Ambiente per un test di estetica sperimentale

Posted in Artworks

The Environment for a test of experimental aesthetics is a proper scientific research masked as an artwork. The viewer enters the environment expecting to enjoy an artwork. The visitor’s actual role is exploited without one’s knowledge. The goal of the research is exploring the relationship between aesthetic information and structural complexity of the visual message.

The environment is a white cube (3×3×3 metres). From each upper vertex four beamers project large stripes of coloured light on the walls. The beamer has three operational modalities: monochromatic pulsating light, continuous light of variable colours, pulsating light of variable colours. A series of 12 programs of increasing visual complexity is set. Visitors can happen to enter the space while a perceptually poor or rich program is performed. The time spent in the space by a viewer – treated here as a guinea pig – is measured, as the initial hypothesis is that time is an index of enjoyment or preference. To sum it up: whenever a viewer suffers from a too limited flux of information – that is, one is getting bored – or whenever one is exposed to a stimulation beyond the limit of unpleasant, then one quits the space.

Simple programs: short times of stay. Complex programs: longer times of stay, up to a turning point where the increase of complexity is excessive, and again times of stay decrease.

After quitting the environment, the visitor is given a qualitative survey form, built on the semantic analysis of aspects (see Dölf Zillmann et al., Test der Validität der semantischen Aspektanalyse, Abteilung Visuelle Kommunikation / Institut für Kommunikationsforschung, Ulm-Zürich, 1965), The resulting semantic profile is compared to statistic values of time measurements.

Giovanni Anceschi and Davide Boriani

Ambiente per un test di estetica sperimentale (Environment for a test of experimental aesthetics)


Nove Tendencije 3, Muzei za umjetnosti i obrt (Museum of arts and crafts), Zagreb. The experimentation was repeated on the occasion of the exhibition “L’Œil Moteur. Art optique et cinétique, 1950–1975”, held in Strasbourg, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, 13 May – 25 September 2005, and again at the exhibition “Gli ambienti del Gruppo T. Le origini dell’arte interattiva”, held in Rome, Galleria Nationale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, 14 December 2005 – 21 May 2006.