Abraham Moles

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Abraham André Moles (1920, Paris - 1992, Strasbourg) was a French communication theorist, engineer of electrical engineering and acoustics, and a doctor of physics and philosophy. He was one of the first researchers to establish and analyze links between aesthetics and information theory.

Moles studied engineering before coming to head the Hermann Scherchen Laboratory for Electro-Acoustic Music in Switzerland.

He taught sociology and psychology at the Universities of Ulm, Strasbourg, San Diego, Mexico, Compiègne, and founded the Institute of Social Psychology of Communication in Strasbourg.

Information aesthetics

In 1956, Moles defended his dissertation on a relationship between information theory and aesthetic perception, which he expanded into book form in 1958 (in English in 1966), synchronously to similar research into information aesthetics conducted by Max Bense in Stuttgart.

Moles' work was more focused on perception theory and he tried to offer an explanation of super sign building in aesthetic perception. He investigated the capability of the human brain to perceive information, looking for evidence as to which ratio between order and complexity would be perceived as pleasant. From here, Moles developed a theoretical framework for super signs. In his theory, elementary signs are combined in human perception with more complex signs (super signs). This approach not only derives from perceptual psychologist Rudolf Arnheim's gestalt theory, but also goes deep into contemporary psychological theories. His student Helmar Frank later studied with Max Bense and tried to prove Moles's more theoretical considerations empirically. (Klütsch 2012:86 [1])

Works[edit]

(in French unless noted otherwise)

Monographs[edit]

  • Physique et technique du bruit, Paris: Dunod, 1952.
  • La création scientifique, Genève: Kister, 1957.
    • Sao Paulo: Perspectiva, 1972. (Portuguese)
    • Madrid: Taurus, 1986. (Spanish)
  • editor, with Herman Grégoire, et al., L'ère atomique: encyclopédie des sciences modernes, 10 Vols, Genève: Kister, 1957-59; 1962. [2]
    • Epoche Atom und Automation. Enzyklopädie des technischen Jahrhunderts, 10 Vols, Frankfurt am Main: Limpert, [then] Genève: Kister, 1958-60. (German)
  • Théorie de l'information et perception esthétique, Paris: Flammarion, 1958; 2nd ed., Paris: Denoël, 1973. Expanded dissertation in psychology defended in March 1956 at Sorbonne. Review.
    • Information Theory and Esthetic Perception, trans. Joel E. Cohen, University of Illinois Press, 1966, 217 pp; 1968; 1971. (English). Reviews in English: Keats (1966), Schwadron (1966), Burt (1966), Gibson (1967), Kraehenbuehl (1967), Rashevsky (1967), Berleant (1967), Pask (1968), Arnheim (1968), Wenk (1968), Chase (1969), Vitz (1970), Fleming (1970).
    • Informationstheorie und ästhetische Wahrnehmung, Cologne: DuMont, 1971. (German). "Philosophischer Wert der Information", pp 254-274.
    • Teoría de la información y percepción estética, Gijón: Júcar, 1976, 376 pp. (Spanish)
    • Teoria da informação e percepção estética, Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro, 1978. (Portuguese)
  • Musiques expérimentales, Paris, Zurich, Brussels: Cercle d'Art Contemporain, 1960. Review.
  • Erstes Manifest der permutationellen Kunst (edition rot, texte 8), trans. Monika Bense, Renate Kübler and Elisabeth Walther, Stuttgart, 1962, 21 pp. (German) [3]
    • Revue Ring 4. (French)
  • with Bernard Vallancien, Communications et langages, Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1963. Review.
  • with Bernard Vallancien, Phonétique et phonation, Paris: Masson, 1966.
  • with Alphons Silbermann, Gerold Ungeheuer, Bildschirm und Wirklichkeit: ueber Presse und Fernsehen in Gegenwart und Zukunft, Berlin/Frankfurt/Vienna: Ullstein, 1966, 371 pp. (German)
  • L'affiche dans la société urbaine, Paris: Dunod, 1970, 154 pp.
    • El cartel en la socie­dad urbana, Buenos Aires: Paidos, 1976, 225 pp. (Spanish)
  • with Roland Caude, Créativité et méthodes d'innovation dans l'entreprise, Mame Fayard, 1970, 240 pp.
  • Determinierte Formen. Informationstheorie und bildende Kunst, Bochum: Universitätsverlag, 1970, 45 pp. (German). "Kunst und Maschinen", pp 10-16.
  • Art et ordinateur, Paris: Casterman, 1971, 264 pp; 1981.
  • with Claude Zeltmann, et al., La communication. Les dictionnaires du savoir moderne, Paris: Centre de Etudes pour la promotion de la lecture, 1971. [4]
    • La comu­nicación y los mass media: Diccionarios del saber moderno, Bilbao: Mensa­jero, 1975, 685 pp. (Spanish)
  • Psychologie du kitsch. l'art du bonheur, Paris: Mame, 1971, 247 pp; Paris: Denoël, 1977.
  • Théorie des objets, Paris: Éditions universitaires, 1972, 290 pp. Review.
  • with Élisabeth Rohmer, Psychologie de l'espace, Paris: Casterman, 1972; Paris: L'Harmattan, 1998, 158 pp. Review, Review.
    • Psi­cología del Espacio, Barcelona: Círculo de lec­tores, 4th ed., 1990, 296 pp. (Spanish)
  • Sociodynamique de la culture, Paris: Mouton, 1973. Review, Commentary.
    • Sociodinámica de la cultura, trans. Víctor Aizenman, Buenos Aires: Paidos, 1976, 334 pp. (Spanish)
    • Sociodinâmica da cultura, Perspectiva. (Portuguese)
  • La communication, Paris: Marabout, 1973.
  • Quelques remarques de psychologie sur les processus heuristiques dans l'intelligence artificielle, Strasbourg: Université Louis Pasteur, 1975, 11 pp.
  • Rumos de uma cultura tecnologica, Sao Paulo: Perspectiva, 1975, 258 pp. (Portuguese)
  • with Élisabeth Rohmer, Micropsychologie et vie quotidienne, Paris: Denoël, 1976.
    • Mi­cropsicología de la vida cotidiana, México: Tri­llas, 1983. (Spanish)
  • with Élisabeth Rohmer, Théorie des actes, Paris: Casterman, 1977. Review, Review.
    • Teoría de los actos, México: Trillas, 1983. (Spanish)
  • L'image, communication fonctionnelle, Paris: Casterman, 1981, 272 pp. Review (EN), Review.
  • Labyrinthes du vécu, Paris: Klincksieck, 1982.
    • Labyrinthe du Vécu, Méridien, 1983. (Spanish)
  • Théorie structurale de la communication et société, Paris: Masson, 1986. Review.
    • Teoria estructural de la comunicacion, México: Trillas, 1985. (Spanish)
  • with Élisabeth Rohmer, Les sciences de l'imprécis, Paris: Seuil, 1990.
    • As ciências do impreciso, Civilização Brasileira, 1995. (Portuguese)
  • with Luc Janiszewski, Grafismo funcional, Barcelona: CEAC (Enciclopedia de diseño), 1990, 284 pp. (Spanish)
  • with Joan Costa, Imagen didáctica, Barcelona: CEAC (Enciclopedia de diseño), 1991, 272 pp. (Spanish)
  • with Élisabeth Rohmer, Psychosociologie de l'espace, ed. Victor Schwach, Paris: L'Harmattan, 1998.
  • with Joan Costa, Publicidad y diseño: el nuevo reto de la comunicacion, Buenos Aires: Infinito, 1999, 163 pp; 2005. Review. (Spanish)

Selected Papers and Articles[edit]

Collected writings[edit]

  • La physique des sciences de l'homme: melanges pour Abraham Moles, ed. Michel Mathien, Strasbourg: Oberlin, 1989. Review.

Literature[edit]

Bibliographies[edit]

See also[edit]

Links[edit]