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Art and human values are the two major threads in the canvas that represents the culture of our age. Understanding what art tries to communicate to us about beliefs, values, and qualities is essential (McFee & Degge, 1997, p. 293). The above noted statement implies that a person is mindful about the space that surrounds him/her. Even more so, it is widely believed that doing otherwise may lead to many various inconsistencies. The need for constant presence of something that a person might relate his/her sense of self to is the feature that most generations have in common ever since arts have started to be perceived as something iconic (as opposed to symbolic prehistoric art) (McFee & Degge, 1997, p. 293). Language is nowadays perceived as a sign of mental functioning, in the first place. The development of arts and the processes of biological evolution of human species are assumed to be inseparably connected. With regard to this, language can be viewed as the element that connects science and technology, art and culture, and biological evolution of human species. Ethology is a term that is coined to denote a specific sphere of human knowledge, a scientific field that aims to closely study peoples day-to-day activities. One cannot help but admit that, on the one hand, ethology tends to oversimplify the notion of human species. On the other hand, ethology is something that urges the contemporaries to re-define the notion of human species.

 

All things being considered, the role that arts play in shaping human values is crucial. At the same time, human values are essential for shaping the form, context, and practice of different art forms. The very notion of values presupposes that the values are entities tested by time. Values may be either inherent or acquired. Values are something that urges a person to lead a virtuous life. Some try to deny that culture has proved to be a multifaceted concept. Thus, culture gives an insight into how arts can be perceived as human behaviors. Specifically, the concept of culture gives an insight into what mental forces are involved when a person attempts to create a work of art. At the same time, implicitly, culture represents the set of features that one should possess, in order to be able to comprehend arts, live in peace with themselves and others. As far as the patterns of human behavior are concerned, theorists of arts distinguish between catharsis and mimesis, as the two basic models of interaction of human beings with one another and human beings with the environment. Catharsis implies purification. Therefore, in most cases, the works of art, in which the principle of catharsis is in order, moral epiphanies are, as a rule, the aftermath. Mimesis, in its own turn, is another creative principle that, as opposed to catharsis, is solely based on imitation. Since it is catharsis that typically provokes the thought, that kind of experience is considered more valuable than the experience, associated with mimicry. At this point, it has to be noted that both mimesis and catharsis apply to recipient, as well as artist themselves.

Art in no way defines who or what we are, but it most certainly can help us to become whom we want to be. This process certainly requires a lot of courage and knowledge for a person to be able to think freely and independently, to live by ones own expectations, and stand for what one believes in and considers right. Building on all the statements noted above, the assumption that arts play an important role in shaping human values and that human values are essential for defining and shaping the context, form, and practice of various art forms becomes self-explanatory.

Art can be viewed as, perhaps, the most vivid illustration of the appearance of representative voices from varying cultural and social standpoints. Art is unique in itself, for it is capable of transcending all the possible limits and boundaries. At the same time, art teaches us that there is nothing impossible.

There is a performance called Dance of 1000 Hands. The performance was created by a dancer with disabilities (the hearing of most troupe members is impaired). Still, what these people had managed to crate is just magnificent. It cannot be denied that the performance is based on a definite system of religious beliefs and, thus, it reflects some of the most distinct features of a definite ethnic group. Dance of 1000 Hands is the quintessence of the variety of art forms. Dance of 1000 Hands is the artistically perfect combination of dancing, music, performing arts, folk literature, rituals, and sacredness.

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The Other Voices is the project that was initiated in South America, in Peru, to be precise. The project had been designed to explore some of the most pressing social issues of the region, some of which are gender equality, exploitation of womens labor, equal job and educational opportunities, poverty, and domestic violence. By and large, the project gives an insight into what it is like to be a female in South America. The Other Voices is not just a great theatrical project, but also an important initiative. In a way, The Other Voices can be regarded as the illustration of some of the most recent tendencies in performing arts and theater, in particular. In addition to that, The Other Voices is the kind of project that lies at the confluence of theatrical and performance arts.

Every encounter with artist lifes work has a considerable effect on me. I admit that I am not always capable of deducing the artists intent purpose or the message behind a work of art itself. Still, at some point, I have come to realize that arts and artists responsiveness to some of the most crucial challenges has become one of the distinctive features of our cultural era. Apart from that, the evidence does prove that science, technology, and art have begun to merge, mostly, due to the fact that the rapid pace of development of science and technology demands the notion of information and, therefore, medium to be re-considered and re-defined. Such an emergence is caused by each of the tendencies noted above, so I became truly concerned with the questions of human values, humanity, and morality. Art and culture may have changed considerably. What stayed the same, however, is the arts capacity to show the way people perceive the environment and treat the life that surrounds them, the life that they are a part of. In this respect, modern art is demonstrative as and in the sense that it testifies that mankind nowadays is as alienated from nature, as it has never been before.

I presume that getting acquainted to modern art has had some considerable influence on my sense of values, since I have started to re-think them. All things being considered, art has played an important part in the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints. All things considered, even though multiculturalism has proved itself to be a noticeable trend, further diversification of culture and arts is still taking place.

Throughout the course, I myself have been trying to be as attentive, reasonable, and tolerant as possible. During the course, we got acquainted to some truly remarkable artists and their splendid works. For me, personally, it has always been a pleasure to know what feelings this or that artist or works of art have evoked within my classmates. Getting introduced to Stefon Harriss Quartet improvisations and innovations happens to be, perhaps, one of my most exciting experiences this semester. I remember one of my classmates, Alex Dachsel, when we have been discussing Stefon Harriss and his quartets performance on TED, mentioning the group called Grateful Dead. First of all, this has been very important for me to know that there is someone out there who is compatible with my tastes in music. However, the main point here is the following. Evidently, Stefon Harriss Quartet and Grateful Dead represent very different genres of music. Grateful Dead, on the one hand, are counted among the godfathers of psychedelic rock, being renowned as the icons classical rocknroll and rock music. Stefon Harriss Quartet, on the other hand, represents the genre of experimental jazz music. Stefon Harriss music is innovative, so his musicians have to keep abreast of the processes of the advancement of science and technology and incorporate them in their works through using some of the newest instruments invented, such as, for example, vibraphone.

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Reflection on Paradiso Festival, for me personally, was a period full of controversies. I myself am not a connoisseur of electronic, dance, and rave music, nor am I fond of visiting night clubs. Still, I have been doing my best to keep an open mind, attempting to analyze the event itself objectively. I am certain that most of my classmates also strived for being objective. For this reason, probably, it happened so that our group was divided on the matter being discussed.

By and large, modern art abounds with controversies and discrepancies, which makes the task of analyzing it an even more complicated procedure. In addition to that, arts being ambiguous complicates negotiating any encounters of collective or personal bias, intolerance, prejudice, and/or discrimination. All in all, arts play an important role in social changes. With regard to this, it is possible to assume that the purpose of art, one of its primary functions, is to minimize the negative effects of biases and prejudices by, basically, eliminating them.

As far as the functions of arts are concerned, specifically, the ones that are relevant to the development of society, the following aspects should be mentioned. Unwittingly, art determines human behaviors. Also, there is a system of beliefs that a person subscribes to and it determines persons artistic values. Going by the aforementioned remarks, art is a catalyst of societal development, as it shapes the lives of individuals. In addition to that, the characteristics of am art work largely depend on values that an artist represents. Assuming the statement noted above is correct, the ability of feedback effect can be viewed as another peculiar feature of arts. What is meant here, arts not just affect the development of society, but society also affects the art to a greater extent.

Conclusion

Taking the aforementioned facts into consideration, the following conclusions can be made. In the past few decades, arts have been stagnating. In the first place, The given assertion applies to music. There is no denying that some extraordinary events are still taking place. The development of arts and development of society have very much in common. People should rediscover their ability to comprehend and analyze arts. The mission of arts these days consists in, but is not limited to, admonishing people (against ignorance, I presume, in the first place), provoking their thinking skills. Only then we can prevent the irreversible changes and calamitous events.

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