The Art of Entropy: Dynamics of the Aesthetic Experience

By Samantha Schartman.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In observing various patterns of organization I have come to a similar conclusion as that of seminal theorist and psychologist Rudolf Arnheim; that there is a neg-entropic drive towards order as exemplified by the presence of phenomena such as societies, governments and grammars. In contrast to this, due to the fact that we are embodied beings, there is also an entropic drive (germinating from human phenomenology) towards chaos. We see this demonstrated by the existence of emotion, free will, creativity and so on. These conflicting drives follow along an axis characterized as beginning with chaos and ending in “perfect order” (or vice versa). As these drives follow along this continuum in opposite directions, a tension, or force dynamic relationship, is created between the entropic and the neg-entropic.
I assert that it is this tension that results in aesthetic appeal or dynamism and that this effect, which is not specific to any one modality, is a discrete character of the cognitive underpinnings of the aesthetic experience.

Keywords: Cognitive Aesthetics, Entropy, Neg-Entropy, Embodiment, Semiotic Square, Diegesis, Temporality

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.205-216. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 777.266KB).

Samantha Schartman

Graduate Student, Cognitive Science Department, School of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Coming from an interdisciplinary background involving art training along with humanities and science, my work has centered around themes of Critical Theory, Aesthetics, Phenomenology, Language and Cognition. It has long been my objective to research how art intersects with other social activities, and the way we have come to frame these different modes of experience. My unique perspective comes from my extensive work as an artist, musician, and researcher, and is supported by my degrees in Fine Art (BFA) from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Masters (May 2009) of Cognitive Linguistics from Case Western Reserve University.


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