Henri has been purposely quiet for awhile now. I’ve been working all along trying to get my thoughts in order for the next series which will start shortly. What we will concentrate on are the implications of this quote from Alfred Whitehead
“…a system of philosophy is never refuted; it is only abandoned.” (Process and Reality)

I am by no means a philosopher, and truthfully, I don’t really enjoy reading the “professional” language in which philosophy is written these days, but I do enjoy sharp ideas and thoughtful debate. That said, I’ve been really noticing the rift in understanding our realities that have been happening in our culture. There are thinkers who look to the precedence of things and those who look to the precedence of networks. And there seem to be very sharp philosophical approaches between the two. As the physical cultural/political/economic world continues to dematerialize into the electronic ether these opposing views may help us to navigate through this transition. This is something we’ll be exploring in depth.

Now, I don’t particularly like commercials either, but I find that they say more about our current realities than most anything else we encounter. Sales pitches usually come wrapped in unexpected truths. The above video is a couple of years old, but think about the significance of the screen reality, watch the people in the station and how they react, how their vision changes, how their movements shift, how their first reaction is to try to touch and hold. What is real, how does something become real? Recently there was an announcement that google is beta testing a new product that will do away with handheld computing devices, virtual desk tops and their accompanying icons, etc. It will make the experience of the web more involving, and there will be less equipment between you and the unseen world. I find this absolutely fascinating, because if you follow the link provided you’ll be taken to a video entitled “How It Feels,” and that for me describes my relationship with vision.

More and more of our world will be experienced through lenses, and as most of you know, I’ve been very interested in how that kind of vision affects our lives, our understanding of the world. If this google glass truly delivers what it says it might think how much of our world will be catalogued and explained before we even actually see and encounter it, how our fleshy vision will be truncated and formed by the lens and the programs interpreting that inflowing and outflowing information, how what we see will become elided with what we view on the screen. This new environment splitting vision and “vision” is called “augmented reality” and we’ll be discussing this as well.

As painters I think that it is now imperative that we rethink our understanding of Abstraction and its relationship to the 20th Century. We can no longer rely on the histories, processes and theoretics of Modernism and its recombinant corporate incarnation Postmodernism to describe and understand our times. Wrapping up the rotten fish in new paper just won’t do any longer. These changes to vision are unprecedented. We will have to find different ways of translating our visual experiences, especially when we remove these devices. What will this world look like, feel like “after glass,” “after augmented reality?”

more to come…

6 thoughts on “Incognito

  1. amazing video, love it, this new world is opportunity for us artists and challenge. thank you for creating such a theme, it’s art 😉

  2. nice april fools post, sir.

    seriously. we’re here! and this new series promises to be exciting. looking forward.

  3. I think we’re getting a real taste of the changes to come now…
    “At the very least, the release of Glass could shape how we think about human and computer interactions, and — considering Glass’s abilities to quietly take photographs and record videos — how we influence policies about privacy and public spaces.”

    “Scoble praised the device as being far more social than a cell phone, for having excellent voice command software, and for a camera that ‘totally changes photography’ by allowing you to capture moments in a fraction of a second.”
    “The emerging new technology is not designed with significant storage capacity. Instead, its default mode is for all data to be automatically uploaded to cloud servers, where aggregation and back-end analytic capacity resides. So, who owns and what happens to the user’s data? Can the entire database be mined and analyzed for commercial purposes? What rules will apply when law enforcement seeks access to the data for a criminal or national security investigation? For how long will the data be retained?”

    It won’t take long for this to fold easily into the culture – our mobile phones have paved the way…

  4. In an interesting side note,this week’s TLS intro to a review of two new books on the internet notes the books’ exposure of “cyber-culture’s totalitarian tendencies, messianic pretensions,technological amnesia,’complete indifference to history’ and contribution to the growing disparity in wealth and power in Western populations”.

  5. The devil is always in the details…
    “The internet ideology is difficult to dislodge because it is not simply an immaterial ideal; it is materially embedded in a global infrastructure made up of machines, software, private businesses and public institutions. This infrastructure influences how we think and behave, and once locked in may be difficult to change. Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier fear that the internet ideology has insidious consequences, despite its utopian intentions: as Lanier remarks, “It’s not a result of some evil scheme, but a side effect of an idiotic elevation of the fantasy that technology is getting smart and standing on its own, without people”. Both propose alternative visions, insisting that they are “cyber-realists” rather than “cyber-pessimists”. Their problem is not with the new technology, but with the way it is currently being deployed in narrowly instrumental and commercial ways.”

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