patternsthatconnect

abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘aesthetics

facilitating the aesthetic encounter

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I have written before about the role of the curator in facilitating the aesthetic encounter (I borrowed the term from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Rick E. Robinson, The Art of Seeing) and sometimes gone on a bit about how some people seem to be able to see optical effects (for want of a better term) more easily than others.

wave

I noticed something similar on holiday recently, in relation to a ‘natural’ occurrence. When this wave breaks you see a miniature rainbow in the spray. Some people could see it easily as it occurred, some could see it when it was pointed out to them, others just couldn’t see it even after it was pointed out and with repeated viewing. But then, they could see it when re-presented on this short video.

I wonder if it would it be correct to say that the curatorial skill required to facilitate the experience is that of pointing/describing,with some interpreting and little, if any, of judging.

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Written by Andy Parkinson

July 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

Role of the Critic, Updated (via Slow Painting)

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I  saw this two-years-old-blog-post recently, I had been re-reading Peter Fuller’s Beyond the Crisis in Art and blogging about it. (Slow Painting continues to be a good blog by the way. It reads like a press digest of what’s going on in art). What a good photo of Fuller this is!

Role of the Critic, Updated Savage… the art critic Peter Fuller by Jane Bown, 1988 Photograph: Jane Bown/Observer Do art critics have a point any more? Can they contribute anything to the development of art? For a long time I’ve ducked this question. If you’d asked me any time over the past few years, I’d have replied that criticism does not seriously influence art. It has its own justification, however, as literature. If literature seems a pompous word, let’s say enterta … Read More

via Slow Painting

Then, a year after the blog post, there’s a comment by Wallydevilliers that suggests that the role of the critic is to find what’s really good and bring it to our attention. Good point. However, Fuller’s refusal of so much that was going on when he was writing was not really bad publicity (I recognise that the comment was actually about Robert Hughes in relation to Damien Hirst) the publicity had already been had. He was interpreting the meaning of the art works and establishing a position within a Marxist framework. So, reading Fuller was also a way of learning about Marx and socialism (he was just as critical of the positions taken by the Left as he was of the art) and I think he was a good teacher.

He also showed us how to criticise. I don’t always agree with his judgement, but I do find his approach, and his commitment to imagining a world different to the present one, to use an old-fashioned word – edifying.

It is that committed position that I think exemplified his approach and that informed his understanding of the role of the critic: not to entertain but to imagine.

Written by Andy Parkinson

July 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

OneThing20: how mind and nature might connect (via itsallonething)

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I keep connecting to others connecting with Gregory Bateson and the pattern which connects. The pattern which connects is itself a pattern, a meta pattern, a pattern of patterns.

It was my teacher,colleague and friend Judith Lowe, who first introduced me to the writing of Gregory Bateson and, if I remember rightly, she suggested that we read it as if it were poetry and let it wash over us, at first, as a way into it. Well, it does have that kind of poetic appeal. Although, strictly speaking, it is science writing it has this amazing aesthetic dimension. I think the film that is embedded in this reblog as well as the writing in the blog itself (just click on ‘read more’), brings out something of his poetic style. The film is a trailer for a one- hour film by Nora Bateson.

OneThing20: how mind and nature might connect Gregory Bateson tells us that we ought always look for the “pattern which connects.” I first stumbled upon Gregory Bateson while a college student and working at a local book distributorship. Our customers were college and university libraries, and one of them had purchased a beautiful hardbound copy of Mind and Nature – a Necessary Unity.  I stood the … Read More

via itsallonething

Here’s a different blog with a slideshow that also reveals the aesthetic style. In relation to content, Bateson insisted that the question “what connects?”  was an aesthetic question. ( I have used this slideshow before, quite recently but it’s so good that I thought it deserves another look ….or two.)

Bateson slideshow at the Rhizome Network

The art of seeing

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Rick E. Robinson wrote a book called The Art of Seeing, An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Encounter. It was published in 1990.

I was reminded of it when I was thinking about the day before yesterday’s blog, because the final chapter is precisely about helping others to see, or facilitating the aesthetic experience.

Before they get there, Csikszentmihalyi and Robinson establish the idea that the aesthetic experience has similar characteristics to the flow experience: an activity having few or no external rewards.

People play chess, climb mountains, compose music, and do a hundred other non-productive activities not because they expect a result or reward after the activity is concluded, but because they enjoy what they are doing to the extent that experiencing the activity becomes its own reward…called flow because respondents (who were interviewed) used the that term frequently to describe the deep involvement in and effortless progression of the activity.

After exploring the similarities through a qualitative and a quantitative study they go on to reflect on how we might help to facilitate the aesthetic experience. They place the responsibility with the system of artist-art-viewer-curator-context.

the aesthetic experience as a system

Written by Andy Parkinson

June 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

A million lines never precisely repeating

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Gregory Bateson faced his students with what he said was an aesthetic question: “what pattern connects the crab to the oyster and the orchid to the primrose and all the four of them to me, and me to you?”

Lines of symmetry, erupting into pattern, transforming into speed, colour and line,  a million lines never precisely repeating: the pattern which connects.

This wonderful audio-visual slideshow by Christopher Kinman, posted on The Rhizome Network, is an appreciation of Gregory Bateson entitled The Pattern Which Connects (click on slideshow to view it now).

Written by Andy Parkinson

May 28, 2011 at 9:04 am