1 year ago

17 August, 2016

Godfrey Tanner Bar

Organised by:
Philosophy Society

UoN Philosophy Society invites you to attend our first major event of semester two, Tradition in Art & Architecture.

WHAT: A guided discussion forming part of our series on aesthetics
WHEN: Wednesday 17 August, 5:00-9:00pm
WHERE: Derkenne Courtyard/Godfrey Tanner Bar, Callaghan, University of Newcastle

It may seem odd to speak of tradition in the context of art, given that art is by nature a highly creative endeavour. Artists, we feel, should not be sticklers for precedent in the manner of a judge. On the other hand, nor is it the case that artists operate in a cultural vacuum. Their work is invariably compared with that of their predecessors. When we praise a work for its originality we are necessarily reflecting upon a complex and, at times, uneasy relationship between past and present. Perhaps we cannot be truly innovative as artists if we lack this “historical sense,” to use T. S. Eliot's words.

But what exactly does our artistic inheritance consist of anyway and do we really have to bother learning about it? What if the values implicit in older works of art conflict with our own? Would it not then be beholden on us to subvert those traditional forms or even to try and marginalise them altogether from the public consciousness? Such has been the approach of many contemporary thinkers.

In the modern world these tensions are perhaps nowhere more conspicuous than in architecture. It is as if an aesthetic debate has been writ large across our towns and cities; on any block you will find bold, new structures sitting alongside older style buildings. Though we may take delight in such novelty, the exercise generates a kind of visual discordancy which some people find upsetting. Indeed, bitter legal battles are fought over these issues and they often come to dominate local politics. What, if anything, can be done about this? Is there a happy medium between respect for tradition on the one hand and the desire for innovation on the other?

The event will begin in Derkenne Courtyard before moving into the GT Bar later in the evening. Our discussion will centre on the theme outlined above but there’s no assumed knowledge and you don’t have to have studied philosophy to participate. Moreover, there will be an opportunity to chat with members about other topics during the dinner break. Food is free for members (you can join on the night for $2) and there are vegan and gluten-free options available.

See you there!