The Mind’s Teeth and Taste in Art

To extend and subvert the “mind’s eye” metaphor I am proposing that the “mind” be considered analogous to teeth: hard, meant for chewing, tearing – breaking down. Teeth, chewing, the tongue, and taste are all prior to swallowing, digestion, and excretion. Similar to the way in which music and poetry can resemble each other, the craft of cooking – the science of gastronomy – can be like music. I compare the two on the basis of temporal register: there is duration but no scansion; each sensation passes, only endures for a certain amount of time, as it is registered. With poetry proper (that is, representation of images as things) there can be a scansion: the gaze is able to go “beyond” duration, and effect a scansion of the immediate presented / media represented. Objects of art directed at senses other than that of the optical provide sharp contrast and striking similarity to the strictly visually aligned arts. Indeed, the scent of a particular dish can sometimes arouse desire and emotion on the same level – not register – as a clever poem or erotic film.

The “appetite” for art is kitsch; taste in art is rare. The appetite for destruction is vulgar; taste, sublime.


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