Importance Of Complex Wholes In The Arts

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Advancement in an area of knowledge requires reducing a complex whole to simple components. Another requires integrating simple components into a complex whole. Some areas of knowledge take on neither, rather, a holistic approach is adopted. Complex wholes are intricate products made of many interconnected simple components. Simple components are fundamental features that give rise to the complex whole. Emergent properties are attributes of the complex whole, which cannot be explained nor predicted from the simple components. Methods of understanding vary between areas of knowledge, and the two areas of knowledge that I will be exploring are the natural sciences and the arts. In the natural sciences, complex wholes are understandings of…show more content…
There is no single way of gaining scientific knowledge where we try to reduce a complex whole to simple components or try to integrate simple components into a complex whole or study the whole as itself, but rather we make use of all three in this diverse area of knowledge. Is this also true for the arts? Complex wholes in the arts include perceptions and aesthetic judgements of the artwork, while simple components include the message, context, emotional input, technical aspects, etc. Emergent properties include function and significance in society. Integration of simple components to complex wholes leads to advancement of knowledge in the arts. This occurs when art is used as a form of expression. Simple features unique to each person (context of the author and the audience, message, medium, etc.) interact with one another to create an intricate product. Dance is used as a form of expression for an artist, with the aim to create an effect on the audience. Hip hop dance, for example, involves breaking and popping. The use of angular postures and dynamic movements provoking the drumbeat in these styles convey aggressiveness and assertiveness to the audience, because of the power seen in the form (DeFrantz n.d.). Flips, spins and contortions convey flamboyance, because of the precision and elaborateness needed for the movements. Body movements and music are integrated by the…show more content…
Identifying features and simple components involved in the perception of each artwork can provide insight, explaining why there are varying perceptions, and thus artistic knowledge. Identification and analysis of literary features, the simple components, are prominent in the perception of literature. Critics of literature look at the effect of imagery, tone, context , etc. to understand the different perceptions of each work. For example, the differences in perception for “I have a rendezvous with death” by Alan Seeger , have been reduced to the different interpretations of the simple components. Based on the dark subject of war and inevitability of death, the poem can be seen as a depressing and sombre one. However, from Seeger’s letters , it can be said that he was a man who celebrated life and found that death in battle was something glorious . The poem can then be seen as optimistic, celebrating the honour and dignity in dying while fighting for one’s country. Therefore reduction of complex wholes to simple components can lead to artistic

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