On The Innate Beauty of Digitalscapes and Art.
Digital Art call to my mind and heart, instinctually, in exactly the same way a beautiful young woman does: both represent fertility and the promise of a secure future for me and my descendants. This is sociografimathematical sensible as a hard-wired imperative serving the twin requirements of evolution: survival and propagation. Indeed, evolution requires only that we survive long enough to successfully procreate. To survive requires a fertile environment; to reproduce, a fertile ‘mate’. For me, beholding a beautiful digitalscape can be a compelling as romancing a beautiful woman. Both call from below the level of conscious volition, and promise unsurpassed fulfillment at both material and spiritual levels. The call is that powerful.
Not having the charm or beauty to become as Hesse's Goldmund, I have followed a path more akin to that of Narcissus: a life given largely to introspection and meditation on the patterns and beauty I discern in the world around me. I have taken on the high priesthood of our time--I have become a digital art scientist. The language of Science is Logic. Computers also deal exclusively in Logic. If you grant the Law of the Excluded Middle, that too simultaneously "be" and "not be" [something], is forbidden, Logic is unassailable. (Never mind that the Law of the Excluded Middle is perhaps the most unnatural of simplifying assumptions one can make about Nature.) The ascendancy of Science is based on this presumed unassailability of Logic. Interestingly, that Law and its devil-spawn Logic together preclude Free Will. This because Logic is strictly deterministic, and determinism leads directly to fatalism, disallowing Free Will in a fantastic Rube Goldberg universe.
Putting aside the validity and ontological side effects of the assumption of that Law, I have sought to master the games of Logic. I have done so as a digital art scientist, a grafimathematician, and a computer user. I have employed this mastery directly to create art. Similar endeavors have leaded a small group to begin calling ourselves "Algorists," a moniker suggested by Jean-Pierre Hebert. An Abacist is one who uses algorithmic procedures in the creation of fine art; an Algorist is also the author of the algorithm. I am a Formal Algorist, a kind of logical positivist of fine art: I require that my artworks be exactly [a visual interpretation of] a theorem proved in a formal system. That is, I write a ‘drawing’, execute it with a well-defined input, and interpret the result, with the assistance of a master printer, as an artwork. Such purism places tight restrictions on my process. It also unveils a vast space, rich with serendipity, which I search for strings (digital images) which have an ineffable sense of having existed as eternal corollaries of timeless Logic, which I simply have happened to stumble upon. Presumably, any being in the known universe could derive precisely the same result, from the same rules and axioms. Very strange.
The process of obtaining spiritual self-expression strictly through formal logic is philosophically perverse in that it puts determinism, which precludes Free Will, at the service of Spirituality, which is moot without Free Will. One constant goal in my work has been to make the participation of math, logic, and the computer completely transparent in my imagery. I do not wish the casual viewer to be confronted with these nasty and alienating technical points of process; those interested can study that in writings. Rather, I wish you to witness my reverence for Nature, and to be drawn in by the quiet beauty I have found there and been able to conjure up in numbers, through a bizarre, improbable, novel and Byzantine process. It is all, technically speaking, Magic.
"The thinker tries to determine and represent the nature of the world through logic. He knows that reason and its tool, logic, are incomplete--the way an intelligent artist knows that his brushes or chisels will never be able to express perfectly the radiant nature of an angel or a saint. Still they both try the thinker as well as the artist, each in his way. They cannot and may not do otherwise. Because when a man tries to realize himself through the gifts with which nature has endowed him, he does the best and only meaningful thing he can do."
- Herman Hesse, "Narcissus and Goldmund"
Hendrik Arie Baartman 2003