I’ve always been a stickler about definitions. When I wrote that the subjects of these pages would be “sex, rights, and the world” I meant that to contain an antinomy. “The world is everything that is the case,” as Wittgenstein famously put it. By that standard, the first two terms stand opposed to the third, since both deal in different ways with matters that are not the case: with things desired but not yet consummated on the one hand, and with things dreamed but not yet realized on the other.
“Art,” too, needs some precision. A friend of mine who taught history and literature once posed an exam question on something like (I don’t remember exactly) the development of perspective in Renaissance painting, or the role of the patron in sculpture, whatever. One of the bluebooks she got back began,
Before answering this question we must first arrive at a satisfactory definition of Art. Art is the stylized depiction of fruits and landscapes.
And that was at Harvard.
So what about the art? These pages tend to be full of images, but not all of them are what I mean by art. Those are pictures I picked to illustrate particular points. The art I mean is the imagery I chose from the start to illustrate what I take the blog to be about: that divide between — on our part — what we desire and we demand, and — in the intractable beyond — the inadequacies of what is. We live in that divide rather than settling on either side, and I wanted something that might suggest that dual and precarious existence.
All those images here are by Adam Dot, a gifted 19-year-old artist in Cairo. He studies at Helwan University, and works in media including drawing, digital drawing, photography and sculpture. I asked him for a few words about himself and he wrote:
I’m an Egyptian, wishing the world can be a better place for all of us, dreaming to make a change.
I don’t like what I see around here, so I’m trying to show the world what I see, as I believe that art makes us see things that we can’t notice during the day.
love and peace from Cairo.
He can be reached at email@example.com.