Analysis Of Paulo Freire And John Berger

Essay, Research Paper

Perspectives in the Arts

The stories behind a piece of art are infinite. The reasons the artist produced the piece is only one explanation behind the work. Even so, who is to know the specific thoughts the artist was thinking at the time? As each art critic may conclude his own analysis of an artwork, who is right and who is wrong? Just as students challenge the information that is supposedly deposited in them by the teacher in the classroom setting, art challenges the belief- that information can only be used as it was intended, which is highly rare in our day and age.

The concept of perspectivism falls into place in this scenario. Art is perceived differently by varying individuals. There can be millions of interpretations that exist for one piece of artwork, however none more or less correct than the next interpretation. Similar to teachers depositing information to the students, each student may receive the information in different contexts. Whose to say whether or not the students interpretation is wrong? As writer John Berger points out the concept of reproducing art, in his essay Ways of Seeing, he addresses the idea how perspectives change completely when an artwork is reproduced to be used in a different context. As this is done, new thoughts and interpretations are created, thus can be seen as a progression of ideas. Writer Paulo Freire used the idea that knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention(Freire 348) in his essay, The Banking Concept of Education. This idea is the essence of what Berger is trying to point out through the reproducing of art. That the reproduction of art is basically the re-invention of the ideas and interpretations that already exist. And thus only through the re-invention of art, new ideas and new interpretations can be formed, a progression of ideas, achieving true knowledge.

[Art] becomes information of a sort, and, like all information, it is either put to use or ignored(Berger 120) . Each individual sees art differently, images become information that is incorporated with the individual s own knowledge and personality. As art is reproduced over and over again in different contexts, the artist s original purpose of the image is altered, a progression from old ideas to new ideas. Clearly one can see how the original intended purpose of the art is gone, and new purposes have evolved.

Based on perspectivism people develop their power to perceive critically the way to exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves(Freire 356) . Images of art enhances how one views the world around him. Infinite meanings behind an image expands one s vision to see much more, to think much more, and to believe much more. Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually holding things in a circle around itself, constituting what is present to us as we are(Berger 106) .

Images were first made to conjure up the appearance of something that was absent. Gradually it became evident that an image could outlast what it represented; it then showed how something or somebody had once looked- and thus by implication how the subject had once been seen by other people(Berger 108) . Simply put, it is a progression of ideas, which Freire terms as the invention and re-invention in order for knowledge to emerge. The original intent of the image is now seen as an old view, as new ideas are emerging with the ever changing world.

With the rapid changes constantly present with the arise of new cultures and new fashions in this modern age, it is a challenge to keep up with all the new ideas and thoughts that are spreading everywhere. As Freire believes that challenge evokes new challenges, followed by new understandings(355) , one can easily understand the constant need for changes and progress in society. Thus the reproduction of art is a form of change, a challenge that evokes new challenges.

Art can never be produced to achieve a universal effect on everyone that views the image. The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe(Berger 106) . Once again, it challenges the belief- that information can only be used as it was intended, because there is no single meaning that can be accepted by everyone. Everyone knows and believes different things.

In a sense, the reproduction of art is a progression of ideas in that new contexts are given to the art, thus new perspectives evolve, and new ideas are formed. Art is information that changes from one viewer to the next. As Berger agrees with Freire s views and denounces the banking concept, he believes the students receive information from the teacher in different perspectives, and thus should have the freedom to challenge the information and compose their own thoughts and beliefs. In this case, the teacher would be the image, and the students the viewers.

One must not assume the role of receptacles to be merely deposited with information. An image has no real authoritative status, so one should not feel intimidated to interpret it otherwise than originally intended. It is through the process of inquiry that allows the progression of ideas derived from an image art. Also proving that the meaning one receives from an image of art can be accepted in radical ways and is still an authentic idea.

An original image or piece of art alone, creates controversial ideas and thoughts without having even been reproduced yet. Yet through the reproduction of an image, even more ideas and thoughts are evoked. These reproductions now represented in new contexts bear new ideas that are to looked upon in a different manner for these images, like all information, have to hold their own against all the other information being continually transmitted(Berger 123) .

The idea that surrounds an image having one clear message has been proved to be obsolete. Information cannot be used in one single manner. Matter of fact, there are just too many variables regarding perspectivism, individuality, and personal knowledge that prohibits a single idea that is to be received universally. Berger s reproduction of art only further implicates the ideas that already exists, and takes it to the next level of thinking, incorporating new ideas that originally may have had no relevance whatsoever, the progression of ideas, so to speak. As art challenges the belief- that information can only be used as it was intended, the conclusion is that information can be used in innumerable ways. Information was meant to be challenged, evoking new challenges and new thoughts and ideas in a never ending cycle of progression from old to new.


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