Institutional Myth in Contemporary Art

I’ve spent a lot of time in & around the New York visual art scene the past few years, and it’s been a very strange & uncanny & informative experience. A lot of the preference falsification and undead prestige cultures of, say, academia, or science, or politics are in play, but here the emperor can… Continue reading Institutional Myth in Contemporary Art

Re-engineering “taste”

One way I've found it helpful to think about "culture" in a more manageable scale is through the metaphor of an unending variety show, with many theaters and stages (think music festivals—GovBall, Coachella). This neverending show presents a class of problems to any audience member attempting to grok an act, or to any act attempting… Continue reading Re-engineering “taste”

Predictive Hermeneutics

A preprint of "A Bayesian hermeneutic" — the cogsci paper Thomas Rutten & I worked on last summer in Mexico City — is available at Research Gate here. It aims to introduce a new subfield of hermeneutics we term "predictive hermeneutics." In layman's terms, we argue that contemporary art (fr. modernism to conceptualism & beyond)… Continue reading Predictive Hermeneutics

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

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

Generic Fit

“This makes the pop song an indispensable mirror: The way in which a listener imposes himself upon the text, or transforms the text from generic to specific, shows that listener something about himself. He learns his yearnings, his sadnesses, his loves; he recognizes an emotional life which is otherwise elusive, and solidifies in time an emotional state… Continue reading Generic Fit