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Symvisio I
(coming soon)
Symvisio II

Symvisio III

Symvisio IV

Symvisio V

Symvisio VI

Symvisio VII

(800x600 or higher screen resolution recommended)

  Symvisio (from Latin sym -together and visio -viewing) is a visual composition based on the idea of the emergent properties. That is a property that comes about when several parts are put together; that is the whole is more than the sum of its parts. For example, wetness is a property of water molecules, but not of a single molecule. For this purpose a Symvisio in two-dimensional art is composed in three to five panels (each panel is called an unfoldment); too many panels expands too far and is a hindrance to viewing together and too few lacks variety. Although each unfoldment possesses its own unity, the Symvisio achieves a higher level of unity and variety through the interaction of unfoldments. This will intensify the aesthetic experience and aids visual thinking.

    To achieve the above task, all unfoldments of a Symvisio are composed in the same color key or the value key or the similarity of shapes. The most restricted composition has the same color and value keys as well as the same shapes for each unfoldment. However one can compose a Symvisio where only the similarity of shapes is carried through each unfoldment.

    The composition of Symvisio is directional, with the introductory unfoldment (first panel) pointing to the second unfoldment, and the concluding unfoldment (last panel) halting the direction. The introductory panel sets the theme of the composition that will be developed in the following unfoldments with the final unfoldment as the "recapitulation."

    Historical Precedence: As far as I know, no previous attempt at this format of composition exits. Nicolas Poussin (1594-1655) used Greek musical modes to discuss the compositional elements as well as the subject matter of painting. J.A.M Whistler attached musical terms to his compositions (White Symphony, 1868, Symphony in White, 1865-7) and composed in certain color keys (Variation in Pink and Grey, 1871-72, Arrangement in Grey and Black, 1871). However, his compositions are restricted to single panels with representational subject matters; e.g., Arrangement in Grey and Black has been subtitled as the 'Portrait of the Artist's Mother'. Furthermore, his use of the term symphony did not run parallel to the use of the term in musical compositions, unless one arbitrarily divides his panels into several sections. Also, the term symPHONY refers to sound and audio experience and is not descriptive of the visual experience that I am striving to achieve. Multiple panel compositions such as Frank Stella's Takht-i-Sulayman, Variation II, 1969, William Hunt's Embroidered Panels, 1860, and so on as well as Diptych and triptych altarpieces were based on completely different principles.

Mohsen Janatpour          
Spring 2001                     

Group 1 | Group 2 | Group 3 | Group 4 | Group 5 | Symvisio