Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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An Afternoon in the Garden

On what originally seemed to be a beautiful fall day, a group of friends and I decided to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. As soon as we got there, however, the clouds covered the sky, creating a gray and somewhat eery atmosphere. We enjoyed the day nonetheless, but I found it interesting to note how the weather could significantly change our experience in the gardens. Had it been sunny and beautiful, for instance, it would have created a completely different environment; I felt like it was really able to control our emotional response, which is an important aspect of any work of art.

Regardless, I was still able to appreciate the beauty of my natural surroundings: the flowers, the trees, both individually and as a collective whole in their carefully planned-out arrangements. This prompted me to remember a number of questions we had discussed in class: what is beauty, and what does it mean to be beautiful? Is there a precise mathematical calculation behind it? Or can something be beautiful because it goes against such perfect proportions?

I also came across some interesting dome structures made from thin, interwoven tree branches. They reminded me of a bird nest, of which we saw many that day as well. This brought back the idea of the Bower birds and whether or not animals can create art. What exactly is art, then, and who is an artist? One may say no, animals cannot create art because there is no intention behind it. However, isn’t art also considered to be something difficult done well?

Overall, I do believe one can find art in nature and that it does not necessarily have to be man-made.




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