[From a book yet unfinished]
Architecture of Art, definitions
A central part of this book is the chart I call the "Architecture of Art" (AoA for short). I considered "Anatomy of Art", but I liked better the implication of a structure, or something built, or even the building of something, than that of the practice of taking something apart, which is a quite different activity from what we are talking about here.
In the AoA I have divided art into three different parts or aspects. These three parts are again each divided into three parts. The AoA could be viewed as a structure or machine providing a process reaching from the physical universe into spiritual spheres. Or vice versa.
You could say that it is a blueprint of art as an machine. The lower the level the easier it is taught, observed, evaluated, and corrected. The higher the part, the more slippery it is to pinpoint or evaluate and to handle all in all.
The top of the scale is the reason why art has mystical connotations to many people. It simply cannot be explained easily if it is not perceived directly, since language derives from the physical universe, and the top of the scale is spiritual (and yet still real).
From a spiritual viewpoint the parts are more important the higher you go, and from a materialistic viewpoint the lower parts are more important.
Art consists of: (From the top) Static, Process, and Object.
"Static" consists of: Naturalness, Creatingness, and Wholeness.
"Process" consists of: Motion, Attraction, and Substance.
"Object" consists of: Representation, Association, and Materials.
Here are the basic definitions (from the bottom up).
Object: The part of the work that enters into the physical universe. It is the anchor that connects the creation to reality.
Process: Expanding the spirit, creating awareness of new things.
Static: The idea. The permanent part of the work. Not physical. This part endures as long as there is time. It also reaches far beyond the physical universe.
Materials: Are simply what the word says, the physical tools and things the artist uses in order to get his idea to appear in physical form.
Association: Is what the receiver thinks of, consciously or not, when viewing the work of art. Some associations are sane, like thinking of the smell of roses when seeing a picture of a rose, and some associations are not sane, like feeling a pain in the elbow when seeing a picture of a rose. There are many, many associations for any subject, and some are very personal (and so unpredictable), and some are more universal (belonging to a people or a species), and can be used by the artist.
Representation: The work of art represents an idea in the artist's universe. The more the Object is like the idea the stronger the art.
Substance: The created mass plus related masses (those masses made relevant by association.) A larger work needs great skill and integrity to keep these masses together seamlessly.
Attraction: That which keeps the work of art and those viewing it from blowing apart. (The process would tend to cause that otherwise, since it makes the viewer's universe expand and so push things away.) This is synonymous with "prettiness", and it is an important part of the popularity of a work, but only a smaller part of its overall importance.
Motion: The motion in the work/idea. It is the actual motion of the particles making up the idea, just like the motion of electrons etc. make up matter. Something which is not moving will not be perceived and if there is no motion at all, nothing exists. Motion creates space and time, making communication possible. (The Object does not, of course, have to be in motion for the work or the idea to be.) Both the quality and the quantity of the motion is considered.
Wholeness: The togetherness or the integrity of the work. How well the parts of the work play together in their action. Also the relative lack of superfluous or missing parts.
Creatingness: The amount of creation in the work. How much of it not taken from somewhere else. The power of creation put into it.
Naturalness: To which degree the work and its parts are the artist's own decision and is made from his own necessity. This is the naturalness (for the artist) of the viewpoint from which the artist creates his work.
The Architecture of Art chart is a tool.
It can be used to simply understand art better, but also has a variety of uses beyond that. It can be used as a tool during the whole process of creating a work of art from before the first idea to the last polishing.
It is not a tool of criticism. Criticism is in general a destructive (or at least deconstructive) process, and even though destruction can be good and necessary, the AoA is far too powerful a tool for such use. It is for the use of the artist when evaluating or creating his own work.