Sunday, May 10, 2009

Art and the Unexpected

March 13th, 2009

Researchers find that the unexpected is a key to human learning

Phys.Org reports "The human brain's sensitivity to unexpected outcomes plays a fundamental role in the ability to adapt and learn new behaviors, according to a new study by a team of psychologists and neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania."

This relates to art and architecture. The Two Blowhards expound the importance of shadows in architecture.

"How much is there to the observation that traditional work combines regularity (balance, rhythm) with chaos (ie., natural patterns and the unexpected)? It's basic, really. Here's a closeup to illustrate how this works:
"You have your grid -- ie., your regularity. But you also have your irregular qualities too: the fingernail-like scrapes, and (quite strikingly here) what's called the "rustication" of the large stone blocks. It's all artfully enhanced, of course. But a good park is similar -- a harmonious conversation between the natural and the artificial."

This observation points directly to the life-enhancing importance of the visual variety that enlivens traditional "Prince Charles" architecture. Traditional buildings offer surprise and delight: sudden news that's the very cause for life.

View with despair the regular lines, flat surfaces and glabrous facades that deform establishment architecture. Carbuncles, every one of them. The most famous contemporary architects are the most vampiric: Mies van de Rohe leads the sorry brigade, followed by Lord Rogers of Riverside and others famed beyond my scorn.