Dewey and Brun

Consider Dewey’s ideas about artistic practice, and Brun’s ideas about composition.

How does an artist’s engagement with digital or new media differ from “old” media? Does understanding the material form of a media help you to understand the nature of its mediation?

Where do meaning and aesthetic value come from in these views?

Dewey seems to have many requirements of what constitutes art or an “act of expression.” The experience that creates an act of expression has to begin with an “impulsion” not an impulse. These impulsions are driven by need. Like the impulsion of a child to cry may be driven by the need for food.

But, not all impulsions create acts of expressions. Acts of expression have to have meaning. These acts are conditioned by the environment and outside influences to create art. I think. And Dewey feels there cannot be art without emotion. The emotion has to be spent “indirectly” on the art and has an effect on all the components of the art piece like hue, shade, tone, unity, etc.

Brun talks about a “rational relationship” that creates music or a “work of art.” There exists a limitless universe of audible phenomena and they are meshed with a “defined image” to create a limited sub-system which is the music. But, is it still considered a work of art to use this system on a computer? Or is a new definition needed to create the definition of a work of art produced on a computer? He argues that music is supposed to create different ideas and “circuits in the listener’s mind,” so if computer production allows for this, I suppose it is considered a work of art or music.

Brun says that if we know what music is, than we won’t have any. We know what music “was” because we have studied it. But, if you ask a composer was music “is” then they tell you it “is to be.” Following this logic, I feel like computer-produced music constitutes music.

I dunno.



  1. I love your take on these two readings, especially the Brun one. I, too, quite strongly disagree with Brun’s theory. Computer-produced music should be considered music, even in the older days and however you want to classify or understand music. Just because the production or creative process is different doesn’t mean it is not art. What an old fart, some theorists.


  2. I agree with you, I also think that Brun is saying that because the computer is capable of making all of these different things, then it is of course a tool for making art. To me it’s like he’s saying art is this kind of question a person tries to answer through material. Therefore, the computer can be used some or all of that material. I dunno though…


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