The Artistic Hermeneutic Loop

This model was generated as a reflection of the chamber piece entitled kyi by Sean Kiley. The piece explores notions of time consciousness and maximalism. It may also be considered a marriage between the Classical phrase and the Romantic leitmotif through the lens of the Baroque motive. The Hermeneutic Circle depicts the journey of a musical (or any other art) idea on a microcosmic and macrocosmic level. The idea may be said to travel around the circle ad nauseam (dependent upon the Artists' level of perfectionism), as well as only once, which comprises its lifetime from inception to manifestation. The model strives to unearth the unconscious processes an artist may engage with when creating. 

The 'ephemeral idea' is conceived out of a moment of transcendent 'understanding', that is, from beyond the self (or better yet 'ego'). Here, the idea exists in its purest form, whole and pure abstraction (spirit). It also has an ephemeral quality, as it displays itself in an instantaneous gesture. The reason for this is its need to break through to the cerebellum, that ancient reptilian part of the brain, which controls fight or flight. We may for a moment consider music as an artificial stimulation of motion. It is ostensibly the movement of sound through time, and our proclivity for engagement resides almost only within the bounds of biological processes. For instance, music produced faster than the rate at which we are able to articulate phonemes may appear to us as noise, and music slower than the rate of our breathe may seem to us to be merely unconnected isolated instances, while music set to the pace of our hearts carries us off to that peculiar realm of experience. Now if we consider the cerebellum to be one of the most primal neurological dimensions, which regulates motion and emotion, we might therefore say that our emotional response to music is a byproduct of its simulation of motion, which triggers the archaic fight or flight response. Evolutionary, perhaps those who had stronger emotional responses to this response were more likely to survive so we 'the living' may enjoy music on such a deep emotional level as a byproduct of overcompensatory evolutionary processes. I should note this concept is lifted from Daniel Levitin, nonetheless, I digress. This moment of 'understanding' in which we grasp the ephemeral idea in its purest sense erupting from the unconscious through to consciousness via the cerebellum, marks its abstract birth, from which we must bring it forth into manifestation, that is, if we wish to be artists, otherwise it is not necessary. 

Thereafter, the meaning of this understanding or 'event' must be 'questioned'. What is it this idea desires to be manifested as? What might this idea mean in a 'human sense'? And how shall I begin to express it? 

The preliminary answers to these questions arise in the form of 'articulation' or meaning projected through action or speech. This projection is a necessary first step of manifestation. That which resides in the abstract must cross the threshold into materiality through action, speech, or writing. For musicians, it may perhaps take the form of transcription, but regardless something physical/concrete must be etched into air or onto parchment for the life cycle of the idea to unfold. 

Whereas articulation first brought forth the abstract into the empirical realm, 'engagement' now prompts us to participate with the idea in its new form. The idea has become phenomenal, that is, outside of ourselves. This process, however, now breaks the originally pure ephemeral idea into many parts as our conception of it is through the body vis-à-vis the five senses, and we have stretched it out over time so as to be able to study it more closely. In our engagement we must also address the limits of perception, for if we wish to produce a work, which speaks to our cerebellums, the content must engage our senses or perhaps oscillate back and forth outside the bounds. It may also be necessary to imbue a sort of pedagogical layer at this stage of the work. For if the art intends to make use of perception in a non-traditional (culturally contingent) fashion, the artist must scheme a methodology to impart a manner of using one's perception to interact/engage with the piece.

Penultimately, the extracted content of engagement is now subjected 'analysis'. After engaging with the phenomena we must now take a step back and become the observer. Ostensibly, all that has been explored in engagement is now applied pragmatically, i.e. realistically rather than theoretically. From this observational point of view, we elicit feedback, which strives to challenge the presentation of the idea put forth in the engagement. Occasionally, this step may occur in the form of critique from colleagues or, dare I say, 'peer review'. Regardless, the stage of feedback may be likened to the scientific method wherein the experiment is replicated in a new environment in an attempt to corroborate the original findings.

At last we arrive at 'implementation', wherein the journey of the ephemeral idea is reflected upon back from its inception. From the garnered analytical data we works towards a 'union' of the previously parsed sensory modalities. This gestalt strives to mirror the original ephemeral idea, for the idea itself can never truly be represented. Here, the intuition, understanding, logos, and empiricism of the idea merge in a triumphant endeavor to climb back towards its celestial origins. 
The journey, however, does not merely end here. For upon the integration of the senses, and re-interpretation through the circle, a new understanding may strike either layered upon the implementation itself or causal in a parallel manner. These instances of understanding transcend one's attempt to categorize and rationalize their unfoldment, for they often exist in superposition. Both the macrocosmic and microcosmic natures of the ephemeral idea may reveal themselves simultaneously, each facet of the whole spirals through the circle at an imperceivable rate, an unknown number of times. What may seem to be the whole at first, may be usurped by a greater, originally hidden whole. If we consider the origins of the ephemeral idea to be at the center of the circle, the artistic odyssey may be likened to the concentric circles of Gabriel's Horn, which has an infinite surface area and finite volume, never returning to the center where lie the origins of understanding, but forging forward for all eternity. 

"Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?"