Copyright ©2001-2021 Marshall Rendina. All rights reserved.
Layers in Aesthetic Thought
The Object or Source
Here, forms are presented in the most absolute sense; as points, lines, shapes and so forth. There should be no attempt within this aspect of art to ascribe any specific meanings or ideas about how the mind has experienced the work. There may be color, or in music, timbre among other things, though it should not represent anything. We simply ask, what is reality made of, and what is our artistic medium made of? It is a return to the basic forms. I have a strong tendency to want to represent reality on this level as a grid being warped, with concentric or overlapping circles, or as points in their interplay as they rotate and spiral about one another to create the existence we are familiar with.
(See Things to Practice, Intra-Music and Intra-Art Correspondences)
Optical and Acoustical Effects in Nature
This level possesses many potential resources for how the work may be experienced. It is clearly distinct from perspective and perceptual effects, as these result from the vantage point and physiology and neurology of the person experiencing the work, and distinct from the object or source, as the object or source is raw in its physicality or its metaphysical state. I have a strong preference for the effects presented in water, as it is most abundant and allows for a wide variety of effects, including surface bending of the floor beneath, bending and reflecting light off the surface directly and from other reflections, and light bending and reaching the floor in higher intensities and being bent again in reflection, refraction and rainbows, waves, vortices, mist, clouds and so forth.
(To Be Continued in the Light, Cosmos, and Nature Projects)
Perspective and Vantage Point
Here we refer to the actual location of the person experiencing the work. The physiology of our eyes and ears gives certain characteristics to any object or sound at a given point in our perception. In both vision and hearing the experience can be altered by the rotation of one’s head, and by completely blocking or partially obstructing one or both eyes or ears. In art we have the ability to present multiple vantage points, as was a primary area of interest through the first part of the twentieth century. We also have the ability to present a vantage point as still and unmoving where in reality our vantage point will change, and moving or shifting where in our experience only one vantage point may be available, as would be the case in a film where there are many angles in a scene though the viewer does not move, or in a story where the plot is told from more than one character. We not only have space that can be altered to create an experience, but also time, as time can be represented as being multiple or non-linear. I like to find exact perspectives that make reality seem hyperreal through symmetry and color.
(To Be Continued in the Architecture and Transportation Projects)
Perception Within the Mind
This area is highly complex as it involves the physiological and neurological aspects present within the experience of art and music. It also presents many possibilities for effects, many of which are known and well documented, and some lesser understood. In art I have a preference for exploring those that are time based, those using light and photography in layers, and of figure-ground relationships causing shifting between the perception of distance and direction. In music I have become interested in the perception of space as it relates to pitch and the frequency response of hearing, apart from how it changes with vantage point within a room.
(See Auditory and Visual Perception, To Be Continued in the Mind Project)
Emotion and Feeling
Here we refer not to our physical senses as one would experience pleasure or pain or movement, or our perception as an image or sound becomes recognizable to us, but to the aspects of a work that arouse emotions. These feelings are innumerable and present throughout one’s existence – joy, sadness, anger, fear, desire, anxiety, surprise, contempt, love and so on. It should be noted that these feelings are distinguished from actions or expressions, though they may relate to another person or object being directed towards them or resulting from them, and not only to the self alone being experienced internally without an external source. There are a wide variety of ways feelings can be presented in a work and need not result from action and expression alone, but from any other layer or means of experiencing or creating the work. I have a growing interest and intent in my practice to want to resolve works in a state of reflection and serenity present in meditation.
(To Be Continued in the Mind Project)
Action, Expression, Improvisation, and Sensing
This aspect of the work refers to the physical or physiological act in its performance or creation. This we associate with sensing, as it has not been described by either perception or by feelings and emotions. This aspect can present itself in a number of situations, especially in action painting, in acting on a stage or in a film, improvising music or affecting the timbre or dynamics of the notes, and especially in dance and movement. As with any other aspect of the work, there are apparent limitations, most of which are the result of the human body alone and its ability to experience or create the work. In the most basic sense, actions are either graceful, flowing, and smooth, or are sharp, abrupt, and angular, though certain types of expression can involve either – such as chaos, as one can be chaotically graceful and flowing, or chaotically angular and sharp. I prefer, in general, actions that are flowing and smooth, though in certain instances, angular and abrupt motions are more appropriate.
(To Be Continued in the Body Project)
Symbols, Archetypes, Imagination, and Dreams
Here we can refer to the aspects of the work that are neither literal or absolute, but occupy a space between that is inherently linked to the deeper parts of our experience and mind. As with emotions, archetypes and symbols are innumerable, as are the meanings they may represent. Some works may present symbols as they are – as objects or actions, but in others a process exists by which the symbols are transmuted or arise from such processes. These combinations and juxtapositions of symbols lend themselves more to the world of dreams than to reality, and a space exists within the conscious mind where the rules governing reality do not apply in which such situations may be imagined. I have a deep interest in the process of alchemy as it relates to symbols and the works that can result from the manipulation of such symbols, as well as the symbols present in the Tarot.
(See Manipulation of Symbols, To be Continued in the Individual, Mind, Spiritual, and Religion Projects)
Impression and Means of Representation
This aspect of the work refers not to perception as another work or reality would appear to us, but the style and means by which the artist has chosen to represent the work and create the impression of their experience. This aspect has an endless number of possibilities, though it became apparent in the impressionistic era, in which artists began to deliberately represent reality differently rather than do so in naivety or lack of training. This can be accomplished in many ways – beginning first with the way brush stokes were used as units of display, and notes as units of representing sounds in the environment. We now very often on the sharpest level represent our works digitally with fonts, pixels, and bits, and this aspect of representing works can be associated with the tendency to choose to do so deliberately – it is much easier to represent a work in this manner than to actually attempt to recreate reality, as our perception only allows for and requires a level of precision necessary to experience the work as it was intended. Again, we should not stress the aesthetics in impressionism, but the general idea that we can choose how to represent a work – whether with a very accurate score, abstract visual notation, or a recording, and similarly in visual art, precise brush strokes, abstracted forms, or with photography. I have a preference for using circles rather than squares to represent visual art, and in music, for staves that can be modified with more precise aspects of time, pitch, timbre, and so forth, as well as with symbols more open to interpretation.
(To Be Continued in the Language and Communication Projects)
Thoughts, Considerations, Judgment, and Interpretation
Here we refer to the cognitive aspects of the work present in our thoughts. These are often associated with higher level complexes such as those of identity, status, and conscience, but also with those more personal related to one’s preference and sense of fulfillment. Often this is either a simple rejection or acceptance of a work as being liked or disliked, or of one’s own work as being worthwhile or not. Beyond these immediate judgments are more subtle interpretations. What was the intended meaning – or was there an intended meaning to the work? How should the work be presented or performed? What nuances should be taken into consideration, or should be left to one’s own preference? These questions and many others may be part of the work itself – one’s own considerations may be present in the work as notes, or included over top of it. Such ideas may be the source of the unfolding of the work – in essence, the concept. Many works may simply be only a concept – allowing for others to realize them, or begin as a concept. A concept may be only a single word, or a phrase, or a complete description of how the work should unfold. I have a preference for creating simple outlines or writing down a few ideas that are key to the piece before beginning.
(To Be Continued in the Knowledge, Unknown, and Logic Projects)
The Spiritual and Intuitive
This aspect of the work is less tangible and does not involve either aspects of perception, sense, emotion or feeling, or thought and judgments, but things that come to us signifying our connection to the absolute – our union as part of the bigger picture. This interconnection of all things often presents itself to us in ways that are not explainable such as synchronicity, the meeting of people whom others we know may already be acquainted, E.S.P. and knowing another's thoughts or intentions, knowing things about the work that are not present within the work itself but in its place within one’s own existence and reality. It is my preference not to make an attempt to create such situations but allow them to unfold naturally without explanation – as an explanation would be a cognitive judgment, rather than an aspect of one’s mind or existence that is outside of conscious thought. I have an active interest in meditation, especially Zen, and in various forms of shamanism.
(To Be Continued in the Spiritual and Religion Projects)
Group and Shared Experiences, Roles of Participants and Objects
Here we refer not to the individual experience, but to those of more than one person – of partners, groups, and even of society itself. This creates another level of considerations to work with. Should the artist or composer be the only person creating the work? Is the object or score that has been created the only aspect of the work that is relevant, or does it exist only to describe how to experience the piece? Are the performers and audience separate, or should they both be equally relevant to its outcome? Are the instruments and equipment used necessary or can the work be created only with one’s body or experience? Are they specified or should one allow others to choose what instruments or equipment to use? Is the venue part of the work, should a “venue” be created within a space or outdoors, or is the venue one’s own eyes and ears? Is the venue in multiple locations, such as that of a broadcast or in using headphones? I am an introvert and prefer mostly to develop my abilities and occupy most of the roles in the realization of the work, though not always, and sometimes I have others participate in its realization, or have them contribute or be a part of it spontaneously. The roles of the objects in some of my works can occupy more than one purpose - a score itself has been used with the instrument in one instance to produce another timbre.
(See Basic Components of The Arts, To Be Continued in the Ethics, Economics, Relationships, and Society Projects)
In this aspect we consider all other subjects outside of the work itself and how the work is experienced in creating its meaning. How do we present the other subjects in our human experience? Works of art, regardless of medium address all aspects of the human experience. It is then a question of how these subjects are considered in the work. Are they the source for the work? Are the subjects examined and represented differently as to only create an emotional experience, or a perceptual experience, or to stimulate thoughts? Are the subjects represented more literally or realistically attempting to reconstruct one’s own experience exactly as it happened? Which other aspects of the work are used, or are all aspects discussed herein used to represent the subject? It is my preference to consider what is most relevant. If the work is large enough, there may be room to use all aspects that can be present in a work, though if the work has a tendency to occupy a specific area within one’s experience, then that should predominate, and perhaps a few other areas closely associated with a given experience or desired outcome should be used.
(See Towards a More Complete Understanding, To be Continued in the Knowledge Project)
Microcosm and Macrocosm
This aspect of the work refers to where reality ends and the work begins, and may also refer to how the work exists within another, or how other works may exist within a work. This can refer to more basic means such as cataloguing, albums, series, and so forth, but also to conundrums, such as a work in which another is created within the work, a painting of a painting, a story in which another is told, a piece of music in which another is quoted, and additionally we may ask, where does the work begin and reality end? Is the piece of music only in the background and reality is blurred within? Are there breaks in the piece that contribute to the overall form? Does a sculpture or installation gather materials from nearby to gradually transition into the work, or is the line between the work and what is not the work clearly demarcated? Does the line even exist at all, and is the work present within reality? What place or time does the work occupy in reality and how is it presented? I have a growing interest in not in demarcating the line or creating unusual ways in which a work may be presented such that it exists as a part of reality, but in blurring the line between the work and what is outside the work.
(To Be Continued in the Culture, Logic, and Cosmos Projects)