Make your own free website on




Tsion Avital

Center for Technological Education Holon

Holon Institute of Technology, Arts and Sciences

Affiliated with Tel-Aviv University

Department of Design and Art, Holon Campus,

P.O.B 305, Holon 58102, ISRAEL


This paper is due to appear in a special edition of Symmetry: Culture and Science, together with another paper by the same author and entitled: Footprints Literacy: The Origins of Art and Prelude to Science. The two papers are reproduced in Visual Mathematics by kind permission of the editors.


Abstract. The point of departure for this essay was the question: What are the cognitive attributes without which the prehistoric image-maker could not have begun to create painting? The aim of the search for these a priori attributes was an attempt to anchor the nature of art in attributes of the mind and thereby to uncover an Archimedean fulcrum for tracing lines of demarcation between art and non-art, which have become completely blurred in our century. The search has revealed some ten unique attributes all of which are epistemological and ontological oxymorons, or metastructures of the complementarity of mind and reality such as: Connectivity-Disconnectivity, Hierarchy-Randomness, Symmetry-Asymmetry and others. While the point of departure of this study was art, it may be that its results also have implications for the understanding of science and the other areas of culture, for these attributes which I have called “mindprints” appear to be common to all products of the mind. One may say with some boldness that these attributes are perhaps common to all levels of Being: the material, biological and noetic levels; but they are manifested by different means and at different levels of abstraction and generalization. If the mindprints are common to all branches of culture as is proposed here, it may be that this can serve as the structural basis for a particularly coherent transdisciplinary approach.

Keywords: figurative art, abstract art, problem of demarcation, mind, mindprints: Connectivity-Disconnectivity, Open endedness-Closed endedness, Recursiveness-Singularity, Transformation-Invariance, Hierarchy-Randomness, Symmetry-Asymmetry, Negation-Affirmation, Complementarity-Mutual Exclusiveness, Comparison-Imparison, Determinism-Indeterminism. Transdisciplinarity.


VisMath HOME