Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-08-09 - 6:33 p.m.

Back in the UUUK as the saying goes. Landed 7.00pm Gatwick on Sunday and then drove to Bham the next morning - just coming to the end of my second day in the office which today was enlived by a fun lunch with a colleague from my Civil Service College days. Tomorrow I drive up Watling St to MIRA for a day of RnD strategy. Needless to say my sleep pattern still has not stabilized.

Waiting for me back at the office was Adrian Piper - Out of Order Out of Sight. Piper is a philosopher and conceptual artist. She was the only non-white female to play a major role in the heroic days of conceptual art and has taught philosophy at Wellesley College in Ma - S Plath went to Wellesley Junior High. Kant is a major research interest for AP - she has dug deep into the Kantian vision of the self and tried to explain how some of the complex terminology makes sense in more everyday terms.

Coincidentally I started writing on Kant and the conception of the self when I was in Turkey and I am wondering if I have the confidence and energy to offer some of this material to any readers here. I am starting from the commentary on Kantís aesthetic and teleological writings which I took away with me - in particular on his theory of the sublime. My standpoint is different from APís in that I start with the supposition that Kant may be wrong.

This sounds very presumptuous but a lot of people these days have beliefs which are out of line with some of the truths that Kant thought were most important. In particular it is not clear to me that most people see themselves as free moral agents. Kant thought that this was a most important belief and that art and aesthetics should help support and spread this belief in various ways. This is most clearly seen in the sublime - the experience of awe which overwhelms. Kant saw this as a two phase experience in which the second important phase was a realisation of moral freedom - in the face of the power of the natural world. Fine art was a demonstration of this freedom - on the part of the artist - with benefits for his audience when they reflect on the work.

Nowadays we donít buy into this model that strongly - and we certainly donít expect great art necessarily to reflect freedom - it may reflect entrapment - fixed stars govern a life - as the poet said. We may be drawn to poets and other artists who express sublime entrapment or where the entrapment shapes our reading - where marginality is of the essence - where there is gap between artistic perception and the ability to act successfully on that perception.

So that s what I wrote about - especially where a vision of humanity within natural law - including biology, biochemistry, systems theory, ecology, social psychology - brings a different kind of second-phase sublime realisation. And where this second-phase realisation is triggered by a different kind of first phase perception. For example perhaps the curve of the scorpionís tale is a small sublime - or a fall which stretches a thumb.

Getting back to work was helped a great deal by kicking the ball around with Steve - we reviewed where we stood on the various fronts and evaluated looming options - more linkages we might establish.

I have looked through 10 SS to see if I still like them - which I do - and started to sift this yearís WAV archive.

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