Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Interpretations and Art

So about the things I've left out: the Murmur Poetry reading, the Murmur reading group, and the art I bought at the Essex Galleries.

Last things first. Emily gave me permission to blog about her art, and so I shall. I've yet to put a watermark on it, so for now I'll just describe it and say the stuff I wanted to say about it. Its a black ink drawing of a female figure with bright water-colory brush strokes in the background. The figure has her eyes closed and a look of serenety on her face. Her arms are streched gracefully down to her side and outwards, reminding me of a dancer; they're also ghostly transparent-white, visible only in contrast to the colors in the background. One of her legs is drawn as if captured in motion with three separate positions, again making me think of a gracefull dancer (and the one DaVinci drawing). And a key aspect in its impact on me: the bones of the arms and legs are drawn as if seen with an x-ray machine, but none of the other bones are shown.

So that whats I see visually. What I see metaphorically is this: recognition and comfortableness with the seemingly-dual nature of humanity as a "spiritual being" (ie: mental, having cognition and self) , yet emerging from and having its foundation in a machine (albeit a very fancily evolved biological one). Where does that interpretation come from? The bones and the guides drawn around them look schematic, as if in a purposeful engineering drawing. In parallel, the figure (having this mechanical foundation) moves with human grace, and her face subtly speaks of internal peacefulness and enlightenment.

Now, whether any of this interpretation was intended conciously or otherwise in Emily's mind while she was creating it, I daren't guess. But I've heard art spoken of as a dialouge, where meaning is created both by the artist and the viewer, and this peice of work spurs in me thoughts of transhumanism and extropism. So I've got it hung in my living room between my two giant sunburst panels and above my books, and I think the combined effect is very pleasing and inspiring.

So: The Murmur Reading Group on Sunday. Matt and I rode our bikes there. First real extended physical exertion I've had in a long time; hard but fun. We read Hoffstadter's "Person Paper" upon my suggestion, anad it spurred a couple good hours of talk on sexism and racism, humor and its role in argument, serious satire and its effectiveness, sexuality, and so forth. Very good discussion, though Matt's feedback was that talking in great depth about cognitive science might be a little far afeild in the setting.

And finishing up the twisted chronology; Micha's poetry reading at Murmur on Friday. It was really, really good. I've never been to such a thing, and I'm not well studied in poetry, so I had this image of the "culture of poetry" being some elietist ediface where outsiders would feel uncomfortable. It was quite the contrary; there was a very warm, community feeling about the whole event, and I really enjoyed the readings. There were five poets alltogether, a great cross-selection of styles and subjects. It went from beautiful fantastical imagry, to musings of great conceptual depth, to cleverly delivered humor with subtle twists, to ominous and dark brooding, to epic life-spanning reflections. It felt very positive, and I get the feeling that life has been breathed into the idea and that it will flourish.

Matt's poetry was performed and received really well. You can read some of it here:
I'd link to the other poet's sites, but I dont have them. If you're on here, hit me up with a link!

So in reflection overall: I feel like my life is gaining alot of richness by interacting with creative, tallented, thoughtful people.

Closing thoughts: I need to finish up Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies so that I can lend it to Steve Peterson, as he's interested in studying AI and was intriuged when I told him a little about the ideas and architecturs in the book. Good book, by the way; it has a very satisfying level of depth and substance, but is written in a manner that accessible to interested and intelligent people who are outsiders to the archana of programming. Thus I think it makes for good interdisciplinary study, and perhaps is a good example of a useful style to adopt when writing for that purpose.

Also, I've decided to make a concious effort to improve the "Topology of the web" by linking as many things as possible in each post to relevant outside sources. It occured to me that this practice has the effect both of potentially increasing the relevance (and therefore traffic) of the things I'm interested in, and also my own site (where I talk about the things I'm interested in), thus potentially creating a feedback loop. Of course, the critical mass require to have such an effect is nearly unfathomable, but one can dream.

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