Podcast 002 – Art and Freedom


The Epiloguists explore the relation between art and freedom, taking in a number of observations and discussions about the relationship between creator and audience, interpretation of works, fandom, context, and what the creation of art means to the panellists.

Examples cited (in order of first use):


12 thoughts on “Podcast 002 – Art and Freedom

  1. Hey, this is Dan.

    Apologies in advance for the very muddy opening statement. I was so passionate about the position during the rehearsal/meeting (to be released soon) that I became very suspicious of my own commitment to it during the actual cast. I’m suspicious of anything that produces zeal, especially in myself.

    I’m going to do a written piece to try and articulate my view a bit better– some things in the cast (like “it’s like selling yourself into slavery”) sound pretty much insane without further explanation. (To that point in particular: what I mean is that allowing yourself to be redescribed under someone else’s vocabulary [in the Rortian sense] and to put your own project of self-creation into someone else’s hands isn’t just a dereliction of duty but, I think, something close to or very much like an act of cowardice– thrusting a bludgeon into another’s hand and eagerly throwing oneself under it, allowing the fire which had been placed within you to beaten out in iron sparks, to be made a product of another’s designs. It’s a turning away from a vital confrontation with yourself and sending another in your place. But of course, this is mere dramatization. The horrors of slavery are worlds away from little bourgeoisie concerns about having one’s private fantasies unscrupulously co-opted. But I can’t help thinking that the dream of free self-creation and the dream of Capital-F-Freedom are connected: that turning one’s back on the first is turning one’s back on the consequences — or the point of — the latter.)

    … Erm. Well. I hope you like the cast. The rest of the crew did a great job as usual.

    I’d like to hear your own thoughts on this matter! This is something very close to my heart.

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  3. Really enjoyed this. You all have really interesting viewpoints on these topics, many of which I think about often but have trouble putting into words–especially on the doing-nothing-but-fanworks topic. Looking forward to more!

  4. As someone who does not create anything I feel like my commenting on the act of creating is somewhat speaking inappropriate. As such I try to stick to commenting about the creation or the creator but not the creating. But it is not as if a layman can not have an insight over an expert once in a blue moon.
    What is art is a question I answer as a means of expression. Trying to express an idea or concept in its entirety. In the say way you could try convey being happy to someone else through a detailed research paper you also may try to with a painting or a story. In that sense I interpret a successful piece of art as one that elicits some amount of understanding upon another. Be it an attempt to bring someone to a conclusion with an anecdote or showing someone else what it is when you feel happy. However a impressive piece of art expresses many things at once and so is capable of conveying many things and being interpreted in many ways without altogether missing an original intent or intentions.
    Much of what is created as art is made with only the intention of making a marketable product. This is not necessarily a terrible thing but needs to be more separated from when people make things to be appreciated or discussed rather then as a product to be purchased in my opinion. Games have blurred that line too far where many things are made only as a product to be sold and so are made very much according to voiced and interpreted fan demand. Letting stories end rather than making sequels and have to force them upon a completed story is too often ignored. Making something over again to ride on name recognition is equally distasteful. Stories and character archetypes are used again and again which is fine but trying to use a created work and “remake” it, such as DMC or the endless parade of Silent Hills for example, is what I take issue with. Making another game with a snarky part demon who fights demons would be fine if they made their own character. As soon as they try to ride an established name however they are confined to being that name and it is dissatisfying to see much disregard for sticking near the original works. If you liked Donte then make your own world and story based on the characteristics you liked or expand using what is there already knowing you would be constrained by what has been established already.
    Its early and my grammar and spelling are horrible so forgive the mistakes of my tl;dr. Also the suddenly slowed voice at the end scared the hell out of me as I was laying in bed and relaxed at the time.

  5. @HurricaneHarvey
    Sorry to hear about the slowdown at the end of the episode – I’m the one who edits the podcast and I may have made a cock-up in editing that I thought I had caught but perhaps slipped the net. I’ll check in on that – thanks for your feedback and patience!

  6. @Harvey

    I’ve become wary of viewing artworks as a things which express meanings. If you take the naturalistic view that meanings are a matter of social practice (the view that says what makes a stop sign mean “stop” at an intersection, and that what makes not stopping an incorrect action is the existence of social norm to correct to) and not the view that meanings are entities somehow embedded or attached to objects or are otherwise ‘entities’ (the view that the stop sign somehow “contains”, is attached to, or is imbued with a meaning, independent of all minds and/or practices) then the question of whether or not a piece of Art has a meaning that it’s supposed to express becomes the question: “Do we or do we not, according to our social practices, have a norm about that piece of art?”.

    For the moment, this is what I think: any piece of art worth talking about — the kinds furthest from normal stop signs at normal intersections — are ones which resist as strongly as possible such formation of norms. Art works which have earned their stripes as Capital-A-Art, on my view, are works which keep (or have kept) the conversation going — a conversation between us, we art appreciators and viewers, and even the artist as a viewer of his own work — about just how we ought to incorporate that piece of art into our social practices. That is: what we think about it, what we ought to do with it, and what kind of people are for thinking and doing so.

    Under such a view, the idea of art “expressing” a meaning is somewhat different. Artworks which clearly have a norm which dictate their meanings are dead. Artworks which keep us talking are alive. “Expression” is just getting us to express to ourselves and each other what we think.


    As for commercial products, my view is that the mere touch of commercial concerns doesn’t taint the whole. But if we take the exercise of human freedom to be central to what we think we ought to value in Art, then any artwork in which commercial concerns crowd out other concerns ought to be examined with suspicion.

    But in keeping with what I said above, all that is subject to social practice. Art could very well come to include things like DMC and hallmark cards and individual bottles of Pepsi. We may very well fall to our knees and find ourselves inspired and moved and think Pepsi and DMC are the best things humanity has ever produced and are worthy of preserving for our great-great-grandchildren and representative of our best cultural achievements– the very embodiment of what is best within us, deep down inside.

    But I think we ought to be candid and admit a world in which we think and do such things would be quite different from one where we do not, and the character of our culture might be changed in a way we wouldn’t be proud of.

  7. I very much wish I could edit my posted comments although that would require some sort of sign up and account. I always see so many things I should correct or wording I would like to change. More then anything I notice now all my tab breaks for paragraphs are gone and its one huge block of text…

  8. Pingback: Art « outofcontinues

  9. I think it is interesting how on iTunes this podcast is categorized under “Visual Arts” when it seems as though this group mostly talks about literature.

    • Hello, Squidpunck,

      This is a rather overdue reply – sadly iTunes has rather hidebound categories and as a lot of the works we draw upon have at last some form of visual element, The podcast was placed into that category. This may be re-assessed in the near future!
      Thanks, Elliot.

  10. ToT you guys make me wish doujinshi artwork was more readily acceptable. It’s exactly the stifling of fanworking and fan spinoffs that causes the artist alley to be stagnating from a lack of self published artbooks and fan yonkomas that are more acceptable and well loved in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Korea and even Japan. I adored Fate Carnival Phantasm as being a tribute to poking fun at the fandom and laughing WITH them.

    Is this what you guys mean? When a fan turns pokemon into a life style and uses it as a lens to perceive every event they may walk into- every vacation.. even camping trips–it’s alright. They have a starting point to experiencing sublime sights- i.e. point out that part of le ice berg looks like a pokemon. At least they’re still engaging in the vacation?

    The most fun part about the wasteland for T.S. Eliot is considering inevitable possibility of future archaeologists purposefully reinterpreting his works. He’ll roll around raging.. but it’s ok heh.

    Feeling fuwa fuwa with delineation of how quotations are a love of literature ~ quotations. Quotations and interpretations and fuwa fuwa fuwa fuwa fuwa ness.

    “Infringing Fan” sounds like an interesting term. Not sure what to do with it really, but I like it.

    Joyce is a dick. Ulysses is SO HARD TO READ. OH GOD. IT HAS SAT NExT TO MY WASHING MACHINE FOREVER. Got maybe halfway before I decided I didn’t like ‘living’ that life. Context is part of disposition. Each text has cultural baggage- it is less a frame or lens, than it is a dimension of the process of creation of the art I suspect?

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