Abstraction & Processing

The art historian Jack Flam (2014) refers to this aspect of abstraction as “a new claim on truth.” By dismantling perspective, abstract art requires our brain to come up with a new logic of bottom-up processing. The work of Mondrian relies heavily on the brain’s early steps in processing objects, steps that depend on line… Continue reading Abstraction & Processing

The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark

The New Yorker finally got around to predictive processing with Larissa MacFarquhar's profile of Andy Clark. Clark is the author of Surfing Uncertainty, the premier book on the subject. Perception did not, then, simply work from the bottom up; it worked first from the top down. What you saw was not just a signal from the eye,… Continue reading The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark

Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling

Visual art — representational imagery — begins somewhere between fifty and one-hundred thousand years ago, overlapping with the Upper Paleolithic Transition. The period consists of rapid gains in tool technologies alongside the beginnings of modern symbolic thought, with human societies developing currency systems, dispersed social organizations, and increasingly sophisticated religious belief. To Alva Nöe, writing… Continue reading Predictive Processing & Art as Cognitive Remodeling

Art vs. Design, a follow-up

Pictured above, the Krebs Cycle of Creativity, just to toss another conceptual carving into the mix. * My post from earlier this week, "Art as the Antithesis of Design," received a fair amount of pushback. Eli Schiff: You reduce design and art into caricatures in the latest essay. Suspended Reason: I might agree, but can you expand… Continue reading Art vs. Design, a follow-up

Art as the Antithesis of Design

From the footnotes of an upcoming piece examining predictive processing and Alva Nöe's 2015 work on aesthetics, Strange Tools: Nöe makes [his] argument through exclusion: art practices which are not interrogative, which do not challenge existing structures and practices are not, technically speaking, art. Pop songs, to Nöe, aren't musical art, they're a first-level human practice (or “organized activity”)… Continue reading Art as the Antithesis of Design

Effect Ideas and Close Encounters

Gabriel Duquette of Liposuction has raised a number of objections to my insertion of effect-ideas into his maps/chords dualism. Either effect-ideas are not real, he argues, or they are not significant. They are trivial in that they are wildly personal, unpredictable, and unengineerable. Read rather than written into texts, they are the creations of readers… Continue reading Effect Ideas and Close Encounters

A Possibility for Artistic “Meaning”

Interested in literary or artistic "meaning" as the sum of all infinite interrelationships between a work of art/literature and the equally infinite set of all data points which exist both inside the work and out in the world. These data points include, but are not limited to, the composition of society in its entirety, both… Continue reading A Possibility for Artistic “Meaning”

Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas

  "A dramatic presentation should be an act of initiation during which the spectator will be awed and even terrified... During that experience of terror or frenzy... the spectator will be in a position to understand a new set of truths, superhuman in quality." (Wallace Fowlie on Artaud's "Theater of Cruelty") Gabe Duquette, writing at… Continue reading Maps, Chords, and Effect Ideas

Excerpts from Alva Nöe’s Strange Tools

"Tools are useful only against the background of our needs and capacities. Let’s return to the doorknob. A simple bit of technology, yes, but one that presupposes a vast and remarkable social background. Doorknobs exist in the context of a whole form of life, a whole biology—the existence of doors, and buildings, and passages, the… Continue reading Excerpts from Alva Nöe’s Strange Tools

Intro to Cargocult

In the Second World War, Allied troops airdropped massive amounts of food, weaponry, and supplies onto the Melanesian islands as part of their island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. To the islanders, isolated from industrialization, the wealth and abundance of these drops were interpreted within a mystical, quasi-religious framework. When the war ended, and the airlifts dwindled… Continue reading Intro to Cargocult