THE CYCLE OF COMPLETION
On Friday the thirteenth, a full moon in Pisces, the project appeared to me, as if in a vision, in marvelous fullness. On the same day I completed the anomalous, synonymous painting (posted above). It occurred to me immediately to record the event in as much detail as possible, for multiple reasons. First, I am prone to forgetfulness, at my age and due to the damage inflicted upon my faculties over the duration of my life. Second, so that, should I suffer an untimely demise, my proposal might be enacted, albeit in its progressive fragments. Thirdly, to bring forth a discourse on the nature of artistic production, which to my mind is ever valuable and necessary. Although there are additional justifications for setting the dream in a document available, these several are fine to begin.
The model for Cycle of Completion draws from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which I have claimed in the past to be a singular precursor for contemporary 4D art production. Multidisciplinary, multimedia, with an inherent flexibility for location, the Ring represents a creative production capacity that has proven durable over time. Key elements include the libretto, the reanimation of myth, and open-ended creative technology, among others.
The text for Cycle of Completion consists of multi-layered narratives. A foundation for the story derives from Thing (There Is No Such Thing), in the context of within which we have The Matterhorn Project, Time for the 4D Art Thing, and other relevant 4D aesthetic treatises, which I have authored specifically for Cycle of Completion. The primary set of writings meshes with (1) contextual pieces, many of which are integrated with visual proofs; (2) commentary on current events; and (3) poems. A special category of signature statements that apply to Cycle of Completion can be drawn from extended narratives initially composed for exhibition materials, packages and publications.
The painting series constitute the focal body for third party consideration in The Cycle of Completion. To date, I have finished the first two phases of paintings (Network & WorkNet), and am working on the third (Currents, Flow + Reproduction). Complementary to the paintings, I have imagined a full array of dimensionist art. One can review my CV to get a sense of the type of work to which I refer: music, poetry, film, video, expressive performance (dance, theatrical vignettes, conceptual movement + more), net.art and technology-based creativity, printmaking, photography, sculpture. At this point, I have fairly defined programs in each of the listed media attaching to my vision for Cycle of Completion. The question of collaboration is open.
Cycle of Completion, as an enterprise, is framed as Venture Aesthetics, a term I have co-opted from Eli and Edythe Broad and re-purposed. The premise of production is speculative. On a practical level, the proposition for CoC is imaginary. I am an artist for whose idea the cultural infrastructure does not sufficiently apply. I take comfort in the assurances of artists of the past who lived in similar circumstances.
Intention is a neat instrument in the hands of an artist. One’s knowing the stakes of doing something does not necessarily translate into clarity of meaning vis-à-vis art materialization. The critical discourse as such has enjoyed its heyday by exploiting holes in the thinking of painters and sculptors. The Cycle of Completion illustrates a maximal divergence from the parodic practice typical in the past century of aesthetics, art theory and critique. The liberation of painting from critical diagnosis, politics, nomination, numeracy, identification, economics, and a host of destructive qualifiers is posed as a contrary operation in CoC. The image itself is rejected and in its non-place the original is apparent, minus comment. Realism is dissolved through the representation of the abstract. The Real is the Thing, and nothing else is required for the viewer to engage. Beyond the first encounter, or impression, I have infused the CoC paintings with a rich and dynamic thesis, which will be available in a media platform for distribution. The platform is itself mapped in the paintings, to establish a formal reciprocity that concurs with gift economy. The sophistication of the proposed system for conveyance is standard for informatics now. The extent to which the project presents itself as completion is governed by the will (motivation) of those for whom the art is created. My art is for humans.
Network, WorkNet and Currents, Flow + Reproduction series all focus on aspects of digital technologies, their intersection with analog tech, social media, wired consciousness and electronic ubiquity. The art confronts received definitions of being and becoming in this Age of Uncertainty. Civilization as is enforced on the global to local scale blurs the states of doing with extraction and exploitation schemes that are by design nearly unavoidable. Naive notions about complicity are vested in complex structures that span virtual and actual zones. The subversion of discernment among realities generates negating causality. An action creates nothing, a kind of no-thing possessing metadata, form, language and the ability to (be) reproduce(d) ad infinitum. Existence for such a creature is a function of machining, and intelligence may be assigned to its functionality. Reducing all awareness to counting is the basic program, a program for which art is no different from any other code. My art is not for computers. The moral conundrum hidden in the matrix? Does any artistic exchange between the actual art and any virtuality assure the demotion of art into the static Master-Slave regime present in all computerization? The Cycle of Completion puts the problem behind me, and offers a template for the workaround. Ultimately, art must encompass adaptation.
THE FLOW OF VESSELS
The pageantry of the maritime exists in tension with the mortal danger to the mariner posed by the sea. The turbulence of coastal waters where the Pacific meets the Columbia River is legendary. Those who navigate these shores have ready a litany of tales of seamen engulfed by storm and surf. The memories of those who sail and fish are traded and stored among the community who live one life ashore and another out there. Nostalgia and romanticism for the seafarer’s ways are countered by the raw and squalid crisis of the marooned… Along the shore the wreckage of small craft and ships gnarled among the jutting massive stones and foam. Visionaries wander among the boulders seeing faces in the shadows, hearing voices in the wind. In pools and eddies, life burgeons, trapped until the tides once more erase the boundaries separating each node from the whole. Fabulous creatures sparkle like jewels in the shallows, hinting at the wonders of the depths… The Captain and his Crew prepare the Ministry of Heaven for their voyage over the horizon. The hull, the gear, their outer wear and their eyes reflect the sharp grays, blues and greens swirling and boiling around them, in the morning fog…
THE SPIDER KINGDOM
The Season of Webs descends upon the village. The villagers complain incessantly, swat at skittering arachnids, which occupy every nook, cranny, dart from hiding place to hiding place, crawl over every exposed surface and set their traps to span in the interstices in the topology. Old Man Claddich on his way to the market walks between the berry bushes by Mrs. Swindle’s tiny lavender house, into a garden spider’s lovely shimmering web. “Crotchety” Claddich spins flailing his limbs in odd, jerky circular movements, swiping the silky, sticky web remnants from his grizzled, distorted face, brushing at his garments. Regaining his composure, and his shambling course, the fellow curses the eight-legged buggers and their mischief, not noticing the huddle of bairns on the Needler’s porch tittering at the geezer’s madcap arachnid-induced frolicking jig… In the Cave of White Whispers, the Spider clan gathers for their autumn festival. The Trickster Games are slated as always to commence with the rise of the Wolf’s Eye Moon at its fullest. The weavers will gather and choose among the finest designs, both traditional and contemporary. The costumes for the Spider’s terrifying mating ceremonies are draped on stones and outcrops in the silvery darkness. All one hears is barely discernible, harsh lisping language and ticks, clicks and chitters of the Spiders as they dash about in the grim shadows…
Salmon and Bear clans come together to name the Hero and the Maiden. Sea Lion and Wolf clans meet to name the Trapper, the Hunter and the Fisher. The many people who inhabit the Standing clan territory trade wood, herbs, mushrooms, squash, berries and fruit and many other seasonal delights with the Eagle clan, which distributes it all within the Tribe of Aellin, with the assistance of the Confederation of Winged Folk. Crow manages the market, and many of the informal exchanges along the river, into the woodlands and even some mountain communities. Elk is chief of the hunts, slaughter and feasts… Throughout the year the people meet for sings, celebrations, ceremonies, contests and entertainments. The races and the gambling circles are the most popular. The flavor of the event depends on which clan plays host. Storytelling and trade are consistent features of any gathering, no matter the size. The elders of all participating clans govern the proceedings through direct communication in the common tongue, hand signs and a great variety of formal and informal measures. The Whale and Dolphin clans serve as intermediaries and messengers, the Crab and Oyster clans as guardians and witnesses…
The enormous span marks the edge of the living world, and the gateway to the world of the dead. The bridge is called Melliesh-an now, but it has had many names, none of which have been adequate. One ceremony attaching to it is a one-day dream and meditation, the Prai-ah. The Prai-ah is performed only when no other ritual is slated on the day before or after the Prai-ah. An experienced visionary will attempt one perhaps once or twice in a lifetime. Recovery from the effects of Prai-ah can be prolonged. The season dictates the specifics of the ceremony. A disciplined dreamer will collaborate with several guides, usually clan elders who have undertaken the Prai-ah themselves. Preparations are complicated, extending to the relatives of the dreamer and those providing assistance. Activity in the affected villages ceases for the duration. The people have learned over time it is best to be under cover during Prai-ah. A powerful dream can stir all manner of entities, including the nesting dragons in the area. Madness can visit the exposed being, while the Prai-ah dreamer is singing. Children between in the Second Cycle are particularly vulnerable to malevolence in the dark hours of Prai-ah. The matrons of each clan spend the period baking berry cakes quietly, humming old story songs in unison with other aunties. No fisherman dares venture into the water, for fear of monsters summoned by the power the Prai-ah evokes…
Windblasted ivory white over centuries, the column Wyal-oh juts into the sky on a high hill overlooking Melliesh-an. The Sorcerer Gimly opened its pinnacle, and since then the column has served as a launcher for forays into Cloudland and beyond. Each generation the Column-keep is chosen from the boys of the Beaver and Raccoon clans. The Column-keep regalia is a beautiful fur robe, a striped tail and a black mask. Keepers possess qualities that do not appear at first to be well-suited to a perfunctory role at the portal. It is only when one begins to understand the two-way nature of Wyal-oh that the confusing identity of the Column-keep begins to make sense. The legendary Column-keep Braishe, who during his tenure single-handedly staved off an invasion of winged Nenel-nakz, in a gallant display of steady courage, cleverness and fast reaction. The famous Braishe Twitch is reenacted at both Beaver and Raccoon festivals in one of the Tribe’s most hilarious and riveting ballets. The Wyal-oh Shoot is another fun and entertaining collective activity conducted with hollow tubes, fire dust and pumpkins at the Harvest Whinchin, definitely a favorite of boys and old men…
I find it immensely curious that the Creative Design campaign and movement, to convert evolutionism more or less into a Biblical framework, has been normalized through serial media practices. Fictional myth as a commercial project is celebrated, and its most notable celebrities (the Game of Thrones concept team for instance) are granted social status that rivals 20th Century Hollywood studio producers and auteur directors - with a nod to scriptwriters and cinematographers. At stake is consumption of the Sacred, and the invention of Imagination. The medium has arrived as a formal convention driven by creative monopolies that contain management solutions, distribution networks, sophisticated data extractive schemes that operate mostly invisibly, and an economy that surpasses the material- or natural resource-based economies of the past. The term Plastic Arts should be re-examined within context of the phenomenon and its era. I have no idea what sort of institution currently is equipped to further such an analysis, and project the findings into mass circulation. Potential dynamic change agents (Institute of Network Cultures, Eyebeam, Rhizome come to mind) are not supported sufficiently and in a manner that translates into global awareness shifting Monopoly Corporate Media has much to lose by ceding its dominant marketing position to a de-centralized critical network. Even the most mature organizations, such as those I listed, I would argue emerge from ideology that hampers their 99% reach. However, reformation of the status quo media regimes is absolutely an attainable goal. The abolition of the most egregious abuses could be achieved practically overnight, simply by disenfranchising the media robber class and its corporate/political machine, through regulation and taxation. Genius technologists like Jaron Lanier who helped build the model we know today, have recognized its evil and impact on human society, have stepped forward with mea culpas and programs that eventually could straighten out the absurdly crooked system embedded now. The Universe I envision containing The Cycle of Completion belongs in the aftermath of a successful conversion to a sustainable (four dimensional) design for living, one which stipulates Data Dignity as an a priori condition.