Presentation on theme: "Metarepresentation in artistic semiosis: a systematic and evolutionary approach Barend van Heusden Department of Arts, Culture and Media Studies University."— Presentation transcript:
Metarepresentation in artistic semiosis: a systematic and evolutionary approach Barend van Heusden Department of Arts, Culture and Media Studies University of Groningen (NL)
Contents 1.Introduction 2.From representation to semiotic representation 3.Three levels of semiosis 4.The evolution of semiosis 5.Semiosis and meta-semiosis 6.Meta-semiosis and (self)consciousness 7.Three levels of meta-semiosis 8.Art as meta-semiosis: consequences 9.The evolution of art
Steven Pinker “Ultimately what draws us to the work of art is not just the sensory experience of the medium but its emotional content and insight into the human condition. And these tap into the timeless predicament of our biological predicament: our mortality, our finite knowledge and wisdom, the differences among us, and our conflicts of interest with friends, neigbours, relatives, and lovers.” From: The Blank Slate. The modern denial of human nature (2002, p. 418)
A representation consists of the patterns of sensory-motor behaviour that allow an organism to interact successfully (in terms of homeostasis and survival) with its environment. These patterns constitute the memory of the organism. Representations are a function of the anatomy of the organism (Von Uexküll) 2. From representation to semiotic representation
Representation becomes semiotic, in humans, when actuality and memory become separate through the doubling of the information processing. Definition: a sign is a memory that is used to recognize actuality; semiosis is the process of matching memory and actuality. actualitymemory information semiosis
3. Three levels or dimensions of semiosis We distinguish three types of memory (signs): - perceptual or figurative signs (icons) - conceptual signs (symbols) - theoretical signs (diagrams, structures) - Signs can be externalized: in gestures, sounds (language) or visually (visuographs). -This allows for self-perception, communication (mutual ‘tuning’) and storage.
4. The evolution of semiosis Levels of evolution Phylogenetic (evolution) Ontogenetic (development) Historical (change) Actual (process)
A bandwidth model of cultural evolution logical 3-place conceptual 2-place iconic 1-place non-semiotic, episodic culture T1 T2 T3 T4 T5
When the semiosis turns upon itself, and becomes the object of semiotic representation, we speak about a reflexive, meta- or second order representation. 5. Semiosis and meta-semiosis
6. Meta-semiosis and (self)consciousness Meta-semiosis allows for self-consciousness. Self-consciousness is understood as the process in which the semiotic representation itself becomes object of semiosis (matching memory and actuality). Thus semiosis generates self-consciousness.
7. Three levels of meta-semiosis We find second order loops on all three levels of representation: Iconic – in magic, and in art Symbolic – in religion and in ideology Theoretical – in philosophy and in science
8. Art as meta-representation: consequences To be a correct and truthful, convincing representation of the reality of life, that is, of the representation process in all its complexity (perception and imagination, conceptualization and communication, thought and inquiry), art has to reproduce the basic structure of representation which is that of the doubling, of identity and difference, of norm and deviation - not ‘in abstracto’ but in the concrete context of a historical culture…
Cézanne, c. 1897; Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from the Bibemus Quarry
Features attributed to art: ‘estrangement’ ‘tension’ ‘sense of reality’ ‘realism’ ‘mimesis’ ‘life-likeness’ ‘originality’ … etc.
Forms of doubling 1. on the level of perception: sounds, rhythm, musical motif or theme, ‘uniqueness’, texture, format, etc. 2. on the level of conceptualization: meanings (mythological themes, intertextuality; symbols and themes) 3. on the level of structure (‘reality’) – fiction, narration (fable and suzjet); characters, situations (portraits), depth, (unique) perspective, etc…
A bandwidth model of artistic evolution autonomous 3-place conceptual 2-place magic 1-place non-semiotic, episodic culture T1 T2 T3 T4 T5
Barend van Heusden Arts, Culture and Media Studies University of Groningen (NL) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org