Dr. Rodney "Pygoya" Chang's

Model of Aesthetics and Transformative Philosophy




My model of aesthetics has been derived from over ten years of phenomenological searching for not just the real nature of art but also, as unconscious need for a personalized and clarified philosophy of art. One that integrates not only the divisions and compartments within the art world, but art with life itself. Thus I turned to personal experience and time to sort for a unifying sense of all my socially separated learnings and activities.

What does it all mean and what does it all add up for the meaning and quality of my life? Would each successive life situation and formal block of instruction in different fields add up to a rare realization that gains an overview of the contemporary reality (great insight through experienced perception)? Could I gain a greater "perceptual grasp" than most by doing more than is normal?

In mathematical form, the elements and their relationships are as such presented:


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AA = art appreciation or total perceptual response

r = attention, state of readiness or receptivity to perceive; mental set and mood

o = of observer

a = of artist

P = psychological elements

U = thought processes we are not aware of; i.e., the unconscious

K = cultural knowledge and standards

I = individual's personality and idiosyncratic aesthetic preferences

f = facilitates liking something

d = debilitates liking something

G = goal or intent of the artist's creative imagination

M = natural material manipulation to create psychological aesthetic stimulus

t = time passing

m = materials used, or medium (which can be completely conceptual and psychological)

My model is based upon a quantitative sizing up of the potentially aesthetic material in order to come up with an integrated personal interpretation that supports a judgment of quality of experience and encapturement of the feeling of the aesthetic or art. Like a computer our brains sum up an aesthetic situation, subtracting the psychological turn-ons from the turn offs, in order to almost simultaneously determine the resultant intensity of aesthetic quality felt from the stimulus. Much of the elements determining taste of course go on unconsciously and even automatically (one dogmatically rejects a certain brand of work or look). One "knows" what one likes and dislikes.

My model takes into consideration the actual effect that politics, capitalism and industrialization, social aesthetic conditioning, the unconscious, and the personality of the spectator have on the final "grasp" of the aesthetic stimulus perceptually. The physical constituent (for example the canvas and paints themselves) of a work of art is thought of as just a stimulus for creative thinking that is passed from artist to spectator. 

Quality is influenced by time and fashion. Popularity of materials to work with varies with time and culture; goals for creating art change too. The aesthetic object or situation is the vehicle for active communication of feelings and awareness between two people, the artist and his public.

Norms come into play in the aesthetic experience by placing brakes on too sudden changes in art. It's like a stabilizing factor of the evolving art that is adapting to our new needs. Thus does my model incorporate formistic thought. Just as my approach to isolating the spontaneous aesthetic perception (which leads to appreciation) is one of cumulating and summation, so is its nature quite mechanistic as a view of human nature. Psychological elements are definitely included, for the physiological sensations of art media play excitatory and therefore sensuous roles for the aesthetic experience. The model is "hedonistic" in that it defines everything that adds up (or subtracts from) to an aesthetic experience as "art appreciation" or pleasurable.

Of course the model is highly organistic in nature, for it states that larger entities, like art appreciation or aesthetic experience, are the accumulation of other multi-level relationships of the human mind. The model points to the possibility of creating new art with universal appeal; it serves as a tool to create art defended by art criticism standards of the different world hypotheses. For example, *Da Waiting Room* (dental discotheque office installation) is the aesthetic manifestation of 1) an individual's attempt to make his environment and psychological space integrated and thus reflect his personality to others, 2) the realization that the aesthetic experience can be found in real life situations besides traditional objects of art (contextualistic), and 3) everything in the world, including seemingly conflicting goals and situations, can be interrelated at a higher level of unified harmony, once creative insight and problems are worked out to mold the final aesthetic refinement of the work of art. The cited art work challenges the norm of contemporary art, not to dethrone art but serve as catalyst for further growth and direction (real life situations) of this new form of art.

From such an eclectic (just like my "personality") model of aesthetic perception can be drawn a personal philosophy, an accidental award for the continued and disciplined study of art. I call it Transformative Philosophy. That's the fancy term that stands for a view of the world as one characterized by constant evolution through adaptive or maladaptive change, which at the same time, maintains a constant relativity of all phenomena and things. Reality is relative, and so are facts. Evidence cannot pinpoint an ultimate reality but only support present or emerging hypotheses of these changing relationships of specific things tied to a high order of permanent unity. The wholeness of the universe is expressed as the final answer to personal conflict and aesthetic value. It is my duty to discern how all these different fields of study have interconnections that can be expressed aesthetically as a method of proving their existence. My art shall be based upon attention to change (in the world and in art) attached to a higher level of organization that maintains a sense of universal (or natural) unity among the artist, spectators and work of art.


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Dynamics of Artist, Art Object, Viewer, and Society
Rodney Chang, 1980