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Illuminating History by Lily Díaz, 25.IX.2000

by Lily Díaz


According to the philosopher Arthur Danto, art is an activity that is done "through the mediation or the knowledge of art."1As an activity, art involves the creation and transformation of an object towards a desired state, direction or status, whereby it is clearly identifiable as 'art'. "An activity is a form of doing directed to an object, and activities are distinguished from each other according to their objects."2An art object can be a material item, as is the case with paintings and photographs. It can be less concrete (such as in conceptual art works) and it can also be totally intangible (as in works produced in performance art) "as long as it is shared for manipulation and transformation by the participants of the activity."3An object is manipulated within the limits set by the tools and methods employed by an active actor (subject) that is called the artist. (See Figure 1) The processes of creation and transformation of the object into art is also affected by diverse parameters that are defined in the context of a given community . Such a community can be circumscribed, but need not be limited to, for example, an Artworld.4In a community, such as an Artworld, there are other actors, like critics and art historians. Together with the artist, these actors contribute in the creation ofthe art object.

The activity of art comprises many artefacts, such as for example, the instruments used in a medium, the methods employed to execute a particular work, and the form of work organisation, which may, or may not, involve the artist working solo or as part of

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of the history of art: an artworld."