4/25/09

ASSEMBLAGE: Complexity Science Art



Sociology is not the only trajectory along which I have pursued the study of complexity. In fact, long before I figured out how to apply complexity science to sociology I was working on it in my art. As my geek t-shirt stuff suggests, art is part of my complexity agenda.


The above picture is an example of the type of complexity art I have been doing, which I call assemblage--partially in homage to the cubists and, more specifically, Robert Rauschenberg, the famous American painter.


In terms of technique, assemblage extends the work of Picasso and Braque by going beyond analytic and synthetic cubism into a new area, assembled cubism. Following Raushenberg, assembled cubism takes a complex systems approach to paintings, attempting to examine the inter-dependence and inter-connectedness of humans and the world in which they live. It also treats this inter-dependence and inter-connectedness as a system, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts. How, for example, can one paint two people, showing the entanglement of their relationship, to arrive at a whole; and yet, at the same time, allow the individuals to shine through?


The spirit of assembled cubism is found in the following quote from William Johnston: "When people meet at the level of personal love achieved through radical non-attachment, they do not merge, nor are they absorbed in one another.... There is at once a total unity and a total alterity" (Silent Music, 1976, p. 147, Perennial Library).

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