ONTOLOGY

 

If “mind” is our mode of being, then my work requires some examination of ontology.  Our conscious experience is characterized by finitude and a set of subtle ways in which our finitude remains hidden from us.  We can “hold” very little in our minds at once.  I’m not being mystical here but clinical, building on the work of decades of cognitive scientific research.  My works rely on this finitude and use it to achieve artistic impact.  My work is designed to fit within and between the cracks of the structure of the working mind.  It knows our limitations and how we process data, and seeks to use this knowledge to create a new kind of artistic experience.  One that is synesthetic – relying on the tensions and balances of data we choose to synchronize on a schedule we find impactful.

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My current work uses two primary “channels” – static visual data and dynamic sound.  My works are designed to allow or cause you to dance between the two channels, to contextualize the sound with the image and the image with the sound.  In this, its structure most closely resembles pre-Socratic Greek drama — particularly the strophe and the antistrophe of the Greek chorus.  I think of the sound as the antistrophe of the image, an idea I’ve explored in greater detail here.  The return to the Greeks is not accidental.  As Havelock and Ong have convinced me, the Greeks are historically unique in leaving a dense, thoughtful record of the transition between a primarily oral culture and a literate one.  They are, one might say, the pure strain of conscious experience, not because they were in any way superior to cultures or people in our own time, but because for them it was all new.  They witnessed and thought deeply about the transition between sound and sight, between a culture based on a spoken eternal now and the timeless culture represented by literacy and static visual and plastic arts.  Like Heidegger clearly saw, if you’re going to understand being, you’re going to have to go back to the Pre-Socratics and work your way forward.

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