What is art?

by Micky Siamendes


I have run into this question many times in my life. And I haven’t found a universally valid answer to it yet. I have been to exhibitions that made me go “wow, that’s amazing!” and I have seen others (like gallons of spilled stinky motoroil on the floor) that made me and probably always will make me go “WTF?!” Same thing when it comes to music – there are musicians that really get me and I consider them fantastic artists and others that make me wanna plug my ears and run away screaming. I have seen movies that touched me deeply and others that just made me shrug and wonder what they really are about although they have been showered with awards.


In German there is a saying: “Kunst kommt von können.” Basically it means that the word “art” derives from the word for “being capable of doing something, having the skills to do something”, the German word origin actually is like that. Some “operas” I have seen truly made me wonder what other capability than splashing some paint on a canvas or triggering the camera release the artist would have. And I am sure that there are a lot of so called “artists” out there who just have a good laugh at the people standing in awe in front of their works that they actually didn’t put any artistic thought or effort into at all.


US artist Cynthia Albritton “Plaster Caster” with a plaster cast of Jimi Hendrix’ penis. Her exhibition “Penis Dimension” with 25 penis exhibits has been discussed quite controversal (uhm really wondering why?)



45-year-old Mike Drake has been doing something bizarre in the name of art for over a decade – he’s been collecting all his fingernail clippings, stuffing them in paperweights, and selling them for $300 to $500 a piece! (Yuck, seriously?!)



Like many other animal lovers, Dutch artist Bart Jansen found it hard to part with his pet cat, Orville, after he was hit by a car. So he decided to turn the dead feline into a unique piece of artwork called the Orvillecopter. (Alright, call the guys with the straitjacket!)


Yep, some things will definitely just make me flip the bird forever! Even if the artist’s name is Joseph Beuys and the “masterpieces” are worth millions:




Is this art or can it be removed?



The cleaning staff removed this art installation in an Italian museum, thinking it was leftovers of a heavy party night.


On the other hand I am also sure that many artists have an approach that is just only entirely different from mine. A different way of thinking, a different way of looking at things, a different way of perception, a different way of expressing themselves. What seems to be easy to achieve for me may be a huge effort or great achievement for others. Some skills I have that seem to be just part of me or natural to me, others would love to have them (so I’ve been told) or they have to work hard to achieve them. Some things I look at as ordinary and uninspiring to other’s may be special enough to use them for an artwork.

The definition of art is something personal I think. What someone considers art is determined by their own capabilities, by their taste, by their sense of aesthetics and beauty, by their education, maybe even by their dreams, wishes, desires. Art like beauty for me is in the eye of the beholder.

So is art on Furillen. When I scroll through the Flickr group site and look at all the pictures and movies there, there are some that capture my eye instantly and others that make me think “yeah well, ok, another snapshot”. But I also have noticed that I change my way of looking at works once I get to know the people behind them.

So basically I think the main thing is to keep an open mind for everything ranging outside our usual horizon, and that goes for about anything in life. We don’t need to like it all but we should just give things the space they deserve.

Reminds me of the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” which surely has some truth in it.


So – let’s keep the magic of Furillen alive and encourage and inspire each other! And I sure hope that “Bar Café Fabriken” will be a place where a lot of magic happens.



8 Replies to “What is art?”

  1. I like the way you think! “Artist” is a label that everybody has an opinion about as far as who deserves to use it to describe themselves. It seems everything to do with art is subjective and open to interpretation. Too bad we couldn’t just lose the labels and appreciate the person who makes art and therefore makes little pieces of themselves for consideration. I think whatever one creates can tell the story of where that person is at in their life even if it isn’t obvious. So, whether one thinks of something as “art” or not, there is still something to be appreciated if you look at it from the perspective of discovering a story about a person in a moment. I guess I find those stories more interesting than anything else, so perhaps that is just my take on art.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post, Micky:)
    Indeed the definition of art is something more or less personal. Art is one of those so called “vague concepts” impossible to define once and for all. None of the definitions of this kind of notions (like for instance language, style, love, poetry, soul and so many others) is totally satisfactory. So define them is always a challenge and we try over and over again to find better answers to the questions they continue to rise in front of us.
    And I loved your answers:))

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  3. Art for me is primarily a process, in its creation and in experiencing it. ‘Art as object’ has a troubled relationship with capitalism, where financial and social value becomes dominant.

    Earlier this year I read a book by a film editor and he listed the important considerations in editing, which included story and technical aspects, but the most important aspect, at 51%, was emotion. That’s the part where art can reside, and it need not necessarily be beauty – defining an aesthetic standard is problematic. For example 500px is full of conventionally beautiful photographs, but the work has an mutually mediated, averaged, surface beauty that drives out emotion and passion. There’s a concept within human geography that places are not static, but are processes as they change over time. Furillen is a dynamic process, of space and art, people and creativity, not simply a place, a slurl on a map.

    I’ll pass to Kurt Vonnegut to finish, who makes no mention of aesthetics or objects:
    “The arts… are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

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  4. Thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate them!

    @ Thea: Very true words. “I think whatever one creates can tell the story of where that person is at in their life even if it isn’t obvious.” That hits the nail. If I look at some of my works from years ago, some surely make me think “what the hell did I see in that back then” … but yes, back then they were how I would express myself, how I felt, what I had to tell.

    @ Mareea: Thank you Ms F. 🙂 I agree, none of the definitions is totally satisfactory. Actually I think like that about many things in life. There is no universal definition of “art”, just like their is no universal definition of “reality”, every one experiences their own kind of reality. And sometimes a piece of art reveals the artist’s reality and way of seeing things. I thought that many times when I looked at Furillen pictures “Wow, I never saw this thing where is it at?” or “I never looked at it from that persepctive”. So, actually I can broaden my horizon by giving other people’s creativity space, and I like that!

    @ Tizzy: Yes, it is the process of creativity and the emotions you put into your work that actually makte it worth it. I have also noticed in my “art” that sometimes the final result doesn’t really reflect what I put into it to others. Creativity has to be a process in flow, creativity needs input and inspiration, needs an environment it can come to life and thrive in. Furillen IMO provides that environment. And yes, it’s a mix of the Sim settings and the people there that make it. I really like that Kurt Vonnegut quote you finish with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. art is very subjective what one might see someone else might see something else Micky, I really enjoyed reading this article a lot of food for thought and another person view. its a bit like saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the different styles of art some pieces can speak volume’s to me where other pieces don’t. Thank you for the insight you shared with us.

    ps I did laugh when I read re the bottles being cleaned up in the art gallery.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The form of living art for that art at the moment, never to be repeated. The look on her face and his, how they touched, the tears, unspoken words then the parting, it told a story, I remember it being shared on Facebook when it first happened, thank you for reminding me and others about this experience.

    Liked by 2 people

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