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The theory of emergence states that "complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions1". Likewise, emergent identity supports that the presence and actions of an individual contribute to the identity of a group and change the meaning of a collective space. Each student is a contributing member of the arts community, bringing their own interests and talents to the learning environment. Collectively, they develop a group identity that they – as well as the outside public – recognize.

While the piece takes a while to reveal its entire identity, each passerby gets an immediate reaction as they pass through the building's entryway. [Watch this interaction] This reinforces a sense of individual contribution, as well as encourages continual engagement. The permanance of the peice allows for the contributors to return to the space and see the impact of their entire community. Over time, emergent identity visually reinforces that each individual who passes through this space is a contributing member of the community; their actions alone add to the larger understanding of the group.

Because the presentation of this piece communicates the relationship of the individual even to those who are not directly involved, it may encourage outside observers to become a part of the active community. Being able to see the contribution that the engaged individuals are making may motivate others to also participate. Ideally, this concept could be expanded to encourage social change of a group based on the perceived impact of the actions of a few.

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Emergence. (2007, December 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:01, December 11, 2007, from