursuit is the rendering of a possible world, as actual. Actual as a necessary condition, therefore denoting the object/art as possible if imagined to be true. However, if the name links to a referent, it is an art object by token of being actual. However, this faces the problem outlined by Russel pertaining to the existence of persons in relation to a description. Kripke, a contemporary philosopher, suggests the ‘cluster concept theory’. A series of concepts gives a more robust meaning to a name. The philosophical point: is this the case in all possible worlds? A couple more questions. Could art exist in all possible worlds? Could art have no resemblance if in another world? So if not art in all possible worlds, what makes it art in this world?

Art object as true in all possible worlds.

Artists who ponder the philosophical foundations fall into two primary camps. The realist material world theorists, or idealists mental construct theorists. However, a third and often overlooked option, is a possible world realism. The first two categories lay within the literature of art history. Realism pertains to anthropological material culture as an artifact. Idealism is the characteristic Romantic style. Its vouchsafed by anything external to the individual, in a bid for passionate personal commitment. The lifestyle or idealistic goal. Possible worlds relate to contingent identity. An art object is contingent to a referent. The referent may go by different names. However only a particular could be the creator of that object in all possible worlds. This entails a cluster of concepts that ‘rigidly designates’ between object and referent. This compatibilist approach to realism and idealism takes on many forms.

Modality realism as distinct essences pertaining to objects

A thought experiment around modal realism.

Sculptures X and Y have the identical form. That is each sculpture is made from the same caste.
Sculptures X and Y also have identical aggregate or material substance. That is the pile of sand and cement are similar in content.
Are both sculptures identical?
Well in the sense that an observer could not identify X from Y they seem to be in form and content copies.

However, if X and Y have distinct modal essences then a divergence would take place once the aggregate is caste.
That is each sculpture has distinct modal properties.

Object X is different from object Y by token of being separated by space-time. According to relativity X and Y are distinct by token of their relative position. Identity necessarily changes if X went at a relative speed to Y, and so if X could possibly be different to Y then X could be identical to Y given the chance of being super imposed through entanglement.

What is Materialism in art, Philosophically?

What is art materialism ?

There are two areas of interest in this question. The nature of materialism? Are artworks produced so to project the self into a transcendent realm, such as an afterlife within a life. That would be a cultural form of immortality as in material culture. The theory of the soul as a nonmaterial entity takes the opposite view. The self as a soul would by token of self-identity. A token would be capable of an after-biological-life as a type of non material substance. Though on a practical level materialism is about the outdoor as outdoor art for middle to higher income cohorts. It affords an aesthetic of the social life of the contemporary state of affairs.

However, materialism places consciousness within the realm of brain functionalism. Therefore it is only that which is constructed by the person as works or properties of self qua genetic transference that would function as a type to token relation to what comes afterlife.

Therefore the notion of an earlier self concerning some future self would then count as a form of immortality given materialism considers the regeneration of cells as a class of life that would not entail the same type of entity to some future self. So in this sense, any early artworks would count as a form of self-identity that ostensibly linked to that phenomenological self.

Photography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. GiardinaPhotography by I.Z. Giardina
  • Mixed media

Art of being a materialist

So what is materialism in art, philosophically? It could be an expression of free will. The notion of the will to power.

Philosophical modernity and representation through an art practice.

Philosophical art practices

The nature of modernity

There are various temporal methodologies for representing modes of modernity. Artworks, as a mixed media basis, is an ideal way to explore modernity. This can be done through the context of flows of tourism and trade. Firstly modernity requires some mode of representation. This can be non non-analytic. A philosophical set of rational arguments that lead to contradictions. Therefore premises that lead to a conclusion are a synthesis of lived experiences that lays at the heart of any art practice.

Modernity and resistance


Philosophic art practices within modernity is a form of resistance to institutional types of identity construction. Subjects of creative content move into modes of self-definition and control of identity politics. It deconstructs the functional ascriptive roles of structural functionalism.”


There is a primordial sense of representing that transcends the rational process. That the self in society, arguably, is unable to understand the complex nature of world politics. That is the narratives of globalization and the complex interdependency of consumption.

Philosophical art practices and its manifest representations.


Intuitional logic and semantic connections enable a sense of personal identity. However this is constrained through the various media informational channels. Furthermore, what brings content to individual lives manifests as economic production. However what transcends or for materialists supervenes may only ever be a for visual representation. Therefore art can offer profound insights into these questions. Pragmatics of art may be that it has a general sense of referencing simple objects, such as outdoor sculpture as a way of making sense of the cultural form of life that constructs identity.

To reflect on movement and stillness.
Camel legs are positioned under the mountain. View the series titled ‘EIGHT THOUSANDERS’ that is a survey of the Himalayas mountains over eight thousand meters.