The Origin of the Work of Art

1397 Words6 Pages
In The Origin of the Work of Art, Heidegger attempts to the answer the question of what art is, as well as try to find the origin of art itself. In his attempt Heidegger distinguishes between his ideas of “Work” and “Equipment”. While, central to his argument within The Origin of the Work of Art, these ideas are important within themselves in Heidegger’s Philosophy. In this essay I will define as well as compare and contrast these two concepts. I will also explain the ideas of “Earth” and “World” presented by Heidegger in order to facilitate this goal. Finally, I’ll conclude the paper by summarizing the key concepts and their relationship to one another. In order to accomplish the goal of defining and explaining both “Equipment” & “Work”; I’ll need to introduce and explain two other prevalent concepts in Heidegger’s work. These are the concepts of “World” and “Earth”. First I’ll start with the notion of “World”. Heidegger writes, “The world is not the mere collection of the countable or uncountable, familiar and unfamiliar things that are at hand” (Heidegger, pg.170). Heidegger is stating that the “World” isn’t merely an ontical concept that most of us perceive of, a totality of matter existing within the material conception of “World”. Heidegger clearly explains, “The world worlds, and is more fully in being than the tangible and perceptible realm in which we believe ourselves to be at home” (Heidegger, pg 170). Heidegger defines “World” as an ontological concept, in which a web of significant relations exists between Dasein and all that is ready-at-hand. For example, a coffee table exists in a web of significant relations for it points to those who regularly sit at it, which then can branch of to the various conversations ha... ... middle of paper ... ...e work lets the earth be an earth” (Heidegger, pg 172). He then adds, “The opposition of world and earth is strife” (Heidegger, pg 174). We finally have the criteria of what “Work” is. Heidegger explains that work sets up a world and sets forth the “Earth”. “The work is an instigating of this strife” (Heidegger, pg 175). That strife opens truth or as Heidegger puts it, “Aletheia” to the observer of the “Work”. The struggle or “Strife” is the process of a work of art taking place within the art work itself. In conclusion, the concepts of “Work” and “Equipment” that Heidegger presents in The Origin of the Work of Art can be summarized as follows. “Equipment” defines itself by its use and “Work” is grounded upon the “Earth” and “World” it was created on. Whose essential importance cannot be understated in order to understand Heidegger’s message within the text.
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