Expressive Artifacts and Artifacts of Expression

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Artifact is a central concept in the study of practice. The analysis I elaborate in this paper, is primarily centered the production of artifacts as part of an art practice. I also present variations on the concept of artifact. Some of these have been borrowed from other disciplines, such as archaeology and philosophy and some I have been developing as part of my research in information technology. Focusing on the art practice is an interesting proposition, given its vital function in society, the resulting interpretive discussion that art objects seem to generate, as well as its presence throughout history. Following Marx Wartofsky’s proposal that art objects are tertiary artifacts resulting from imaginative praxis in which mimetic re-enactment does not operate as a direct imitation, in this essay I elaborate the notions of expressive artifacts and artifacts of expression. The concept of the post history of artifacts as a meeting space for the practice of the artist and the archaeologist, the art historian, the philosopher, and other scholars is also briefly discussed. Objects of art that are expressive artifacts partly result from the intrinsic motivation that arises from within the individual who is fashioning the object. As artifacts of expression, art consists of materials and media that support, convey, allow or carry through an act of expression. As material manifestations of human action, artifacts of expression and expressive artifacts operate as external "webs of significance."
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalWorking Papers in Art and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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