Artification and Its Impact on Art
School of Visual Culture University of Art and Design Helsinki Helsinki, Finland
The paper deals with a cultural phenomenon that can be called artification and especially with issues that should be taken into account when doing research about it. The neologism artification refers to situations and processes in which something that is not regarded as art in the traditional sense of the word is changed into something art-like or into something that adopts features of art. The phenomenon is closely linked with aestheticization processes.
The possibility of spreading artistic ways of thinking and acting to fields and activities outside of art per se has repeatedly been discussed by various writers over the last decades (e.g., Lotte Darso and John Hartley). The typical point of departure is that there is both art and non-art, and when certain aspects of art (e.g., creativity) are applied to some non-art context, the non-art context (e.g., education, marketing, or scientific research) instrumentally benefits from this. However, it is often the case that even the most fundamental concepts of this approach are left ill undefined. What is meant by the word art? What aspects of art can be used?
Moreover, despite the range of this discussion to date, a topic hardly ever touched upon is what happens to art in such processes, even if art is accepted as one of the central fields of culture. This is the main focus of the paper: how does art itself - both applied and traditional art - may change through such processes? And how are these changes manifested in ways of discussing art (on the conceptual level), in art institutions (education, museums, etc.), and in art practices?
The goal of the paper is to open up some perspectives over how artification affects art on each of these three levels (conceptual-linguistic, institutional, practical) and especially to propose points of departure for studying the phenomenon further. The paper will not present final research results but will reflect on the starting points that are already used in the research project Artification and Its Impact on Art that started in three Finnish universities in the beginning of 2009.