Rhea Myers

Aesthetic Aura Investigation One

Hypothesis: The aesthetic aura of art as identified by Walter Benjamin will result in anomalous electromagnetic field readings around artworks. This will vary according to the aesthetic quality of the artwork. We base this claim on results from paranormal research. Ghosts, like aesthetic value, are intangible, yet they manifest anomalous electromagnetic field readings during hauntings.Subject: A show of abstract paintings by two painters exhibited in a representative regional museum/gallery space.Equipment: An EMF meter with analogue read-out and separate sensor probe.Notation: A or B are the artist. A-E is the aesthetic quality of the work, where E is low and A is high. The numeric value is the strength of the EMF in Milligauses.Data: Readings at approx. 5cm from the surface of the painting.A1:D/0.05A2:C/0.05A3:D/0.1A4:E/0.05A5:D/0.1A6:D/0.05A7:D/0.05A8:E/0.05A9:E/0.05A10:E/0.05A11:D/0.06A12:D/0.05A13:C/0.1A14:D/0.051:D/0.052:D/0.053:D/0.054:D/0.15: -6:D/0.067:D/0.058:C/0.19:C/0.110:D/0.07511:C/0.112:D/0.0513:C/0.0614: -15:D/0.0516:C/0.217:D/0.0518:E/0.119:D/0.0620:D/0.0521:C/0.0522:E/0.023:C/0.0524:-25:D/0.0526:D/0.075**Analysis: **The 0.05 reading seems to be the background level.The meter’s other setting (H rather than N) shows a drop when pointed at paintings.The needle wobbles when the probe is moved towards or away from the painting. Is this because the probe is moving through static radial layers of the aesthetic field?There is a broad correlation between higher aesthetic score and a higher EMF. Exceptions to this might be due to the personal subjectivity involved in assigning an aesthetic value to work. This is one good reason why using EMF readings to evaluate a work is desirable.Perhaps readings should be tried at an ideal viewing distance.Should the EMF reading be scaled by the size of the work?**Conclusions:**There does seem to be some correlation between aesthetic value and EMF field strength.Further research should be undertaken. Anti-aesthetic work (such as readymades) and more highly aesthetic work (such as Old Masters) should especially be examined.

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