Can 'Art' be imposed?

Submitted by John_O on Mon, 04/20/2009 - 21:00

Can 'Law' be 'Art?' 

If a 'Law' were made by an artist, would it be 'Art?' 

As I understand it, 'Law' is simply a medium - the same as painting, writing or video (for example) and, as a medium, it can be used creatively for the purpose of making 'Art.'  An interesting point was put to me yesterday though, which questioned this position:

"Paintings, novels, films etc. - these can all be Art because, I can choose if I want to encounter them or not.  I can choose to read a book or watch a film.  But a 'Law?'  - I can't choose this - it is imposed on me - and this is why a 'Law' cannot be 'Art'."

Can something which is imposed be 'Art?'

Art Imposed

Art, to me, means something created not imposed. It can create beauty, express feelings, it can explore things. The thing that attracts me to the project is that you are attempting to explore something we don't understand, trying to uncover a meaning in this imposition, but Law cannot become a medium to do this because it cannot express love, beauty or feeling- it’s definitive. If the project was brought to its conclusion the only thing it would create are more rules...Art should break rules. Understanding or testing the rules is a privilege that art gives us but when these rules are imposed on people you can only create a minority who want to break the rules. Law does impose; this is the thing you are trying to explore, but in desiring to do so you are maybe creating the thing which you seem to be trying to destroy... 

Creatively Enabling

Restrictions can be creatively enabling.

Take an example from football:

In 2004 Fifa's International Board made a change to the way the offside rule should be interpreted. The aim, according to Fifa, was to "protect attacking play intended to lead to a goal, which is the ultimate objective in football."

FIFA changed their "Law's of the Game" so as to enable attacking play. The offside rule itself exists to compel creative attacking play (rather than attckers just waiting on the goal line to recieve the ball.)

One key reason for agreeing on a set of rules (such as the football code) is so that we can then explore how best to creatively (co)operate within those rules, on a level playing field.  Think of Maradona, Pele, George Best, Christiano Ronaldo...

A similar logic can be applied to the laws that we adopt as a society: Depending on interpretation, different laws could potentially enable, encourage or restrict creative activity.

Could it be said that The Meat Licence Proposal poses a creative restriction?

P.S. Have a look at this great animated explanation of the offside rule from FIFA's "Laws of the Game."

You don't need footy to explain that

How about a simple Shakespearean sonnet? 14 lines and ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

Anyways, I'm a prokarytarian now. I don't eat anything with a nucleus.



Prokarytarian? Wow! Does that actually exist?

It depends how you define art.

Is art the creation or the subjective acceptance of the same? I reckon most childhood education is about imposed art, from stories in wet play to cramming Jane Eyre for your English Lit exam. Then it continues in adulthood, most notably through advertising. Would the Dandy Warhols have been a success without Vodafone and their repetitive campaign? And what about graffiti? Isn't it by definition imposed art?