Saturday, 03 Jun 2006
The Attention Trap
"Duchamp said he made the first one, the bicycle wheel, just because it
was fun to spin the wheel around. But when you exhibit it, when you
put it into an attention field called 'art,' it becomes a
catalyst. You must look at it differently. Yes, we should indeed pay
more attention to the utilitarian world, savor its beauty as
beauty. But when you find yourself gazing at it worshipfully, Duchamp
turns around and says, 'It's just a bicycle wheel, you silly jerk.'
The final result is to make us oscillate back and forth between the
physical world, stuff, and how we think about stuff. It makes us look
at our own patterns of attention and the varieties of 'seriousness' we
construct atop them."
- Richard A. Lanham
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