Image: “00000111” – 2013 – Tullio
Monthly Archives: February 2013
Art and life are a welter of continuous perception, imagery, interrelationship, and the creation of new experience. Like the complex water waves among swimmers, interactions of perception, emotion, and cognition – shared experiences – reverberate and fill the spaces of our lives.
We are aware of the saturation of our cultural environment, by virtue of a continuous stream of information and aesthetic sensation speeding through the electronic networks of the contemporary world. Our inner lives, as well – our very neurons – are equally subsumed, bathed in the reflected knowledge of each other’s minds and hearts.
We are interconnected and our experiences are shared. The worlds we inhabit are of our creation. We imagine them, and proceed to create them. Inhabiting and experiencing these virtual environments, which in turn become our new reality. We evolve within it. And we evolve together.
I received these images recently, from my friend, the art collector and designer, Deborah Schmidt. They depict two pieces of my work from the early 1990s in her collection – a black-and-white painting and painted globe. I was so happy to hear from her again after many years and happy as well to see the work so well cared for and appreciated. This allowed me to recall its creation, public exhibition, and our entangled lives.
It can be revelatory to encounter one’s work in the world at large. This experience was brought home for me again, with the recent death of friend and collaborator, Pery Burge. She leaves behind a magnificent collection of the continuously inspiring work she loved to do. She leaves behind, also, the work we were doing together. This work continues to be shared with the world. In this way, even our collaboration continues.
It is a wondrous and wonderful thing to create one’s purest aesthetic experiences to live on in the minds, hearts, and lives of others in the real world – the one we create together.
Black-and-white painting and painted globe by Tullio DeSantis, in the collection of Deborah Schmidt.
Early last year, artist Pery Burge and I initiated a collaborative effort combining the text and audio pieces I was working on with the multicolor images of fluid flow she was creating as artist-in-residence in the Thermofluids Lab in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences of the University of Exeter in the UK.
We created a trilogy that presents an aesthetic interpretation of scientific knowledge describing the birth and evolution of the material universe and the origin and evolution of life on Earth. Presented sequentially, “Cosmology,” “Astronomy,” and “Biology” span the 13.7 billion years separating now from the Big Bang.
Here is a version of “Biology” with on-screen text.
Pery and I went on to create a series of music videos and were working on several new ones, when she took ill. Her death this week is a great loss, but she was a gifted artist, and left the world a richer place. Among the many amazing creative things she did, she brought my words and music to life.
Last year, I had the great experience of working on a series of multimedia works with Pery Burge, during her artist residency at the Thermofluids Lab in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences of the University of Exeter in the UK. Working collaboratively and sharing files over the Net, we created a trilogy and several versions of four additional pieces, composed of my words and music and Pery’s chromatic fluid-flow videos. It was with great sadness I learned of her death earlier this week.
Here are four of our recent music videos:
“Knowing” – a Multimedia Collaboration by Pery Burge and Tullio DeSantis
“Being” – a Multimedia Collaboration by Pery Burge and Tullio DeSantis
“Cosmological” – a Multimedia Collaboration by Pery Burge and Tullio DeSantis
“Antumbral” – a Multimedia Collaboration by Pery Burge and Tullio DeSantis
Here are links to the three videos in the trilogy:
Pery was an inspired and inspiring artist. Her work is full of light and life.
All works are ©2012 Tullio DeSantis and Pery Burge
In the simulacrum
We are information mist
interconnected electron streams
swirling intelligent whirlpools
interstellar dust storms
imagining what is possible
sensing it all now outside of ourselves
Knowing what all the nodes of the network know
we inhabit the illusory life of a self among others
as if we are separate
and do not know
we are submerged
immersed in matter
in outer space
Image: “00000110″ – Tullio DeSantis – 2013
We are actively engaged in creating the world we experience.
Acts of perception are, in many ways, acts of creation. In perception, as much, and often more, information flows from within us than the total amount of information entering our senses. Our brains reconstruct aspects of previous experience, which are assessed to be present, so as to expend resources attending to what is supposed to be novel perception.
We create culture as a kind of virtualized simulacrum of our experience, and we proceed to inhabit the cultural spaces we have created. It is that culture, so created, which changes us in deep ways, as it requires us to perform to more and more exacting requirements. These cultural requirements for particular perceptions, behaviors, and cognitive states, are communicated via rapidly evolving memes. By virtue of technologies of digital reproduction, memes propagate at Internet speeds and we become – ever more rapidly – more and more alike.
We change the environments in which we live and those environments, in turn, change us. The curious feedback processes involved in an organism which is shaping its environment changes the interactions it will have and in so doing changes itself – amount to a kind of neurological/environmental solipsism. We become ever more virtualized versions of ourselves. And, as maps must contain less information than their territories, irretrievable aspects of our selves are lost.
Because we inhabit the technology and culture we create, we become creatures adapted to those creations. This raises the stakes in terms of the significance of the quality of the content we program into our technological culture. We become more and more programmed by the programs we attend to.
The choices are often framed as ethical ones. The problem with ethical choice-making is that it requires a shared ontology. Instead, given the lack of agreement regarding ontological questions, questions of content can be seen as aesthetic questions, which require less or no ontological underpinnings.
Aesthetic questions are more than matters of taste, they are matters of teleology. Aesthetic decisions influence what we perceive, how we behave, and exactly who we will be. We are programmed by our programs.
Image: “00000100i – self-programmed” – Tullio – 2013