The Pragmatics of Aesthetic Assessment in                Conversation       Saul Albert & Patrick G.T. Healey          Que...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?       (...)       .    D: hhh Well I ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?        .    D:    hhh Yes I do like it=
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?        .    D:    hhh Yes I do like i...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?        .    D:    hhh Yes I do like i...
Evaluation of    As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?        .    D:    hhh Yes I do like ...
Evaluation of    As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?        .    D:    hhh Yes I do like ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C: =Dju make it?
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C: =Dju make it?                                       ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                  .  ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                  .  ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                  .  ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                  .  ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                   . ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                   . ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    C:   =Dju make it?                                   . ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Right.       (1.0)    A: Its worth something,
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Right.       (1.0)    A: Its worth something,       ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Right.       (1.0)    A: Its worth something,       ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Right.       (1.0)    A: Its worth something,       ...
Evaluation of   As   new artwork   (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984)    A: Dyuh li:ke it?       (...)    D: Yih d-know why I do...
Parameter shifts in this evaluation:       the authorship of the print,       the fame of the author (to co-participants),...
Conventional approaches to aesthetics
Conventional approaches to aesthetics       Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),
Conventional approaches to aesthetics       Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),       historical context (Kri...
Conventional approaches to aesthetics       Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),       historical context (Kri...
Conventional approaches to aesthetics       Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),       historical context (Kri...
Conventional approaches to aesthetics       Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),       historical context (Kri...
Sister Corita Kents Life
A conversation about Jackson PollockMark      Last time I went to the unclear was the school one pauseUnknown   Went to th...
References I   N Bourriaud. Relational aesthetics. Les presses du reel, Paris, 2002.   Michael Corris. The Dialogical Imag...
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The Pragmatics of Aesthetic Assessment in Conversation

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Judgements of taste are an intrinsic part of everyday conversational interactions: people make assessments and agree and disagree with them as a core part of how they participate in activities, create and share knowledge, and manage their relationships with one another. However, these conversational assessments can seem resistant to some forms of analysis in ways that are summed up neatly in the Scholastic idiom "there's no accounting for taste".

This paper approaches the difficulty of analysing judgements of taste in dialogue by looking at them in terms of the pragmatics of talk-in-interaction. An as-yet-unanalysed example of a conversation about an artwork is drawn from Anita Pomerantz' seminal Conversation Analytic (CA) paper on conversational assessments, and examined in order to build up a picture of the mechanisms people use when making aesthetic assessments.

This analysis suggests that seemingly high-level aesthetic judgements are accomplished using the same ordinary mechanisms of conversational assessment ubiquitous in everyday talk. Some curious features of topic shifting within assessments are discussed, highlighting some methodological issues for this use of CA, and further research into naturalistic aesthetic assessment is proposed.

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The Pragmatics of Aesthetic Assessment in Conversation

  1. 1. The Pragmatics of Aesthetic Assessment in Conversation Saul Albert & Patrick G.T. Healey Queen Mary University of London saul.albert@eecs.qmul.ac.uk pat.healey@eecs.qmul.ac.uk 19/09/2012
  2. 2. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it?
  3. 3. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? (...) . D: hhh Well I dont Im not a great fan of this type of a:rt.
  4. 4. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it?
  5. 5. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? . D: hhh Yes I do like it=
  6. 6. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? . D: hhh Yes I do like it= D: =although I rreally::=
  7. 7. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? . D: hhh Yes I do like it= D: =although I rreally::=
  8. 8. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? . D: hhh Yes I do like it= D: =although I rreally::= (...) . D: hhh Well I dont Im not a great fan of this type of a:rt.
  9. 9. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? . D: hhh Yes I do like it= D: =although I rreally::= C: =Dju make it? (...) . D: hhh Well I dont Im not a great fan of this type of a:rt.
  10. 10. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it?
  11. 11. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print.
  12. 12. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you?
  13. 13. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is.
  14. 14. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is. A: Shes thats, the Sister Kerrida, who,
  15. 15. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is. A: Shes thats, the Sister Kerrida,[ who, . D: hhh D: Oh thats the one you to:ld me you bou:ght.=
  16. 16. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is. A: Shes thats, the Sister Kerrida,[ who, . D: hhh D: Oh [thats the one you to:ld me you bou:ght.= C: Oh A: Ye:h
  17. 17. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is. A: Shes thats, the Sister Kerrida,[ who, . D: hhh D: Oh [thats the one you to:ld me you bou:ght.= C: Oh A: Ye:h D: [ Ya:h. A: Right.
  18. 18. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) C: =Dju make it? . A: No We bought it, Its a hh a Mary Kerrida print. D: 0:h (I k-)= A: =Dz that make any sense to you? C: Mn mh. I don even know who she is. A: Shes thats, the Sister Kerrida,[ who, . D: hhh D: Oh [thats the one you to:ld me you bou:ght.= C: Oh A: Ye:h D: [ Ya:h. A: Right. (1.0)
  19. 19. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Right. (1.0) A: Its worth something,
  20. 20. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Right. (1.0) A: Its worth something, (1.0)
  21. 21. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Right. (1.0) A: Its worth something, (1.0) A: Theres only a hundred ofm
  22. 22. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Right. (1.0) A: Its worth something, (1.0) A: Theres only a hundred ofm (0.5) D: Hmm (...)
  23. 23. Evaluation of As new artwork (JS:I. -1) (Pomerantz, 1984) A: Dyuh li:ke it? (...) D: Yih d-know why I dont go fer this type of uh: art, Becuz it it strikes me ez being the magazine adverti:sement ty:pe. Which some uh-uh some a them are really great. But tuhm I-my, taste in art is for the more uhit-t-treh- it tends tuh be realistic.
  24. 24. Parameter shifts in this evaluation: the authorship of the print, the fame of the author (to co-participants), the monetary value of the print, the scarcity of the print, prior knowledge of the purchase and its authorship the correct spelling of the word Life in the print the degree to which the print is realistic, and the degree to which the print resembles a magazine advert.
  25. 25. Conventional approaches to aesthetics
  26. 26. Conventional approaches to aesthetics Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939),
  27. 27. Conventional approaches to aesthetics Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939), historical context (Kristeller, 1951),
  28. 28. Conventional approaches to aesthetics Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939), historical context (Kristeller, 1951), institutional context (Dickie, 1984),
  29. 29. Conventional approaches to aesthetics Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939), historical context (Kristeller, 1951), institutional context (Dickie, 1984), social/interpersonal relations (Bourriaud, 2002).
  30. 30. Conventional approaches to aesthetics Physical qualities of objects (Greenberg, 1939), historical context (Kristeller, 1951), institutional context (Dickie, 1984), social/interpersonal relations (Bourriaud, 2002). (Corris, 2006) Such social eects are generally demonstrated rhetorically.
  31. 31. Sister Corita Kents Life
  32. 32. A conversation about Jackson PollockMark Last time I went to the unclear was the school one pauseUnknown Went to the Royal Academy when I was doing my O Levels, unclear pause it was a Jackson follow up it was about, ambulance was about twelve foot by twelve foot, it was literally splodges of paint all over the fucking place, it was horrible, unclear you can actually buy them at the Royal Academy, you cant buy them at unclear, but he was asking a hundred thousand pounds for it, I couldnt believe it, a trained monkey could of fucking painted that pause unclearMark Well that, it probably is.Stuart Jackson unclear is a monkey at London Zoo.Mark All you have to do is get one mug buy it, too buy it, hes made aint he, ah? pause dur=5Mark I mean pause see why they call people like Constable, Rembrandt a great artist unclearUnknown I never see how they can call anybody like unclearMark About Picasso a great artistStuart Na, I dont know unclearMark Its just pause crap
  33. 33. References I N Bourriaud. Relational aesthetics. Les presses du reel, Paris, 2002. Michael Corris. The Dialogical Imagination : The Conversational Aesthetic of Conceptual Art. In David Hopkins, editor, Avant Garde Critical Studies, pages 301310. Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2006. G Dickie. The art circle: a theory of art. Haven, Cambridge, 1984. Clement Greenberg. Avant-garde and kitsch. Partisan Review, pages 113, 1939. Paul Oskar Kristeller. The modern system of the arts: A study in the history of aesthetics part I. Journal of the History of Ideas, 12(4):496527, 1951. DW Maynard. Topical talk, ritual and the social organization of relationships. Social Psychology Quarterly, 47(4):301316, 1984. A Pomerantz. Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In J Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage, editors, Structures of social action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, chapter 4, pages 57102. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984. H Sacks and EA Scheglo. A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50(4):696735, 1974. Stephen C. Levinson. Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983.

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