Broudy_aesth_ed - APPENDIX Making an Informed Aesthetic Response”I l Aesthetic Perception A tS'msory Properties First carefully look andi’or

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Unformatted text preview: APPENDIX Making an Informed Aesthetic Response”I l. Aesthetic Perception A. tS'msory Properties. First, carefully look andi’or listen; note what actually exists within an object or event and then identify as completely as possible the character of its sensory proper- ties {qtialities that can be seen, felt. or heard): In art, identify the nature of elements such as shapes {square—round), lines {thick-thin}. values {dark-light}. textures (coarse—smoothly colors (bright—dull], size {large—small), space (deep— shallowl, etc. In dance, observe body gestures {curved—angular}, movements {fast—slow}, space (open— containedl, etc. In drama. observe elements such as vocal qualities (cadence, quiet-shrill}. body movement {fast— slowl, costumes and sets [sober—bold. realistic—abstract}. etc. In music, identify the nature of aural qualities such as pitch {high—low}, tempo {fast—slow), dura- tion {long—short}. dynamics (loud—soft}. etc. B. Korma! Properties. Second, respond to ways in which sensory properties are organized within an object or event by identifying the character ofits formal properties (try to answer the fOIIOW- ing questions as the work is experienced): To what extent is each element necessary? What is the nature of the movement {real or imag— ined] from one part to another, which thereby contributes to a sense of evolution and unity? How is the sense of unity maintained, even though elements may vary? How is unity in variety achieved? Are there some elements that are more dominant than otherS—a hierarchy of elements? Which elements appear to be most dominant! thereby contributing to the major theme? How is variety achieved in the repetition of these elements, so that thematic variation results? How is equilibrium maintained between and among both similar and diverse parts. so that a sense of balance is created? What rhythmical qualities are created when mode of balance and thematic variation are combined? 52 APPENDIX APPENDIX Making an Informed Aesthetic Response"‘I l. Aesthetic Perception A. Sensory Properties. First, carefully look andfor listen; nete what actually exists within an object or event and then identify as completely as possible the character of its sensory proper- ties {qualities that can be seen, felt. or heard): In art, identify the nature of elements such as shapes {square—round], lines {thick-thin), values (dark-light}. textures (coarse—smoothly colors (bright—dull], size {large—small}, space (deep- shallovvl, etc. In dance. observe body gestures {curved—angular}, movements {fast—slow}. Space {open— containedl, etc. In drama. observe elements such as vocal qualities (cadence, quiet-shrill}. body movement lfast— slow}. costumes and sets (sober—bold. realistic—abstract}. etc. In music, identify the nature of aural qualities such as pitch {high—low}, tempo (fast—slow), dura- tion llong—shortl. dynamics (loud—soft], etc. B. karma! Properties. Second, respond to ways in which sensory properties are organized within an object or event by identifying the character of its formal properties (try to answer the follow- ing questions as the work is experienced): To what extent is each element necessary? What is the nature of the movement (real or imag— ined} from one part to another, which thereby contributes to a sense of evolution and unity? How is the sense of unity maintained, even though elements may vary? How is unity in variety achieved? Are there some elements that are more dominant than others—a hierarchy of elements? Which elements appear to be most dominant! thereby contributing to the major theme? Hovyr is variety achieved in the repetition of these elements, so that thematic variation results? How is equilibrium maintained between and among both similar and diverse parts, so that a sense of balance is created? What rhythmical qualities are created when mode of balance and thematic variation are combined? 52 APPENDIX C. ExpressivePmpmriar. Third, reflect upon both the nature of the existing sensory properties and the ways they appear to be organized and then speculate about the possible meanings of an object or event by identifying its expressive properties. Aesthetic objects and events possess presentational (faces, trees, environmental sounds, familiar movements, etc.) andfor metaphorical—symbolic characteristics that evoke responses from one’s storehouse of images and, when combined with sensory and formal properties, translate into pervasive qualities, such as: Mood language—nuances of feeling describable in terms such as somber, menacing, frivolous, etc. Dynamic states—arousing a sense of tension. conflict, relaxation, etc. Idea and ideal language—interpretations of social or psychological events and beliefs, andror expressions of courage, wisdom. etc. D. Iér/mimf Properifar. Finally, one can also be attracted to an object or event and attempt to identify how it was created because of the significance of its technical properties. Attending to the extraordinary surface texture created by an impasto application of paint or the richly pat— terned sounds produced by the pizzicato plucking of violin strings are examples of reacting to the technical aspects of art forms. Knowing how something is made is often important to aes- thetic perception; however, aesthetic responses and judgments can be made without such awareness ifother properties are considered. 11. Aesthetic Criticism A. Historical Determining the nature and expressive intent of works of art within their histori- cal context and in relation to school, period, style, and culture. B. Rer‘rt’afive. Apprehending and relating imaginatively what the artist has expressed in a spe— cific work. C. Jadr'riai. Estimating the value of works ofart in relation to other works using three criteria: degree of formal excellence, truth, and significance.“ .-\|"P|3 NIHX 5.1 AE [f images are as influential in learning as this essay claims, their E place in the school curriculum isjustified. Whether or not images function in the various types of learning depends on the availability of methods and materials of instruction suitable to the several grades (K—1 2). It is beyond the scope of this essay to dojustiee to all the methodological and curriculum problems such a program involves. One aspect of methodology, however, demands special attention because it elicits strong disagreement among arts educators. Briefly, if imagery affects life and learning to the extent this essay claims, then the skills of perceiving aesthetic images should be a major focus ofinstruction in the elementary grades in conjunction with performance skills. The reasons for this are (l) proper aesthetic perception, unlike the ordinary variety, has to be especially attentive to the sensory content of the image and (2) the skills of perception can he taught to all normally ed ucable pupils by classroom teachers after a relativer short training period. Given the skills of perception, the historical and critical materials (especially by way of exemplars) can be introduced and amplified at appropriate times. The question is raised: Is aesthetic perception aesthetic education? And how does it relate to aesthetics? Aesthetic perception is comparable to reading a text where the text is an image or a set ol‘images. It construes these images through what Susanne Langer called “presentational” symbols, rather than through the “discursive” symbols of written language.40 Aesthetic literacy begins with learning to perceive the sensory, Formal, and expressive properties of aesthetic images—that is, those that convey human import. The skills of aesthetic perception may be summarized as follows: 1. Perceiving the vividness and intensity ofthe season properties in the work. These fea- tures convey the affective qualities of the object by means of colors, gestures, shapes, tex- tures. and so on. 2. Perceiving thefiarmaI qualities of the object, its design or composition, the arrange- me nts that provide unity in variety through balance, repetition, rhythm, contrast, and so on.“1 3. Becoming familiar with the (award merits of the object, the skill with which it has been carried out. ABS'I‘II E'l‘lt: El)li(‘.r\'l'l{).\i ~19 4. Perceiving the expressan significance of the object, its import or message as aesthetically expressed. There is no myStery about teaching these skills of aesthetic impression, nor is there in devis- ing tests to assess progress in sensitivity in the perception of these properties. Experience in the Getty Institute for Discipline-based Art Education and in Project Heart in Decatur and Cham— paign, Illinois, can supply evidence for these claims. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that elementary classroom teachers, given a relatively short period of in—service instruction, can master what has been called “aesthetic scanning” and teach it to their pupils (see Appendix). The basic ground rule for these exercises is that pupils be ready to point to something in the object by virtue of which they are willing to assert that it has this or that property or characteris— tic. What could be more behavioral? There is also nothing to prevent the teacher from having the pupils make their own aesthetic objects to serve as targets for perception. In this way perfor- mance training and perception training coalesce. The performer and the maker use perception fmm moment to moment to test whether the effects they desire are being achieved. For example, the distinction between sensory and formal properties can be brought out more clearly if we vary one dimension at a time. We can arrange six spots of red in a number of ways, or we can take any one of the patterns and give it a variety of colors or color combinations. Melo- dies can be held constant while rhythms are changed; rhythms can be held constant while the orchestration is varied. Sometimes works of art can be selected to bring out these distinctions. The plethora of collections of art reproductions now available in the various media makes the task of selecting materials for the study of the various dimensions of the aesthetic experience far easier than it used to be. The teaching situation changes when we come to the expressive dimension of aesthetic prop- erties. We can still use the perceptual approach, but we can no longer say with confidence just what it is that is to be perceived. Colors and shapes are fairly public objects, and given normal sense organs, there is little difficulty in getting agreement on whether a given area of color is red, green, or violet. The same, of course, is true in the fields of sounds and gestures. But sup- pose that a seascape is said to depict an angry sea or a melody is said to be cheerful and spritely or a poem melancholy. To what in the aesthetic object do we direct the attention of the observ- ers as evidence for our characterization? 50 _-\F§S'l‘|[F.'I'l(‘. EUL'CA'I'ION It makes sense to answer that the image as a whole provides that evidence, but sensory and formal properties may also be expressive. Colors and sounds and shapes can be expressive. They can be bright and sharp, serene or agitated. The wayr unity is achieved depends on aes- thetic responses to formal properties. The criteria and language enumerated in the scanning chart (see Appendix) can be applied to the sensory and formal properties of the work as well as to the work as a whole. And we can be true to the principle of phenomenological objectivity—namely, that whatever is being perceived must éepmvfoedas doing in tire objmf—while not insisting that it is oazofagimffy in the object.” POSTSCRIPT This essay has explored the role ofimagery in diverse modes of learning. In every mode the image has a central role, for it springs from the deepest roots of meaning. ’l‘hese images of feel— ing connect the cognitive and emotional aspects of life and learning—whether it be learning of language skills or appreciation of value. The arts are the most direct route to what [.anger called the “forms of feeling.”“ The language of art, as she points out, is a form of presentational rather than discursive discourse. The fact that this language can be taught virtually constitutes an obli— gation to teach it to all who attend school. The quality of life is measured by the repertory of feeling that pervades it. Life is rich ifthe repertory of feelings is large and the discrimination among them fine. Life is coarse, brutish, and violent when the repertory is meager and undifferentiated. Aesthetic education’s role in enlight- ened cherishing is to enlarge and refine the repertory of feeling. Moral reflection, critical think- ing, and knowledge about the world also contribute to the enlightenment of cherishing, but aesthetic experience does its work in the domain of feeling, to enlighten us about the nature of feeling. I‘OS'I'SCRI PT 51 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2010 for the course C&I CI522 taught by Professor Liorabresler during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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Broudy_aesth_ed - APPENDIX Making an Informed Aesthetic Response”I l Aesthetic Perception A tS'msory Properties First carefully look andi’or

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