Art History in the Context of Other Sciences in Modern World: Parallels and Interaction
These Proceedings include the selected articles and the interviews of the participants of the International Academic Conference “Art History in the Context of Other Sciences in Modern World: Parallels and Interaction,” Moscow, 21–26 April, 2019. The book deals with a wide range of issues of art history, cultural studies, philosophy, philology, linguistics, sociology, psychology, pedagogical sciences. The target audience is specialists of different fields of science, art, education, & culture, as well as readers interested in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Grigoriy Konson and Ekaterina Nikonorova speak with Vadim Duda, the General Director of the Russian State Library (RSL), about the topical problems of librarianship as an informational, cultural and educational branch of world science. One of the main challenges is preserving the national heritage—restoration of bibliographic archival documents, following the principles of “conservatism and innovation.” The second problem is to find the optimal way to interact with other libraries, which would make it possible to work together while maintaining the uniqueness and independence of each library. First of all, efforts to catalog, promote and recommend publications should be combined, taking into account the modern development of information technologies. Since 2014, the “Model Standard for the Activities of a Public Library” has been operating. According to this standard, within the frames of pilot projects, several model municipal libraries have been modernized with special attention paid to spaces, stocks, and interesting events, as a result of which the libraries have become full-fledged community centers. For the next 6 years, renewal of 110 libraries per year will be financed by the federal budget. 700 million rubles annually will be allocated for these purposes, totalling to 4.2 billion. On a national scale the project is coordinated by the Russian State Library. An extremely valuable asset of the library is the dissertation bases, not all of which, however, are in the public domain. Therefore, enhanced cooperation with the National Electronic Library, which could significantly digitalize the service of readers, would be particularly advantageous.
The article reveals the principles of psychological research in art. The authors separate the cognitive function of art from that in science, which is expressed in the means of percep-tion. Many philosophers, psychologists, and art historians devoted their works to division of these means into signs in science and symbolic images in art, and the authors, following in their foot-steps, suggest finding our own differences between a symbol and a sign. One of them is in figura-tive form, where the image conveys an idea, and the sign only denominates it. Another difference is that there is a certain value (or a set of values) behind the sign, and for the symbolic image there is no correspondence in the values (since there is no understanding in the values of the situation that the subject is faced with). And, finally, the third difference is revealed in the transition from the symbolic representation to the sign. This is only possible if orientation in the figurative content of the symbol leads to finding a certain correspondence between it and the hidden meaning, the structure of the situation of uncertainty. In solving the cognitive tasks of art, the authors find it necessary to use sign mediation, which involves the construction of a single-valued model of the situation. In situations of uncertainty, they use symbolic mediation, due to which its substitute visual image is created. In this case, as the authors suggest, we can speak of a connection existing between the features of the strategy for constructing a representative image of the situation and the success of solving the problem.
The article analyzes the apprehension of Handel’s musical heritage by the Western European and American literary criticism. Despite the multifaceted study of Handel’s works, the author unravels an unexplored area—tragic oratorios. The unraveling was conditioned by the moral stance of Handel, formed by his ethical attitude to reality. In the embodiment of his oratorios’ concepts, he reached the level of comprehending music as a reflection of spiritual and emotional life (an idea which consolidated only at the end of the 18th century); and in his individual understanding of the personality’s image, he created a special kind of vocal-instrumental choral genre, majestic, exalted by the concept of faith, unprecedented in value and scale—a tragic oratorio. It turned out to be a kind of meta-genre, which absorbed the previous ample artistic experience and had the potential to pass its messages to humanity in the future, extrapolating its energy to other genres. Taking the moral and religious values, which dominated over earthly passions, as a model, Handel, apparently, set the task of cultivating his listeners and thereby “ideafied” his oratorical works. The paradox, however, was in the fact that by crystallizing the characters’ desire to make the most graceful moral choice, the composer showed them tragic hopelessness. By doing so, he proved to be a philosopher-artist, whose worldview was largely determined by conflicting dualism: the lofty Christian ethics and Western European secular morality. Having created a gallery of tragedy heroes, Handel showed their moral basis as not monolithic, but fundamentally disharmonious: their inner spiritual worlds were split by irreconcilable contradictions, existing both within and in the relation with the outside world. The protagonists, illuminated by transcendental light (Christ, Theodora, Jephthah), strived for spiritual perfection while suffering severely on their ways to its achievement. With such tragic characters, the composer brought the baroque ethical and aesthetic system to its highest limits—to the boundaries of the classical art of the Enlightenment and even beyond.
Grigoriy Konson’s interview with MD, Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham Armen Gasparyan unravels the key issues of modern Russian science, which is found now at the intersection of diverse trends. One of the main ones is the increasing visibility of Rus-sian-language scientific journals at the international level and digitalization so that they could technically become high-quality and indexable. To do this, two basic conditions must be observed: authors must possess all copyrights, and their works must be stored in repositories, that are needed by scientists to gain world visibility and long-term use of published materials. Since the Interna-tional Conference in Budapest (2001), a global initiative to publish open access scientific papers has been established. This was done so that scholars working with scientific materials could make them publically available and widely use such materials for scientific purposes. Now there is a tendency to open servers, which contain not only published and peer-reviewed works, but also pre-publication materials. Preprint services became a recent innovation. Media, television, and cinema scholars post scientific materials that have not been published before. This makes it possible to get priority in their writings. There are also tools to promote open access. These are, first of all, digital identifiers of scien-tific materials and authors. Since 2012, digital author identifiers (Open Researcher and Contribu-tor ID [ORCID]) are widely used in many countries; there are more than 6 million registered users. The digital identifier ORCID is popular among Russian-speaking authors as well, but often they use only part of its capabilities. Information about many Russian-speaking authors is not repre-sented in full on the ORCID platform, which means that their works are not visible to the public. The development of open access journals is mainly hampered by the hybrid-type periodicals, combining the principles of open and subscription publications. There are a lot of such journals in Russia. The majority of them are about medicine; and as a matter of fact, digitalization is gradually making the traditional subscription wither away. Therefore, professional communities need to take on the responsibility of financing open access publications to allow journals to advance. In the era of open access, plagiarism can be timely discovered, while in subscription journals it is veiled. Future expectations are that Russian-language periodicals that do not follow new trends in science and publishing can cease to exist. They become bankrupt; they cannot find alternative sources of financing. However, their prestige needs to be enhanced through open access. There should be an increase in the number of multilingual journals that will attract English-language authors.
An interview with Jan Latham-Koenig, the outstanding conductor from Flanders, who works in Bruges and the Novaya Opera Theatre in Moscow, is devoted to the modern inter-pretations of classical opera pieces. The issue is revealed in a comparative analysis of his conduc-tion in Russia and in theaters of Western countries. One of the main problems is foreign languages, which are very difficult for Russian performers, especially German and even more so French, not only for soloists, but also for the choir. The second problem is twofold: dedication and discipline, which are inextricably linked. This is what Latham-Koenig is trying to achieve in his work. Another challenge is interpretation, which is most evident in the performance of Italian operas by Russian singers—too “heavy” and free interpretation music by Verdi and Puccini. At the same time, this heaviness comes from the fact that Russian singers sing all parts in an aria-like way, even recitatives that need to be almost pronounced, maintaining a conversational rhythm. Using the example of Monteverdi, the conductor shows that for this composer, the secret is to comprehend recitative as conversation during singing, and arias as singing during conversation. An important challenge is creation of an artistic image and conveying it to the public. Despite the tendency to “modernize” classical works, Latham-Koenig does not support this trend of the present-day productions, considering that the music itself was already an interpretation of the libretto, so introducing any additional interpretation into it is excessive. In addition to the questions related to his profession, a special place in the interview is given to the role of politics, which in Russia, in contrast to Western countries, has always been tightly bound with art.
The interview is focused on the role of cello art and its multi-style and multi-genre interpretation in the contemporary music community, as well as on the solo cellist, who follows the traditions of the classical art integrating it with diverse avant-garde art movements as an active factor in the international communication between the Russian and the American musical cultures. And the individual creative qualities of Borislav Strulev, a famous cellist and a producer of international festivals and competitions, as well as the founder of new art projects, play an im-portant role in such communication. During the discussions of the vital issues of the musical art, we take a new look at the focal areas of the modern producer who has to unite talented people to create something innovative and self-contained; at organizational matters to conduct a successful music forum or a music/art com-petition; at the means to encompass various categories of art and conceive something new to attract cultural workers of multifarious occupations to concert projects; and, in general, at the principles to preserve the best traditions of the Russian art in the context of a performer’s entry into modern art movements. And behind all that unfolds a wide perspective of the cultural and historical context of the XX–XXI centuries.
In the interview, several modern trends in classical studies are discussed with a special emphasis on investigation of the development and internal structure of Homeric epic. Homeric studies are traditionally focused on the so-called “Homeric question” that deals with the problem of authorship and the dichotomy of oral or written genesis of Homeric text. Nowadays, this question is interrelated with more general methodological issues and the tendency to combine the approaches of various disciplines in the investigation of Homeric poems. In recent years, the idea of combining traditional historical and philological ways of inquiry with the analysis of early Greek iconography became rather popular in Homeric studies. It served to reveal the multiformity of Homeric text in archaic and classical times, as a number of Homeric scenes depicted on Greek vases tend to differ significantly from the text of the Iliad and Odyssey. However, these deviations could be treated not only as discrepancies, they could reveal just different ways of presenting material in different arts. For instance, the fact that on some vases Agamemnon is shown to take Briseis himself from the tent of Achilles, might be interpreted not as a different version of a famous episode, but just as symbolic way of representing the basic idea of Achilles/Agamemnon controversy, being the key theme of the Iliad. Thus, present interaction of various branches of classical studies calls now for theoretical reflection on their methods and instruments. In this respect, one of the crucial issues of contemporary classics is the consequences caused by its fast digitalization (the problem certainly relevant also for other humanities); in classics it changed completely the traditional views on editing and commenting classical texts, and now the opportunity to develop new forms of digital editions with interactive commentaries seem to become of the priorities. In the interview, some possible forms of “digital classics” are discussed as well as contemporary problems of classical education and research in Russian Federation.
In this interview with Grigoriy Konson, Professor Marina-Frolova Walker, Cam-bridge University, reflects on current issues in scholarship and higher education. One of them is the system of reporting on the activities of institutions and individual scholars (the Research Excellence Framework, or REF), which works largely through peer-review. In the UK, universities participate in a kind of competition for the state funding of their research; this happens roughly once in seven years. Every faculty or department (“unit of assessment”) submits their best research outputs for peer-review by a panel of assessors. The three main criteria are originality, significance and rigour. This system of assessment has had a substantial effect on the activities of the scholars: their productivity has risen, but certain priorities have emerged (for example, it is more “risky” to work on a single monograph for a long period, than to produce a series of peer-reviewed articles for prestigious journals). The mechanism of “double-weighting,” which can be applied to a monograph, alleviates this potential problem. In contrast to the practice in Russia, PhD defence is not a public occasion. The thesis is read by two examiners (one internal to the department/university and one external), both write their reports individually (they could be relatively short) and then discuss them with each other in advance of the viva voce examination of the PhD candidate. There could be a range of outcomes: straightforward pass without corrections; pass with minor corrections (to be completed within 3 months); pass with major corrections (6 months); “revise and resubmit” (12 months), which requires a second defence; and fail (the latter is almost never used in practice). The interview also focuses on the issues of morality and trust in UK scholarship and emerging trends in musicological research, offering an insight into the future of musicology as a discipline.
Grigoriy Konson’s interview with Valentin Bogorov, Head of Clarivate Educational Programs Department, covers the topical subject of presenting scientific information on the Web of Science international platform, which is produced by the Clarivate. Based on the history of this scientific citation database, the company’s representative shows its global scale, the abso-lute need and importance in the scientific world; he also reveals the structure of the Web of Science, which is based on the key scientific citation database—Web of Science Core Collection, containing archives of scientific journals and information about all publications that are indexed in the database. Bogorov pays special attention to the position of Russian scientific journals, noting not only the rapid growth in the representation of the Russian STEM disciplines, but also the in-crease in the number of publications on social and human sciences indexed in the Web of Science. A new information tool, which is considered separately, is a network of regional scientific databases: they are characterized by fresh, more democratic attitude towards the selection of scientific journals. The “open access” revolution allows readers to study academic periodicals in full-text mode, which indicates a gradual blurring of the boundaries between abstract and full-text databases. At the same time, the explosive growth in the number of scientific articles passes particular value to information quality filters and navigation systems. It is this role that the Web of Science is meant to play.
An interview by Grigoriy Konson with Artem R. Oganov, PhD, FRSC MAE, Professor at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences, is devoted to crystallography—the science of solid crystalline substances surrounding us, containing an ordered periodic system of atomic positions. Crystallography is at the forefront of the science of matter. It contributed to proving the atomistic hypothesis, which dates back to antiquity. This field of science enables studies of the world around us, and can lead to the creation of new materials with unique properties. Its methods helped to understand the structure and function of proteins, how living matter works—DNA and heredity, enzymes, hemoglobin, the working of drugs. In the interview, not only the structure of crystals is discussed, but also their laws, the correlation between the structure of a material and its properties, the possibility of selecting sub-stances for various applications, the construction of new materials on the computer, which in fact leads to the creation of a new reality. This is facilitated by studying how the structure of crystalline substances behaves at high pressures, the conditions prevailing in the interior of the planet. Ana-lyzing matter under pressure helps to explore the interiors of our and other planets, as well as the processes occurring within them. At the same time, predicting previously unknown crystalline substances is a new thing in crystallography—and until recently was considered impossible. Tracing the origins of crystallography, the scientist proceeds from the phenomenon of symmetry in living nature (often used in their art by the Sumerians, especially mirror symmetry), which found its vivid manifestation in regular polyhedra called Platonic solids. In 360 BC, Plato de-scribed these polyhedra in his dialogue Timaeus and compared them with all the known “elements”—fire, air, water and earth. Studying crystallography, the scientist finds parallels in art, giving examples of non-trivial patterns of Islamic artists and contemporary ones, such as Escher’s. In the context of this topic, the interview also addresses a number of more general issues related to the development of science in the modern world (through the example of models adopted in the USA, China, and Russia).
Grigoriy Konson’s interview with the Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Alexei Khokhlov is devoted to tracing the modern trends of Russian science. One of the most significant is digital technologies entering into our life and their possible consequences. The second tendency is associated with the structure of life at the molecular level: what are the DNA replication principles, how RNA is reading information and transmitting it to ribosomes, where proteins are synthesized. The third one is strengthening of the people’s social and informational community. The activity of the Academy of Sciences is developing based on the noted trends. On the one hand, the Academy provides expertise of state projects submitted to it. On the other hand, the RAS voices its own point, i.e. generates ideas and communicates them to the government, arguing in many respects with the initiatives offered by the Ministry of Science and other departments, trying to express the opinion of the entire scientific community under the authority of the most qualified scholars elected in the RAS. In fact, there is no issue, related to the scientific and technical sphere, which is resolved without the RAS, although there is always a certain rivalry between the RAS and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, instructed by the state to carry out legal regulation in the scientific field. Still, the RAS is the face of Russian science. Based on many factors, including public expertises and the Academy council expertises, the Russian Academy of Sciences has developed the Web of Science Citation Index Russian Shelf project. Having analyzed all 6,000 academic journals in the Russian Federation, the Russian Academy of Sciences identified 775 outlets that meet the major scientific journal criteria and contribute to the advancement of Russian researchers. About 350 journals are currently indexed by the Web of Science Core Collection. About the same number (some 400 periodicals) was selected for the Russian Science Citation Index.
In this interview, Irina Gerasimova, the General Director and Artistic Director of the Russian State Music, Television and Radio Center, discusses her experience of running Orpheus radio, the only Russian radio station broadcasting classical music. The commercial success of any media outlet is measured by its ratings in the conditions of market competition. The place in the ranking is based on information that reflects the size and individual audience characteristics, as well as data regarding the place, time and duration of someone listening to a particular radio station. However, the standard market research parameters are not always relevant for a radio station that broadcasts classical music and cannot therefore serve as a valid performance indicator. Radio Orpheus’ development strategy aims to create a stable and quality audience, making the state radio station considered necessary and in demand. Radio has a number of advantages compared to other forms of media, the most significant of these being how flexible it is. This does not only apply to its capabilities of rapidly processing and transmitting information, but also to the plasticity of the internal structure behind the airwaves. Radio can easily be transformed depending on demand at any given moment. The key to success in radio broadcasting is the ability to program the radio network competently. The FM frequency has its own features, however, and the art of running a radio station is not just rooted in the technology. The quality of the final broadcast directly depends on the broadcast journalist’s experience and professional skills. When producing content it is necessary to follow the latest trends, taking into account the interests of the various categories of radio listeners, among whom there are both serious professionals and novice fans of classics. Orpheus’ high level of quality is highlighted by the interest of foreign partners in the radio station’s programs and products. Projects outside of the broadcasting studio also provide the radio station with extra opportunities to promote itself. When discussing unique aspects of Russia’s only classical music radio station, we must not forget about significant competition from the online space. The number of online radio stations broadcasting classical music has steadily increased. On the other hand, the Internet also provides new possibilities for a broadcast radio station by increasing the coverage area and facilitating im-mediate feedback from the listener. The main trends for the next decade, in the development of the radio broadcasting industry, are related to digitalization. On the eve of the digital radio era, in addition to combating serious technical challenges, it is necessary to carefully work out innovative services that can best satisfy the wishes of the modern radio listener.
Mikhail A. Bryzgalov, President of the Association of music museums and collectors, General Director of the Russian National Museum of music, and honored artist of the Russian Federation, gave an interview on topical issues of Museum business. The interview shows how regional and international partnerships are developing, the educational environment of the museum is increasing, work with music collectors is being intensified, and interactive elements are increasingly enriching var-ious forms of scholarly activity. In the context of a steady increase in competition in the cultural and leisure environment, music museums pay close attention to working with an untrained listener, focusing on the availability of material presentation while maintaining a high level of quality. The approach to filling the exposition spaces is changing, which is not always built according to the chronological prin-ciple and is conducted along the non-linear narration path. This is especially important when working with a musical context since sound comes to the fore as an independent object of exposure. One of the principal indicators of the Museum’s success today is the growth in the number of visitors. Solving this problem requires constant work to promote the Museum’s heritage. Scientists, psy-chologists, teachers, designers, sound engineers, architects, and developers of multimedia solutions are involved in the creation of exhibitions. In virtual reality, the authors of Museum projects manage to implement the most daring, unexpected solutions. State-of-the-art digital platforms for hosting virtual exhibitions allows viewing the collection in a new context, in which it is not represented in real space.
Grigoriy Konson speaks with jazz pianist Daniel Kramer about developing specific musical thinking in the process of teaching both academic and jazz musicians. Using rhythmic patterns of different jazz styles as a basis for jazz improvisation training, Daniel Kramer offers a unique methodology for analyzing any musical text, which he interprets as a multi-layered semantic and intonational-rhythmic whole, explained by analogy with a conversational message. Guided by the styles, intonations, syntax, and “dialects” of the musical “language,” the learners of jazz improvisation acquire both conditional freedom from musical text and the skill of deeper and more professional comprehension of its meaning and structure. The improvisation skill thus develops what Kramer calls “stepwise, horizontal thinking” and enriches the artist’s musical vocabulary and individual style. To get the reader acquainted with jazz as a specific phenomenon, Kramer defines the fundamental elements of jazz culture, which reveal the interrelation between “beat,” “swing,” and “drive,” thus forming the idea of distinctive jazz aesthetics. As a result, similarities, traditions, and, on the other hand, significant differences between how the theme tune is developing in classics and jazz are rethought. The author’s unique method for studying and analyzing musical compositions together with the students solves a whole range of critical objectives. The text is literally reconstructed anew; the musical discourse-context is recreated; and within it, the linguistic and symbolic nature of music is manifested, and the meaning of a particular piece, the “dialect” of a particular composer becomes available for the analysis and reproduction. Here, the rhythmic patterns are an accentuation instrument and a musical message form, an outline, within which the performer’s consciousness is playing with its individual ideas. When learning a language, one should master the alphabet before constructing phrases; in the same way, musical students gradually move from studying the basic structures to working with phraseology and “syntax.” The student and the musical piece enter into a dialogue, which is completely different from the simple reading of notes and applying musical canons. In this dialogue, the young musician acquires the necessary degree of freedom from the text while merging with its structural principles. In addition to his traditional work with students, Kramer introduces his methods among his colleagues, teachers of music schools in different cities of Russia. Regardless of the genres they prefer, teaching improvisation is necessary for all musicians, for it has considerable theoretical and heuristic power and represents a unique paradigm of thinking.
The formation of the blogging institution is similar to the model of the journalism institute and the fields in which it operates. Modern blogging (especially video blogging) is based on television technologies (this can be considered the primary trend in the design of modern media space). Like television journalists, bloggers have learned how to work with information and create original products that are relevant to the interests of the audience. Syntactic of audiovisual solutions associated with the adaptation of television technology, in varying degrees, is characteristic of all blogging projects (at the level of shooting, editing, graphic forms, and studio organization, developing a media image and choosing discursive strategies). It can be typologized, highlighting several enlarged groups: informational and analytical; interview; lifestyle (travel blogs; beauty and fashion blogs; health and sports blogs; humorous blogs; life hack blogs; challenge; culinary blogs; fishing and hunting blogs; auto blogs; game blogs; blog reviews). The revival of the legendary “The Other Day” program in the Internet field can be considered as evidence of the syncretism of blogging and journalism, which are transforming in modern communication realities. Besides, in the course of analyzing television and blogging content, a reciprocal process was discovered – the adaptation of blogging technologies in the television industry. The primary evidence is the strengthening of niche broadcasting when the main federal TV channels focus on personalizing content.
The second trend in the design of the modern media space is related to the use of audiovisual blogging solutions in the creation of informational and analytical television content when television journalists (in particular, D. Kiselyov and K. Kleimyonov) borrow screen models of bloggers behavior (such as N. Sobolev, Y. Khovansky, etc.) in their discursive strategies.
The third trend is the use of audiovisual blogging solutions in the creation of cognitive and educational television content. These processes will have a further impact on each other, increasingly integrating the fields of television and the Internet, which ultimately will lead to the conditional blurring of boundaries between bloggers and journalists (and this will undoubtedly require a rethinking of the educational strategy aimed at training representatives of the media industry).