I’ve been incredibly busy lately, both at my school and at home. Bunch of things all happening at once and every one of them going wrong, all somehow connected and breaking together in some very strange chain reaction of the network of the world. Anyhow, among all the things I’ve been going through I still haven’t stopped thinking about the artificial life and the whole art and science relationship I’m pursuing. As I said before I’ve been trying to learn a lot more about Jasper Johns and his way of thinking. At this stage I tend to single him out as I believe that he is very representative of the nature of what art is and what art has become, not only to the ones who actively pursue the practice and understanding of art but also to average layman like me who have no professional background in art. It’s not just formalized thoughts in his mind I’m interested in. As a human being I find him to be a very close model of what people go through when faced against the issues of the art and art like things in this world, regardless of vested interest and background… As someone whose background is from the fields of science and scientific pursuits, I feel as if I can understand him on some instinctive level, grasp the general gist of things, so to speak.
There is one thing that I can’t seem to be able to get out of my mind when thinking about Jasper Johns. He mentioned that his work is basically born of discontent, that he is in fact trying hard not to do whatever it is that comes naturally to him in practice of art. The fear and uncertainty surrounding such behavior is something I can fully sympathize with, perhaps even comprehend on logical level. The reason for me to think in such a way, is that Jasper Johns’ behavior is not unusual. The signs are strewn all over the society and culture, this civilization itself. When thinking about the human origin of creativity, the instinctive reaction of the human being which leads to creative behavior is always discontent. Yet, what it really means for a human being to be discontent is something that should be reflected upon carefully. Discontent is something a human being feels regardless of the state of his or her physical want. Those who believe that human discontent simply stem from want of survival are deluded. Even on evolutionary scales, human discontent seem to be a primordial trait hardwired into the very structure of the living itself, that goes beyond the simple psychological apparatus developed for the cause of survival. The human discontent is a trait that goes beyond the formularized reaction we commonly label as greed or gluttony, complex and multilayered mechanism whose roots remain obscure to this day. Somewhere around that root, it might be possible that the primordial and pure form of discontent as a life-form is somehow linked with the origin of the human creativity.
Human beings are physical creatures formed of biochemical components. Thus art and the creativity that leads to such act as art must be within the realm of the physical life itself, all of them stemming from some nonlinear complex emergent phenomena. Perhaps discontent is a human manifestation of a universal trait of networks of sufficient complexity. Perhaps the human drive toward creativity and all other unmistakably human pursuits stem from the fundamental structure of the life as a complex system, rather than superficial biochemical impulses or ‘mysterious’ things of unknowable origins. That, is another reason why the study of life is at the cutting edge between the science and the art, and why I pursue the study of artificial life of physical nature.