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Art as Information Ecology: Artworks, Artworlds, and Complex Systems Aesthetics
by Jason A. Hoelscher
Duke University Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-4780-1345-7 | eISBN: 978-1-4780-2168-1 | Paper: 978-1-4780-1438-6
Library of Congress Classification N66.H64 2021

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
In Art as Information Ecology, Jason A. Hoelscher offers not only an information theory of art but an aesthetic theory of information. Applying close readings of the information theories of Claude Shannon and Gilbert Simondon to 1960s American art, Hoelscher proposes that art is information in its aesthetic or indeterminate mode—information oriented less toward answers and resolvability than toward questions, irresolvability, and sustained difference. These irresolvable differences, Hoelscher demonstrates, fuel the richness of aesthetic experience by which viewers glean new information and insight from each encounter with an artwork. In this way, art constitutes information that remains in formation---a difference that makes a difference that keeps on differencing. Considering the works of Frank Stella, Robert Morris, Adrian Piper, the Drop City commune, Eva Hesse, and others, Hoelscher finds that art exists within an information ecology of complex feedback between artwork and artworld that is driven by the unfolding of difference. By charting how information in its aesthetic mode can exist beyond today's strictly quantifiable and monetizable forms, Hoelscher reconceives our understanding of how artworks work and how information operates.

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