STAGES OF DECODING OF AN AESTHETIC MESSAGE AND ITS HANDICAP
Published: Collected research articles, Bulletin of Russian Communication Association "THEORY OF COMMUNICATION AND APPLIED COMMUNICATION", Issue 1 / Edited by I.N. Rozina, Rostov-on-Don: Institute of Management, Business and Law Publishing, 2002. - 168 p. P. 18-21
The article is devoted to particular features of the communications in the aesthetic sphere, which presumes several stages of aesthetic information transmission, including a final stage - the verbal comprehensive interpretation (discursive reflection). Noise or interference peculiar to any socio-vocal act, with reference to aesthetic sphere acquires specific features, destroying aesthetic communications.
The art communications on the part of a work of the fine art is expressed in its aesthetic influence on the recipient by means of iconic signs - a coded language of the fine art. The first stage of decoding by the recipient of the aesthetic message consists in "transposition" of iconic information into emotional and intellectual sphere of subjective (active, conscious, creative) perception that determines an individual originality of understanding and assimilation of the work by a person. To the given stage of decoding of aesthetic object it is possible to attribute the considered by G.I. Bogin one aspect of the text understanding process as "a deselected reflection", a reflection without discursiveness, "i.e. though the reflection also takes place and actually underlies understanding, the understanding is actually experienced as something, "arising at once" [Bogin, 1982], that is directly, intuitively.
The second stage of decoding of the aesthetic information consists in "discursively (mediately, logically, conceptually) submitted reflection" [Bogin, ib.], i.å. in a well-reasoned conceptual-aesthetic interpretation of aesthetic object by the recipient.
The third stage of decoding (this stage is optional, it may in some cases not exist at all) represents the fixed result of discursive reflection - verbally shaped (and possibly, organised in writing) the complete integral interpretation representing an originally created text.
Irrespective of subjective problems of decoding of a work of the fine art (aesthetic object), there are various external extraneous factors (noise, interference, poor-quality communication) preventing satisfactory transfer of the aesthetic information: Any art information entering a communicative field reacts extremely sensitively to extraneous elements which may arise in the channel of aesthetic communication and destroy it. If for the social voice communication noise or interference is almost common and quite surmountable phenomenon and, as a rule, information would anyway accomplish its task, that is, it would reach the addressee in either one or another quality, the art communication perceives any interference or a smallest loss of fundamentally unique and original information as an insuperable phenomenon severely destroying aesthetic communicative relations: "In a picture or figure each stroke of the pen, every dab represents premeditated, deliberate opinion of the artist about the form, space, volume, illumination and should be read as such. The structure of pictorial representation is equivalent to the model of explicit information" [Àrnheim, 1994].
For example, transfer of an image for which the colour spectrum is the major component in a black-and-white reproduction would result in the loss of practically entire aesthetic information at its perception (it concerns any aesthetic object but as a graphic example it is possible to take the entire impressionistic school basing on the colour-and-light shades, the entire abstractionism basing on the colour harmony, - everything mentioned above is aesthetically senseless if reproduced as a monochrome imagery or as a distorted colour rendition).
Insufficient illumination of an object, excessive remoteness from it of the recipient, wrong image aspect angle with respect to the observer may result in partial, sometimes complete loss of the communicative relation.
Temporary and quite surmountable threat for the effective aesthetic communication is posed by the perception of various art styles deviating from traditional (for instance, abrupt transition from representational to abstract, from realistic to expressionistic, etc.), to which neither the recipient has been adapted nor a specific code devised yet. "However, such deviations resemble the works written in a foreign language. When a new language is mastered, internal properties of such works are regarded as laying on universal measuring scales " [Àrnheim, 1994]. In other words, by reaching a certain effort, which would allow the recipient to shift to unaccustomed standards of perception, to devise or comprehend a new code, which would bring about the change in his own directives, as well as by means of necessary schooling this communicative gap would be bridged quite easily.
In cases when penetration into perception of the image of "extraneous elements" is inevitable the replacement of the information transfer from a graphic code to a verbal one (when communication between verbal text-interpretation and the recipient is put into effect without participation of the represented object as such) makes information "conditionally equivalent", aesthetic communications fail to be exercised in full, but the replacement itself does exercise its rather limited cognitive function.
Perceiving the image, the recipient establishes conditional "dialogical two-way communication" between himself and an aesthetic object. On the one hand, the aesthetic message influences the addressee, to some extent transforming his character. As Yu. M. Lotman sees it, this phenomenon occurs because any work of art (or "the text" in a broad sense) comprises what we would prefer to refer to as an image of an audience (the author's italics - Å.Å.). This image of an audience (the "ideal" recipient) actively influences a real audience becoming some code for its standardisation. This last one is imposed on the consciousness of an audience and becomes a norm of its own idea of itself, shifting from the area of the text to the sphere of real behaviour of a cultural group" [Lîtìàn, 1992]. The relation developing between the object and the recipients, which is characterised not by a passive perception but is of a dialogical nature, is explained also by the presence of so-called common memory of the addresser and the addressee. The absence of this condition makes the text unreadable, undecipherable. The term common memory should be understood as the state of culture, experience, general and special knowledge, as well as directives, which unites the object (its author - the sender of the message) and the recipient (addressee) in the communicative act. V.N. Bazylev and Yu.À. Sorokin define the memory of the text as the sum of contexts in which the given text acquires some semantic quality and which are definitely incorporated in it. "This semantic space created by the text around itself joins certain mutual relations with the cultural memory (tradition) which is precipitated in the audience consciousness. All this brings about the text reacquiring the semantic life" [Bazylev, Sorokin, 2000].
As a result the recipient receiving during the communicative act the aesthetic (art) information experiences and perceives first of all concrete aesthetic values of specific objects that makes an "empiric" layer of the art information; and then gives, due to subjective generalisation of these specifically situational values, a typological interpretative estimation to a certain class of aesthetic objects.
- Àrnheim R. New sketches on psychology of art. - M.Prometey, 1994. p.129, 348.
- Bazylev V.N., Sorokin Yu.A. Interpretive translation study. - Ulyanovsk: The publishing house of Ulyanovsk State University, 2000. p.10.
- Bogin G.I. Philological hermeneutics. - Kalinin: Kalinin State University, 1982. p.79.
- Lotman J.M. Elected articles. - Tallinn: Alexandra, 1992. In 3 volumes. Vol.1. p.114.
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