I have been making my way through the books I took home from nyabf. Print All Over Me (paom.com) does the tees and the totes for nyabf and we have a small table where we sell some books from our collaborators that have book practices.
One of my favorite publishers is Autonomedia, they make an amazing calendar as well, where every day features the birthday of an artist/writer.
So today, in the bath, it was Placing Space, Picturing Time. A book by poet Charles Stein (readings) about artist Terry Winters. Really I did not know anything about either of these figures, but I love Autonomedia and this book was a) not expensive b) short! Also I have been trying to read more art criticism. So I was delighted to learn that there are many points of intersection between both these figures and my own: Jung. Computation, Space, Topology, Charles Olsen, and poetry in general.
How does an image emerge? Stein talks about the pre-presentational realm and the emergent picture as following a path similar to that of a developing organism. This also somewhat makes me think of Bergson and the uni-directionality of creation or creative activity.
This activity is laid out in contrast to traditional ‘Demiurgic’ creation, which is creation according to a plan. If there is no path the creation will be random. Winters calls his method, chreod (following a necessary path). Stein makes the analogy to the expression of DNA. There is a plan or a blue print, but we don’t know how this will be represented.
How different is this sort of emergent system from an agent based system (something like John Cage composing music from the I Ching. In one case you have the complex expression of an initial rule set, in another you have autonomous agents with their own rules and creating something through their interaction. Both things tho are creation via system design. Only by implementing the system can you uncover the creation, to phenotype from the genotype.
In Stein’s discussion of Winter’s artwork, there is the notion that the creative processes itself, through intuition is itself creative, not merely rule following, but constrained by the rules.
If the frame is no longer the window, as Stein writes, what is it? We do not have to look at the painting as a window into another world, but we can experience the work by an extension as experience creating the work. I will add to this that the work is constantly in creation as it leaves the chemical or material intuition of the artist and engages in an experiential way with the viewer.
The study for a Winters’ painting is a diagram. What is a diagram versus a study? Or a diagram versus a picture? This is discussed with various solutions – my favorite is that hold the abstraction of the image while providing a place for the image.
In thinking about diagram vs picture, I think about my own interest in transduction, or translation. How does a data turn into visualization. What is this visualization? Is it necessary, the translation from data to visualization? Is this the right question. I a diagram is a point of view on an object. Perhaps we could call it a phenomenological representation. What happens when we use it as a study for a painting? Does this even make sense? It reminds me of Simondon and concretizing – the becoming of a technical artifact.
Does not the diagram turn the object being diagramed into a tool, into a technological apparatus. In painting or rendering the diagram actualized we are concretizing in a way perhaps different than Simondon anticipated, but I am thinking that this avenue is worth exploring.