Imaginary Circuit
Real directionality
Real directionality
Imaginary directionality
Imaginary directionality
Red-headed Anne
Red-headed Anne, 1982
Imaginary Circuit (Art's outbreak model)
Imaginary Circuit (Art's "outbreak model")

Informational directionality

You are living in an objective world. Information comes to you through your eyes and ears. In a materialistic view of the world such as this, information comes toward you from the world outside. We shall call this "the real direction." As its antithesis, there is an idealistic world view. This is a way of thinking wherein the world is like a dream in your awareness, and we shall call this flow of information from you toward the world "the imaginary direction." Modern people - adults in particular - seem to enjoy being seated in front of the television and taking in information uni-directionally from the real direction. Conversely, there are also those who favor the imaginary direction; that is, those who like using their imagination - like art lovers or young children. In Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery referred to a "scope for imagination." This is the access point for transmission to the world, and it reminds us of the back-and-forth signals between us and the world when we were children.

The phenomenon of "art"

There are many people who deny the existence of flying saucers and ghosts, but there are few who would deny the existence of art. This is because whenever we open a door, we can encounter art. What might the objective appearance of that art be? For example, if two people are looking at a Picasso, one may be smitten by it while the other may seem wholly unmoved. The same image pattern is reflected on the retinas of both people, but something called "art" is engendered in the consciousness of the one smitten by it, and that is separate from the actual image on his retina. In other words, art, as it is called an impression, is likely some sort imaginary phenomenon created in the consciousness.

So then - what exactly are works of art? They have a real existence regardless of who sees them. However, if one considers that the same piece can be art to one person and not be art to another, or one piece can have a wide appeal while another piece lacks the same broad appreciation, one may say that a work of art is a real device for causing the imaginary phenomenon called "art." Once again, let us observe the person standing in front of the picture. Why is he standing there so long without leaving? It looks as if he's having a dialogue with the piece. Perhaps he's not just taking in information from the work uni-directionally; perhaps he is spending time throwing information back by being moved - by his empathy or imagination.


Here one art model presents itself. This is perceiving a bi-directional cyclic flow of information from the work to you and from you to the work as the locus of the manifestation of the art. Surely the qualia that rise at such times must be the aura the art releases.

Here I'd like to draw particular notice to the flow from you to the art - that is, invoking your power of imagination. In other words, the art in this model is not just the work of the artist who produced the work; it is a collaborative work between the artist and you who are seeing the work. What, then, is the best way to pique the imagination? It isn't as easy as something just dropping down from above. The hurdle is surprisingly high, but perhaps it is easy for young children or Zen masters who can depict the even whole universe on an empty canvas. If this is so, we should try thinking of the development of art from the view of the art work as a device that both prompts and amplifies the imagination.

We have termed such a mechanism an "imaginary circuit."

top page
previous page Introduction 1 2 3 next page