Part of the argument with my boyfriend included his testing what I thought was art and why. He threw out things like photography (yes), elegant code (no, because code is a tool for making art), and Bowerbirds’ nests.
While I’m not a PETA wingnut, I do believe our current, complex intelligence that includes creating art, language, and religion, evolved. I think other animals have pieces of that evolution as well. I don’t think we’re better than other animals, although I am strongly concerned about human rights issues.
So, since our brains evolved from simpler brains, it makes sense to me, as a totally untrained evolutionary biology enthusiast, to say that there might be other animals that make rudimentary art of a kind. And now that I’ve looked at bowerbirds a little more closely, yes, I think that they make is art — it is an intentional, creative communication of an emotion from one bowerbird to another. What are they communicating? “You should have sex with me.” Isn’t that the basis of a lot of art?
Here’s a couple of bowerbird nests:
Here’s some of Andy’s work:
The examples on her Flickr are way more interesting than those, by the way.
Okay, I am probably seeing what I want to see, but why would you consider bowerbird nests not art? It fits my definition of art pretty well.
Oh, and in my search for bowerbirds, I ran across this, which is pretty fantastic: Hands as Objects of Art. Hand puppets will never be the same.