þæt ealde hors

Do you watch watch the podcast Beyond the Brick, dear readers? We don't, but since reader Dave Kaleta was recently interviewed we figured we would listen to what Dave has to say, since it's normally worth listening to. At the end of the second part Dave and the hosts talk about Lego as an art form, which is a discussion that is as old as balls in the Lego community. Dave makes the argument that Lego is not intentional art. That is, when AHOLs sit down to play with their blocks, their goals are to make my own creations, not art. This is an argument that we have not heard before (we stopped reading forums so maybe people have talked about we don't know) and was interesting to listen to.

A lot of our own building primarily involves recreating things that exist in real life (trains and, more recently, buildings). That means, when we sit down to play, we have the intention to (re)create some facet of human existence. Now, as we have blagged in the past, we went to community college and took an art history class there, so we know some things about art, like the Realism movement in the 19th Century. Dave went to art school and has forgotten more than we know, but we think our opinion matters and are going to keep blagging anyway. With Lego, one is obviously more limited in the amount of reality that one can convey in any scale than compared to traditional sculpture, which leads to a process called "selective compression", which means deliberately omitting certain details without losing the overall concept. While one could construe selective compression as "stylizing", which would not be "realistic", it is an unfortunate and necessary reality of the medium that we AHOLs have chosen. It is literally impossible to perfectly recreate something out of Legos. The intention to portray reality remains.

Obviously (unfortunately) not every builds the same way that we do, but their intentions are still the same. Someone building an imaginary phallus spaceship is still working within a canonical framework of spaceships (one that is not exclusive the Lego canon) that needs to be believable. How is the spaceship going to navigate through space? How is the spaceship going to pew the bad guys? How does the space ship barrel-roll? Though the requirements for a spaceship to be believable may change more rapidly and are considerably less constrictive than those for a row house or diesel-electric locomotive, all AHOLs have to portray reality. And what about mosaics? Long have mosaics been considered the closest that an AHOL can get to making art, but anymore the trend in building a mosaic out of Legos is to use parts cleverly to create an image, which would (erroneously) lead one to the conclusion that mosaic builders are building for the sake of technique, not to portray a reality. But for all their stacks of printed tiles, no one will accept an image that is not believably realistic. If Roy Cook has gotten Halle Berry's eyes wrong, no one would have liked his mosaic.

What do you think, dear readers? Obviously people like Nathan Sawaya are not making art out of Lego since they are only literally stacking basic colored bricks and convincing people with more money than cognitive abilities that his my own creations are art, but what about the rest of us? Post a valued opinion below and tell us what you think.

1 comment:

  1. too many words. show us pics, matty. only go to blogs for the pics.