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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    When I become curious about something, my first instinct is to try to make it with my hands. This had led to my picking up an odd line-up of crafts over the years, including paint-making, nanoparticle-synthesis, (bad) lens-making, and mirror-making. I fancied myself quite the eccentric until I realized that all these skills fall squarely within the painter’s craft—as it was imagined in the 15th century.

    in them, we see ourselves. Silver on glass. 36 x 88 inches, 2012.

    In the minds of 15th century Christian theologians, curiosity was a vice—a passion for knowing unnecessary things, things God meant to remain hidden. Curiosity was thought to be closely related to the sin of pride, the hubristic idea that we humans can perfect upon God’s creation. Theologians recognized that the first step to subverting the order of creation was to mimic it.

    The world these early Christian theologians feared is the world we live in today. The order of the day is transgenic organisms, 3D-printed organs, particle accelerators, and gene-therapy. Certainly it wasn’t paintings of flowers that got us here. Then again, let’s not dismiss the idea so quickly.

    Ghost Skin. Lab-grown bacterial cellulose, flask, magnetic stir-plate. 2013.

    As an artist steeped in a tradition of painting obsessed with versimilitude, who makes nanoparticles to mimic structurally colored animals, and who grows artificial skin from microorganisms, I realize how all these practices have a common root in mimesis and in curiosity. And how, given that mimesis is a driving force in biology, mimicry is an expression of our own human biology. I find it fascinating to imagine mimetic painting on a continuum with artificial organs and transgenic organisms.

    In this time of accelerated mimesis, how do we know what we are looking at? We are not like fish changing our own bodies to resemble water, or butterflies changing theirs to less resemble the tasty butterflies they are. We are inserting jellyfish genes into zebrafish DNA. We are engineering surfaces that bend light in ways no natural material can bend it, cloaking any object it covers. Is it as the medieval theologians feared: that the logical conclusion of mimicking nature is the overturn of natural order?

    I find this tangle of questions fascinating, which is why, as an artist living in 2013, I’m interested in mimesis: its capacity to attract, to seduce, to dissemble; in the desires that drive mimesis and in the visual culture it produces. And in the point at which mimicking something gives way to creating something entirely new—the impossible, the unpaintable, the unknowable.

    Any way you look at it, nature cannot be separated from artifice, and science cannot be separated from art.

    Promethean Aspiration. Silver nanoparticles on glass. 16 x 59 inches, 2013.

    Made with silver nanoparticles I synthesized, works such as Promethean Aspiration and Doppelganger present the painter as chemist. The model of painter-as-chemist strikes our contemporary minds as odd, but there’s a rich tradition of this that dates back centuries.

    Before paint came in tubes and tubs, painters sourced pigments—colored substances such as dirt, charred bone, and crushed bugs—from the far reaches of the world. Pigments in hand, they experimented with a panoply of oils, resins, and other substances to carefully tune the chemical and optical properties of their medium. The results were early feats of materials engineering.

    Kate Nichols
    Tue, Sep 30, 2014  Permanent link

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    “Good morning, self-organizing systems!”
    The cheerful speaker smiled with a polished ease and adjusted his tie. "I am indeed very happy to
    find the Office of Naval Research joining with the Armour Research Foundation in organizing this
    conference on what I personally consider an exceedingly important topic, and at such a well-chosen
    It was a spring day in early May, 1959. Four hundred men from an astoundingly diverse group of
    scientific backgrounds had gathered in Chicago for what promised to be an electrifying meeting.
    Almost every major branch of science was represented: psychology, linguistics, engineering,
    embryology, physics, information theory, mathematics, astronomy, and social sciences. No one
    could remember a conference before this where so many top scientists in different fields were about
    to spend two days talking about one thing. Certainly there had never been a large meeting about this
    particular one thing.
    It was a topic that only a young country flush with success and confident of its role in the world
    would even think about: self-organizing systems — how organization bootstraps itself to life.
    Bootstrapping! It was the American dream put into an equation.
    "The choice of time is particularly significant in my personal life, too," the speaker continued. "For
    the last nine months the Department of Defense of the United States of America has been in the
    throes of an organizational effort which shows reasonably clearly that we are still a long way from
    understanding what makes a self-organizing system."
    Hearty chuckles from the early morning crowd just settling into their seats. At the podium Dr.
    Joachim Weyl, Research Director of the Office of Naval Research, beamed. The conference he
    hosted was a public rendezvous of scientists who had been convening in smaller meetings since
    1942. These intimate, invitation-only gatherings were organized by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation,
    and became known as the Macy Conferences. In the spirit of wartime urgency, the small gatherings
    were interdisciplinary, elite, and emphasized thinking big. Among the several dozen visionaries
    invited over the nine years of the conference were Gregory Bateson, Norbert Wiener, Margaret
    Mead, Lawrence Frank, John von Neumann, Warren McCulloch, and Arturo Rosenblueth. This
    stellar congregation later became known as the cybernetic group for the perspective they pioneered
    — cybernetics, the art and science of control.

    As has been noted by many writers, cybernetics derives from the Greek for "steersman" — a pilot
    that steers a ship. In order to steer the ship, the pilot is constantly dependent on constant feedback.
    The ship and its sails, the wind and waves affecting it can be seen as a whole, closed self-sustaining
    system, of which the pilot is a vital part. Just as the pilot is dependent on the ship, the ship is
    dependent on the pilot actively steering to avoid sinking the ship.
    In short, cybernetics is the study of the functions and processes of systems which participate in
    circular, causal chains that move from action to sensing to comparison with desired goal, and again
    to action. As cybernetician Louis Kauffman has defined it, "cybernetics is the study of systems and processes that interact with themselves and produce themselves from themselves."

    (CON'T HERE....)

    Based on the book, Out of Control

    Out of Control is a summary of what we know about self-sustaining systems, both living ones such as a tropical wetland, or an artificial one, such as a computer simulation of our planet. The last chapter of the book, "The Nine Laws of God," is a distillation of the nine common principles that all life-like systems share. The major themes of the book are:

    -As we make our machines and institutions more complex, we have to make them more biological in order to manage them.

    -The most potent force in technology will be artificial evolution. We are already evolving software and drugs instead of engineering them.

    -Organic life is the ultimate technology, and all technology will improve towards biology.

    -The main thing computers are good for is creating little worlds so that we can try out the Great Questions. Online communities let us ask the question "what is a democracy; what do you need for it?" by trying to wire a democracy up, and re-wire it if it doesn't work. Virtual reality lets us ask "what is reality?" by trying to synthesize it. And computers give us room to ask "what is life?" by providing a universe in which to create computer viruses and artificial creatures of increasing complexity. Philosophers sitting in academies used to ask the Great Questions; now they are asked by experimentalists creating worlds.

    -As we shape technology, it shapes us. We are connecting everything to everything, and so our entire culture is migrating to a "network culture" and a new network economics.

    -In order to harvest the power of organic machines, we have to instill in them guidelines and self-governance, and relinquish some of our total control.
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    Advertising has alot to do with Chaos Theory and I will show you how. However, lets start with a guy called Alan Turing who, by the way, was an absolute genius.

    Many may not have heard of him, but on the 10th of September 2009, Gordon Brown made a formal apology for the way Alan was treated after the second world war. He (Alan, not Gordon – heaven forbid) was falsely accused of gross misconduct and offered imprisonment OR female hormone treatment to ‘cure’ his homosexuality. Alan took the 2nd option and after a significant bout of depression, ate an apple he had laced with cyanide. He was 41 years old and the year was 1954.

    Alan Turing’s paper on chemical morphogenesis was the start of a realisation that life itself is constructed of random, uncontrolled events that produce ever-so-slightly different results each time. This, in addition to other work such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, progressed thinking toward ‘Chaos Theory‘ which, in the late 60s, augmented the laws of Newtonian Physics which was based on predictable, organised structures. In actual fact it was a guy called Lorenz who realised that predicting the weather was a fallacy…such is the unpredictable nature of nature.

    The predictable structures (exemplified in models of a ‘Clockwork Universe‘ for example), were fine and dandy until it was realised that even the most predictable and known elements could output totally random results. Blame was originally cast at anything other than the ‘machinery’ of life, but eventually theses like ‘The Butterfly Effect‘ prompted society to believe that indeed, chaos and unpredictability were stitched into the fabric of our very existence.

    This infinite randomness showed extreme, ordered beauty and the maverick mathematician, Benoît Mandelbrot mapped out a complex picture which is infinite. The exact maths can be found here but put simply, it is self-creating (as seen in morphogenesis) due to a never-ending ‘feedback loop’. What is created, feeds back into the creating. Forever. It doesn’t simplify at any given magnitude, which qualifies the boundary as a ‘fractal’.

    Some people call this ‘The Thumb Print of God’, but, perhaps more agnostically, I find it to be one of the most incredible pictures in the world – and here it is without any magnification, the Mandelbrot Set:

    The more you travel through it, the more the fractals develop. Below is a very deep zoom into the fractals (and you can even run your own open source code to simulate the same if you are so inclined):

    You may think – what the hell has this got to do with advertising….?? Well actually, quite a bit in my opinion.

    The way I see it is that traditional advertising methodology is somewhat akin to Newtonian Physics. Solid rules with finite structures and predictable outcomes. This is perfectly valid and proven over many years.

    However, the world we live in today challenges the interpretation of a brand and the usage of media channels, due to the extreme interactivity of citizens and the commoditisation of (previously) corporate-level technology.

    People are empowered to have an opinion and publish it widely. Brands can be built and destroyed by the public without any involvement of advertisers.

    What this means for advertisers is that involvement doesn’t stop when work goes out the door and the creation of a brand itself, actually includes the people that were once seen to be on the receiving end of communication.

    Totally random outcomes are unpredictable and instantaneous in today’s ultra-connected society and our beloved brand ‘onion’ and brand ‘key’ needs to be augmented to allow for this, in the same way as Newtonian Physics was augmented by Chaos Theory.

    Where before the brand models had integrity and values emitting from a core to a waiting audience, we now see random cells (citizens) having a morphing effect on brands at every stage of the process.

    As a disclaimer, at this fluid world we are starting to assist advertisers all over the world on what can be done to enjoy this opportunity, and this is just the beginning. The more you consider the biology of business, the Chaos Theory we see in real life is actually here and now in terms of communication – commercial or otherwise.

    The only thing you can predict accurately is the unpredictable results.

    Ad vitam aeternam.

    Jonathan MacDonald

    Found at: (
    Sat, Apr 9, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: chaos theory, advertising, media
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    what’s the connection?

    I found this essay very interesting and wanted to share it. Copywright and author unknown unfortunatly, Maybe someone knows the origin?

    One of the most problematic pornographic associations of all is the persistent linking of sex with death and the increasingly common linking of sex to killing.

    Some language scholars say the root of the old English word for orgasm is the same as that for death; the Oxford dictionary connects orgasm with rage. In French, the psychoanalytic term for orgasm (la petite mort) means “the little death.” In Sanskrit, nirvana means annihilation, to be “blown away”.

    Poets of both genders throughout the ages have suggested a connection between the two themes. Psychiatrists and psychologists have long argued that fear of sexuality is simply a disguised version of a universal human fear of death. Anthropologists assert that sexual taboos, institutionalized through religion, are but another effort to keep death at bay. They fail not because people are immoral but because death persists.

    Death should be erotic

    A person doesn’t need to be a social scientist or language scholar to have some basic body knowledge that this assumed connection is a valid one. Sex is about physicality and physicality is inseparable from the fact of death. If erotic means “in touch with the physical,” then being reminded of death should be erotic for most of us. We should get moist and hot and hard at
    the thought of it.

    What is orgasm other than to be swallowed up in a blackness so deep that distinction, thought and separate physical consciousness dissolve? All experiences of ecstasy, but most especially sexual orgasm, are experiences of being swept away. They are about losing - if only for an instant - whatever awareness binds us to time and space.

    One has only to take a small further step to recognize that this transcendence of time and space is a form of psychic death. To be swallowed up by blackness is an exquisite pleasure. It is to know ecstasy, but it is also to die.

    Our great death, for all its liberating wonder, holds also a moment of terror. It is the door to nirvana, but it necessarily passes through annihilation as well. Our “little deaths” simulate this journey, finding ecstasy along a path which requires our physical and psychological selves
    to be blown away.

    It scares us

    Annihilation frightens us. It frightens men, women and children, though not all of us equally. Rather than giving ourselves up to that fear and passing through it, our collective response has been to try to manage annihilation and bring both sex and death under control.

    There are cultural reasons why the “out-of-controlness” of both sex and death is more problematic for men than for women. In a sentence, to be male in a patriarchal culture is by definition to have power, to be in control; but to be sexual - at least to be orgasmic - is to lose control; and to be human is to be powerless in the face of death. Thus both in terms of death
    and of sex, there is a fundamental contradiction between the demands of biology - and basic psychology - and the demands of culture as they impose themselves on the male psyche.

    Lots of energy goes into controlling death

    Seen in this light, it should not be surprising that huge amounts of energy, worldwide, go into managing annihilation. Human beings seem bent on controlling the context and details of death - perhaps because we cannot control its fact.

    * The military expends most of its energy planning when death will arrive, by what coach, at what house, and for what reason.

    * The medical establishment develops machines to thwart death’s timing and defy its reason.

    * Religious leaders treat death like a petty thief and project on it a violence which is human in source - the final division of the world into saved and damned.

    Sexual imagery reflects preoccupation with controlling death

    Cultural imagery reflects the magnitude and intensity of these efforts. The pornography industry exploits our nearly obsessive efforts to control both death and sex and to solve the cultural/biological puzzle presented by the relationship between sex and death, especially for men.

    Pornographic films and magazines, even those that do not deal directly with death, routinely turn living subjects into inanimate objects, allowing men - and increasingly women as well - to place their sexuality in a fantasy world where they can ejaculate - without ever losing control.

    It’s hard to imagine a sexual situation more responsive to this need than that in which the object of lust - not subject of desire - is already dead.

    Necrophilia - weird stuff

    Necrophilia (an erotic attraction to corpses) at first seems to be a tiny genre of the porn market. It’s kinky in the extreme, the stuff of horror movies, but generally repulsive to normal men and women, regardless of what other marginal sexual practices they may engage in. Few of us can even imagine what impulses run through the undertaker gone haywire who has sex with the dead, before or after embalming them.

    The necrophiliac is fascinated by death but motivated by control. His temptation to force death to submit to him is recognized as potentially intoxicating, perhaps overwhelming, but ultimately bizarre.

    But closer to us than we like to admit

    Yet on another level almost all mainstream pornography appeals to a form of necrophilia. The images of women (and men in gay porn) which are presented as a turn on, are nearly universally deprived of life. Sexual objects, not subjects, they have had the breath sucked out of them. If these objects had a personal history - foibles, accomplishments, affections, failures - it is now behind them. At best it has been appropriated into a common mythology; worse and more frequently, it has been eliminated completely.

    Bodies with the souls gone: that’s plain old porn

    What we see in much of porn is simply bodies after the soul has left them - anonymous as cadavers, without even a piece of clothing to suggest preference, difference, personality, will. It is easy to say that these frozen objects might only tempt an aberrant taste, but they have become the large scale focus and context for expressing a mainstream, if problematic sexuality.

    Trend toward “amateur sex” on Internet and video may be healthy one

    The burgeoning interest in home grown sexual imagery, featuring real people, with real names, histories, lives and families having real sex and exhibiting their experience publicly, may reflect a healthy attempt to put sex back in the land of the living. While it clearly goes outside
    acceptable bounds of privacy for some people, for others it may be a much needed reminder of the human element in human sexuality. In fact, a case could be made that there is less to object to in most home-video porn, than in there is some high fashion images.

    Deathly fashion

    The process of de-animating the sexual and sexualizing the inanimate is not relegated to formal pornography. It enters mainstream culture through high fashion, where women are considered beautiful to the degree they can resemble a lifeless mannequin. Any unchoreographed smile or burp or snarl or sneer - anything that might suggest a life or mind of her own - would quickly have the would be cultural model dismissed. Only pure soullessness can be trusted as a model for the sexually and socially desirable.

    It may not be surprising that the women who best manage to hide, disguise or eliminate soul, do it only at the price of forfeiting their body life as well. For in fact, body and soul will twine themselves together as long as there still is breath.

    The haunted look which is prized by fashion makers, does not come without starving the body as well as curbing the soul. The cessation of menstruation, a consequence of anorexia, is only one of the occupational hazards of a “deathly sexiness,”

    The Stepford Wives

    The average woman, neither porn star nor fashion model, nevertheless, will measure herself and be measured by these standards. Ironically, it’s not the liberated feminist but the most traditional wife who may find herself closest to porn star, fashion model - and corpse.

    From one perspective, the tradition of the passive wife seems like nothing so much as a camp horror series, featuring women as the living dead. Decked out, painted and displayed as in a funeral parlor viewing room, “the beloved wife” is eulogized if she is as will-less in life as she would be after death. Her body is considered attractive if it puts no demands on either her own will or the sex of her husband, remaining instead as unassertive as any corpse. She is thought trustworthy and attractive when nothing dirty or even unplanned can any longer issue from her - when no blood, sweat, mucous, tear, tantrum, or inappropriate guffaw can find its
    way forth. This model of wife as the true living dead was made famous in the Hollywood film, The Stepford Wives. It is in many ways, the model we continue to have of the most ideal wife of all, the First Lady.

    Backlash to feminism

    If this seems like ancient history, a model of women which has itself long since died and grown cold, consider the spate of books in the last decade counseling women to put away the urge toward will that has begun to reanimate them.

    Despite the inroads of feminism - or perhaps because of them - women are being reminded that will and ambition are not only sexually and socially unattractive, they are the source of suffering. Only selfless service to others can “heal the wound of feminism” and bring true peace and happiness. But what is a body without self interest? What is a human being without the capacity to suffer? It is a corpse.

    A passion for killing

    There is another genre of sex and death imagery which makes mere necrophilia seem tame by comparison. It goes back to that connection between orgasm and rage. For lack of a better word, it could be called “homicidiphilia” - a passion for killing. Rather than being a tiny niche
    within a niche of the porn market, it is like smog, insidious, deadly and so pervasive a phenomenon as to almost make itself invisible.

    The raunchiest “snuff” movies have gone back underground, though snippets of them are beginning to resurface on the Internet. Their conceptual base has not been removed. Rather the psychological dynamics of snuff films have been absorbed into mainstream culture. Not only pornography but music television, feature films, made-for-t.v. movies, detective magazines, even family-viewing murder shows continually connect sex with killing. Why are we surprised when computer culture follows suit?

    Women are chained, bound, gagged, beaten, bludgeoned, shot, strangled, suffocated and stabbed as punishment for sexual misconduct or simply as the price of being sexually attractive. Men are killed for being “good,” “bad,” anything except indifferent; in short for being alive. And all of it is one big cultural turn on.

    This graphic linking of sex with killing is not simply a matter of fantasy. Psychosexual murder is a growing social reality that haunts our collective mind and fills our newspapers.

    * Young women are raped, then killed and left by the side of the road in dozens of cities.

    * Children are raped then sexually mutilated and killed more frequently than they die of many diseases.

    * Ritualized sexual murder is a part of cult practices that extend beyond national or cultural boundaries.

    * Political murders in countries throughout the world are accompanied by sexual torture and mutilation more often than not.

    * Rape and killing have been inextricably linked in wars throughout history. Sexual obsession has been placed by many analysts at the root of Hitler’s need to impose death on a whole race of people.

    It’s normal

    It is not just the deviant sexual aggressor who finds killing sexy either. Research studies have shown that a substantial number of “normal” American men find televised images of killing a turn on. This is not allegorical language; they get an erection watching it.

    While they “prefer” male killing of women, it appears that any killing will do. If we accept the sexual pull of death at all, it is only a short step to accepting the sexual attraction of killing as well, for we are used to thinking of death in terms of “a kill or be killed” phenomenon.

    A men’s thing?

    Many liberal thinkers, feminists especially, assert that the connection between sex and death, or at least sex and violence is one forged only by patriarchal culture. They note that the violence component of sex-and-violence is preponderantly a male phenomenon, and is most often directed against women. They say it is a connection intentionally construed by men to keep women in a perpetual state of terror and social submission. They point to who owns sexual image making: organized crime, Madison Avenue and the religious right.

    How, feminists ask, could our popular perception of sex be otherwise than colored by masculine violence? Isn’t male violence at least as much a social/political phenomenon as a biological one? A magazine cover featuring a male nude body being put through a meat grinder (as was once the cover of a popular men’s porn magazine) is unthinkable. The thought of a female raping and strangling a series of men is nearly unimaginable. The idea of women becoming hot and wet at the sight of murder is mostly laughable.

    Women like their sex without violence

    These female analysts hail back to a civilization dominated by goddess worship, and find no evidence of sexualized violence there. They note that as women have become a larger part of the market for sexually oriented materials, pornographic magazines have reduced the emphasis on violence to reflect women’s taste.

    Female readers and viewers generally like their sex with romance rather than violence, though some measure of threat or danger to women is part of the formula of the hugely popular, gothic romance novels.

    It’s a convincing argument but there are some stress points.

    Or do they?

    A growing body of socio-psychological literature would suggest that both women and men depend upon men playing out sexual aggression and women restraining it. When women do not have men to act out their shared human aggression, women’s participation in interpersonal violence directed against their own sex appears to increase. While exact numbers are hard to come by, it does not appear that - on a percentage basis - spouse battering among lesbian couples is substantially less than among heterosexual couples.

    On the other hand, when men do not have women to act out the vulnerability and sheer kindness that is also a human instinct, they frequently take on those roles themselves. A deep tenderness toward other men appears to be as widespread among gay men as among any group of women in mixed relationships. Yet instruments of violence and torture are also so much a part of gay male paraphernalia that they have become a cultural cliche, and segregation of men into prisons appears to result in wholesale cruelty far more than in kindness.

    Women capable of violence

    Women’s capacity for institutionalized violence is irrefutable. Women, about equally with men, support the death penalty. Women, as well as men, support economic structures which require that some people go hungry so that others may have the option to glut themselves. Women, as well as men, participate in institutions which objectify whole races and classes of human beings. Women, on behalf of men, are frequently the enforcers of the very sex role limitations which bind them. Women, as well as men, have made good nazis. The feminist movement has had to confront fascist tendencies within its own ranks.

    Different conditioning or testosterone?

    Having said all that, female violence does not appear to have the explicitly sexual appeal which male violence frequently does. Yet the latest research points out that it is estrogen, not testosterone, which is linked to male aggression. This suggests that gender differences in violence exist, not because women and men are fundamentally different at the level of biology, but because they have fundamentally different identities at the level of culture.

    Physical differences with orgasm

    It is also possible that the physical experience of orgasm is a qualitatively different one for women than for men. Women spend themselves in sex, but it is not a physically depleting experience and they are quickly ready to lose themselves again. Women know the feel of post-coital emptiness, but they are not in danger of the spirit resurrecting (re-erecting) before the body does, a source of anxiety to some men, especially as the aging process slows their rebound time. So what finally is the connection between sex and death? Is it inherent in some deep design of nature or entirely shaped by culture? Is it a matter of fearful projection or authentic recognition?

    Equation valid but turned around?

    Perhaps the sex/death connection is a valid one but the equation has gotten turned around. Maybe it’s not that sex is like death, so we need to control it; but that death is like sex, so we can cease to be afraid.

    Life and death, not life or death

    Death does not need to have anything to do with killing, but we have created a culture in which we cannot know the name of death separate from a word for murder. In our minds, if our physical or psychic existence is at stake, it is necessarily a life or death situation, not a life and death one. Most sexual violence and the pornographic treatment of all the themes we have treated so far, hinge on this deeply dualistic consciousness.

    When death is denied, life is denied

    As long as death is denied, life will be denied as well. As long as death is denied, sexual imagery will be dominated by corpses and sexual exploration will consist of mechanical fumblings and violent ravings.

    Until we are comfortable with the overall fact of death, we cannot be truly at home in our skin. In fact, it’s likely that until we are genuinely excited not only by the fact of death in general, but by the inevitable approach of our own, personal death, we cannot fully know the physical
    ecstasy which is available to us.

    Far from being a patriarchal plot, the linking of orgasmic sex with death seems an inspired human intuition. It does not need to suggest some cosmic cruelty but may reflect an unfathomable kindness at the core of the universe.

    Orgasm is about death, but that death is not - or does not need to be - the result of psychic murder, nor ego suicide, nor interpersonal violence, nor anything in the realm of cruelty. It holds the possibility of both annihilating and completely transforming us; yet it is not something we can or need to protect ourselves against at all.

    Sex is how body finds it’s link to soul

    Sex can be a means through which the body presses past ego to find its soul. Yet in our culture, sexual ecstasy has become largely associated with the failure of spiritual longing and integrity rather than their natural expression. Religious leaders go to great lengths to convince their
    followers (and themselves) that flesh is a punishment for life rather than its gift. They cite the AIDS epidemic as some cosmic proof of their argument.

    Perhaps this is because they have also decided that death is the enemy of life, rather than its most faithful companion and only mode of existence.

    Death hands us sex as its child

    Death circles life and overwhelms us with a presence so infinitely vast that it is almost impossible to consider on its own terms. Perhaps that is why it hands us its child, which is sex, to teach us this mysterious way.

    Death, like sex, is without finality

    Sex is frightening, exhilarating, liberating but ultimately without finality. No matter how long we wish to postpone or prolong our orgasm, it ends almost as soon as we surrender ourselves to it. Could this not be true of death as well? We fool ours selves by thinking death is final, simply because we are changed by it.

    Sex is a chance to practice our deaths

    Orgasmic sex offers a chance to test this hypothesis and to practice our death. It invites us to “conquer” the enemy by befriending and forgiving him. It allows us to reverse the poem, “do not go gentle into that good night” and to walk with confidence and gratitude into the deaths which beckons us.

    Orgasm, that “little death” is not a threat but a promise; it is our assurance that all is well in the universe.
    Sat, Sep 25, 2010  Permanent link

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    Some random thinking perhaps... Dont be too hard on me ;-)

    There is an underlying unity to all particles that make up the matter of the universe; all these particles comprise entities, large and small, flowing in a never ceasing cycle of chaos and order. As elsewhere in the universe, this cyclic behaviour is present in our own galaxy, on our planet and in everything we do and see around us. At times the seeming chaos of our universe is noticeable—a volcanic eruption, the Aurora borealis , the flare of sunspots seen through a telescope—events that we have named and, therefore, having named, say that we “understand.” At other times, what appears to be chaos happens on such a minute scale as to be invisible; a reality elegantly illustrated in Powers of Ten, the 1968 documentary by American designers, Ray and Charles Eames.

    We seldom truly apprehend the natural order that exists in our world, even though we say we understand it not just visually, but kinaesthetically, and in our subconscious minds. Human beings have an innate need to impose order on reality; and we clamp it on reality even at the most casual levels. Who does not recall lying in the grass and seeing a rabbit, an eagle or a car in a cloud? The converse, with rare exceptions is not true: No cloud in a rabbit, an eagle or car. Yet Picasso’s four black lines on a simple white canvas is perceivable as a woman’s backside; an ordered, understandable, nameable object to be categorized.
    Our minds are programmed with a need to organize what we perceive as chaotic. They sift through what we see as disordered, and prescribe it to form conclusions about our environment, the objects in it, the spatial differences, what might be harmful, what useful, and what presents a danger. As Rudolf Arnheim wrote in his seminal work, “Entropy and Art” that:

    ‘Order is a prerequisite of survival; therefore the impulse to produce orderly arrangements is inbred by evolution… Order is a necessary condition for anything the human mind is to understand. Arrangements such as the layout of a city or building, a set of tools, a display of merchandise, the verbal exposition of facts or ideas, or a painting or piece of music are called orderly when an observer or listener can grasp their overall structure and the ramification of the structure in some detail. Order makes it possible to focus on what is alike and what is different, what belongs together and what is segregated.’

    It’s all about the Fractals, Baby

    In reality, there is not one particle in the entire universe out of place and, nothing is ever actually in a state of disorder, although we may grasp it this way. The mathematics of fractals shows that the irregularity of a coastline, as pictured on a map, is illusionary (Richardson, 1961). The coastline is as ordered as its fractal iteration of the same structure at arbitrarily small scales.
    “Fractals represent a new geometry that mirrors the universe.”
    -Benoît Mandelbrot

    It is our eyes that see a conclusion in the illusion and chaos. Our eyes relate it to our being, and inform us of an image, concept or solution. In the field of quantum mechanics, it has been theorized that an object can exist in multiple states, multiple dimensions, and multiple positions. Perhaps our view of an artwork such as this is quite ‘one dimensional’ with out the ability to reduce the image instantly with our eyes and in return, make sense of an otherwise chaotic and abstract image.

    If, we apply this quantum idea to abstract art, then no art is actually abstract, and, it is simply our limited and inferior ability to perceive form, colour and object to a degree analogous to that which we see as ordered, ‘non-chaotic’, and representational of natural form. I'd like to deconstruct so-called “abstract” art to show that while the concept was created to explain a new way of seeing to Westerners by European artists, it may be about time for it to retire.

    No such thing as ‘Abstract’

    Abstract art is as dead and as dated as its early 19th century founders. We should abandon the idea of abstract art as a representation of the surreal and take into consideration that much of what was once startling and new to our predecessors is now a quotidian reality. Three white right angle triangles on a blue canvas equal three sailboats on the sea. As simple as a child’s drawing, or a cave woman’s. Ironically, abstract art returned us to a primordial state of first sight. We can now see the players in the puzzle piece of Picasso’s “Three Musicians,”and yet today, advances in science and mathematics, astronomy and physics, hint at more than the eye can see. Perhaps, even more than the whole body can apprehend.

    Abstract art— also called non-figurative, non-objective and non-representational art—is defined as a visual language of form, colour and line to create compositions free from visual references to the world. From the Renaissance to the middle of the 19th century, Western art was built on the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. This was coupled to an earlier adherence to the principles of Classical Greek and Roman art, especially its sculpture and painting. The ideas of balance, beauty and harmony and a delight in replication, drove them to produce on the basis of a perceived reality. Abstract art, on the other hand, departs from this visible reality. It exists along a continuum— from slight variations of the representative, such as Henri Matisses’ reclining nude, to conspicuous alterations in colour and form, the works of contemporary painter Jose Parlá , to a total relinquishment of reality as seen in the compositional pieces of Piet Mondrian which seem to retain the ‘sensation’ of structure and relate directly to architecture, while being completely ‘abstract’ in nature.
    In contrast, the arts of prehistoric peoples and non-European cultures have always incorporated alternative ways of portraying visual experience that included so-called abstract elements. Indeed, African artwork so often tends to favour visual abstraction over naturalistic representation as to be one of its defining characteristics, especially in textiles and wall paintings. The nonlinear scaling of the Kuba cloths of Zaire , for example, is characterized by dynamic symmetry, one small design repeating in a much larger pattern, exactly like that found in geometric fractals.
    It was the discovery and appreciation of African, Micronesian, Native American and Asian art in the early 20th century by artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, co-creators of Cubism in 1907, that unhitched Western art from the two-century dominance of Greek and Roman humanistic ideals. Picasso said he experienced “a revelation” after seeing African art at the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadéro in Paris that same year. A 19th century Fang sculpture of a stylized, elongated face influenced two figures in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.
    Today's perception of abstract art dates to that period and evolved to what is termed pure abstractionism such as the works of well known artists Kazimir Malevich and Henri Matisse. Thus, here in the 21st century, while our eyes may consider one female face ideal and of perfect structural composition because it is perceived as the most efficient and functional structure of a face in our culture, we can equally recognize and appreciate the essence of a female in Braque’s Woman with a Guitar or in Austria’s “Venus of Willendorf,” created between 22,000 B.C. and 21,000 B.C.
    Our Westernized minds have, once again, learned to deconstruct chaotic patterns until a more definitive, orderly structure appears. This simplification of structure is an observable feature present in our perception of music as well. The arrangement of a musical piece may please our ears or annoy them because its melody sounds “unorganized,” random and chaotic, as with the many iterations of free jazz or so-called “atonal” music.
    In fact, composer Arnold Schoenberg, most often associated with atonal music, objected to the term, preferring “pan-tonal,” for the exact same reason I argue that “abstract” is a dead, useless term:

    "The word 'atonal' could only signify something entirely inconsistent with the nature of tone …to call any relation of tones atonal is just as far-fetched as it would be to designate a relation of colours aspectual or a-complementary. There is no such antithesis."
    - Arnold Schoenberg

    So, too, with ‘abstract’ art, which must of necessity be a far-fetched notion vis-à-vis colouration and form.
    Confronted with the abstract, the mind will automatically search for a recognizable pattern in an arrangement of colours or shapes until it can translate those into what it believes to be a reasonable solution for structure. Once Westerners became accustomed to abstract art, they began to be able “to see” it. They drew comparisons between “known structures,” or objects they had seen and could relate to a thought, sound, feeling or smell. A figurative work, such as William Bouguereau’s stunning figurative work entitled “Femme Au Coquillage”provides easily identifiable elements, representational of the simplest ability of our eyes and minds to see and processes of shape, colour, and meaning from our world that are familiar and comforting to our senses. This eases the challenge of questioning or understanding the works meaning or relevance. When the same figurative work is ‘abstracted’ , like Picasso’s ‘Women with Flower’, it has not necessarily lost its value as a figurative work, our eyes perhaps simply lack the ability to reconstruct the image which has, in the language of the universe, taken one step closer towards entropy. Without order, things fall apart, but when there is an excess of order and structural refinement, so-called abstract art, too, collapses.

    Entropy and Art

    The Western world’s embrace of “abstract” art was concomitant with the rise of science and its displacement of religion. Entropy is a scientific term usually associated with the amount of order, disorder and/or chaos in a thermodynamic system. But the entropy of science was quickly applied to the wrenching fin de siècle cultural changes brought on by industrialization, the rise of cities and displacement of human kind, and especially was it applied to the visual arts. The concept of entropy epitomized for many the social dislocation and degeneration that began with the end of Victorian age; it seemed the world was running down and would eventually stop.

    The nature of this new world brought new rules, new questions and most importantly, new interpretations of society. The art world, artists themselves, had unique and feasible means to explore the topics of this new cultural construct. Artists began to explore new ideas in relation to advances in technology, medicine, science, cultural theory, and philosophy and presented viewers with a new, sagacious and deconstructed view of their material world.

    A whole series of art -isms arose as a result: Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Expressionism, Futurism and the so-called “anti-arts” of Dadaism and Surrealism, all representing an evolving world on the precipice of a visual revolution.

    The shock of this new (I argue, renewed) way of seeing was deemed by many commentators as proof of an entropic universe, and the decay of “real” art. Physician and social critic, Max Nordau, went so far as to ascribe to the Impressionists an actual physical disorder in his book, Entartung (Degeneration). He thought these artists degenerates and attributed their pictorial style to nystagmus, a congenital, or acquired, rapid, oscillatory movement of the eyeball. He thought their veering away from the acceptable norm of seeing was due to nervous exhaustion brought on by modern life and technology as well as to syphilis and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics.
    Though the immediate horror of the law of entropy on human life gradually subsided when it was realized that it would take aeons before the universe collapsed upon itself, still the concept continued to play out in the arts and humanities as artists wrestled with their own mortality.
    According to Arnheim, this romance of the entropic is illustrated in two stylistic trends in abstract art: extreme simplicity and “accidental” or deliberately produced disorder.

    Simplicity can be seen in the expressiveness of pure colour in Henri Matisse’s Woman with a Hat and Landscape at Collioure and in the work of Russian painter Kazimir Malevich. Malevich’s 1913 Black Square is literally a black square on a white ground. The black square, however, was not empty—entropy—as his critics claimed. It was, Malevich said, "filled with the spirit of non-objective sensation," the areas of white in the compositions was "the free white sea" of "infinity."

    His 1918 White on White, took that infinity to the extreme with one white square neatly superimposed on another until both are nearly invisible. Malevich was fascinated by aerial photography and his elemental approach to art was much influenced by the look of aerial landscapes, a new visual environment that brought about a change in his perception.

    “Suprematism,” he said, “is the rediscovery of pure art which, in the course of time, had become obscured by the accumulation of "things."

    To this day, we continue to see this elementalism in the parallel striped canvases of Irish-American painter Sean Scully and the late Gene Davis of the Washington Colourist School.
    This would seem to be the essence of modern abstract art, removing any element of the pictorial and relying solely on the empathic feel of colour. Yet the Aboriginal artists of Australia have been painting this way for thousands of years and contemporary artists like Gloria Petyarre continue that tradition. So are the Aboriginals artists devolving into entropy and chaos, or did Western artists rediscover their radical “abstract” beginnings?
    Arnheim contrasts the pure colour simplicity of a Malevich or Matisse with that of the “found art” of Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Jean Arp, etc., and the “action painting” of Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and others. These groups, he wrote

    in Entropy and Art, cultivated “accidental or deliberately produced disorder , a predilection that can be traced back to compositions of randomly gathered subject matter in Dutch still life, untidy scenes of social criticism in the generation of Hogarth, groups of unrelated individuals in French genre scenes of the nineteenth century, and so on.”

    Far from random, however, these artists carefully selected, arranged, posed and structured the disorder with talent and imagination. The splashes, sprays of paint, crumbled metal, constructions or arrangements are controlled by the artist's sense of visual order, which may or may not become apparent to a viewer, depending on his/her perceptual ability. Even the laws of chance that seem to underlie the paint dribbles and streaks are misleading. Pollack, for example, carefully observed his work, attempting to balance colour and texture, adding, layering. What may initially appear chaotic in Pollack is no more so than would be a picture of the Crab Nebula.

    Pollack’s work shows a painterly economy that, if the viewer will let the work do its work, presents a balanced, even meditative sense. The redundancy of drizzles and their arrangement does not lessen the aesthetic experience.

    Thus, a viewer would not see a procession of identical human figures on the walls of the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy, as redundant because their mass seems

    appropriate and representative of a religious gathering. Pollack’s paint splashes and Andy Warhol’s silk-screen compositions of rows and rows of the same image may seem puzzling and meaningless at first, a mere visual patterning, without some reference to mechanistic modern life and the cult of celebrity.

    Deciphering the Visual Code

    Abstract art often presents the viewer with the difficult challenge of deciphering the visual code of a work and relating its meaning in the mind. Similar to a complex arrangement of sounds, this does not necessarily mean that no formative pattern exists, or that there is an absence of meaning in the work, perhaps our eyes simply haven’t evolved enough to transmit the signal to our brains and our brains lack the same evolutionary comprehension.

    If we focus our attention away from ourselves as the ‘ultimate deciders’ of reason and order, and assume for a second that we might actually lack, at the present stage in our evolution, the ability to think differently about structure and arrangement, because our sense organs constantly betray us, then perhaps it can be postulated that it is we, human beings, who may not be as capable of understanding the complexities of order as we believe. For example, we are still unable to see all of the colours in the light spectrum, and that light plays a critical role in our visual perception of objects, without which we loose our ability to see.

    Perhaps our minds have evolved unbeknownst to us? Is it not completely plausible that Cubism, where the subject is altered but obviously taken from our environment, is simply the mind’s evolved way of depicting the chaotic structural complexities of beings and particle interactions?

    We need a new set of descriptors for this new century—a new generation and a new way of considering our perceptions of the world. It seems so very natural for a person to assume that evolution was something that happened a long time ago when man went from the ape-like (homo-erectus) to human beings (homo-sapien).

    Why do we not take into account that the ever changing chaos of the universe allows for the continuation of time itself, and that this inevitably influences our genes and perceptions of that which we create; an idea that may serve to potentiate our own evolution
    Chaos is fundamental in the universe and is a necessary element of time and the evolution of change. Order and abstraction are the two adverse elements that teeter on the fulcrum of chaos. Abstraction of an image creates chaos in our minds and makes understanding an object reasonably more challenging, yet not impossible.

    As Malevich declared: “Art can advance and develop for art's sake alone, regardless of its pleasure: Art does not need us, and it never did.”

    One hardly knows where to stand or how to look when one takes this approach to art. Faced with Pollack’s squiggles and Malevich's off-centre squares, one may not even know which end is up. But that may be more a human limitation, the tension between our desire for balance and order, than a limitation in the art.

    Abstract Art Abstracted

    Certain artists have directly confronted the tension between balance and chaos in art, arguing that, as the world goes global and technology speeds us faster, art should reflect the destructiveness of the world humans have created. Artists should use traditional art techniques or collaborate with scientists and engineers, even Nature itself, to create art that mirrors the pace and displacement of life in our modern world.
    Just as certain island cultures build temporary shelters in which to mark the arrival of spring, then watch as the surf bears them away, so too this art is constructed for a single occasion or allowed to fall apart over time, the experience of the structure or the deterioration open to the unique, individual interpretation of the viewer.

    The pictorial and the abstract are completely abandoned for the experiential.
    Gustav Metzger is a principle proponent of this kind of art, though he sees his works as a cry against the heartlessness of capitalism. As such, Metzger’s art focuses on the relationship between creation and destruction as in his 21 upended willows in Flailing Trees, a statement about the environment.

    Metzger developed what he calls his ‘highly political Auto-Destructive Art’ and the ‘Art Strikes’ movement to address the destructive drives in both capitalism and the art market economy. Each of his works of art contains the seeds of its own destruction, or is destroyed by its creator. One of his intentions was aggressively playful, with the intention of creating finite works of art that were unable to be marketed and sold as commodities.
    In his manifesto, “Auto-Destructive Art,” issued in November, 1959, Metzger explained his art this way:

    "Auto-destructive art is primarily a form of public art for industrial societies.
    Self-destructive painting, sculpture and construction is a total unity of idea, site, form, colour, method and timing of the disintegrative process.
    Auto-destructive art can be created with natural forces, traditional art techniques and technological techniques.
    The amplified sound of the auto-destructive process can be an element of the total conception.
    The artist may collaborate with scientists, engineers.
    Self-destructive art can be machine produced and factory assembled.
    Auto-destructive paintings, sculptures and constructions have a life time varying from a few moments to twenty years. When the disintegrative process is complete the work is to be removed from the site and scrapped."

    Metzger is often seen as the precursor of the installation artists of the 1970s but one could argue that Kurt Schwitters is the originator and Metzger the progenitor because Schwitters constructed The Merzbau in his house in Hanover, Germany, in 1933.

    Installations, whether they work inside or in the great outdoors, play with conceptions of space by transforming interiors and exteriors with constructions, sound, video, performances, digital and the internet. Installation art tries to address all the senses, to wrap the viewer in a holistic experience. It may be abstract like Metzger’s video work , "Liquid Crystals" , or as familiar as rain, as in the work "Rain" , by American artist Stacee Kalmanosky, consistent of clear plastic beads on fishing line.

    Such art narrows the space between the art and the viewer, breaks through the fourth wall so to speak, in such a way as to offer a virtual reality without the computer simulation, a 3-D experience without the glasses, a reach beyond human physical limitations until we evolve to the point where we can experience art in every dimension the artist explored in the arts creation. It is what gives graphic computer games their popularity and the thrill experienced in a CGI movie like Avatar. We humans want to experience more of our environment, more of our world, more of our psyche. Humans are infinite on the molecular level, but we’re still finite on the bodily, subject to entropy and endings until our species takes the next evolutionary leap. Will it be science and implants that will allow us to view art in a new way? Will we need to breed a physically different species as described by the science fiction writer Octavia Butler in her novel, Wildseed?

    Until then, we can take the words of Andre Malraux in kind, who once said:

    'In a world in which everything is subject to the passing of time, art alone is both subject to time and yet victorious over it'.

    The Forces that Be, an application of the unified theory

    The basis of these observed principals of balance and forces present and acting in and upon planet Earth and in the universe came the discovery of unified forces. These, singular ‘contact forces’ were a result of combined principles in different fields and produced such unified theories as gravity and electromagnetism. We could paint our world as a very colourful place, full of diversity and uniqueness or perhaps say ‘Planet Earth is full of homo- sapiens who share many common physical traits, thoughts, and ideas’. However, if we apply a unified theory to our species, homo sapiens, combined with all of the other organisms on earth, and then combine those with the forces reacting upon the earth, and even further, with the forces present in the universe, we end at a rather singular point: That all matter is one particle, comprised of many particles of matter combined with multiple reactions acting upon that matter, ‘clothed’ in a shell of more matter. As we go farther and farther down the chain of particles from the singular to the unquantifiable, one could note the trend of gradual ‘inferiority’ which when speaking of our species defines why we may lack the ability to actually see all of these forces and particles in action and, thus, inhibiting our ability to realize the past present and future as a single moment and eliminate any ‘uncertainty’ as the French philosopher, astronomer and statistical genius, Pierre-Simon Laplace hypothesized.

    Laplace suggested that it is quite possible that an intellectual who possessed enough mental stamina could potentially see all of time existing in one common moment. He stated:

    “An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit this data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.

    When one takes into consideration a multi-dimensional universe where a ‘dimension’ can consist of an abstract idea, or thoughts and not of the three-dimensional world which we see before our eyes daily, then we can begin to understand the idea of eventual evolution to a state of possessing the abilities to see the past, present and future simultaneously.

    During our current age, humans may never be able to see this state of present and future as Laplace describes. We simply lack the tools in which to do so physically. Mentally, it may someday be possible if we simply lack the physical tools to know at this present time in our existence?

    It could be said that enough chaos has simply not ensued yet in our world. If chaos can be quantified and we take into consideration that all things in someway strive to reach a state of entropy and order and those things can be seen as forces as well, then does that not mean that chaos, the erratic behavior of all of the particles in the universe occurring amidst the order must too reach a level of entropy before evolution can occur?

    With these ideas in mind, one can argue that there truly are no ‘abstract’ works of art in existence and the same could be said for ‘conceptual’ works of art. It can be argued that to bestow a title of ‘abstract’ or ‘conceptual’ simply ignores all possible limitations we posses in our abilities to ‘see the thought’ that is the work when we visualize it in idea form, solid state and comprised of multiple particles with high entropy and low-dimensional complexity; the work of art existing as an extension of the artist who created it on a different plane , but more specifically, an extension of the artists thought and the way the artist’s brain processes information, a process considered uniquely dependent upon the individual.

    Let us consider the bold, black and white tachismic works’ of Pierre Soulages that with this principal applied would, when hung say, side by side with a figurative painting by de Goya in the National Gallery, produce little or no reaction amongst viewers . It could also be said that there is a strong connection between this idea of a definitive abstract human visual state and the thought of a more complex thought and mind-based state.

    Life becomes simple once we realize there is a point to it.

    In no way am I stating that this case would be ineffectual to viewers, or that shock or confusion might not be created in this scenario, but, I am speaking on the theoretical grounds that when we apply a new method of seeing an image of abstraction, and take into consideration forces which, like gravity, were once a mystery and then factor in our own potential physical and mental limitations for viewing, then we can begin to question if there is such a thing as abstract art or if it is an idea, simply dated.

    The ideal work of art which strives to truly communicate to the viewer would employ the use of all or most of the human senses. This can truly connect the viewer directly with the artist as many abstract works are indeed an idea, feeling and circumstance, “abstracted”. These methodologies require the employment of all of the human senses in order to make up for what people may not have yet evolved to see.
    If the universe follows a chaotic pattern which makes it a universe of probability vs determinism, then art, being contained and interconnected in that universe is inevitably, unpredictable and chaotic. But no matter how much one abstracts an image of the human form, we can take for example Merleau-Ponty’s idea of interconnectedness and environment reactivity to say that while our eyes may not grasp the work and all its meaning, we must take into account the art as an object itself in an environment, as say a painting vs. a drawing.

    If we look at Malraux’s view of art as a transcendent object where the subject speaks to us in a non- verbal manner and through that we understand it, then we can look at the work as more closely related to particle theory and many forces coming together to create one force a force that serves a purpose, we may not understand its connection and function as of yet, but we will eventually. Just like gravity. An assumption can be made that at the moment because it engages our visual cortex, sometimes our physical, then we can say it is related to all things, but mostly language as language, written is visual or physical (Braille).

    So what does the potential to deconstruct an artwork mean in all this? Can we “tidy up” art works in order to achieve entropy? The Swiss artist, Ursus Wehril , seems to think so. He takes various paintings and ‘organizes’ their matter based on colour, shape or content.

    Although this takes the task of viewing to a new level of simplicity, it still fails to take us to another ‘dimension’ in understanding the work, its substance or even its creator.
    One need not step very far outside of our own planets galaxy in order to witness the bewildering and remarkable beauty of the universe. Elegant particles erupting from the nuclei of dying stars, black holes, the ‘smoking guns’ of the universe, devouring the fabric of time in a sea of celestial matter nestled within the infinite darkness of space.
    What is it about space and time that denies us our ability to describe it with any accuracy or at best a mediocre appropriation of words? Perhaps it’s chaotic and volatile nature, or the mystery of its beginning? Maybe it is our elementary language that fails us. Or perhaps our species has not evolved enough to see its boisterous elegance? No matter how organized the universe may appear in our minds, or how ‘tidied’ a painting is, there still remains a vital lack of information. So where is it?

    "How would a creature limited to two dimensions be able to grasp the possibility of a third?”
    – The Triangle

    The novel "Flatland", an imaginative, delightful novel about the inhabitants of a two dimensional world. A. Square, the narrator of the tale, journeys through lands of no dimension, one dimension, and three dimensions, and learns not only the differences in terms of geometry and mathematics, but also of the social order and the class hierarchy. Through his journey, A. Square becomes convinced of other, yet undiscovered dimensions, but when he attempts to teach his countrymen of such concepts, he is imprisoned. First published in 1884, "Flatland" still holds a charming place in literature, both as an instructional guide to dimensional spaces as well as a barbed, harsh, satiric narrative of the social structure of Victorian society.

    We tend to see art on a canvas in a two dimensional way when describing the visual process. Although the objects may be portrayed on the canvas in a three dimensional world, our viewing of the work happens in a different dimensional space, one inclusive of both the 2D, 3D, and the 4D. The process of our ‘looking’ at the work creates a mental 5th dimension of thought and relationship to the objects we are seeing, but we still may fail in deciphering the visual code and piecing together a mental 6th dimension of deconstruction solely based on the inferiority of human vision.
    In superstring theory, which describes all of the particles and forces of nature as vibrating, supersymetric ‘strings’ it is suggested that there are multiple ‘compacted’ dimensions which may take the form of a 6 dimensional shape known in mathematics as a Calabi-Yau manifold,

    so named for the two mathematicians who discovered it, Eugenio Calabi and Shing-Tung Yau.
    This shape which is described as being in constant motion on points on a plane as the dimensions sit on vibrating strings and continuously fold in on themselves may contain a key to understanding the secrets of how extra dimensional space may effect our ability to reconstruct scattered, ‘abstracted’ visual data. To understand how these extra dimensions work we can examine an example provided in the research document ‘Black holes
    and the existence of extra dimensions’, by Rosemarie Aben, Milenna van Dijk, and Nanne Louw. Which gives an excellent example on how to visualize multi dimensional space:

    “The 2-dimensional surface looks 1-dimensional when its radius is small. For the dancer, the surface is small and she sees it as a one-dimensional rope. However, the ant is small compared to the rope and it sees it as a 2-dimensional surface. That is why for us we do not see the branes , their radius is much smaller than the world we live in.”

    In relation to an abstract painting, if we were to stand back and observe the work from a distance of say 5metres, we would only be able to see the 3 dimensions that directly relate to the ability of our eyes and are, at that moment unaware of others which exist on a smaller scale. If we were to posses the power to view the painting from let’s say, the perspective of a microbe, we would potentially be able to see the way the work was constructed, the technique used to construct it, from what angle it was formed by the artist etc. In this sense, the work becomes not just an object in a 3D space, it is now an entirely different world, and therefore has an entirely different meaning, a meaning of which may make it possible for us to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.

    Form, and in return, we can no longer apply a passive abstract label to it.

    A Means to all Ends

    The future is upon us, and a change in our perception is a necessary attribute for a new visual language. Can we really say that there is no abstract art if everything can be tidied up and if we would eventually posses the power to see more dimensions?
    With the new sciences of the future—nano-science, DNA manipulation, interplanetary travel, we may discover new ways of seeing and new ways of uncovering the truth in abstract artworks. If one endeavours to explore modern day theories on mental health issues etc, they can also provide us a basis for understanding that we, as a race, may only begin to grasp. Although our technology is advancing, the social climate is changing with every new generation, and our willingness to absorb this new technology is far greater than that of those living in the 1950’s we still seem to grasp to old notions of describing art. Why not revise our definitions now with the knowledge that there is a vast, undiscovered universe that surrounds us? With the knowledge that there exists common patterns and order in everything from coastlines to the clothes on our backs we can begin to rest assured that we will soon discover the power of the natural order and the unity of particles and while we may not fully understand the actions of the universe, we can begin to assimilate our relationship to it and what that implies for the future.
    Our ‘everyday’ world, the people and things we see before us are perhaps seen in an unfortunately limited dimension of life and existence at this time. This is not however an inescapable fact, or one that cannot change in an instant. When you visit a gallery and stare hard a work of art, move closer to it and begin to visualize the ultra- microscopic world it harbours, then there becomes a need for the eyes and mind to evolve to understand and to improve. The thought of, as the quantum physicist, Steven Hawking stated, “Our Universe in a Nutshell”, is indeed a truly amazing idea and one that houses infinite possibilities. If we begin to see a work of abstract art, or any art for that matter as it’s own mysterious entity, as its own ‘universe in a nutshell’ we can begin to see a new dimension in art; one born of the intriguing, and often times misunderstood human mind, and with a new desire, new knowledge, and a new ‘need’, the evolution of the human mind and body may very well begin at this very moment in time.

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