Leveraging Complexity Through Practice and Pedagogy

Prof. Tina Simonton
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Defining or describing Art as a language is generally accepted; if we treat it as such we should be amenable to the following thread, which is extracted from biological Complexity: Biology and Natural Law reflect Natural Language, and Natural Language is not a formalization.

Neither, then, is art.

Social geographers, scientists, mathematicians and anthropologists have accepted Complexity theory as a viable tool, largely because the things of life are, of course, complex; but also because they acknowledge that ways of describing and investigating are not benign; they are performative. Complexity addresses disciplines that have been hard to dissect through Cartesian lenses; that is, disciplines that have seemed ineffectual when the machine metaphor is applied to them.

Throughout his career Raymond Williams defined the ‘sin’ of the historical process as the selection of the supporting and the exclusion of the marginal, incidental or secondary. He concluded that the ‘residual’ and ‘emergent’ are significant both in themselves and in what they reveal of the ‘dominant’. It is the acknowledgement of the residual and emergent and their parity with the dominant that I propose to bring into the studio through the metaphors of Complexity.

If the language and posture of criticism are unpacked in this manner, exclusionary mechanisms and positive, generative processes can be examined outside their canonical or cultural burdens. Pedagogically, intact regional practices and content can be acknowledged, included, referenced and expanded upon but not reconfigured or repackaged to fit false, universal expectations. The instructor and student may then see their works - their observations - as emergences; as entry points to investigations of social topographies, endeavors and connectedness.

Keywords: Complexity, Pedagogy, Exclusionary Mechanisms, Generative Processes, Dominant, Residual and Emergent
Stream: Constructing Art Worlds, Arts Education, Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Tina Simonton

Assistant Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Ref: A06P0421