DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM:
There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists. (E. Gombrich)
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. (Anais Nin)
The “beholder’s share” (originally “beholder’s involvement”) concept was developed by art historian Alois Riegl, and his great disciples Ernst Gombrich and Ernst Kris. They described the workings of the mind of the viewer (the beholder), including the viewer’s mind engaging in decoding visual information, determining its meaning, and understanding and interpreting it. This interpretation depends on one’s prior life experiences, emotional memories, and idiosyncrasies.
This presentation will be based on the work of the Nobel laureate, neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel, who tried to tackle the issue of the beholder’s share – from the scientist’s and the art lover’s points of view – in his books, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain and Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging Two Cultures. His books are not just a psycho-historical endeavor; they are not textbooks, where all the theories are provided and are proven; and they are not memoirs. These books stimulate your mind to connect the dots and find your own answers.
Kandel, who had to make a choice once – between psychoanalysis and hard-core neuroscience – made his choice in favor of science, and now, he shares with us the production of his cross-pollinated mind, his beholder’s share. “… A painting is not complete until the viewer responds to it…,” says Kandel. In his interview with BigThink after The Age of Insight book was published, he admitted that we don’t know what exactly the “beholder’s share” is. Then, he proceeded to say that our knowledge of brain pathology (or brain conditions), traumatic or not, provides us with an “outline” of what the beholder’s share possibly is, and what kind of processes are involved in it.
In this presentation, we will connect the Beholder Share phenomenon with Neuroscience concepts: Paul Maclean’s Triune Brain theory, Sebastian Seung’s Connectomes (the “brain’s wiring that makes us who we are”), Konstantin Anokhin’s Cognitomes (the mind-brain dyad’s three-dimensional hyper-neuronetworks).
We also will connect the Beholder Share phenomenon with artistic representation of the world around us, and how this representation differs in different minds. As an example, below are the compilations of paintings of three great artists, who lived and created in the same cultural environment of pre-WWII Vienna, but who “saw” the world differently. [Read a short essay on this topic, “Neurobiology of the Beholder’s Share and the Mystery of the Ordinary” here: https://innarozentsvit.com/neurobiology-of-the-beholders-share-and-the-mystery-of-the-ordinary/]