Hey! Welcome back to the 4:3 👋🏼

On the 4th of every month, I share 3 things worth your while, either in film or my personal learnings.

Today, we’ll look at the 3 things; Art, objectivity, and subjectivity.

Can a Film Be Objectively Good?

To be able to attempt answering this, let’s first dive straight into definitions.

Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

How can we reconcile the act of ignoring opinions and feelings with something like film, an artform, if art is self-expressive and, therefore, innately subjective?

Subjective: based on, or influenced by, personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

The question at hand of “can art be objectively good?” assumes the unspoken statement that art can be bad, or good, for example.

the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Before an art piece can be criticized as good or bad, I believe it's fair to first understand the intent behind the art.

Was the art created only for the creator to enjoy? Then the decision should only be up to the creator.

Only when a piece of art was created for others to enjoy can we consider critiquing it.

Art Is Judged and Critiqued by Standards

Now that we’ve established that not all art is made purely for self-expression purposes, but can be created for others to see as good, we can now look at how we determine if it was executed well.

Art is subjective.

This remains true. But, when artwork is complete, it becomes an object which can be judged.

It is then a matter of the standards by which a piece of art is judged. This is where subjectivity and objectivity both come into play, because standards are ever-changing and, of course, created by subjective means.

Zooming Way Out

If we take several steps back and take a look at how we’ve decided anything, you can make an argument that everything is arbitrarily determined.

However, regardless of standards being arbitrarily determined, you could also make the case that those standards still exist, and can therefore be judged against.

A Question for You

In the category of art, I think intent, and execution of that intent, are the keys in determining whether something was objectively good. Because regardless of whether or not you liked it personally, you could say that it was good insofar as to its intent and execution.

But what do you think? Can art be objectively good?

The 4:3 Newsletter

On the 4th of every month, I share 3 things worth your while, either my take on the latest films, or my philosophical findings. Plus, enter to win a FREE movie ticket each month!

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