Sun, Sep 12, 2010
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Painters of Europa
Project: Polytopia
The first people to live on the sixth moon of Jupiter were the painters of Europa. They followed a tradition where every brushstroke must align with, what they called, the "natural direction" of the depicted. That is, when a Juropean artist painted grass the brushstrokes must begin near the ground and move towards the sky. The painter's hand must recapitulate the growth of the blade of grass, or the fall of a meteorite.

Whether or not the grass was green or purple was of no matter. This tradition was not a naturalism but a priority of acceleration. No doubt born as the full thrust of a rocket's engines was felt pressing down on the collective chests of the first painters to travel to Jupiter.

Today, we use the local name Juropean for the first colony on Europa, they themselves called themselves Europans as does the second and successful colony today which has almost no connection with the artists' colony.

Once this school of embodied art had grown large enough to be called a colony rather than a base or station, it split. The line of fracture took the form of a dispute within the stricture of "natural direction." Indeed so strongly did they all remain committed to this arbitrary aesthetic the argument itself was mostly hypothetical. It was all talk.

If, it was asked, one was painting upside down, should the brushstrokes move upward from the point of view of the painter or still be guided by the local gravity. That is, was 'up' for grass blades defined relatively, by the artist's inner ear, or absolutely, by the artist's environment.

In Juropean society these two sides, the POVians and the Gravians became mired in the tribal groupings that many co-operative projects tend to split into, eventually. They were just another Red and Blue split. The usual historical context for these differences that flare up into conflict, even in old imperial capitals like Byzantium, are the old economies of scarcity and want that at least makes them understandable, if not forgivable.

Of course to us such disputes appear silly, and their passions alienating. It has become the classic example used by us to reflect poorly on the early transhuman intensive societies, because this first colony on Jupiter's moon Europa failed, violently and meaninglessly. We see their failure as our success.

For where, like the Juropeans, a society lives in a economy of post-scarcity, our judgement is more condemning, and our story-telling becomes more fabulous. We are good because they are bad.

"They lacked for nothing, they only lacked lack, and still they fought a civil war over the directions of brushstrokes, brushstrokes, and in a gravity of 0.134 Gee!"

Sun, Sep 12, 2010  Permanent link
Categories: singularity fiction, transhuman condition
Sent to project: Polytopia
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Wildcat     Wed, Sep 15, 2010  Permanent link
brilliant! "We are good because they are bad." unfortunate.. :-(