Sculpting Energy

9 April 2007 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment

The recent issue of Sculpture (May 2007) has an article titled “Sculpture as Energetic Process” which features the work of Jan van Munster, a sculptor from the Netherlands who “understands the production and reception of his art as a transformation of energy.”  The article invokes the broad definition of energy put forth by Aristotle and ties this to van Munster’s “principle theme”:

By energeaia the Greek philosopher understood a principle of effectiveness, the power that turns something from mere possibility into reality. This broad definition may certainly be applied to van Munster’s concept of art. Energy may be experienced in its effect when a possibility of shape, a mere idea or concept, is transformed into a real art form.

This sense of energy as existing in “conceptual art” which has yet to be manifest in physical form reminds me of my idea of energonomics as it is applied to the energy of thought:  after the energy of the sun is funneled to our brains–through the various transformations into chemical energy via photosynthesis and then its movement through the food chain to fuel our energy-hungry mindbrains–it is burned off as thought:  ideas/concepts/possibilities bolting through our neural networks until they lead us to make something happen in the world (i.e. the creation of a work of art for example) that then becomes a kind of energy-storage unit waiting for an audience to release its pent-up energy in their own experience of emotional response, intellectual engagement, and–possibly!–artistic resurrection in a new work of art, thereby manifesting what James P. Carse, in his classic work of philosophy and theology Finite and Infinite Games, would call the “infinite game” of culture.

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Entry filed under: art, energonomics.

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