Self-Representation

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Yesterday I wrote about self reproduction and today I figured I’d write about self representation. I had this post in the queue for a week.

My questions about self-representation started last week. Well, really they started long before that, but they were really put into relief last week when I was at an ai met talk.  Someone was going around saying, oh are you from google, oh are you from mit, oh are you from Microsoft. I put on my headphones and started to read a book, in french, upside down, so no one would talk to me. How would I answer?

Maybe start with jotting down the way you represent yourself – Nitzan said.

That was good advice, and I do that below. But part of my problem was how do I legitimate myself. Nitzan built an amazing AI newsletter, that many of these professionals subscribed used.That is how he achieved legitimacy.  It is not a bad trick. I was thinking about doing a more targeted newsletter related to consciousness and computation.  This crystalized for me the other day, and now I have forgotten thec crystal.

I could say to hell with legitimacy and do some Jedi mind tricks.  I also suppose that I could come up with some way to legitimate myself among a bunch of AI researchers. But, really, this does not sound like a good reason to create oneself.

So who am I? These days I have been calling myself a programmer, because that is what I enjoy to do. However, that is not what I spend a lot of time doing, it is more an orientation to the world. It also does not explain what I am doing at various events I go to. Being a programmer is like being a cog. However, I chafe at the idea of being a hyphenate. I just want to be one thing.

Nitzan described me as a systems poet the other day. I sort of like that. It is so wacky it confers legitimacy. I sort of find it accurate. I am interested in the borderlands of computation, and systems in general. Poetry is the language of the border. When we dont have the exact words to describe something. It is the language that carves out new territories and pushes the boundaries out further.

Reproducing Oneself

capitalism

Today is Wednesday and thus the day of my Women’s Marx reading group at MEP / Peoples Forum. We are basically a group of 6-10 women that are reading Marx’s Capital Volume I cover to cover. It has been super insightful and has served to jailbreak the text for me. I have learned things like: Marx’s methodology regarding creating abstractions and then deriving concrete examples of the abstractions, or his use of theword ‘appears’ as a clue to the fact that Marx is now going to unpack a concept.

This week is about Rate of Surplus Value, The Working Day, and Rate and Mass of Surplus Value. I have many a passage underlined, but my main takeaway is that humans reproduce themselves through their work. What does it mean to reproduce oneself?  If a company has less money and workers have to work shorter days, surplus value is often not sacrificed, rather it is the meaning of what it takes to reproduce oneself.

Last week, our reading group leader, told a story about a bus driver. She said that she knew people who complained about a bus driver getting a pension because the job was not difficult (anyone could do it). But she said, it destroys your body, it also steals your attention, the money you need to reproduce yourself  (keep yourself healthy in body and mind) is what is represented in this pension and that is not even enough.

When we think in this way, how are we slowly neglecting the job or reproducing ourselves. How are we changing what it means to reproduce ourselves. Isn’t life hacking a way to reproduce ourselves less / hack self-reproduction?

The labor-process is the one thing that Marx analyzes as a process.   Raw material is taken as constant capital – a thing.  But raw material is something that also has to reproduce itself, it is also the result of a process.  It is the MISPRICING and exclusion of these hidden variables that lead to exploitation:  what is the true state of a human, and how to reproduce a human and likewise the process that leads to the creation of raw material, and how to reproduce it.

In the Marx Capital Vol 3 reading group (because I cannot do anything partially), we go around the room reading the book and then breaking if there is a concept someone does not understand or that someone wants to discuss.

During the last class, I had a fever daydream that this is perhaps similar to sitting around on a Saturday and reading the Torah or the Talmud. That people perhaps read the work of Freud, or Jung in a similar way. Heck, when I was in college this is how we read Plato.  I told a friend of mine this, and he said, yes this is what people did before TV. He also said this is what people do in cults.

In a related fever day dream, I considered turning reading group meditation into a narrative, a sort of sister narrative to Italo Svevo’s Conscious of Zeno, in which the character Zeno writes an episodic autobiography on the prompting of his psychiatrist.  What about an episodic autobiography of a life in reading groups. This may be super boring or SUPER INTERESTING (especially if some characters are in bed … naked) … like perhaps a Marx in Bed reading group.

Artist Writing

art

Over the past year or so I have been reading more writings by artists. This includes correspondences, journals, and art reviews of other artists/artworks.

For example: Philip Guston, Adrian Piper, Van Gogh, Carroll Dunham. Why have I been doing this? Sometimes I read journals, and this is the pleasure of biography. This is the sense of understanding the trials and tribulations of an artists life and how an artists deals with personal struggling. However, more than that, I am interested in how artists are reflecting on their personal art practice and other art works (what inspires them). I have a voracious appetite for this, Why?

I have no idea.

That is why I am writing this blog post.

I made a number of false starts in my analysis. I started writing about the changing nature of art, the artist, the interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary nature of art today, art and commerce, art and propaganda (advertisement), aesthetics, craft…. naw.

Then I started thinking about creation in general:

Why create anything? What do people find interesting in other people’s creations? What motivates people to create in the first place?

But I am not interested in all creative function. A business person can be creative, and this is different than the creative activity of a painter. I am more interested these days in the creative activity of the painter. How to keep working in a medium that seems almost exhausted? What is the impulse? Because there is something that draws me to this kind of work as well, but I do not know what it is.

To create means to create something new. This is not some sort of capitalist fetsh. How to create something when it seems that everything has already been created?  How to create something with the burden of history and information?

To that end, if anyone has any good recommendations on artists writing about their work and art that they like… please let me know.

 

Theater of the Oppressed

performance

I have been thinking a lot about theater and performance in advance of the Art of Python in April (that I am co-planning this year).

In an earlier post I mentioned that the Art of Python was Brechtian. Over the weekend I unpacked this a bit, when .I read Theater of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal.

Often, in conversation with friends, there is a discussion about how people end up in certain situations. Is the the external circumstances (Marxist), or individual character  (sort of) (Hegel)?  I have been unwittingly in the Hegel camp. I really did not have the words to articulate this in this way until I read Theater of the Oppressed.

I do believe there are certain external circumstances which are so dire that perhaps it is impossible to exercise any agency or freedom. However, that most people reading this blog probably do not live under those circumstances.  And I also have believed in ability of the individual through various means, to transform themselves, and perhaps transform their situation, or perception of those situations…. and perceptions create reality.

Brechtian theater expresses narrative as a series of forces that constrain or force certain actions. Romantic theater expresses narrative as the individuals acting within certain constraints. What Boal seems to suggest is a narrative that, while existing within a constrained structure, creates dynamism through individuals acting with one another – infrastructure.

There is the notion that the format of the theater has become stale and ridged. That it supports certain forms of narrative (bourgeois perhaps), and that this itself must be addressed in order to make theater vital (alive) again.

It is easy to think of these concepts in reference to something like the Art of Python.The art of python are performances that are structured by the social constraints of working in technology. How does working in technology force people to act in particular ways. From the performances last year, I do not think we had examples of a well made play, or an epic play with a hero and an Aristotelian story structure.

The emphasis was on expressing the drama inherent in this social constraints – the social constraints of technology.  This year, we are going to incorporate some of the theater of the oppressed, and maybe rethink the structure of the performance itself. Already art of python was doing this by not being traditional theater. But this year we have a component where we involve members of the audience in contributing and creating their own works.  This is a movement to replace the original aristocratic tendency of Aristotelian theater and return theater, art and performance to expression and reflection  – to create a crises in technology work.

Strategy, Logistics, Tactics: the Strangle Method

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I have been doing a bunch of workshops for my day job that involve practical hands on experience in various dev ops systems and modern software tools. Some of these may seem remedial to more experienced developers but a big part of the endeavor is to baseline an organization.

One thing I did not expect was the emphasis on strategy or methodology. About 30% of my time if not more is spent on organization and metrics, and how these tools tie in these strategic (or perhaps tactical components).

I could consider something like CI/CD like logistics – how something is delivered to someone else (mostly an end user, but also an internal customer). And remember that Napoleon was able to be so successful because of his superior logistics. But these logistics tie back into an essential strategy. Strategy is the over all way that we achieve some sort of goal. Tactics is small patterns that together execute the strategy, and the logistics is the pipeline that enables the creation of thee small patterns (ie tactics).

I was reviewing an article for an upcoming workshop about how to remove legacy code from a system. Our goal is an easy to maintain system to minimize MTTR (mean time to repair), the strategy is to remove technical debit, how do we do this?

The tactic is the strangle method.
1) Create new code that is a proxy or pass through to the old code.

In this case you can create a new interface without rewriting business logic, and connect new services to the new interface.

2) Begin removing the proxies with real new code that works.

I would suggest doing this as you get feature requests that touch these parts of the code. A second option is just to create each function replacement as an item in your backlog. However, this has the side effect of being overwhelming.

3) Slowly remove the old code base.

This is hard, since there are always unexpected instances when some service, or customer, is hitting a piece of code that does not pass through the new interface. However, if you keep this part distinct from step 2, replacing the proxy in the interface, then you can even instrument the legacy code base to see if and when it is hit, and minimize errors that might arise.

This is one of the many instances where my job is less about technology and more about strategy or tactics. It has become increasingly easy to write software and much of software development is really systems integration these days. The issue is NOT how to write this code, but what strategy to use to build a robust system, resilient system, or as I like to say via NNT, antifragile system.

Patterns and Models

book

The other day, after going to an art / mi panel I was inspired to finish the book “An Engine, not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape the Markets, by Donald MacKenzie.  I had read deeply into the philosophical nature of models in the past particularly the work of Eric Winsberg, but I sort of left it without any breakthrough in my own thought.  Im sure I have blogged about it here, the different types of models that exist, what they measure, the guardrails that allow them to create ‘knowledge’, but it still left me with questions around what models did, and what computers/computation did for models.

An engine not a camera refers to the notion of models, like black-sholes (the options formula), are engines that analyze reality rather than images that represent reality. So when we say E=MC2, that is not a image of energy but it is a way to analyze reality in terms of energy and mass and the speed of light. You might say, well, this is just like a point of view, or a framing, but that is not the case. It is more like a reduction, like desaturating a color photograph and making it black and white.

Models are a reduction. they reduce the world to a number of variables. Models create a representation of the world as expressed by these limited variables and the their interactions as specified in the model.

But while reading this book, I came to the thought that what made a model powerful or adaptable was its ability to generate patterns.  Black-Sholes became used in the trading pits of Chicago, once various trading patterns could be extrapolated from it, such as the spread.  In fact there is a wide variety of ways I can generate trading patterns from options.

What is this relationship between patterns and models?

For instance, it is this ability to form patterns that allows us to think about options trading as replicating a portfolio, in a way similar to  CAPM. It is the patterns of model use that allow us to form equivalencies between different models.

I started thinking about patterns long ago when I was a summer intern at the Federal Reserve of Chicago and I was given a book to read: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. This outlined a number of ways to create object oriented software, there were repeated patterns that people used. I still use this book and the patterns from it today.

We cannot really call oriented software design a model, but we can probably call a computer program a model. A machine learning algorithm is a model, but a model plus and maybe that means it is not a model (I’ll discuss that in a future blog post).

A computer program is a model, in the same way that a mathematical formula is a model, and all computer programs are just expanded lambda calculus – so these two concepts are closely related.

Back to patterns, perhaps what makes a model good (or correct or better), is not its error, its fitness, or some other thing, but its ability to generate patterns of usage. These patterns can then connect the model to other models, or be used in a wider variety in instances and exhibit more flexibility (which perhaps is a good standard for a model).

A model is an engine for analyzing. What does analysis do? What is the difference between analysis and representation? If in the past our artists were artists of representations, what would it be to be an artist of analysis?

From the noun project via wikidata: https://thenounproject.com/search/?q=castle&i=232996

Object Ethics and ML Continued

poetry, the-tower

Last year at Recurse I trained a model on mala beads and rosary beads. I am sure the post is somewhere here. So there are a lot of problems with this, and with ML in general. In that these are ritual objects imbued with sacred meaning and I am stripping that away (their use value from their information value – this is a new concept introduced here folks – I just thought of it) and using the information. I am using it as pixels and a tag.

There are a ton of ethical questions. What is the proper way to interact with these objects. Do objects have ethics? What does this mean? Objects can have ethics related to their interaction with humans who definitely do have ethics. What makes a human subject to an ethical system – humans act -they are performative.  Ethics is the study of oughts and acts. How we ought to act. That perhaps means that anything that can act is subject to an ethical system. So, obviously, technology, which is performative – like code. But also legal systems – like I now pronounce you man and wife – that is performative -I am referring to the line of though that comes from Searle and Speech Acts.  Ritual objects do things for certain people.  If I interact with a ritual object, what are my ethics?

How do you create an ethical machine learning system that works with ritual objects?

Moving on, I am working on my poetry project – the Tower, and yesterday I thought I should compile a list of towers and meditate on them: the tower of babel, Bollingen Tower, the leaning tower of piza, the twin towers, the freedom tower, you get the idea, the inverted tower in Annihilation. What is an underground tower? A tunnel?

I then thought, perhaps in anticipation of the ML event I was later to attend, that I should create some sort of machine learning algorithm to determine towers or to determine feature sets of towers (e.g., what are the salient features of towers). Maybe I could new towers, or perhaps co-create new towers along with my poem.  I just need some free GPUs to train my model.  Imagine creating new poems or chapbooks based on different conceptions of towers, or users could upload their own tower and perhaps alternate the feature set. This is an example from wiki data when I put in tower.

There was a fantastic tool created by the Met that situated an artwork within its various relations and included a network graph simulation that allowed you navigate the various connections.  I want to use this to understand how all the towers I am looking at contribute to my poetic experience of what the tower means.

Side note:

As I mentioned in other blog posts, fantasy (the unconscious) does things, language does things, computers do things. These all act, or in some cause action. This is a distinction. There is a difference between an impetus for action and an action itself (or is there? maybe not).

 

AI & Art Met

AI and Art

art, machine learning

I am reflecting on the AI and Art event put on by the met. Most of the people there were MSFT, Google, MIT, and Cornell. From a cynical point of view, there is a great interest in ML/MI (Machine Learning/ Machine Intelligence) from the industrial-educational complex because it will eventually drive more sales of more powerful computers and software, and because it will increase the need for more education.

From a less cynical perspective, here are my reflections. But first a recap. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is in the process of putting its images (and eventually objects via 3d renderings) on line via wikimedia and wikidata through its open access initiative.  The next question then is how to use this data – ie justify the cost of putting all this stuff online. What is the OKR/KPM/the METRICS? Which is why we enlist google, hackathons, et al.

Now, let me reflect!

Getting it wrong

Two of the panelists: Eva Kozanecka and Serge Belongie, mentioned that they entered the field because they were concerned that the conclusions of ML/MI were incorrect. In particular, as a curator, Eva saw historical connections deduced by ML/MI that were not accurate. This is a powerful driver. The fears with ML I experience bias (ML/MI not recognizing faces with darker pigmentation), or and delusion such as deep fakes (imitating a real person and then putting them in a false situation that appears real).

So, question 1, how does opening up ML/MI to artists or to the public at large mitigate the fear of getting it wrong? Is it merely an example of demystifying the tools. If that is the case, is this the most effective way measure?

Computational Space

The artist Matthew Ritchie gave, what I found to be, the most compelling reason for wanting to work in ML/MI. It allows “computational space to become legible”. There is something to notice here. We are talking about computational space, not digital space or information space. If we imagine the pictorial plane perhaps allows the unconscious to become legible, and the writing plane to allow time/history to become legible, and video/film/production, or interface design  in general that allows the digital space to become legible. Digital is what can be endlessly recontextualized, and infact must be contextualized (ie produced) in order to become meaningful.  The question Ritchie asks (or answers) is what allows the computational space to be legible? What is the computational space. By rendering the relationship between different pieces of data Ritchie is rendering this legible. But, machine Learning is one type of computation.

Ritchie also introduced me to the word Semasiographic: communication by signs. And one of his projects was an ML analysis of diagrams to look for underlying or perhaps the ur-language of graphical communication.

The computational space is made of up many spaces and typologies in a concrete way, and I recommend (as I have before on this blog) reading Quantum Computing Since Democritus by Scott Aaronson to learn what this means. Is ML/MI the only way to make this legible. What does making this legible entail? What does computational space enable that other forms of thought and representation do not?

Tools Vs Work and Transparency

Eva made the comment that the artist Ana Ridler considers different machine learning algorithms as different lenses. And her machine learning project at google is intended to explore this. This is fascinating. But I wonder in what sense are we fetishizing the tools over the work. Like how tube paint allowed impressionists to go paint in the country side. I suspect this question is irrelevant, and it is made irrelevant by the age and modes of expression in the contemporary world. That one of the things the technical image did (Flusser), was remove the distinction between tool and object, and that perhaps the final erasure is between tool, object, observer and creator. This again is another topic worth further exploration.

One participant made a fascinating comment: these works do not make any clearer what ML is actually doing. She didd not have an immediate experience of the ML/MI. And this is absolutely true. In some respects, one of the goals of The Met and open access is pedagogical. And perhaps we should not distinguish between pedagogy and art, or communication and art (propaganda and art).  But it was only until I became a filmmaker that I became aware of the mechanics of different film lenses, what they were doing in a film and why they were being used to communicate something or elicit certain responses. So, I wonder if it is impossible to reveal this information without engaging the observer in the creation process. This also refers to a comment about how sometimes it becomes obvious which Gan is used. As people become more used to, and aware of this technology then people will recognize these techniques more (like autotune or reverb – which was actually a comment linking to Gans to guitar pedals).

In terms of user interaction, I wanted to make a brief mention of tagging. That is user tagging images like blue jay. And in fact there was a tagging party at the Met to tag images. But this a point that Serge Belongie spoke passionately about. That none of this would be possible with out the unpaid labor of millions of people tagging things, either in general, or in their specific area of interest. And although this does sometimes result in bad data, it is by and large incredibly helpful. And we should perhaps talk about the ethics, economics, and what not of tagging. Also he made the comment that tagging is long tail, that most people tag the same sets of images that leave the majority of individual images untagged or perhaps tagged by one person.  This will have its own ramifications for machine learning.  I am sort of interesting in thinking about tagging in analogy with other similar activities in history should any exist (maybe translation – but not really,  The notion of pilgrammiges just popped into my head- I am not sure why)

Final Thoughts

What is the salient thing that ML/MI art would address? If such a question can even be asked.

Some thoughts that crossed my mind, was that it turned interpretations (e.g., ideologies), such as history, into the stuff of creative expression (ie art). That is interpretations NOT processes. One of the panelist said, what does the history of art look like, and how do we turn this into art (I thought of Ezra Pound’s Cantos and other written work that quotes from other work)?  What does it mean to talk about history as the source of artistic expression? For me it means interpretation or ideology – a new type of conceptual art.

Let us imagine that ML is one degree beyond the techno image, that it relies on the techno image but is not the techno image. Flusser wrote that the techno images is about contextualization. The artists is now producer, rather than a painter, or writer.  She puts different pixels in different combinations or different interfaces and recontextualize them. They are recombined, sometimes algorithmically, so these techno images can also be explorations of computational space (algorithmic space). I imagine video to be a techno image. So we can imagine a video to be another form of a techno image.

What does ML/MI do to the techno image? It interprets it. ML/MI is the consequence of outsourcing decision making (thanks Nitzan). It is not number crunching or data analysis. Different ML/MI represent different modes of decision making. We can call this interpretation or ideologies or perhaps something else. The space of the techno image, or computation in general, is the space of context, of bracketed models – e.g,  given gravity is 9,8 and there is no friction the baseball will travel x far in y time. The space of ML is the space of ideology. and value systems, it is the space of all models or meta models.  In machine learning we say: this is the data of chemistry, this is the data of astrophysics, we say this is what fitness looks like, this is what a blue jay is. What is a film made with one GAN vs another. What are the world views of each, the ideologies?  We are still in the grips of the techno image when we express this, how do we break out of this?

 

 

 

 

In the Archives – Binge Reading Janet Malcolm – thanks Elliott

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I loved in The Archives – an inside look at some drama that took place in the 80s regarding a man who was going to become the head of the Freud Archives.

SUCH GOOD WRITING!

Anyway – recap – the drama.

Anna Freud is getting old, all the psychoanalysis are getting old. Then need a young (ie person under the age of 45) to run the institutions of the guru errrr Founder – Freud! Enter Jeff Masson – a charming young scholar who wants the job. Problem – he is a trouble maker. He is looking to poke holes in psychoanalysis. We all know this person -who desires greatness by disruption (Duchamp for example). Perhaps he is a nihilist. Anyway – Jeff finds a letter in the Archives that makes him believe that Freud should not have discarded the seduction theory, and that all of psychoanalysis is a lie. Obviously you cannot have this sort of person running the Freud Archives. So he is ousted, there is a lawsuit, there are other characters. You get the story.

I am reflecting on this for two reasons

  1. Theory of Seduction – I never took a class on psychology although I did take a class where we read a bunch of Freud’s social and political works. Totem and Taboo, Moses and Monotheism (which could probably be called a conspiracy theory).  I think Freud is an excellent writer and I say again and again, he won over Freud and perhaps the others such as Jung, Reich, Adler, and the rest because of this. Jung in particular is a totally idiosyncratic writer. Perhaps Jung’s medium is painting. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jung -but it is what it is.

So theory of seduction. Fantasy matters. The inner life matters and has material impact on the world. This is my interpretation via the archives of Freud’s breakthrough.  Once does not have to actually be seduced to have some sort of neurosis, all one has to do is think he was seduced.

There are arguments in the book that well, being at Auschwitz is surely different from imagining you were at Auschwitz. and I would agree with that. But perhaps the difference is at the level of somatics and trauma. I am thinking of work like The Body Keeps the Score. And perhaps this is different than neurosis. That mental trauma and physical trauma is different that psychology and somatics are different. Anyway the point is that fantasy matters, it has material impact on ones ability to function in the world.  This is fascinating to me.

2. Internal vs external – I am sort of misstating this but its the best I can do in stream of consciousness blog. In the book Janet Malcolm questions whether or not this whole incident took place because of something inside Masson. Did he has some death wish (or failure wish)? Or was it something structural in the events, in the search for a new head of the Archive etc? Was Masson set up for failure no matter what? It is hard to differentiate the internal and the external because his internal state state or desire feeds into the structural events. But the question is, Did he self implode or did the the structure collapse around him?

  • Self implode – at first I was totally convinced that he self imploded. The picture that I got was of a complete narcissist, and someone somewhat out of control. That he was driving rather than driving himself. His desire to make an impact by breaking things apart made it impossible for him to not implode (since imploding is breaking things)
  • Structural collapse – The whole structure of events made it impossible for Masson to succeed. No matter what he would have been ousted from the archives. This may have been correct. The particular incident that led to his firing was not due to his narcissism and I was lead to believe. (This is pitch perfect New Yorker storytelling). Rather, a new york times reporter was going to write an article about these events come hell or high water – and no matter what it would have been damning for Masson. The real crime was talking to journalists – or the structure of collapse was Journalism itself.

There are sometimes situations where it is near impossible to avoid catastrophe. Here I am thinking about institutional racism (or sexism which I have personal experience with). Some of the structures of the events are such that the only hope is to avoid utter catastrophe, but make no bones about it – it will happen.

In this an un analytical stance. That the external world has this importance, that the internal world is impotent.  Well perhaps we can develop our internal world in such a way that we develop our imaginations and realms of possibilities and can see through the impossibilities to avoid the catastrophies that befall us- even when they seem  inevitable.

Guston on Painting

art

A few years ago a friend mentioned the artist Philip Guston.  Go check out his images on google.  I personally like his black and white line drawings or markings like this one.

Philip Guston - 1966 Faith hope and impossibility

Philip Guston – 1966 Faith hope and impossibility

But lets not talk about like or not like. I read a book of his collected writings and interviews about art. What is art these days? Who is entitled to make art? Why make a painting?  I was drawn to a few of Guston’s ideas (and then of course rejected others).

  1. The plane – the plane is not the plane of the canvas but the imaginary plane. This is where you create an illusion. You put two lines together or two colors, and something happens. It is like alchemy (my analogy not his).  I love this idea that the plane of the canvas is the imaginary plane, or maybe like Jung, the imaginal plane… the starting off point for active imagining.
  2. The first civilized man – or the first civilized man in eden. This is related to the idea in the image at the top of this blog post. That the artist is at the vanguard. Art is tied with a transformation of consciousness, or spirit.  The artist is the next step in the evolution, she is creating the next ‘reality’ or maybe we should call it the environment or milieu. I used to think that the artist was creating a new way of perceiving the world. But this is reductive. In the above quotation, the artist is re-enchanting the world. The artist is worlding within the world. Not creating an adjacent world but rebirthing the world.  (Also what would it be like to be the first painter, how do you paint without knowing what a painting is, what is painting from first principles).
  3. Diagram vs life- Lets move beyond a diagram (representation) to something that is vitally alive – that has its own life.
  4. I disagree with the critique of Duchamp and Cage. These figures to me are the star children of art. What is the artist when she moves beyond mediums or through mediums? This is the digitization of everything that brings in the recombination or fluidity of representation. Otherwise we fetishize a particular medium, becoming locked in it rather than transforming ourselves. (Again this leads to Guston’s meditation on Kafka and superconsciousness, the ability for the eye to see itself, for consciousness to observe itself. How can painting paint itself? How can art art itself?

I have been painting this winter at the art students league. I general procedure is that I sketch the sitter, sometimes with charcoal, sometimes with a blue acrylic wash. Then I will over draw a diagram, or glyph or sigil. Finally I will color in with solid (or as solid as I can get) colors. I have stuck with monochrome or one color in some instances. I try not to think, I try to surprise myself with my paintings,  They are not precious. I paint them on newsprint with cheap student acrylic and sometimes the paintings stick together if I am hasty and they have not finished drying.  Am I getting beyond myself? Am I super conscious? Am I creating something that is alive? Am I creating something that is between human and divine, beyond both or a child of both?