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Illuminating History by Lily Díaz, 25.IX.2000

highlight a degree of intentionality: Artistic artefacts do no merely happen: they are created by actors operating with tools and within specific communities. Their features reflect the activities that lead towards their realisation. As expressive devices art objects, are forms that encapsulates expressions of an emotional state or idea.4 9They are also artefacts created through engagement in technical pursuits, such as craft work, that produce pleasure in the maker. 5 0

An example of the case of the latter is explained by Franz Boas through a description of a bead legging in which the intricate pattern and symmetry in the arrangement of the beads, is not evident when the item is used. The aesthetic experience is present for the maker while she is making it, and while she is exhibiting it, but not necessarily when the artefact is worn.5 1This is consistent with Refrew's observation that when we today isolate artefacts taken from other cultures and admire them as art, it is important for us to realise that "while the early craftsmen made these works, it is we who have made them 'art'."52It is also in accordance with the view of art as an activity whose objects are produced in the context of a community that is a historically developing and changing phenomenon.

Another example of art as an expressive device can be seen in the role that art can play in allowing access to information about the unconscious. Because it is an expressive device, the work of art is an externalisation of the artist's consciousness. It is "as if we could see his way of seeing and not merely what he saw."5 3At the same time, as David Aldridge has remarked: "art has the ability to express the fact that we are dealing with the interfacebetween unconscious and conscious material." 5 4That is, when we see an artist's representation of a sunset, such as in J.W.M. Turner's depictions of sunsets in Venice, we do not confuse these with the actual world.

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Jessica

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