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The Search for All-Sidedness
The terms 'all-sided' and 'all-sidedness', which appear in philosophy, politics, art, film and architectural literature
of the 20th century, have been largely overlooked and rarely examined by historians and theorists.
Much of the ambiguity surrounding the terms relies on the multivalence of its uses.
According to Oxford English Dictionary, the German terms all-sided (allseitig) and all-sidedness (Allseitigkeit) were first cited in 1691 as describing an inherently spatial reference - one that "completely encircles." Noted as being rare in usage at the time, the etymology altered in 1751 to convey a sense of 'general' or 'universalism'. The definition transformed once more at the end of the 18th century, this time describing a human character trait called "fully-development", most notably seen in critiques of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, discussions of Renaissance men by Jacob Burckhardt(1860), and Friedrich Frobel's educational explorations(1826).
The onslaught of the Great War (1914-1918) proved the need for a radical revision of the arts in form and language. The term all-sided was employed in many avant-garde manifestoes, commentaries, and critiques spanning Cubism, de Stijl Neoplasticism, and Constructivism where its definition implied more than a physical membrane and challenged the traditional, fixed aspects of volume, mass, perspective, and architectural space...