Friday, May 29, 2009

Killing Art

Chestnut Rau and Soror Nishi wrote interesting posts recently on the relative place and relationship of art, artist, narrative and viewer. I think "art" is killed or at least mortally wounded by being tied down and fixed to a single dimension. Trying to set constrained and rule-based definitions serves reason, but chokes the life out of the essential mystery at the heart of the creative impulse.

I often think of Botgirl as an ongoing work of performance art or interactive fiction. But there's more going on. Many writers have described characters in their work who begin to take on a life of their own. The writer has an idea that a character will do one thing, but the character "pushes back" and demands a different course of action. I've found that living with a fictional virtual identity often creates the same feeling.

I can write as Human for a moment. And then Botgirl can jump in with an entirely different affect and perspective. Funny that our human identities take so much credit for just about everything in life. Much of what humans think they do is actually humans being done by some deeper force.
My father said, "What were you doing?" And he (Edgar Bergen) said, Hi I was talking with Charlie. He's the wisest person I know." And my father said, "But that's your mind; that your voice coming through that wooden creature." And Ed said, "Well, I guess it ultimately is, but I ask Charlie these questions and he answers, and I haven't the faintest idea what he's going to say and I'm astounded by his brilliance–so much more than I know." from Channeling by Jon Klimo


Bettina Tizzy said...

I read this with special interest because I am finally getting around to creating some guidelines for what *I* consider to be Not Possible IRL (NPIRL) content. It is hardly a manifesto, but if I don't get this out soon I will go mad. Will that kill art? Gawd, I hope not. I am but a ripple in the hiccup of the anemone on the chin of the jellyfish at Glyph Graves' latest.

Botgirl Questi said...

I was thinking that too much attention to fixed rules and definitions can cut us off (for a time) from the internal fountain of creativity. Of course, we always work within the constraints of a particular medium, our current skill level, externally imposed guidelines, etc. And to carry over the analogy, giving the water flowing from the fountain a nice constrained container to work within is a necessity to form the formless into form.

I guess this post was more of a mini-rant, than a well-considered philosophical statement, and food for thought rather than even a conclusive proclamation. :)

Entropy Hax said...

Am enjoying Botgirls's thought-provoking tweets. Felt compelled to put forward my opinion that art and creativity is a function of the brain and no more mysterious than anything else we do.

The idea that one's creation can almost become a separate consciousness is fascinating. It reminds of something the evolutionary psychologist, Steven Pinker wrote about the theory that a mind is like an onion. Layers of self-deception with a core of knowing. (Pinker postulates that the core does not exist!)

I prefer to think of the mind in terms of the merged networks of brain units, each adapted to help in different situations and brain states. The characters we create are free use a different set than would be our norm.

sororNishi said...

someone said to me recently that even setting out to create "art" will doom the project immediately..... an interesting idea.

...I was reminded of that video you posted on being visited by genius.....your virtual personna is more open to genius being slightly less conscious/more anachistic

As a confirmed Jung fan, I would say that our unconscious is obviously autonomous as it is beyond our control (rules) and is the source of creativity, being the mother of consciousness...

Botgirl Questi said...

Entropy: I don't have clue as to what's "really" going in. There are many very smart and self-aware people who hold different opinions on the question of self/no-self.

Without changing name or even a glimmer of differing self-identity, people can be very different from day-to-day, even moment-to-moment. I think that one of the great opportunities of virtual identity is that it affords a parallel framework that exposes internal processes that are active, but hidden to most people in "ordinary" life.

I don't know where I got the phrase, but I use "state bound consciousness" to label what you described in your last paragraph.

soror: So true...if something is not under our conscious direction it is autonomous. But that is also true of a beating heart, no? That doesn't necessarily imply consciousness. I suspect the vast majority of what we experience as our own "free will"is just reflexive thoughts and feelings kicked up by the interaction of brain, body and environment.