Image: mind field, Tullio Francesco DeSantis, digitized drawing, 01/30/2008
The New Art of Living: How to learn, be, and do everything
Part One: Sense and Sensorium
Consciousness exists as a total-surround, total-immersion sensorium.
Our senses deliver continuous perception of the outer world, our bodies, thoughts, and feelings.
Because the brain is continuously filtering out unnecessary experience and working to keep us focused on whatever conscious activity we are engaged in at any moment, it is more exact to state that we inhabit a mentally constructed model of the world. That is, we do not experience the world directly. A self-created virtual reality simulacrum is the only kind of reality we can experience at all.
Think of it this way…
Imagine walking down the street within a transparent egg-shaped membrane that, if we could see it, might resemble a portable 3D IMAX Dome which delivers sights, sounds, tastes, smells, thoughts, feelings – our entire sense of ourselves in space and inside of our bodies.
Although it takes some practice to see or feel the usefulness – or even the sense – of this metaphor, it turns out to be an essential tool in this “New Art of Living” we will be practicing in future installments of ARTology.
A distinction between what is “real” and what is “artificial” is one that can not be reliably drawn. In this sense, what is art and what is real are seen to be exactly the same. Similarly, the distinction between “reality” and “virtual reality” fades to a non sequitur.
These relationships become increasingly significant as we work to unravel the effects of mass media upon our consciousness and upon our lives. Rather than media being a secondary sort of reality that may safely be kept at arms length while we go about our lives attending to some imagined “primary” reality, by its very nature, media – as a simulacrum – has a powerfully invasive effect upon our perception. It is impossible to tell the difference between a cleverly crafted virtual experience and a so-called “real” one.*Gaining mastery over the ways in which we model our experience (and the ways in which it is modeled for us) allows us to create real change. What more is needed for us to learn, be, and do anything than to develop skills for creating new ways to experience the world and ourselves within it? This is what The New Art of Living is about – the fine art of reinventing ourselves.
Image: yes, Tullio Francesco DeSantis, digitized drawing, 01/19/2008
ARTology and Everything Astute ARTology readers comment that in its own curious way, this blog addresses the significant philosophical questions of human existence – sometimes explicitly and quite often implicitly, as a matter of course. This has to do with the fact that the question of art (or more precisely creative action and apprehension) inquires as to how something comes to exist in a situation where previously there was nothing of the sort. In other words, the creative act is an instance of creatio ex nihilo and, as such, a discussion of how art comes into being is a subset or superset of the philosophical question of how anything – or everything – comes into being. At this point we are thoroughly involved in the philosophical questions of human existence. Examining the past one-hundred and seventy-seven entries here, it becomes apparent that the philosophical thrust of ARTology is a cyclical endeavor. The questions of how things come into being and how individuals can learn to execute creative action and apprehension are initially laid out. Subsequently, several dozen entries examine the territory from various perspectives, such as pure speculation, prima facie works of art – in which I conjure up something material and conceptual related to the subjects at hand, examples from the history of art and civilization, ways in which the issues are dealt with in various exhibitions of art and cultural phenomena, lessons gleaned from methodologies I employ in my classes on art, and some things from my students’ experiences as well. * This year, I’ll focus more explicitly on addressing things in a systematic way – at least at first. And the reason for this is I am constructing something of a specific curriculum, in which my visual and conceptual art, writing, teaching, blogging, podcasting, and performing will be more consciously focused. As always, in addition to my students, astute readers, listeners, and viewers of ARTology, ARTologyPOD, YouTube, iTunes, and other venues will be able to continue commenting, providing feedback, and actually co-creating this eminently aesthetic endeavor of which I feel very privileged to be a part.