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Chain of Thought: from the Visual in Composition to Experiential Art

Esthir Lemi


Based on how the structure of music is connected to myth, this paper presents the way visual thinking shapes particular schemata that can be detected in various 20th century artistic endeavours, and the evolution of contemporary artworks involving immersion, embodied performance and transdisciplinary art. These complicated structures, referred to in Romanticism as total artworks, cultivate audience perception. Using the work of Samuel Beckett in the same way as phenomenology came to be understood, I will attempt to show how art evolves creating new boundaries and inter-connections. 

A musicological approach is considered apt in presenting the connectivity between music composition and visual thinking. The end of tonality in music and the beginning of more complex presentations lead to music interfereing with and depending more on other artforms, producing a new generation of music readers who can follow abstract structures in multiple ways. 

Focusing on visual metaphor and the revealing of basic structures as laid down in the scores of music composition, we can see the similarities between an aleatoric score and Beckett`s work. This point of view is relevant for the cultivation of senses in contemporary, interdisciplinary, experiential performances that involve interaction and go beyond the performance to affect everyday perception.


In: Creating a Visual World (Ed. E.Xeni), Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford UK, pp. 51-64.