Aesthetics of ugliness

Ugliness has always been disregarded by many artist and philosophers and given less attention. This has created an impression that such an attribute does not exist. However, on the basis of general thinking one cannot be in a position to give the extent of one attribute if one cannot define its exact opposite. In the case of beauty, its exact opposite is ugliness. This therefore has created a debate on what ugliness is all about and how it can relate to art, on what ugliness is and how it can be defined.  Artists for instance have been focusing entirely on the aspect of beauty in matters aesthetics. However, Kantian’s arguments and definitions on aesthetics disapproves this notion by coming up with solutions and proposals on how ugliness can be judged and explained in the field of art (Cassell, 36).

A particular instance where Kantian aesthetics can be utilized is the case of an artist in China. The artist, who apparently is utilizing his skills to combat the problem of air pollution, is seen carrying around a vacuum cleaner. The sole purpose of this being to collect the dust and other microscopic particles which lead to air pollution. In the end he puts together the dust and other particles from the air to form a brick. His actions have therefore created a lot of buzz and made him go viral in the social media. People are particularly interested and surprised in this way of creating sensitization which is quite alien and never seen before.

China, the world’s fastest developing country has been able to close in and eradicate most problems which are associated with most countries in the world. Such issues like child mortality, and life expectancy have been dealt with in a great manner and with a lot of success. However, due to industrialization and accompanying effects of air pollution, there are a myriad of diseases which have come up in the recent past. This are cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary and road carnages among others. All these are diseases which can be directly attribute to air pollution as there mode of transmit ion is air, except of course the case of the road carnages.

This piece of art is clearly ugly as attributed to its composition which is dust and other microscopic particles. The fact that this dust emanates from pollution a creation of the industrialization effect also adds to the ugly depiction of the piece. Generally people across the world have become intolerant towards the pollution aspect of industrialization. This is basically true because of the various negative aspects which is associated with pollution. Among them being global warming and the way it is negatively affecting the world’s natural balance and the ecosystem. The other negative aspect of pollution which has been clearly documented being the health effects it has had on the world inhabitants and specifically the industrialized nations like China (Küplen, 100).

In the artist depicting the ugly part of industrialization, which is summarized by the act of solidifying the particles and dust found in the air to form a brick, the society is disgusted and struck with shock at how such an irritable thing has been going on unabated and the damages it has been doing to their bodies. Their disgust and intolerance is clearly indicated by the amount of attention the work of art has acquired in the internet and by extension the audience it has acquired from the world biggest news rooms like the CNN. The ugliness of the piece of art is helping to put forward the bad things that are happening in the society which is the pollution. The art is therefore as a result being celebrated for its ugliness.

The Chinese artist’s work is creative, but not beautiful. This can be explained solely by the fact that it is able to elicit the emotions of the people who view it. The amount of viewership and comments it has acquire in the social media clearly indicates that this an artistic piece. It has been able to communicate information to its beholders in spite of the fact that it is something which can be classified as being ugly as depicted by its physical appearance and the pollution it is being attributed to.

According to Kats principals, an art has to be universally communicable. This is clear in the case of the Chinese’s artist’s piece of work. The wide coverage and publicity it receives from the people in china and the world generally clearly indicates that the artist’s message was well understood by many people across the world. This therefore showing that the artist met his goal of communicating a message to the people he intended it to reach.

The other guiding aspects according to Kat being the perceiver’s ability to enjoy the piece of work stemming from the works shape and outlook. The audience of the work of art in this cited case clearly were able to elicit feelings of disgust. Global pollution, being a negative and a disgusting thing, elicited negative comments from the Chinese citizens. As attributed to the negative and unfortunate effects of pollution which has been documented in China, the comments in the social media was able to communicate the feelings of disgust and intolerance which can be attributed to pollution. This therefore shows that the ugliness of the piece of art met its target. The feelings of displeasure therefore, at the end helped to make this piece of work valid as it was through it that it gained universal acceptability (Carroll, 215).

Reflection is another important aspect which can be used to gauge the effectives of a piece of art. This in the case of the ugly brick was clearly brought about by the comments made by the people in the social media. The comments they made indicated that they had been able to observe the work of art and reflect upon it. In the process of reflection the people were able to connect it with the activities on the ground which is the pollution menace they are facing. The comment s they made were therefore informed by the reflection they had on this particular issue of pollution.

The rule of aesthetic judging was also clearly involved in the whole process. The principle according to Kat, points out to the subjective conditions of the power of judgment. This rule is satisfied by the people being able to appreciate the general appearance of the block. Which has been termed as “ugly” due to its lack of appeal attributed to its rather obvious and regular outlines. The color also does not appeal to the people as it is dull. However, this attributes in the end help in driving home the point which was being communicated by the artist. The pollution effect is not beautiful in any way. The dull colors clearly shows that. The shape on the other hand also which is regular and with no appeal in terms of aesthetics is also a clear attribute of the imagery of disgust towards pollution.

The cultural and ideological factors which have contributed to this work being deemed as ugly, are the aesthetical appearance of the work and the reflection and judgment which comes as a result of its interpretation. The artist’s depiction of his work in the form of a block, doesn’t show any beat but as result with a picture of ugliness. A block has never attracted any attention due to the fact it is normally a composition of dust. Dust on the other hand has been attributed to uncleanliness and dirt. The other contributing aspect in the piece of arts ugliness is the general judgment elicited by the work of art. By associating it with pollution, the perceivers are able to develop an image of its negative attributes. Pollution has always be used interchangeably with global warming and the problems facing today’s society as a result of industrialization.

Therefore from the above instance of the “ugly block” and the negative comments it elicits, we can be in a position to say that however much a work may be ugly, it can communicate the artist’s ideas. Thereby, meeting the requirements of any artistic piece of work which is that it should communicate an idea and make the perceivers to create a complete image in their minds. This in the end will result in the development of feedback as response to the artist’s depiction. It can be in the form of actions against or in support of the artist’s idea.

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