The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 19, Issue 1/4, 2003

Special Issue on Gregory Bateson

Marian Zielinski
Pages 197-208

A Semiotic Phenomenology of Aesthetic Systems
Reflections on Ornament, Patterns, and Habits in Creative Expression

This article investigates the significance of Bateson’s concept of metapattern and the intrinsic correlation of his distinctions between the conscious, the aesthetic, and the sacred as they apply to theatre and the visual arts. It entails a series of phenomenological reflections on ornament and visual patterns as they relate to explorations of character (as habit) and environment (as habitat). As well, I explore the implications of the traces we leave as individuals (i.e., as expressive embodiments of culture), traces that mark the patterns of our individuality and our communion with others. I conclude that these eloquent visible marks we inscribe in space and time do not simply seek a type of immortality, but rather also embrace our humanity and the small but poetic role we play in the cycle of the semiotic cosmos.