“The Future is a Quickening of What Now Is”

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 “Art celebrates with peculiar intensity the moments in which the past reinforces the present and which the future is a quickening of what now is.”

At work, we’re working with a fantastic group of artists to develop a new exhibition. I’m very grateful to be working with such a wonderfully playful group. Simultaneously, I’m re-reading John Dewey’s Art as Experience, and every page feeds me new ideas. I’ve latched on to this idea, in particular:

“To be truly artistic, a work must also be esthetic—that is, framed for enjoyed receptive perception. Constant observation is, of course, necessary for the maker while he is producing. But if his perception is not also esthetic in nature, it is a colorless and cold recognition of what has been done, used as a stimulus to the next step in a process that is essentially meaningless. The esthetic experience is thus seen to be inherently connected with the experience of making… For to perceive, a beholder must create his own experience. And his creation must include relations comparable to those which the original producer underwent. They are not the same in any literal sense. But with the perceiver, as with the artist, there must be an ordering of the elements of the whole that is in form, although not in details, the same as the process of organization the creator of the work consciously experienced.”(Dewey 1934: 54)

I think it’s safe to say that my coworkers and our partner artists are having fun. I hope that our “hushed reverberations” will ring through to the finished works.

More inspiration from Dewey as we move forward:

“To the being fully alive, the future is not ominous but a promise; it surrounds the present as a halo. It consists of possibilities that are felt as a possession of what is now and here. In life that is truly life, everything overlaps and merges… Only when the past ceases to trouble and anticipations of the future are not perturbing is a being wholly united with his environment and therefore fully alive. Art celebrates with peculiar intensity the moments in which the past reinforces the present and which the future is a quickening of what now is.”

 

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