Interconnection. Art as embodiment of communication by Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier

Published: 13.01.2020
Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier
Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier
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The interconnectedness of everything reflects the organization and unity of this world. Everything is in a relationship with each other and nothing is completely independent. One can even say that life itself is a form of material interactions. And here is bold speculation that interaction is at the heart of the world’s existence.
Are you Related?
In this article, we will talk about the relation between the objects, then briefly about interpersonal communication, and in the end, about art and man relation. This provides to the reader, presumably the artist, a fairly complete and objective picture of the interrelationships, as well as allowing to see the interconnection between the realm of life and the realm of art.

Design by Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier​

Where are interactions?
The connection everything with everything can be seen as the unity of the world. Everything around is a combination of the objects and phenomena that are in relation to each other - nothing has absolute independence. An ancient Greek philosopher Speusippus wrote that “… a thing cannot be known apart from the knowledge of other things, to know what a thing is; we must know how it differs from other things" [1].

Interaction acts as a movement of matter, and any movement includes various types of interaction. There is no movement in which there would be no interaction, and there is no interaction without movement. Interaction and movement are the forms of existence of matter.

The term relations and interaction are used almost everywhere. We can give endless examples: gravity in physical interaction; carbon modifications; nucleotide connection in genetics; thousands of neurons interaction; data, signal, power in robotics; family, class, industrial, etc. in sociology. Connections exist between everything creating a unique puzzle. From all the above examples, it can be concluded that life itself is a form of material interactions.

Design by Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier​

In to the object combinations and perception.
Combinations bring synergetic effect: the ocean is not the same as thousands of droplets; the prepared cake is not the same as the dough and the eggs mixed together; music is not the same as the combination of notes. "The whole differs from the sum of its parts", as Max Wertheimer [2], the creator of the Gestalt Approach and Gestalt Laws of Grouping, stated.

When we observe objects, our perception does unimaginable things. We recognize the whole body faster than the components. We see complete images of objects, we do not see components. "How can objects touch without touching? [...] Two objects change together as one determined the change of the other without any actual interaction between them.’"[3] People look with their eyes but see with the brains. "We see the depth, speed, softness, and hardness of objects - Cézanne says that we see even their odor" [4]

Like any mental reflection, perception is active. We do not just look or hear, we observe or listen. According to Wilhelm Wundt [5], we connect the objects associatively in spatial, temporal, conceptual ways.

As we eat not an illusory pie, but a real pie and sit not on a chair image, but on a real object that keeps us from falling - a subjective image of the objective world is always the knowledge of the world. "By contemplating the optical-physical appearance, the ego arrives at intuitive conclusions about the inner substance." [6] As well Kandinsky told that form is an expression of inner content[7] According to Plato [8], the soul is the essence of a thing; it is, first of all, a concept and an idea about it. Then Aristotle [9] told - that the soul of an ax is to chop, and the soul of an eye is to see. An ax is only an ax when it chops when it lies in the closet, it is only a potential ax. How does one learn the essence of things? By studying the "bodies". When one looks at the bodies of things, one sees their "souls".

Borders of Perception and Border as the place of contact.
It is impossible to talk about communication if there are no boundaries. The absence of boundaries means that there is only one object, therefore nothing to contact. Contact is the formation of a figure of interest that stands out from the background or context. Metaphorically, attention can be called a projector that illuminates an area of clear vision. In this case, perception is the entry of content into awareness, and apperception is the concentration of attention on a certain object, in other words, its entry into the focus of perception. The source of this idea was Wilhelm Wundt's [10] research.
In creative work, when it comes to looking at combined objects as a whole without clear boundaries, artists often use the method of unfocused attention.

Now let us assume that the "border" is a trait that separates something or someone from the rest of the world. It is where one space ends, one-person ends and another begins; it is the meeting place. The border is a land that does not belong to anyone individually, but is part of both at once, the organism and the environment. “The form is the place where the body and its environment meet“.[11] The border is the zone where thoughts, actions, energy are exchanged and something third is born that can transform what needs to be modified.

Interpersonal Communication.
How can one describe the term "communication"? Communication is the mutual activity of at least two individuals who understand each other, which leads to new qualities: interpersonal knowing, emotional state, ways of behaving, and finally a new perception and understanding of the world. A contact is a place for interaction where the new feelings are born, developing the creative growth of personality. One can say that a person is nothing more than the sum of all the contacts he or she has experienced. "To exist for a man is to feel connected" [12]. Contact also reshapes the memory of a person’s experience, doing a recreation of the world at any given moment. Contact accumulates and directs one's experience, knowledge, and ideas.
Experience from contact is based on a sensual input. There is a possibility, that contact will not be transformed into an experience if we come into contact insensibly. Therefore contact is only an opportunity to change. Presence, awareness, and openness are the qualities of contact that allow a person to restore a full sense of reality. Also, communication is impossible without a certain emptiness for new, yet unknown information and feelings.

Design by Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier​

Embodiment of Communication.
Here we move on to perhaps the most intriguing part. Let us talk about the “insight” effect. The artist experiences insights in contact with the separated units and discovers the whole. And this actually was discovered on the monkeys. The banana was placed outside the cage at a distance beyond the monkey's reach, and a stick placed in the cage. First, there was a random activity, then inaction (with the condition that all the elements of the task - banana, stick, and paw- were in the field of vision.) Then something interesting happened, a qualitative change in behavior - the monkeys easily took the banana with the stick. Wolfgang Koehler [13] called this insight or restructuring of gestalt.
It is striking that insight also includes the idea, that the escalation of the conflict contains the principle of solving. The contact between the artist and the object has many dimensions, and this is just one of them. In this brief article, unfortunately, we will not be able to tell you about all aspects of this contact.

Let us move on to the final and essential topic. A contemporary artist is looking for a human being. For contemporary artist people and their "present" is the highest value. It correlates seamlessly with what was previously written about the importance of contact. Since a man is a "creature" for communication - it becomes an essential part of contemporary art. Tatyana Chernigovskaya, neuroscience and psycholinguistic scientist, during her lectures, likes to ask critical questions, and ones she asked - ‘"If a man disappears, will there be any music left?" [14] If there is no listener, viewer, reader, there is also no artwork. Art cannot exist without viewer and viewer here is a co-author “Profound art enables us to see the majesty of a mountain, the persistence of a tree, and the smile of a stranger. Art also directs our awareness of our own sense of self and being.” [15]. Art is making a reality. Art acts as an energy that connects not only objects and subjects among themselves, but every phenomenon around us, being a trigger that connects and transforms the space.

Design by Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier​

This is an excerpt from the Master Thesis of Jekaterina Smirnova Milgranier​, advertising teacher is Prof. Susanne Bennewitz, University of Applied Sciences Trier.


[1] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica: Speusippus, Encyclopædia Britannica, February 07, 2011,, (01.03.2019)
[2] Dejan Todorovic: Gestalt principles, Scholarpedia, 2008, , (10.05.2019)
[3] Harman G., Guerrilla Metaphysics: phenomenology and the carpentry of things, Open Court, Chicago, 2005, ppt. 32
[4] Pallasmaa, Juhani: ‘Selfhood and the world, Lived Space, Vision and Hapticity’, Senses and the City: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Urban Sensescapes, Glass house, 2001, ppt.57
[6] Klee, Paul: Pedagogical Sketchbook, New-York, 1972, ppt.5
[7] Кандинский, Василий: О духовном в искусстве, Москва, 1992, ppt. 49
[8] Онтология. Платон, Лекции по философии, 2013, (24.03.2019)
[9] Онтология. Аристотель, Лекции по философии, 2013, (24.03.2019)
[9] Петухов.В.В.: Психология сознания, Общая Психология, Mar 2, 2014,, (22.03.2019)
[11] Maldiney H. : La dimension du contact au regard du vivant et de l’existant , in Schotte J. (Ed). Le contact, Bruxelles, DeBoeck-Wesmael, 1990
[12] Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Петухов.В.В.: Психология сознания, Общая Психология, youtube, Mar 2, 2014,, (22.03.2019)
[13] Инсайт, гештальт, фигура и фон. Базовые понятия гештальтпсихологии. Вольфганг Келер, psyfactor, 2003,, (20.03.2019)
[14] Tatyana Chernigovskaya, ‘The whole universe in a human brain’, TEDx ,, (22.03.2019)
[15] Pallasmaa, Juhani: ‘Selfhood and the world, Lived Space, Vision and Hapticity’, Senses and the City: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Urban Sensescapes, Glass house, 2001, ppt.62


About the author

Jekaterina, who was born in Riga, began her career as an architect, discovering her niche in visualizations, but later decided to experience her path in the field of contemporary jewellery, in the belief that it gives her greater freedom in personal fulfillment.
Having written a bachelor's degree in the possibilities of communication through architectural spaces, she continued her searches of meanings about contact. During her master thesis she studied current concepts of art as communication and developed an idea on the possibilities of interpersonal communication through artworks