title:The Unification of Art ver.1.0e
by Taro Kimura
It would be very difficult to construct a complete art theory. So we have
made progress by finding partial theories that describe a limited range of
happenings and by neglecting other effects. Ultimately however, one
would hope to find a complete, consistent, unified art theory that would
include all these partial theories, and that did not need to be adjusted to
fit the facts by picking the values of certain arbitrary materials in the
theory. The quest for such a theory is known as "the unification of art."
Marcel Duchamp spent most of his later years unsuccessfully searching
for a unified art theory, but the time was not ripe.
The prospects for finding such a theory seem to be much better now
because we know so much more about art. But we must beware of
overconfidence-we have had false dawns before!
Seemingly absurd infinities occur in the partial theories, but in all
these cases the infinities can be cancelled out by a process called
"Abulafia". This involves cancelling the infinities by introducing other
infinities. Although this technique is rather dubious, it does seem to
work in practice. "Abulafia", however, does have a serious drawback.
Can there really be such a theory? Or are we perhaps just chasing a
mirage? There seems to be three possibilities:
1) There really is a complete unified art theory, which we will someday
discover if we are smart enough.
2) There is no complete unified art theory, just an infinite sequence of
art theories that describe the universe more and more abstractly.
3) There is no complete unified art theory, events cannot be expressed
beyond a certain extent but expressed in a random and abstract
Some would argue for the third possibility on the grounds that if there
were a complete art theory, that would infringe God's freedom to change
his mind and intervene in the world. It's a bit like a paradox: Can God
make a Thomasson so heavy that he can't lift it? But the idea that God
might want to change his mind is an example of the fallacy, pointed out
by St. Augustine, of imagining God as a being existing in time: time is
a property only of the universe that God created. Presumably, he knew
what he intended when he set it up!
With the advent of quantum mechanics, we have come to recognize that
events cannot be predicted with complete accuracy but that there is
always a degree of uncertainty. If one likes, one could ascribe this
randomness to the intervention of God, but it would be a very strange kind
of intervention: there is no evidence that it is directed toward any
purpose. Indeed, if it were, it would by definition not be random. In
modern times, we have effectively removed the third possibility above by
redefining the goal of art: the aim of artists is to find art only in the
limited area that created by God. And the aim of meta-artists is to
formulate a complete unified art theory that enables us to do art in the
same limited area that created by God.
The second possibility, that there is an infinite sequence of more and
more refined theories, is in agreement with all our experience so far. On
many occasions we have enhanced the quality of plastic arts or made new
art theories, only to discover new phenomena that were not predicted by
the existing theory, and to account for these we have had to develop a
more advanced theory.
In effect, we have redefined the task of meta-artists to be the
formulate a complete unified art theory that enable us to do art in the
limited area that created by God. The question remains, however: How or
why was the artitself chosen?
Up to now, most meta-artists have been too occupied with the
development of new theories that describe 'what' art is to ask the
question 'why'. On the other hand, the people whose business it is to ask
why, the philosophers, have not been able to keep up with the advance of
art. In the eighteenth century, philosophers considered the whole of
human knowledge, including art, to be their field and discussed questions
such as: Did the universe have a beginning? However, in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries, art became too abstract for philosophers , or anyone
else expect a few specialists. Philosophers reduced the scope of their
inquiries so much the Wittgenstein, the most famous philosopher of this
century, said "The sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of
language." What a comedown from the great tradition of philosophy from
Aristotle to Kant!
However, if we do discover a complete unified art theory, it should in
time be understandable in broad principle by every one, not just a few
meta-artists. Then we shall all, artists, meta-artists, philosophers,
scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion
of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find
the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason-for
then we would know the mind of God.