old wine in new bottles

art

I think I took this line from an online sensemaking community I am part of. More on sensemaking communities in a later post. Instead I want to talk today about creating knowledge vs maintaining knowledge. This also came up in the aforementioned sensemaking community.

How important is it to be a creator versus a maintainer. There are many ways to look at this, a creator versus an audience, or a creator of open source software, versus a maintainer of open source software, versus a user. A creator of a musical piece (composer), versus an interpreter of a musical piece (musician), versus a listener (audience member).

Notice I started out with a dyad creator vs maintainer and then I moved into a trinity of creator / maintainer / participant. I did not plan that. I almost said consumer but that is really some capitalist logic and I dont like it one bit. It feels passive. It feels less important some how. There is a problem with hierarchy in this culture, perhaps in all cultures. In my job I am a consultant, most of the other people I work with are highly capable and knowledgable technicians and the roles are divided into account principals, that manage the account, technical principals that manage the delivery, and consultants that manage the implementation or execution. I see these roles as equals, and quite frankly at this point in my career I want to work with equals.

Participant I consider in terms of participatory knowing – like going to a night club or rave. You have the dancers (the party goers), the dj, and the promoter or the night club owner (the producer). The different members undergo different transformations according to their participation. Their sensations are activated differently, their bodies are engaged differently. Ok what was my point.

Ahhh, now I remember.

I am starting a new experiment some what related to this. I am writing a newsletter every day for maybe (at least) a month. Every 7 days my newsletter will be a rewrite of the newsletter I sent 7 days prior. The idea is that I am at first creating and then maintaining, not sure how I am participating, but I suppose every rewrite involves a re-read… Or perhaps a future experiment is that someone rewrites my email and I rewrite theirs. The inspiration for this newsletter will be in the first newsletter – you can signup here.

What archetype are you today?

art

This sounds like a bad personal growth blog title but stay with me on this.

I went back to NYC this weekend, I had some apartment and financial things to take care of on Friday, and it seemed I had to do this in person, in NYC.

So I drove back to NYC for the first time since March 13, when I landed from Atlanta. Miraculously enough only two plants died, there were no roaches or rodents, and I saw my neighbors (through masks and social distancing).

I packed up the car with things I wanted to use for the rest of the summer: clothing, books, guitar pedals, and going up and down in the elevator stressed me out. Once this was done, I went to brooklyn to social distance with friends and then return to NYC for my 3pm meeting, or so I thought.

The day was super intense. It involved intense personal interaction, discussion of privilege (I am staying with my kids and partner at my parents for which I am very grateful), a discussion of motherhood, giving birth, love, relationships, every day things that should be easy but are now hard because of covid and nothing gets done (like floods because there is no street cleaning and the drains are clogged with leaves). It was beautiful to walk around. It was not busy because in the morning was an intense thunderstorm, and the day was overcast. People had transformed their stores to have outdoor areas to buy flowers and produce. I am not sure what will happen in the winter, but life goes on – transformed.

There was laughter, and tears. It was an intense day for me personally. It felt that I had undergone some alchemical transformation, that my body had been wrung out by my spine. My financial stuff that I had come to take care of almost did not happen, and happened on Saturday, but when I drove back Saturday midday to my parents I had this sense that an internal transformation had taken place what was it. I am not sure. It was something about relating, about love, about home, about who I am. It seems strange to say that what appears to be such a banal day could have such a transformative impact and I struggle to understand exactly what happened.

I wrote down the day. I wrote it down with images of those places from other days, or memories. Memories of beautiful and powerful moments I have: first holding my son Cass in my arms, of seeing my son Eero hiccup on the sonogram, innocent childhood games like throwing notes to the boys playing basketball at the lot next to my childhood apartment, those beginnings of a relationship when you make out with your lover in all sorts of inappropriately public places. I imagine movies that take place in a day. I always wanted to make a film like that. My favorites are The hours, The swimmer, touch of evil, American Graffiti, those before sunrise movies, pulp fiction (I think) there are so many. Here is a list from Mubi and from some clickbate listicle site.

I have this intense desire to capture the personal effects of this day but in a universal way. Whenever I retell this story it still feels personal. I am moving to transform it beyond myself.

This also coincides with a meditation I am doing this week. I am prompted to pick an archetype and embody the archetype, to live beyond my imagination. What are some archetypes? We can look at myths, at Hercules, Orpheus, Theseus, The Monkey King (sun wu kong), and so forth. As a woman, I always felt that my archetypes were somewhat limited. Who is the female Orpheus for example?

The archetype I am drawn to is the Troubadour. I have been interested in the Troubadour ever since I learned that Joseph Campbell had intensely studied the Troubadour (a youtube clip -there are a ton!). There are all kinds of love. The Troubadour is the alchemy perhaps of transforming lust (perhaps limerence) into agape (love for all human kind). The idea is that troubadours discovered, or invented, interpersonal romantic love – the seeing your soul in another person kind a of love. There is the transformative element of poetry and music in the archetype of the troubadour – of the ineffable.

Related to the the troubadour is the bard. The musician/ storyteller which I equate with the celtic traditions and in particular Robert Graves’ The White Goddess. This is the bard as the holder of some wisdom tradition or communal knowledge. Maybe could make a probably similar statement about different bardic traditions through out the world (e.g., Homer), I don’t know. This is different from the love thing that the troubadours do, but it is also appealing to me. Maybe next week will be the week of the bard.

Anyway this week is the week of the troubadour for me. I am trying to think of famous female mythological troubadours or even bards. I keep thinking of those sirens and banchee – the patriarchy loves to silence women or pathologize the female voice. So I am pursuing the troubadour this week – if anyone knows of female bardic mythological heroes let me know.

Programming and Discernment

art

Recently I wrote a blog post about how programming allowed me to outsource parts of myself – maybe my integrity.

I told this to a friend who said, what do you mean by integrity? Hmm – I said. It is being undivided.

What does undivided actually mean? For me it means acting in alignment with your core. Again this is really unspecific. We can say integrity is keeping your word. We can say it is an ethical quality, someone who is ethical, someone who is truthful. My friend and a more specific definition.

What writing software did was allowed me to oursource my judgement. I did not have to worry about whether or not I was doing a good job, or any number of other qualities, everything became reduced to did the program work or not – and this was outsourced to a compiler.

I felt this as a lack of integrity since I had fractured myself, I had separated my self from my mode of judgment. But as my friend pointed out this is more about discernment. I outsourced my discernment, and thus have an undeveloped form of discernment. Again I am not sure whether or not this is true, or just a narrative I have constructed but I find it interesting. I also find the story reflects a lot of what is going on in silicon valley.

The ethical issues that have emerged, and the internal biases, the trend towards libertarianism, and so forth. All of these show two things, a reduction of the space of complexity and nuance and a lack of discernment. Algorithms and computation do not naturally create a reduction of complexity, a reduction of all problems to problems of computation is not necessarily a reduction but a transduction.

The space of computation is vast! Computation is manipulating symbols (input) according to a set of rules. Computation is an area where we can talk about correctness. Since for certain rules or problems we can expect an output based on an input. For other areas of investigation correctness perhaps does not even exist. Correctness is one aspect of computation it is not computation.

How does it feel to outsource your discernment to a computer. It feels liberating at first. There is a lot less to think about. But then you think about other things, things that are perhaps less important, and then you lack the capability to make decisions about those other things. There is an addictive feeling, to get that rush of external judgement, it does feel like a short cut – like a life hack. Who would not want that?

But we have to think about something, we have to engage with things, if we are not focused on our discernment what else are we focused on and is it as important as our discernment.

Someone from one of my groups -I am a group slut posted a link to this article about post-truth and the lack of new innovations and scientific breakthroughs. I don’t know if this is true, but it feels like it. – and I believe it is linked to this lack of discernment that happens when you start writing code. It does not have to happen, but it feels like a solve at first.

This is a spectrum of ways of judging. Philosophers have always tried to come up with an algorithm for judgement – but judgement is embodied, it is particular and it is subjective. Perhaps we can come up with a metaframework for judgment but algorithms for judgement are just reductive.

Conversations

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I am taking a two week class called Microsolidarity with The Hum. Its about building different types of relationships – dyads (relationships with two people), crews (relationships with 3 -6 people), and more. I became interested in similar group dynamics a few months ago during quarantine when I started running experiments with talking and pair programming and groups of 4 people.

I am doing a lot of meetings, we could perhaps call it facilitation, at my job. I want to increase my capabilities and modulate my interactions as I work with different configurations, or topologies of people. This is an area where I am focusing my attention at the moment.

I had never really thought about this before, but as I have mentioned in other posts, there are a bunch of tools that we can use to structure conversation. One of the interesting things I noticed today was that when I was asked to talk about a topic, I was nervous and unsure of myself, but when I was asked to describe how I felt, I was comfortable and sure.

I am not sure if everyone has the same experience, or if different people have different reactions. This to me was. a valuable exercise -to check in with myself when I am unsure of myself. I may not be sure of my answer to a question about defining a concept, but I definitely know how my body feels. I can be sure of an answer to a question about that.

Integrity and Programming

art

I started writing this post a few weeks ago, but it has been growing inside of me.

There were two reasons why I intentionally learned to program as a young teenager.

  1. I read an article about Margie Profet in Omni Magazine that discussed how she became programmer because she was able to use her mind and support herself while she figured out what to do with her life.
  2. There was always a right answer. I never had to guess whether or not I had done a good job or if I was qualified for a job – because the program would either work properly or not.

I did end up becoming a computer programmer and loving it, but these points of view had some wide ranging ramifications.

The first was figuring out what to do with my life. I used to paint. I never considered becoming a painter because it did not seem like a respectable career, or a cerebral career. Painting did not seem to involve hard work, although it was something I definitely worked at, and practiced. I had so many incorrect assumptions as a kid! But what I was able to do with programming was to actually thing this was a valid question – that life is something to figure out – like a computer program.

Life is really something to be lived…. danced, played, explored. That I was able to support myself with this thing “programming” or “tech” that was some how “different from my life” allowed me to fracture myself and live with a certain detachment.

The second ramification – was that I was able to our source my judgement.

Both of these relate to the notion of integrity. Integrity is a state of wholeness, something I have probably never felt – I have always felt fractured between what appeared to be competing interests, friends, demands, obligations, protocols. I lived in a very reactive state as a child, responding to the demands of my caregivers rather than acting out of my own volition. Nothing I ever did of my own free will ever was correct.

We can see why someone would then outsource their standard of correctness to a compiler.

My whole life I thought I was so smart to find programming, to be able to outsource these parts of myself. But really they are a sort of horcrux that have fragmented my soul and only now am I putting things back together.

Often times I don’t need a compiler or interpreter to tell me if my code is correct. I know that. Instead, there are types of correctness that a compiler cannot determine such as ethics, ease of use, generation of a flow state, of happiness rather than frustration. The software industry attempts to create algorithms in order to outsource the validity of these things too. We use A/B testing to find the optimal button placement for purchasing. But who said correctness was equated with purchasing? Maybe in one lens it is, but in many other lenses it is not. As we attempt to algorithmize (is that a word) all interaction, this outsourcing of correctness will feed into fields that are not even technological – like customer service.

There is no way to outsource this standard of correctness, what we can call integrity. It involves a mapping to the creators body. There are tools, psycho and somatic technologies to enhance integrity, and perhaps guidelines to encourage integrity, but one of the problems with cybernetic technology is that as we create metrics and optimize to these metrics we can imagine that we are being correct, but this is a false consciousness.

I started thinking about this topic a few weeks ago while listening to this Conner Habib podcast. The people and activities of programmer and the tech industry is in many ways unrecognizable from the field I entered almost 20 years ago. There I was surrounded by anti-corporate polymaths, as fascinated by number theory as by Gurdjieff and with interests and practices ranging from jazz trombone, to acupuncture, to ancient Greek. Programming was an exciting and powerful way to manifest with your mind. It was a type of magic.

This is changing and I think within the next 10 years or a lot of programming will be replaced by machine learning. This saddens me, because the practice of programming itself is a great psycho-technology, if we can remember not to outsource our integrity.

Graphics and Writing continued

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I am not sure what is going on with my weekly meditation on graphics and writing. It could be the electronic lit conference, my reading VISPO, my earlier reading of concrete poetry, my attempt at making diagrams. I am not entirely sure.

I have lots of thoughts about Thinking about Comics and Scott McCloud about hot and cold media via Marshall McLuhan and about images, text, and digital media via Vilem Flusser. I have lots of feelings, how do images make me feel, how do words make me feel. I react strongly to certain word and certain images and certain word images. I am drawn to them or repulsed by them for no immediate reason.  I have a certain averson to photography and typography. Not sure why.

This post will probably end up being some visual poetry/poets I want to bookmark for inspiration.

I like word play that plays with meaning and rhythm and sound, I like transposing one writing system on another – using the musical staff for drawing or writing with notes, like this piece printed in The Paris Review 2012 from Greg Evason – The Blind Canoe:

Greg Evason, The Blind Canoe.

and Jo Cook’s Celestogram, or Jesse Glass’ Shout Speak Whisper, or Jaap Blonk Just a Thought.

This is one of the reasons I love BpNicol.

I love Fabio Doctorvich. Here is one of his works from postypographika.

It uses the language of something like a circuit diagram but with words and iconography… and often color.

I love the intersection of labyrinths and mazes and text. This is a version of pattern poetry that predates the 20th century and is perhaps not considered ART. ButI love this work too and I see it in Eva O Ettel’s Waterford. It integrates mapping with mazes/labyrinths and text.

Or  Sveta Litvak with pppp, dolls, etc represents for me language and becoming. Text is so static as are images. Diagrams are movement, as are films and music.

This is Klaus Peter Dencker, A and it reminds me of what I was creating in my post the other day when I was attempting to create a graphic based on my reading of Henry Corbin.

I could go in a less diagrammatic way – the way that Carol Stetser does like here. If more diagrammatic work foreground the connections or nodes, this gives equal weight to the background and the milieu.

 

Writing that does not have “semantic content” (wordless) is called asemic. This could include fake letters, letters that do not make words, letters and images, letters used as images. We turn back what is effable – into that which is ineffable. I am sort of inspired by the Dada-ist inspired Lettrism… there is a great manifesto for that linked to in the wiki.  Also mIEKAL aND and The book of the dead… as this image shows from poetry magazine:

And

This piece is called Fonotaip system – combining phonetics and typographt.  It is probably no coincidence I like this piece since I am interested in mapping, in transduction, how different systems interact.  There is also a generative quality, an attention to process not just product. How does the letter emerge and change as it is spoken. There was also a typography and mapping mashup by W. Mark Sutherland that really reminded me of psycho-geography (which is related to the letterists).

There are some images I have found that are mappings of chess boards. I imagine what other game boards could provide visual scaffolding for poetry.  What kind of movements different boards indicate – what sorts of rhythms, what sort of inspiration do they provide. I imagine a sort of exquisite corpse game of poetry played as a settlers of catan board game.

As a sort of coda, I just attended a performance session where the artists were typing into a system that generated tones based on what was typed. I wonder about what creates virtuosity in that sort of work. At first my mind when to that attack of the finger on the keyboard, or how long you held the key for or how quickly or slowly the keys were typed. But this is not quite it. The virtuosity is in patterns. It is the composition. And in the case of live performance it is in improvisation. I am not sure if this can be called virtuosity, and I feel like I am leaving something on the table here. There is a virtuosity in mapping, that is similar to the skill of the data scientists who can tweak fitness variables and clean data but it not necessarily programming or collecting data or creating algorithms.

When I think about the mapping that to me is interesting. The virtuosity is in the system poetics.

The Letter in ART

art, poetry, technology

I am reading a book on vispo coincidentally with the annual ELO conference – Electronic Literature Organization. I really dont know what vispo is/was but I did a deep dive into concrete poetry recently (visual poetry) and vispo appears to be a continuation or derivation of that.  It also seems to coincide nicely with my current explorations into creative coding via letter generation. 

As a young child I was captured by the magic of letters, symbols and alphabets far before I could read. And for me they did, and continue to have, a meaning beyond information (reading). A letter, for me, is imbued with meaning beyond being a letter of the alphabet. I have no idea why this is the case – but I know I am not alone in this since so many people have associated letters with numbers and symbols, archetypes and so forth. 

On the first page of the Vispo book I am reading, Nico Vassilakis writes “letters lose their chemical word attraction, their ability to bond to one another; to cohere into words.”  This is where I am right now in my creative code exploration of letters. What are letters as atoms – apart from words. Back at my apartment I have a book that looks at letters as if they were letters or chemical compounds.

This is an example of Systems Poetry – overlapping the grapheme with the chemical.  

There is a question about reality. What is real about the letter? We can get into all sorts of thorny issues here, and category mistakes and what not. This is a metaphysical question.  But when I play with letters in creative code, this is the core. What is real about the letter?

This reminds me of the imaginal realm. Is the imaginal realm real. Can it be shared with another consciousness or is it purely subjective.   There are interactions between letters, addressed by kerning or spacing with artists like Aram Saroyan. And Crag Hill’s second essay in this Vispo collection touches on this. Then we move from the word to words – to the relationship between words, to the empty space, or the page.  Mallarme used white space as silence – another quote from page 69 of the vispo collection in Mittenthal’s essay. 

There is also the breath, and the constraints provided by a typewriter – as explored by Charles Olsen. We can imagine the new constraints of css, or of pixels, of curves and points of  OpenGL, of computer protocols, APIs, and forms. This is the breath of the computer, or of the cyborg (the human+computer). 

In looking at lettering I am inspired by

Jesse Ferguson and letters of different sizes and rotations, of The Lions and letters integrated with illustrations, of Anatol Knotek which reminds me of my experiments from last week, of Petra Backogja which reminds me of concrete poetry, of the absolutely beautiful and magical Oded Ezer’s the message a movement of hebrew letters from 2D space to 3D space and into movement and animation (4D), of Bill DiMichele and Cecil Touchon and Jim Leftwich and experiments with tiles and matrices that I also am experimenting with,  of Troy Lloyd who appears to reference Braille, Fernando Aguiar who brings text off the page and into life with translucent prints and natural environments, of James Yeary who makes me think of Sigils and James Joyce, and Derek Beaulieu  – because I see how I can make something in this structure, of Gareth Jenkins and the creation of new letters and accents.

These are my inspirations this morning. 

Points and Lines

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https://editor.p5js.org/msrobot0/embed/4Nv9jd6b0

I have never had a good relationship with creative code. It is the one place where the blank page intimidates me. However, recently I listened to a lecture on coding and meditation and found a way in.

The first prompt was imagine a point and two lines and then all the different ways you can connect between the two lines, straight, curved, squiggly, zig zag. Squiggly and zigzag in programming means you are also adding other points, but lets not go there yet.

I found this very generative. How many signs and symbols are drawn like this: constellations, the alphabet and numbers, stars, hearts, even … sigils.

I decided I wanted to have a user type in and transform the letters into essentially sigils. I had an idea of how I would do this with Bezier Curves, and possibly with python, but when I got into the weeds things changed. 

I decided to use p5js, a javascript library for processing. I have never really used p5js but all the kids are doing it and so I will do that instead of do something else like use TikTok. 

The next thing I did was throw out bezier curves. Maybe I will return to bezier curves but for now I am using CurveVertex

What I am doing? Well when I started out I wanted to get an intuition for how the lines curved. So I drew two random points and then connected them with a curve. It was a line. Then I drew three lines, and so forth. Then I wanted to add dynamic points so I added points a list. I wanted to add constraints (like events and constraints), so when the lists got too long I’d remove the first point – this makes the lines appear to move continuously. Then I wanted then lines to appear to have richness, so I added additional curve vertices. In one version I added key press events so you can toggle between random or 0-9 vertices, speed up and slow down the framerate, and add additional vertices. 

How does CurveVertex work?

Well it uses a spline method called Catmull-Rom. I have zero idea what this means. I am super tired right now. But I am interested to try this method out with bezier and other curving algorithms.  Tomorrow – when I am not completely exhausted maybe I can talk about how to use CurveVertex

 

 

 

Cardinality of Art and Walter Benjamin and other stuff

art, capitalism, consciousness

I am listening to a the fabulously generative podcast Game Studies Study Buddies – in particular the episode on Surrealism.  

It is making we think about art, individuality, the unconscious and perhaps Walter Benjamin. I am into the first three, not so much Walter. 

Follow this thread. 

Is art that prioritizes self expression still art?

Photography is the beginning of art as self-expression which is a rupture from traditional art as a mode of communal participation and perhaps self transformation (feeling and integrating new feelings).  At this moment art becomes about the decisions or mind of the photographer (ie the artist), what photo do I take, rather than my technique in creating art.  Art becomes about personal expression, rather than universal participation. It also becomes about selection, ie decision making ie taste, and is the beginning of the curation as art / the mixtape/ sampling (perhaps brilliantly temporally locally realized by Hans Ulrich Obrist).

The work of art in the of mechanical reproduction, Benjamin’s work, only makes sense in the context of capitalist culture.  The “value” of the work of art only makes sense in this context. How value changes between cardinality and multiplicity (or mass production) only makes sense in a society with use value and exchange value and commodity fetishism.  But lets play along, what is art in the age of mechanical reproduction, well everything becomes aestheticized (such as politics), because it becomes personal and perspectival rather than embodied in a medium. We could also say this is the beginning of conceptual art because art is about decisions or instructions.  Even in the case of abstract expressionism or mediums that look more traditional, the value is always in … look at this new way I the artist am expressing myself/reinterpreting this thing etc.  There is now value in doing this first.

Now I am jumping the gun. Walter attempts to ground some real value in the original vs the mass produced object in the notion of aura. This seems metaphysical – I’ll talk about this later. But in an attempt to stay grounded with Kant in the Island or reason, or land or reason, I forget in the geography of Kant if speculation is an island or the water, but I digress. Back on reason, the original work of art has original spacial and temporality that make it Art, rather than the spacial and temporal coordinates of the reproductions. Expanding this to modern art, we now have one dimension, temporal. All that matters is that you are THE FIRST. 

I do think by going radically into the personal we can get at something universal. I love rich artist works by people with a fully developed personal mythology – I think of Jacolby Satterwhite, for example. And there is something universal in the complete realization of a personal mythology. As if, the entirety of a personal mythology achieves something universal.  If we look at ART of the past there is a participatory aspect, there is an embodied aspect, there is a communal aspect (thinking of lascaux and the sistine chapel, or even bardic oral traditions like Homeric epics or Icelandic sagas), I have also experience Satterwhite’s work like this at Pioneer works and The Rubin Museum. Benjamin’s concept of aura maybe is trying to capture this idea of participatory and embodied art, I really I am not into this cartesian/kantian Time/Space analysis. I want to lean into the metaphysics of what aura can actually be.  

So back to listening to this podcast, and surrealist tools to get at the unconscious, is this just radically personal?  Is the unconscious or obsession with the unconscious radical narcissism? I would say the unconscious or connection with the unconscious is the most universal part of a human.  I would say perhaps neurosis is personal and what happens when neurosis is removed is something universal. Like all happy families are the same and all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way – to paraphrase Tolstoy.  Surrealist games and a deep communication/connection with one’s unconscious would perhaps connect not only with the particulars or uniqueness of each individual, but also with the universals of all humans. Surrealist games are participatory and communal. What is revealed in a surrealist game is not the product of one artist -but of the group playing the game.  The creator of the game gets credit, perhaps because someone needs to get paid, in money or cultural capital.

So what is Art in the age in mechanical reproduction, if art is not some fetish created by capitalism, but a participatory experience that provides something like connective tissue for the world (humanity, nature etc)? I have no idea, it cannot be just the individual ability to make a unique or idiosyncratic decision but for universal decisions and visions revealed. Perhaps it is something coordinated and emergent. But yeah photography is the beginning of our individualistic culture – realized in instagram – and perhaps TikTok – which I don’t understand AT ALL. 

 

Erotics of Programming

art, consciousness, philosophy

I have talked about erotics for probably my whole adult life. It is probably because I read a lot of greek philosophy as an undergraduate at university.

But I was unclear about the meaning. Erotics for me was about love, sexual love in a particular sense, or love that gives rise to passion. But I never really thought about it.

I used to describe my feeling towards programming as erotic- that I found programming erotic. What did I mean? Did I mean it was embodied? Yes, yes but his would be somatic. Did I find it arousing? Perhaps, I do find find programming exciting in this visceral (somatic) way.

Then I came across that famous Sontag quote “We need an erotics of art.” What the hell does that mean?

This week I watched the 4th episode of the meaning crises by John Vervaeke, and there was a brief discussion of erotics that began to unlock this question for me. 

The discussion mentioned that erotics was related to care.  There is an ethics of care that arose out of feminist thought. It is a form of normative ethical theory (ie value ethics) that prioritizes interpersonal relationships and the specifics of individuals. This is not what is meant by erotics and care. Care here is what you care about, a person or thing. 

This jailbroke erotics for me.  We need a care of art – like people need to actually care about art, not use it for virtue/cultural signaling… But lets move even further. 

But care is not enough to understand erotics. Erotics for me is something connected to physical love, to embodiment/somatics, and to passion.  I think this is key to understanding erotics – it is an embodied care. 

What is passion?  I always think of the Passion of Jesus, which is Jesus’ anguish on the cross. And then I think of limerence, that feeling when you are (or think you are) falling in love and cant stop thinking about the beloved. But lets talk about the Passion of Jesus. The word passion, from latin ‘passio’, has connotations with emotion, and perhaps comes from the greek pathos. Pathos is related to suffering and death, but also any strong feeling. To think about this psychologically, passion is to be in the grips of an emotion. It was first used in relation to sexual desire I think by Shakespeare in Titus Andronicus, a very gruesome story involving rape.

I don’t know if we can connect passion to eros. These are in conflict, and from googling on the internet Socrates/Plato does discuss this in dialogues I have read and I have since forgotten. 

There is also the notion of libido, that Freud introduced for psychology. libido is more of a sex drive, and eros is more of a life force – vitality. In order to have vitality, to create, sex (biologically for humans) is involved.

Erotics is a vital caring, it is a generative caring, it is a participatory caring. I care with my whole self, not just with my mind. The passion of jesus is reinacted during the easter as a participatory ritual. Erotics as I imagine it is participatory. 

When I write code, I am participating in the code, I feel what it is to care about one thing verses another, it is more than just a product of my mind.  Part of that has to do with my body (somatics), because participation involves the body, but it is not only the body. For an erotics of art, it is about participating in an artwork, and feeling what it is to care. 

These videos I am watching with a group are about a so called “meaning crises.”  I can translate this as not knowing what to care about, which I definitely struggle with.  And if care is about eros, then that is something we need to reintroduce back into society.  Perhaps an impossible to do in world experienced through zoom.