Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital by Lynne Conner (auth.)

By Lynne Conner (auth.)

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An arts experience is also defined by the level of consciousness the subject brings to the process. ” But why do people pursue an arts experience in the first place? What draws us to the world of art making and art makers? According to philosopher Dennis Dutton, human psychology includes what he labels the “the art instinct,” an innate aspect of human nature that is evolutionary and can be applied cross-culturally. For Dutton, the urge to experience an arts event is bound up in his belief that a work of art is “another human mind incarnate: not in flesh and blood but in sounds, words, colors .

50 On the second point, as cognitive learning theorist Tim Van Gelder writes, “Knowledge of theory allows you to perceive more of what is going on . . ”51 These cognitive preconditions for engagement have real and significant impact on audience experience and on the successful launching of an Arts Talk environment, as I explore in Part II. I want to end the discussion on engagement by pointing out an important distinction in my analysis. 52 What I mean when I talk about engagement is not focused on what happens in the moment of reception, however.

Historically, how did audience groups debate the meaning and value of a work of art? What role did taste, talk, and pleasure play in those public constructs? How did that public process impact the autonomy of individuals to make meaning? A Brief History of Social Interpretation in the Arts The Western audience’s “right” to determine both the structure of an arts event and its meaning and value can be traced at least to the Greeks and to the range of artistic pursuits associated with annual civic festivals such as the City (sometimes translated as Greater) Dionysia held annually in March.

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