Artworks Are Non-Deterministic Attractors in Imagination Space - Part 1/3

My earlier essay A Definition of Art suggested a theoretical yet statistically verifiable definition for the term "Artwork". The impracticality arises from the fact that the true (non-approximate) version of that definition depends on knowing the theoretical "Taste of God" - so it is also a deistic definition. The statistical side of the definition arose from approximating this opinion with the opinion of numerous Humans, who might carry a partial divine light within.

In this essay, I intend to give a non-deistic definition of an Artwork. However, some certain mechanisms of it are mysterious enough to possibly still require a "divine light" to act. At the moment, my definition is still hazy to me, and this essay is only a sketch of a potentially deeper theory yet to unfold.

As mentioned in my other essay, once the concept of an "Artwork" is defined, "Art" is simply the set of all Artworks, and an "Artist" is someone capable of making an "Artwork".

Here we will assume the pre-existence of an "inspiration" or primary impulse producing a "vision" which the rest of the creation process follows in an approximate manner. The end result may in fact significantly deviate from the preconcieved vision. (Note that I prefer unaided artistic visions.)

To begin the definition, first we will define "Taste". Let Taste be a finite set of contractive transformations (mathematical functions in the sense of Iterated Function Systems), which each transform a perceivable object into another, in one step. Define an "impulse" as a specific contractive transformation of Taste.

Note that here "perception" is that of any conscious being (whatever consciousness means), not necessarily a Human, and the object may be visual, written, auditory, or other. What "contractive" means, is unclear to me at this point, but it certainly means that in an abstract space (not mere 3D), a certain mathematical measure (abstract volume) of the Artwork gets smaller due to the transformation. This abstract measure could be beauty, ugliness, dynamism, etc. depending on the impulse's given function in the abstract space. Let that abstract space be called (Collective Human) Imagination, and let the transformations of Taste (impulses) be operators over that space.

The impulses likely have two main classes: creative and corrective. Creative impulses bring new elements into the object, while corrective impulses merely modify the object, or its certain part(s). The new elements could be the overall composition, color and tone patches, new note in a musical score, etc.

A crucial question is how impulses act in time. Do they act one after the other, or in a parallel manner? In the second case, which is implied by Human brains being parallel processors, the impulses create a multilayered flow of creation, which nevertheless has a finite number of layers, as many as the impulses. Since for instance if there are ten acting impulses, each of them act sequentially by themselves, creating an individual sequence. So ten parallel sequences will make up the flow of creation. In the first case, there is only one sequence of impulses, where each sequence element is due to one random impulse.

How do impulses acting in parallel create a new object as a whole? Each individually produces a result, but how do the results get combined? Possibly via a weighted average of the individual results, or by a simple set union, or there may be one additional complex "master impulse" directing their combination.

What is the nature of the transformations? Are they genetically ingrained, learned over time, or inspired by a divine light? Possibly their biology have components due to each. This is the mysterious, potentially deistic point in my new definition. Impulses certainly have an evaluating element of the object under transformation, and they produce a result based on the evaluation.

Impulses may not be deterministic, due to the fact that the Human brain is non-deterministic to an extent. In practice this means that Humans have "opinions" that may change - in other words for the same input, the brain produces a different output at a later time. The actions of impulses may vary similarly to some extent, based on probabilistic factors due to hormonal, emotional, etc. changes in brain chemistry, or for other reasons, at any moment.

We have now arrived at defining an Artwork. The initial object which is acted upon by the impulses, could be anything. Visually it may be a blank canvas or a heap of trash. Define an "iteration" to be one acting step - when the impulses act in parallel to transform the object into a new stage (some impulses may skip acting in an iteration), while combined via a master impulse.

Thus the impulses transform the object iteration by iteration, acting upon the previous result in a recursive manner. Since impulses were defined as contractive in the abstract space of Imagination, we thus have a contractive Iterated Function System (IFS) which by the Banach fixed point theorem has one unique fixed point, as the iterations tend to infinity. Let this fixed point / attractor be called an "Artwork".

Continued in Part 2/3: Artworks as Attractors in Practice.

Artworks as Attractors in Practice - Part 2/3

Continued from Part 1/3: Artworks Are Non-Deterministic Attractors in Imagination Space.

During the creative process, how does one know if they have arrived close enough to creating an Artwork (after many iterations)? The solution is trivial and in agreement with what an artist instinctively does: one must apply their Taste to transform the object, until an application results in no further improvement. In other words, Taste produces the same object after any new iteration. This is also a sign that Artworks are indeed fixed points of an artist's Taste.

Individual observers may test if something is a good candidate for being an Artwork, by applying their own Taste to it, and if their Taste is universal enough (close enough to some ultimate Taste, possibly that of God) and the artist's is universal enough as well, then they should arrive at the creating artist's conclusion, that the piece indeed cannot be improved (within its own theme and context). Note that there must likely exist an ultimate High Taste, as also conjectured in my essay A Definition of Art.

Let's discuss our new definition and the above in practice, regarding Human visual artworks. When someone looks at an object, say a piece of stone, they may see certain parts which seem out of place by their Taste, so they wish to "fix" it by chiseling that part. When they again look at the stone (evaluate it with their Taste), they may find another part to correct, and so on. Someone with a very refined Taste (an Artist) would likely continue on for many-many iterations, to "perfect" the stone to their liking (Taste). The iterations may follow one another in the split of a second, making the process look continuous. When a painter paints, s/he is able to bring new creative elements in and modify the existing ones (by their impulses of Taste). Thus iteration by iteration they get closer and closer to a fixed point, or Artwork, which theoretically is impossible to improve, thus they reach a fixed point (an attractor).

Note that the iterations may start before the physical object is created/transformed in reality, since the Artist may create in advance, or in "imagination", before actually acting on their creative impulses. The creative act is usually the result of a mysterious "inspiration". Imagining in advance, may serve the purpose of coming up with alternative results over some iterations, projecting creation into the future, and picking and taking the most desirable route.

From the definition, it also follows that it is impossible in practice to create an Artwork, since an infinite number of iterations are necessary to reach one. We can only go down the infinite sequence of iterations to a very large number, and if one's impulses are "acute" enough, the process should be efficient and practical enough to arrive at a near-Artwork.

Note that in this definition "Artwork" is analgous to "true Artwork", and "near-Artwork" to "high Artwork", as defined in my previous essay. "Low Artwork" would correspond to a low iteration number, thus an object not sufficiently refined by the iterations of Taste impulses.

My definition is again in full agreement with Michelangelo, who said:
"The true work of Art, is but a shadow of the Divine Perfection."
For we may only reach a finite number of iterations (a shadow), from the infinite number necessary to create an Artwork (divine perfection). So "visual value" or the quality of an artwork, is really just the level of refinement due to the number of iterations carried out by the Artist according to their Taste.

The above also sheds light on certain aspects of visual creation. One is that artists tend to create from sketchy to refined forms, the refining taking place in smaller and smaller regions - just as IFS fractals appear (which are also attractors in 2D space, not Imagination space). It also shows why imagination in its freest form contains so many spirals, since they are basic fractals/attractors themselves. Impulses creating IFS fractals are simple mathematical mappings, which in words state: "rotating, transposing, and contracting an object will make them 'look better'", and two or more impulses create an IFS fractal.

An Artwork will become energetic in composition, due to the increased Taste for motion, resulting at the extreme in visual elements flowing turbulently at high Reynolds numbers. The theme of an Artwork may heavily influence the impulses in creating an Artwork, thus turbulence may not always be desirable, while in certain other cases it may well-serve to increase visual value as described in the Energy Art Movement Manifesto.

Continued in Part 3/3: Postscript to my Definition Attempts for Art.

Postscript to my Definition Attempts for Art - Part 3/3

Continued from Part 2/3: Artworks as Attractors in Practice.

As a postcript, I must mention the taboo these essays are breaking. For in fact today it is a taboo to talk about a definition of Art, because it is considered undefinable due to the currently prevailing ideas of "freedom of creation / interpretation". In other words, it is up to the viewer to decide if they consider something Art or not, worthy of their appreciation. This is a rather over-simplified and rarely-doubted view, analogous to early Humans' worship of what they could not explain.

In these essays, I am suggesting a meta-definition existing independently of viewers or creators, since I believe that Art does exist on the meta level, and it does have a genuine universal definition, which may or may not be the ones I have proposed. However I do believe in the validity of my second (current) definition, as it is closely based upon my own experiences and inner feelings while creating. A more refined definition will only be possible if we uncover the biological mechanisms of artistic imagination within the brain, or possibly beyond it.

Deep inside everyone feels that this quest for the true definition of Art is a potentially dangerous one. For if a rational/algorithmic method gets to be devised for creating an artwork, computerized machines may then be capable of envisioning, generating, and improvising genuine refined true Art, likely surpassing any Human Art. Many types of generative media already exist, including fractal art and abstract video art. However, I mean here algorithms capable of turning a piece of marble into a piece of Art, due to their ability to envision and improve a piece via their non-deterministic Taste, resulting in various Artworks from the same piece of marble. It is no surprise then that a deep fear resides in us for such an ominous possibility, which might easily surpass any visual art formerly created by a Human.

However, I believe that Homo Sapiens won its dominance due to its intellect in devising tools to extend its abilities. Machines aiding the creation of Artworks through mathematics and programming, only represent new brushes, canvases and chisels for manifesting Human visions in reality. So then what is a greater quest than devising machines capable of envisioning and creating Art in a split second?

In the future, artists must also become mathematicians and programmers, and that time is not far. As a first stage, their art may very-well become a combination of Human improvisation using computer-generated elements, resulting in a sort of performance-like "Cyber-Human Art", described in my essay On the Future of Art.

As I wrote in that essay: "I hope that today’s generation of artists will remain open to any new advancements, and will profit from these opportunities when they become available, thus allowing themselves to open doors to higher levels of creative freedom."
 

Energy Art Salon 2010

The Energy Art Salon 2010 is the first annual exhibition of the Energy Art Movement, showcasing the finest energetic art today on the international scene.

The We Are Connected theme shall permeate the event, celebrating our inherent unity as a global human race. Artworks will revolve around this fundamental theme, taking a stance against the feeling of separation coming from many channels today.

2009 competition finalists will also be showing their works, who submitted top-ranking art from various countries.

Murphy Hill Gallery
Address: 3rd Flr, 3333 W Arthington St, Chicago, USA
Exhibition duration: Jan. 15 - Feb. 25, 2010
Reception: Jan. 16, noon - 11 pm

Movement Organizers and some members will be attending the reception.

RSVP on Facebook

Higher Connection: A Self-Portrait

digital art - Photoshop, DAZ Studio

Me receiving a vision from the Higher Source to which we are all connected. As a bed of flowers share the same soil of nutrition, so are our souls and minds nurtured by the subconscious visions of higher planes, while swimming through fields of energy.

We Are Connected

Lately I have been thinking a lot about all the issues of the world and realized that one factor significantly contributes to all problems: our inner feeling of separation from others. Whether by "others" one means individuals or groups, it holds true. So if we were to realize some fundamental connections we share with every other human being, then it may change our fields of perception towards leading a better life. The Energy Art Movement which I organize has undertaken a project by this theme.

To learn more about our fundamental connections, please visit the project page.

Please do come out for our show in Chicago with opening ceremonies lasting Jan 15-17, 2010 (Fri-Sun).
Murphy Hill Gallery
Third Floor - Historic Sears & Roebuck Bldg.
3333 W Arthington St. Chicago, Illinois 60624, USA
Exhibition duration: Jan. 15 - Feb. 25, 2010

Prints Available

Prints for $50 (USD) are now available of all my artwork, in sizes of 30 x 20 inches (76.2 x 50.8 cm2) on Kodak photo paper.

Available images are at my Flickr catalog. International credit card or Paypal payments are welcome. Please contact me to order at   vaselli [dot] giorgio [at] gmail [dot] com.

Options for the 30 x 20 inch print area:
  1. full-size image  -  a chosen color fills the remaining area
  2. cropped image  -  main part of the image fills the whole print
  3. smaller image  -  printed to fit a specific frame size you have
  4. two or more images in a specified smaller size on one print
or any other customized wish you may have.

Group Show at the Seed Gallery





Webdesign for Ulla Lenzen Butt

I've been commissioned by Ulla a few weeks ago for a portfolio website to present her paintings. Her specific request was for it to be "striking" and "exciting" at the same time, while not drawing away the focus from her work too much. So after some extensive discussions about her idea, and putting in some of my own (including the "eye concept"), we finally arrived at the necessary specifications, and I got a 20% deposit. Being the rebel I am, of course I deviated a bit, resulting in the first version of the site.

I guess she found the fonts and reflective titles a bit too modern, so I went with the fonts on her business card and moved the menu and reflections around a bit, resulting in the second version. The music was a specific wish of hers, but being copyrighted, I solved it through embedding a tiny-sized playlist from Playlist.com (just a tip). Her own web address, hosting her website files, will soon be up and running, looking exactly the same.

If you are interested in having your own unique site designed by me, just drop me a line at vaselli[dot]giorgio[at]gmail[dot]com. A couple of other websites I have designed are the movement's and my own. I am working on another site at the moment, but will try to make time for yours.

Energy Art Competition

This competition is an excellent opportunity for artists around the world to bring their art into the light for a worldwide audience. Our jury is composed of high-caliber internationally well-known artists. With their acute artistic sense, they ensure that purely by your talent, you will be recognized for your unique artwork.

An opportunity shall be granted to winners and finalists, to exhibit their entry artwork free of charge, at the Murphy Hill Gallery in Chicago (USA) during the month of January 2010. The exhibition is going to be titled the Energy Art Salon 2010.

Entries must be energetic either in composition or in subject matter. Participants may enter one picture only, either into the primary (above 22) or junior (under 22) category. Both 2D and 3D, traditional and digital mediums are accepted.

Call for entries:   [ link ]
Submission:   [ link ]
Deadline:   Sep. 15, 2009

Please let your friends know too.

My First Solo Show

View the complete slideshow.

The Miracle of Birth - color

pencil on paper colored digitally, 16.5" x 11.75", 42cm x 29.7cm

Two life forces, represented by the two larger vortices, radiate or flow outward through their energy currents, to later unite in a septuplet of baby vortices. The picture intends to depict the wonder of initiating a new life force, bestowed to us by the Creator.

Good vs. Evil

digital brush painting, DAZ Studio model

The Human struggles between the Right and the Wrong, becoming a battleground for Good and Evil. Good embraces its Soul, Evil invades it. The Soul lapses into both realms, creating a vertigo of inner turmoil, twisting and stretching to the extreme. Will it find the inner power to overcome the Forces of Darkness, and join with the Light, or will Evil suck its Soul into the Depths of Hell? A battle of the moment which every Human must face.

website | twitter

Psychic Fracture

digital painting

Evil is born in an instant due to a tiny Emotion in the Heart, causing a fracture in the psyche. Fear is the source of most Evil, manifesting often as either Depression /an evil to oneself/ or Envy /an evil towards others/. Can the Good in a bright sparkling eye overcome the powerful force of Evil?

website | twitter

Visual Art in the Internet Age

written on April 3, 2009

I see six major consequences of the Internet Age to the World of Visual Art. They are:
  • exposure of individual artists
  • interaction of various artists
  • smaller significance of galleries
  • smaller significance of mediums
  • greater significance of visual quality
  • young people's perception of art.
I would like to touch on each briefly below.

Just like in other professions, there have always been artists who could "sell" themselves and those who couldn't, regardless of their talent or the quality of their work. The internet provides a more efficient way of exposing oneself to the world at large. As I have seen with some other artists, hard work both in their art and in their marketing, generally translates into monetary gain and recognition. But there are also those artists who do little for their own exposure and only concentrate on the quality of their work, and sit around waiting for a miracle to bring them recognition. Then there are those who are good at "selling" themselves, but lack quality. 20th century art was run by those people, but they will soon lose their prominence as I describe below.

To continue with the most elevating effect of the internet - at least for me personally - it has brought us the chance to explore and interact. I think it is a wonderful feeling to know that we are not alone in "that" art world. For me the Energy Art Movement is a culmination of this effect, and I can't imagine doing anything that I would be more motivated by when it comes to meeting and promoting genuine artists. I also enjoy meeting young talent, especially on Deviantart. Exploring fellow artists' work, one also gets a good idea of where to improve.

The chance of promoting one's work and interacting with others, adds up to an opposing force to the significance of galleries. Not that they necessarily need to be opposed, it is just an unavoidable consequence. I don't believe that physical commercial galleries will disappear anytime soon though. But it is certain that artists' websites and online marketplaces - for both originals and prints - will be the dominating method of sales in art in the very near future. The people are finding it more and more absurd to visit galleries in person, and instead of traveling they just browse their websites and order online. The same is true for individual artists. So the future will be all about how good you and your work looks on the internet. I also see more and more artist collectives forming, which means artists are realizing that together they stand a greater chance than alone.

As a consequence of the above, the medium in which your artwork was made, will become less significant as well, since only its "image" on the internet and the presentation of it on your website is going to matter. People will buy more and more of their art on the internet, so they will turn to buying prints, besides shopping at marketplaces like Ebay or Etsy for original art. So artists must keep this already occuring transitions in mind, and stay ahead of the wave.

Again as a consequence, the quality and impression of the "image" of the artwork is going to gain greater prominence. The new "judges" of the art world are not the collectors or the gallery owners anymore, but the general public and the young kids on Deviantart. They will soon grow up and with the real art in mind that they saw and collected online, they will sweep aside all the overeducated nonsense of the 20th century, simply by their freedom of choice what to buy, again online. New York is already feeling the transition, and attempts to react by infusing more and more hyper/academic/neo-realism into their repertoire, but even that is not going to work. It is mere backward evolution and a weak attempt. Dalí was right in saying that the art of the future is surrealism, but only an artist or appreciator who has genuine artistic sense, can "see" why.

Young people's perception of art will soon spring forth from their own inner self-confidence. Everyone is born with some level of genuine artistic sense, which later on gets overridden by the opinions/choices/dictation of artists/galleries/collectors and other "respectable" figures who they so far lacked confidence to question. But since children interested in art, will now grow up in an art-saturated internet environment, they will inherently develop confidence in their own opinions, which is founded on their true natural inner artistic sense that cannot mislead them. Whether they will prefer lighter or darker art, they will seek out quality work. And this effect is true for everyone, not just artistically-talented children.

So anyone who has created quality art up to now and from now on, will have a much greater chance to be fairly appreciated by some segment of the public. But we as artists must not forget that our duty lies not only in depicting our visions to the best of our abilities, but also in delivering it to the public through as many channels as we can manage. Self-promotion coupled with talent is not a vice but a virtue. The quality that one strives for, should be interrelated with the confidence one has to promote oneself.

Drug Use in the Artistic Creative Process

written on March 31, 2009

I have been asked to clarify my viewpoints on this issue on various occasions while organizing the Energy Art Movement. In this essay, I would like to summarize and extend my opinions further. I hope that the reader will ponder its points, and find both the truths and flaws either in my ideas or their own.

I am certainly not the movement, and my opinions are not necessarily its principles. The principles of the movement include a neutrality clause which clarifies our collective standpoint over psychedelic substances, such as LSD. This means that their use cannot be promoted on behalf of the movement, nor can it be discouraged. Even outside the movement, I think it should be a private matter for everyone. I personally don't consider the promotion of drug use a good idea, as it can harm the artist's reputation and that of any group they are associated with. These drugs are currently illegal in most countries. Furthermore, it is unfortunate that in visionary art - on behalf of which drug use is often promoted - only a small percentage of artists use drugs for creation, but the overall impression of the outside world is that visionary art is a subset of psychedelic art, when in fact it is the other way around.

The neutrality clause is also meant to leave the movement open to rigorous scientific results of the future. These results might have an effect on some of these drugs' legality. Research may also shed light on the science behind the psychedelic spiritual experience. It is quite possible that in the future, psychedelic substances will become a part of main religions' spiritual practices, once science enlightens us on the precise nature of their effects, and provide us with proper safety precautions. While they can induce wonderful spiritual experiences, and assist us in our inner psychological enlightment, they can also take us to the depths of hell, without us signing up for the "bad trip".

Besides the legal, scientific, and spiritual viewpoints, we must also look at the issue from an ethical viewpoint. There is a fine line of distinction between two ways artists currently use psychedelic substances related to their creative processes. I personally don't consider either to be fully ethical, but I find the first somewhat acceptable. The first method is when an artist takes some psychedelic substance, trips for a while in either their inner or higher realms, and once fully back in reality, intends to share their visions with others in the artworks they create (visual, music, or else). Since interdimensional cameras have not yet been invented, these artists choose to act as photographers of their visions, which I think is ethically acceptable. The second way artists use psychedelic substances, is when they create their works while on smaller doses of drugs, less interested in visiting higher planes, and more in boosting the muscles of their imagination. This is no different than using steroids to boost one's performance in sports, the artists' muscles being their imagination. This second method is clearly unethical, and should be distinguished from the first.

In relation to the above, another point is worth making. Just as in sports, if one has a less-developed musculature, the steroids will only help them boost their performance to a certain extent. They may still be easily surpassed by other sportsmen with much more developed musculature, and not making use of steroids. So a lightweight boxer on steroids might be a match for a middleweight one, but not for one in the heavyweight class. So essentially, if one doesn't strive to develop their muscles through natural means, they will eventually be surpassed. Drugs are an imagined crutch, which may prevent the artist from self-development through natural means, and entering the arena in full vigour. Note that while many like to think that the Fine Arts is not a sports event, you are not likely to succeed if you don't strive to excel in your craft, often with the intention of furthering and surpassing what you have seen before.

I consider the best way to develop one's imaginative muscles to be through meditation and subsequent picturing of realistic/surreal/abstract scenes in one's mind. Meditation results in a crystal clear empty mind, a white canvas for painting one's evolving ideas over it. While in this ideal state, one can try various color schemes and compositions in their mind, and attempt to find the best one for the concept. If one prefers improvising instead, starting with a meditational session will also help them in the flow of ideas as their improvisation evolves on the paper/canvas/screen.

To get back to the issue of drug use promotion among artists, we must not forget the responsibility we have towards budding artists. I find it unfortunate if a well-known visionary artist openly promotes drugs, not only psychedelic ones but others as well, such as ecstasy or marijuana. This is sad because young artists may get the impression that in order to create as accomplished works as their respected idol, they must also reach to drugs. This is certainly false. They may even surpass their idols eventually, using only their natural abilities - as discussed in the fourth paragraph - so young artists must realize and keep this mindset instead. This is the right path towards their personal development, and thus the collective evolution of the Fine Arts to a higher level.

As for why psychedelic art is often energetic, I think the reason is that imagination in its freest form is necessarily dynamic / energetic. In any case, drugs can surely free you up, but I suggest, try to be your own drug instead. As Salvador Dalí said: "I don't do drugs. I am drugs."