Hackability of the world

I’ve been thinking and writing about the whole steampunk and tranhumanism ‘movement’ (if it can be called as such) all over the net. Though they were nothing more than novelty writings, jumbled things that came straight out of my mind without much introspection, I think I’m beginning to see some underlying pattern here. I do not particularly believe in attitude or belief of any specific cultural movement like the steampunk or the transhumanism. As someone dedicated to the study of sciences the ideas of transhumanism does appeal to me, but I still think appeal alone doesn’t make for a sound prediction of the future, and the St. John’s apocalypse-like images espoused by some of the more enthusiastic believers of the transhumanism thinking doesn’t really help things either.

What I am really interested in, is the shape of the world that is beginning to emerge underneath all the superficial beliefs and cliques of various social/cultural movement. A human network that is being accelerated and consolidated into an emergent and concrete form by the technology of near instantaneous connection between individual members of the humanity, which seem to form the backbone of the majority of the changes that make up what we call the ‘modern age’, web 2.0 generation, and etc etc. It’s really just a thought, nothing eloquent and lucid enough to be a theory… Perhaps this is merely adaptation of the mathematical theory of networks and links in the fashion of Barbarasi to the perspective of social theory… But something doesn’t sound quite right to refer to it as such.

Formation and linking of human beings to ideas, the belief and search for the method to change/control the world through variety of means, linking which leads to a form of phase shift, the compounding between the idea and the human being… A history is a fundamentally human story… If linking between ideas and human beings, ideas and ideas, human beings to human beings is viable and displays emergent characteristics so common in their physical equivalents, the term zeitgeist begins to take more significant meaning in the structure of the world.

If the ‘structure’ of the world and its interactions can be defined as such , wouldn’t it be possible to hack the system of the world to gather wanted result from it? A giant machine-construction formed of human dreams and lives, that are linked with each other so that while each part may be independent the whole remains homostatic, hacking such system to follow certain path would be tantamount to hacking the Genie of the lamp or the holy grail, since, in the end, the only thing that responds to human wishes is the human world itself. This giant human world, soon to be even bigger, is in effect a substitution of the human wish and the human will.

All the fad associated with the UCC or the web 2.0 generation will come and pass. Yet the wisdom and experience gained from this generation will invariably effect the other. Who is to say that the brave new world will bring with it social concepts and mundane practices so powerful and so fundamentally human that it would form an entity on its own, political, scientific, and artistic ideas living and traveling across the world like full-bodied life, while the human beings are both subject to its whims and a master of its path, raising and training it like pets.

Should such a day ever come, it would be the beginning of the age when arts may finally walk among the humanity.


Digital art predicament

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall asleep again, so I’m writing here. (again)

I happened to pass by a little debate in a corner of the internet regarding the validity of the digital art as one of the ‘true’ or ‘fine’ art. Now, I personally consider the digital art medium to be just as fine and true as any other art form, and I mostly see current difficulty of many digital artists as lack of a true vision on the part of the artists and unfamiliarity with the medium on the traditional art front.

The answer I have drawn myself for economic nature of the digital media would be simple. The rules and such that applies mostly to photography right now would apply to the digital arts just the same. And I believe no one now is crazy enough to argue about photography not being ‘real art.’ When magazines and such hires professional photographers (which is I believe how most of them make a living), they are not really paying for a little piece of negative that can be copied over and over and over again. They are paying for the unique perspective and characteristic talent the photographer him/herself had achieved with the medium of photography. In a sense, the industry is not buying ‘photography’, they are buying the essence of art contained in a medium, which in this case happens to be a photography. I believe the similar pursuit is natural, and indeed necessary, for digital art scene to make an impact on the traditional arts community. The only way to transcend the limits imposed by the infinite malleability of the medium (no matter how ironic it may be) is to drag the essence of the art away from its physical medium, to be freed from all the dpis, pixels and screen resolutions. In effect, the only way for digital art to truly walk into the realm of the common notion of ‘valuable art’, would be to trade the artist rather than the art object. The digitally created art object is in fact an extension of the artist him/herself, and we are buying little pieces of the artist, with his/her sharp eyes, lucid thinking and agile hands, rather than the jumble of bits and data that was created as a result of his/her effort. I see a street light outside my window. If asked to draw something outside, I will most certainly draw a street light. But will some highly talented digital artist see things differently? Will he/she draw something more when asked to draw the same scene outside the window? While we all share the same world to live in, we don’t necessarily see the same thing within that world, and that’s where the salvation of the digital arts lies.

The art is trying to drop from the canvas and smudge the world. The fetishes and sculptures are frozen in middle of movement, and will walk and speak when the waiting is over. And beyond all that shenanigan is art, that had been applied to many things yet not quite touched in any fundamental way for the duration of the human history. We’ve been trading art objects. We are trading artists now. Maybe in the future the art objects will tap us on the shoulder and ask what that was all about.