Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Mistake -> Next Content

Narratives are interesting because as we go through life, we're always looking for navigational strategies... how do we move from what we're doing to what to do next?

Narratives, and (with language) syntax, and (with painting) edges, and (with music) modal and rhythmic modulations--these are all models for how we can change our lives. They let us sample the feel of the change before we try them. 

And so we look at the form and map it, and the map becomes the cognitive model--as well as the model in sensory memory--and we use the hints from those internalized maps to navigate the now time.

Of course, acting in the world isn't entirely a matter of conscious choice. Even navigating using such models isn't necessarily conscious, any more than a syntactical map is conscious, or our reaction to a sensory stimulus.

Art working provides an opportunity to consciously examine media for models of action that we can use outside of those media. 

In his 1970's book Beyond Modern Sculpture, Jack Burnham wrote about a goal of art being to make a model of what it is to be human. He noted that there had been a change in how that was handled, moving from an image/icon of a human, to a model that acted in the manner of a human. There was a shift, for a while at least, from picture of to art-as-process. This certainly extended to areas of robotics, and to algorithms.

I'd like to postulate an art-making  model derived in part from Burnham's text. It's this:
The artist models what it is to be human. The artist, through experiencing the piece and its reception in the world, finds a part of the model that didn't work. That mistake becomes the subject of the next piece.

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