The Theory of Art Entrainment (and the emergence of the 4th dimension) by Steven J. Myers
Entrainmentism is my conception of a new art form, which produces unique pieces of visual music, musical paintings, and spontaneous performances encompassing any, and all aspects of life and art.
Artists were already searching for a hidden force behind visible phenomena, inspired by music, and a spiritual essence, in the 19th century; but in 1905 everything changed with the publishing of Einstein's "Special Theory of Relativity". Time was defined scientifically as the fourth dimension.
As never before, art was recognized as a spiritual pursuit, in that it involves the inner world of an individual, or group of individuals. Kandinsky put that idea into writing when he developed his form of abstract painting, which was inspired by music. His synesthetic experience of music, color, and form, brought him to realize the idea that art is created by an inner need of the artist. It does not depend on representation of the external world.
We can site many examples of artists who independently devised temporal art, or kinetic painting, almost simultaneously. Goethe and Beethoven were known to have produced a table of equivalence between musical key and color. Wagner's far-reaching "Gesamtkunstwerk", or total work of art, Baudelaire's theory of "correspondances", Delaunay's "Simultaneity", and Apollinaire's "Orphism", which influenced the German artists of "Der Blaue Reiter", Schoenberg, and the American "Synchromists"; the Czech artist Kupka, the musicality of Matisse, Cubism, Futurism, the Bauhaus, and on, and on, et al.
Most of us are familiar with the question: does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? My answer is: "yes, both are true".
The nature of life, as we now understand it, is in a constant state of flux, which maintains an equilibrium through the emergence of new forms (evolution). At critical points of instability, order is "created"; it emerges out of the chaos. On a sub-atomic level, there is no difference between me, the floor I am standing on, and the desk in front of me. We are all composed, mainly, of energy. Everything is interconnected, the rocks, the trees, the birds, the fish, the humans. We are all brothers and sisters, and we are all evolving together, like it or not.
Consider the chemistry of sugar. The elements combine to form a new molecule. But, it is not inherently sweet; the sweetness is a sensory experience: somebody has to taste it.
An artist brings elements together to create art. These elements can be found objects, or brush strokes of paint, or spoken words, or gestures of dance, etc. At what point do these combinations of elements become art? It is the experience of the "audience" which transforms the elements, and makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Art is an experiential phenomenon, shared by all.
The various art forms, painting, sculpture, music, dance, theater, etc, are already connected. The creative urge, as it were, comes essentially from the same place, in all art forms. Science too, can be included in this sphere, being that it's essence is also creative. Art and Science are different disciplines, but have evolved together in a parallel fashion.
Science provides many models of entrainment, which illustrate the phenomenon quite well. For example, if one puts a series of pendulums in a room, moving at different intervals, they will eventually become entrained to one rhythm. Particles in the air, or in water, can be entrained to a current. If there is music playing while you eat, you may begin to chew to the rhythm.
In terms of music, a group of drummers, for example, become entrained to a dominant rhythm. Various aspects, or parts, combine to form a whole, which we call a work of art. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
When different art forms are combined, an interesting phenomenon occurs: they become entrained with one another. We are familiar with certain combinations, such as music and poetry; but really, any combination is not only possible, but valid. The more chaotic, or intrinsically different the combination, the more interesting, or unique the resulting order that will emerge.
Entrainment is critical to the evolution of art and life. We can say it is the expression of life itself. The particles of atoms and molecules are always interacting with their surroundings, in a constant state of decay and regeneration. Order emerges out of chaos. Perfectly imperfect balance occurs. Dialog, image, light, and sound become theater when they interact with our eyes and ears, stimulating complex activity in our brains, and creating a transformative moment - the experience of art.
Time - the 4th dimension
As defined by myself, Entrainmentism is: the phenomenon of elements becoming synchronized in an artistic environment. Art is essentially an illusion, created to allow the viewers to transcend their ordinary experience. The purest art is a finesse of mystery, to provide only the most essential elements, which allows the viewer to “fill in the blanks”. Entrainment is the glue which holds the elements together, as gravity holds us on the planet earth, with everything else.
My exploration has involved to combination of music with poetry, painting, video, and dance. The main artistic challenge is the difference between "plastic" art, and "performance" art: the first being fixed in time, the latter requiring time to exist. The combination of the two arts over the past century (plus) can be roughly described as an increasing temporalization of painting, accompanied by an increasing spatialization of music.
My conception does not seek to continue along that avenue, but to find new forks in the road. My "Gesamtkunstwerk" creates what I can only call 4 dimensional art. I have painted with my guitar, while playing music; "painted" with a video camera, while pointing it at the monitor; performed with live video, recited poetry while painting, painted on myself, etc. The visual, aural, literary, gestural, and theatrical (lighting, costume, expression, staging, etc.) aspects will always produce something new with each performance. One feeds off the other, in a spontaneous storm of sub-atomic activity made visible. It also involves the interaction of different people, who must find an equilibrium amongst themselves. I call it "Entrainmentism". It can be achieved individually, but becomes more complex, or interesting, in the interaction of groups of people; and especially with things of different disciplines, artistic, scientific, etc., being combined (multi-media).