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Contextualizing the Arts

Contextualizing the Arts

From Originating to Medial Contexts

(p.198) Chapter 9 Contextualizing the Arts
Orientation and Judgment in Hermeneutics
Rudolf A. Makkreel
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 9 explores various ways – traditional and contemporary – of contextualizing the interpretation of works of art. It is possible like Kant to contextualize the work of art in relation to a genial state of mind or like Heidegger in relation to both earth and world. But understanding a work of art also requires a special appreciation of how its meaning content relates to the material content that provides the medium of its presentation. For this the reflective contexts of hermeneutical understanding must be further specified in terms of what will be called “medial contexts.” An artistic context is medial not only in being focused on a material medium, but also for exploring its communicative potential. This medial framing of understanding can be used as well to come to terms with how new technological and digital resources are changing the way information is transmitted and meaning communicated. Medial contexts can provide transitional modes of understanding that focus as much on the technical control and transmissibility of informational content as on the grasp of its meaning.

Keywords:   medial contexts, medial presentation, Heidegger, Danto, transmissibility, communicability, contemporary arts

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