Thursday, March 29, 2007

BushWick Farms Presents

This seemed quiet interesting to some of the ideas that have been cropping up in the workshop:

Bushwick Farms is an endeavor interested in blurring the boundaries between art and life. Cuthbert and Solzberg's process is multi-faceted and manifests itself in diverse forms. Incorporating mediums such as performance art, photography, video, interactive installation and constructed mythologies, they attempt to make their conceptual narrative real.

Read more here:
Tarpaulin Sky

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Getting the ball rolling

Here is something I found interesting on the Mediasquatters group and I personally see implications within it relating some of the subjects we have been/are discussing, at least in terms of considering poetics (in whichever form you choose to take them. I prefer lozenge).

Exploring the Roots of Reason

One of my earliest memories of questioning more than just the dictates
of family was sitting in church at about ten years old and vaguely
wondering what purpose all that ritual really served. At that age the
idea of God seemed so transcendent and religion only served to obscure
and trivialize it. After several decades of trying to make sense of
this world, it seems to me as though life is like an onion. You peel
away every layer and finally there is nothing left. We distill away
everything that seems transitory about life, searching for some hard
little nugget of meaning and when we are done, have so little to show
for it. The problem isn't life, the problem is the idea of meaning.
Life is dynamic and holistic. Meaning is static and reductionistic.
Thought is linear, reality is not. As an organ, the brain evolved for
navigation and survival, so it tends to concentrate on the problems.
How do we escape the obsessions of our mortality and see through the
walls of our own bubble?

To begin with, there are two errors at the base of modern logic. The
first is that geometry never fully incorporated the zero. Consider that
points, lines and planes supposedly have a zero dimension. Well, 1x0=0.
What they really have is a virtual dimension, not zero dimension. While
a point can presumably be dimensionless, it is still a specific point
of reference. The real zero for geometry would be empty space. It is
the potential for any point, not a specific one. Also, three dimensions
are the coordinate system of the point these lines cross, not space
itself. Any number of coordinate systems, starting from any point, can
be used to define the same space. You might say the Israelis and the
Arabs use different coordinate systems to define the same land.

The other issue concerns the nature of time. For one thing, time has
two directions. The observer goes from past events to future events. On
the other hand, these events go from being in the future to being in
the past. To the hands of the clock, the face is going
counterclockwise. The three dimensional frame of reference is not
moving along an additional dimension. This subjective coordinate
system is interacting with other such frames. To quote Newton, "For
every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

If we were to build a clock-like device to characterize non-linear
motion, say of molecules in water, or people in a crowd, it would have
many hands, going in both directions and the cumulative action would
cancel out in a general equilibrium. With the concept of time, most of
these hands are combined into the face, with a few going in one
direction as coordinates for the reference point. Time is a linear
component of motion, not the basis for it.

The unit of time goes from beginning to end, but the process of time
is going toward the beginning of the next, leaving the old. The hour on
the clock starts in the future and the hand passes from its beginning
to its end and then moves on to the next, leaving the previous hour in
the past. Days go from dawn to dusk, as the sun moves from east to
west, but it is the earth that is rotating west to east and the
sunlight is moving through the time zones. Consider a factory. The
product moves from start to finish, but the production line is facing
the other way, consuming raw material and expelling finished product.
This relationship of the process and the unit is one of perspective. A
unit at one level is a process at another and vice versa. What matters
to the process isn't so much the end product, as it is the energy
produced, in wages and profits, calories burned, etc, that propels the
process forward, consuming more material.

Our individual lives are units of time going from birth to death, while
the process of living goes on to the next generation, shedding the old
like dead skin. As life has purpose, rather then meaning, the
relationship of the individual life to the larger organism is like that
of a sentence to the story. The end is punctuation, rather then
destination, as we are connected at both ends and the middle.

The reason time appears as a series of instants is because most motion
is effectively at the speed of light and our mind is a process of
consuming information and creating conceptual units, called thoughts,
otherwise everything would be a blur.

Reality consists of energy recording information. As the amount of
energy remains the same, old information is erased as new is recorded.
Objective reality is the energy. Time is a function of the subjective
information, as past and future do not physically exist because the
energy to manifest them is currently tied up in the present. If another
moment were to exist, it would require its own energy and so would not
be on a continuum with our reality.

Time is not so much a projection out from the present event, as it is
a coming together of factors to define what is present. The past being
those influences which define current order and the future is
determined by the energy to motivate that order. Evolution is when
order is an open set and absorbs fresh energy, defining it and adapting
to it, so that the future is a continuation of the past. Revolution is
when order is a closed set, so the energy accumulates elsewhere and the
future becomes a reaction to the past. While the past informs us, it
also recedes at a rapid rate.

One definition of the arrow of time is that of decreasing usable
energy and increasing entropy in a closed system. Keep in mind though,
that a "closed system" is a unit and these processes are the aging of
this unit. This relationship of the unit and the process is the basic
model that the field of Complexity Theory(www.santafe. edu) has examined
in great detail, with top down ordering in a bottom up chaotic
environment. Such as the corporate unit in the context of capitalism.
It is the individual and the ecosystem. The reason the bottom up
context is logically chaotic is that its parameters cannot be defined,
or it would become a unit in the next level of context.

Even though we have come to understand there is no preferred frame of
reference, when we define reality as three dimensional space, with the
linear graph of motion as a fourth dimension, we are using the
perspective of the generic point as the basis for explaining reality,
but a more objective description requires understanding how many such
points interact. How should we go about considering objective reality,
when the very concept of perspective implies a point of reference? Our
fundamental process of thought is inherently reductionistic and linear,
so how do we reconcile it with a reality that is neither? It is through
the stacking relationships of unit and process. Temperature is how we
conceive of non-linear motion. It is a statistical measure that begins
to lose meaning at the molecular level, as individual molecules are
moving along particular trajectories and at specific velocities. At the
human level, government statistics are a form of temperature reading of
economic activity. To the individual, motion is experienced as the
linear procession of events, thus our assumption that time is the basis
of motion, but to the larger group there is no preferred frame of
reference. It is the concept of temperature, the level of activity and
energy, that describes non-linear motion.

As politics is the process of organizing and refereeing competing
perspectives, it has more in common with the mass motion of temperature
then the linear motion of time. While particular movements have their
own historical perspective, consideration of the past and concern for
the future don't resonate across a fractured and fractious political

Most of human evolution was as members of a group and this, more then
the individual, provided the frame of perspective. As people became
ever more aware of their own individuality, the group perspective
became the basis for the concept of God, to which the evolution of
language embellished and attached narrative structure. As groups
intermingled and otherwise interacted with the environment, this
mythological structure grew and evolved, while the basic sense of being
part of some larger entity remained. The result being these convoluted
religious institutions, which people then focus on the aspects of that
have particular resonance.

While the religious institution is ordered from the top(God) down, it
has evolved from the bottom up, much like the human psyche is based on
those elementary childhood experiences, no matter how subjective and
particular they might be. The reason that even religion has evolved
from the bottom up is that the absolute, that universal state of
equilibrium, is basis, not apex. It is the element out of which
structure rises, not the plan by which it is formed. The principles
which define form are as much compilations of more basic principles as
the matter they shape is complex interactions of more basic elements.
So the spiritual absolute is not a model of perfection from which we
have fallen, but the essence of being and awareness out of which we

The institutional description of God focuses on the quality of
intelligence, rather then of basic awareness. This has an important
political consequence because it validates the top down structure. We
have developed any number of other such structures. They have an
organizing purpose and principle to maintain their viability in the
chaos of the larger environment, be it the external defense of
territory, or the internal provision for the needs of those within it,
whether families or nations. In the process of developing this unitary
structure, it is easy to overlook the dualistic nature of the forces at
work, between the top down order and bottom up process, so that
frequently those governing this entity abrogate all rights but their
own. Much of human history has been the story of reconciling this top
down authority with the organic society it seeks to control. These
forces are reconciled within our own civil organization by the fact
that the republic is a top down structure, while democracy is a bottom
up process.

Atheism tends to have the same top down bias, with the assumption that
awareness is a property of mental processes and only really emergent in
humanity. This prejudice doesn't explain the motivational instincts of
all biological organisms. There are two mysteries, life and
consciousness. It seems logical that the roots of awareness extend to
the very base of biology and these two are one mystery. Awareness is
the organizing principle of the central nervous system, rather then a
property of it. Knowledge is the subjective ordering system, which we
project, like four dimensional spacetime, on reality. Good and bad are
not a dual between the forces of light and darkness, but the biological
binary code. The intellect rises out of emotion when good/bad becomes
yes/no. For the process, they are relative. What is good for the fox,
is bad for the chicken. For the individual, they could well be
absolute, at least to the chicken.

While we are possessed of and motivated by this singular sense of
being, the world which we are conscious of is one of contrasts,
good/bad, yes/no, positive/negative, light/dark, up/down, left/right,
inside/outside, male/female, past/future, unit/process,
individual/group, absolute/infinite, order/chaos, expanding
energy/collapsing mass, cats/dogs, etcetcetc... Even the absolute, as
universal equilibrium, is both everything and nothing, as in absolute
zero. Then there are the connections, the colors of the spectrum, the
complexities of nature and life and society, the neurons of the brain,
observer and observation, attraction as well as repulsion and all the
other forces holding it together, but not too together. This is because
it is all those contrasts and conflicts that give weight and shape to
reality. Without all these natural tensions, it would be just a flat
line on the heart monitor. Sometimes they do tear everything apart, but
often they mesh together in some larger whole.

There is a time in one's life when the father goes from being the model
one follows, to the foundation one rises from. I think humanity is
simply at that stage.

John Brodix Merryman Jr.