Monday, 14 November 2016

Quote by Moholy-Nagy

In the following passage, Moholy-Nagy works to posit his own philosophy as separate from a Fordist discourse that sought to anonymise workers to the extent that they became alienated with their labour and with society as a whole. Still embracing elements of mass-production, Moholy-Nagy writes that while everyone cannot be an artist, everyone can still be a creative producer of things and an agent of material and aural expression. In a sense, he foreshadows a debate that would seep the authorial argument and critique of much contemporary art, which relies on the question of who can be an artist? Who is an artist and who gets excluded from this category? 

Furthermore, there is an effort even here to bridge the gap between life and art and to propose a simultaneous engagement with technological advancement that allows for the existence of and life practice engagement with mass-production and the individual with personal skills, emotions and subsequent responses. Rather than try to pedagogically dogmatise one extreme way over another, Moholy-Nagy suggests a harmonious encounter between the two which maintains an importance on individuality in the face of a technologically progressing society. 

Here is Moholy-Nagy:

“Everyone is talented... everyone is equipped by nature to receive and assimilate sensory experiences. Everyone is sensitive to tones and colors, everyone has a sure ‘touch’ and space reactions, and so on. This means that everyone by nature is able to participate in all the pleasures of sensory experience, that any healthy man can become a musician, painter, sculptor, or architect, just as when he speaks, he is ‘a speaker’. That is, he can give form to his reactions in any material (which is not, however, synonymous with ‘art,’ which is the highest level of expression of a period). The truth of this statement is evidenced by actual life: in a perilous situation or in moments of inspiration the conventions and inhabitants of daily routine are broken, and the individual often reaches an unexpected plane of achievement”[1].

[1] Moholy-Nagy, The New Vision, 17.

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