Re-Defining Total Artwork (Gesamtkunstwerk) with the Use of New Technologies

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This book looks at how technology is involved in the aesthetics of music and art, focusing on how the development of art and perception in the 20th century was influenced by the theoretical work of Wagner concerning the Gesamtkunstwerk. It also looks at the way we approach the term Total Artwork in the 21st century for interactive works in trans-disciplinary art-forms and the role played by the combination of compositional thought and the visual in works-in-progress.

The idea of the total work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) is connecting a plethora of completely independent phenomena (historical – social – philosophical ones) attributing them a common perspective. The term Gesamtkunstwerk is important as an aesthetic theory through the writings and artistic work by Richard Wagner, and because of the establishment of an idea that opened prospects for new art forms in the future. The total work of art intends to be a threshold, as part of a reality, and not as its duplication or its replacement. It serves the purpose of transmitting information that is inserted as absent and thus, can only be approached through the metaphor. That is the reason why music, the musicalization of the messages, achieves the connection between different codification systems, which allows us to communicate its messages without being able to rationalize them. Music becomes the host that leads us from the idea to the actual possibilities of realization of such actions. The musical idea is for the composers, before anything else, a mental process. Long before the composition itself is produced, the work takes shape in the imaginary of the artist and is transferred into a soundless type of mapping. The aesthetical choices concern the use of rhythmical repetitions and of qualitative alterations, which are known as the syntax of the narrative (secondary type of narration), where the musicological analysis also belongs. Technology, on the other hand, was promoted as the point where all the information codes could be digitally mapped. In digital technologies we encounter a new way of transposition that is even more ablative than the narrative itself. The designing of the computers is based upon our knowledge on how human memory performs, thus of an ongoing process, and therefore differentiates our very own aesthetical demands. Anything that we discover about our way of functioning is transforming, affecting and evolving the way we are thinking. Because of the fact that music is referring to this secondary type of narration, it is actually training the way we allocate information, and is, together with mathematics, the only mean we have in order to conceive absence as part of the presence, and even more as the very part that reveals it. There isn’t in fact any kind of bipolarity of space versus time, of reality versus fantasy etc. Musical audition is an enhanced way of communicating.
The focus of my research is on three different topics: the total work of art (chapter one), the human physiology (chapter two), and technology (chapter three). In chapter four, these three topics converge into a unified notion of technology, art and philosophy and in an aesthetical analysis of my own work as a composer during the writing of this thesis. That includes analytical approaches of my works: Stamina (2009) for solo trumpet and string orchestra and Lai (2009) for performer and ambisonic environment.

LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (October 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 3659472980

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