NY Arts magazine item by Scott Weiland

Virtual 2
NY Arts magazine item by Scott Weiland

In Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, Levy presents the notion that art virtualizes the virtual. That is, it is possible to become structured by those virtual aspects of the real which in their function bear agency upon us as objects. If it is possible to understand the virtual through media theory, it is the artist in Levy…

Somehow the soul has to be mediated. In that way it is like or is information. Art is one way and the NET is another – that may be a starting point for my essay!

Suzi Gablik

The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art

Suzi Gablik has discussions with Thomas Moor and James Hillman.

Here is an excerpt.

Suzi: In our culture, the notion of art being in service to anything is anathema. Aesthetics doesn’t serve anything but itself and its own ends.

I would like that to change. When Hilton Kramer says that the minute you try to make art serve anything, you’re in a fascistic mode’well, I don’t believe that.

Hillman: I’d like to defend the cleaning of the river, for a moment. I’m going back to what you said a little earlier: it’s the attempt to put art in the service of something.

Suzi: Yes, that’s where the issue is.

Hillman: Art in the service of something. If we say that it’s life, and if we think, for instance, of the Balinese village where everything is made to be functional and useful, for celebrations or ceremonies… you’re still in service to the gods, somehow. Now we don’t have that we’ve wiped the gods out… So the god that art now serves is the god that dominates the culture, which is the god of commodity, of money. So it is in service, it’s in service to gods we don’t approve of… Now suppose the question doesn’t become what art should do, but rather how do we find that which art should serve? Art is already in service, so we could perhaps change that to which it is in service?

Suzi: So the question is what could art better serve than the things it has been serving, like bourgeois capitalism, throughout our lifetimes?

Hillman: Right! And I think the artist in the river is serving a different god.

To relate it back to the themes here, what it we replaced the word Art with Net? I see them as both mediating soul. However for it to be of the sort of art they are advocating here it is not all the net that works this way… have we wiped the gods out of the Net?


Web Links

A Virtual Place is No Place At All – Hermes, the wing-footed Greek god of swift communication, has evolved into the messenger of the internet, intoxicating users but playing games with western civilization, author and psychologist James Hillman told a crowd of 350 at Ure Lecture Hall last night.

The link in the paragraph above does not work. Has ayone got a copy of this somewhere?


Staring Into The Singularity

by Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

The short version:
If computing power doubles every two years,
what happens when computers are doing the research?
Computing power doubles every two years.
Computing power doubles every two years of work.
Computing power doubles every two subjective years of work.
Two years after computers reach human equivalence, their power doubles again. One year later, their speed doubles again.
Six months – three months – 1.5 months … Singularity.
It’s expected in 2035. (Oops, make that 2025.)

Ok, so that is what it’s about. There is an old idea that the soul is infinite. Things can go at any damn rate they like the soul will match it. In fact these perhaps dubious scientific notions have more power as a metaphorical expression of our psyche than they do as actual events in the world. Hence we have Carl Jung writing about UFOs. If they did not exist we’d have to invent them! Singularity is like that too. Or is it?

Stuff that dreams are made of

2.03: The Economy of Ideas

Last line from the JPB item linked before:

And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns.

Stuff that dreams are made of… there is the clue… to psyberspace.

BUT… Information is as much a real product as material goods – it arises not only out of dreams but hard work. I think it un-psychological to not see the real thing and then to see into it imaginatively. It is particularly skewed to selectively imagine.

That is central to my whole way of doing therapy. It goes back to the “seduction theory”. Must dig up an article I wrote on that. To put it simply: just because it really happened does not mean we should neglect our dreams.

One thing I loved about this article is the opening quote from Jefferson. JPB certainly found the right bit to quote.


The Economy of Ideas

WiReD 2.03 article: A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age. (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.)
By John Perry Barlow

Throughout the time I’ve been groping around cyberspace, an immense, unsolved conundrum has remained at the root of nearly every legal, ethical, governmental, and social vexation to be found in the Virtual World. I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can’t get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work?”

So begins this classic from Wired 2.03 March 1994. He had insights then we still grapple with now:

The other existing, model, of course, is service. The entire professional class – doctors, lawyers, consultants, architects, and so on – are already being paid directly for their intellectual property. Who needs copyright when you’re on a retainer?

In fact, until the late 18th century this model was applied to much of what is now copyrighted. Before the industrialization of creation, writers, composers, artists, and the like produced their products in the private service of patrons. Without objects to distribute in a mass market, creative people will return to a condition somewhat like this, except that they will serve many patrons, rather than one.

He was speaking about this early in the digital story… where has this discussion gone since then… Some of that is on this blog in earlier items – I will keep surfing…

Free software and psyche

Free Software and the Psyche

What are all these posts on open source and free software doing on my weblog? What is the link with psyche?

Well there is a link with my psyche, in that I gravitate to the of edge. Free software is on the edge of some sort of cultural social advance. It may peter out like the “counterculture” or it may actually be a continuation of something of that spirit.

More directly there is a psychological side: identity in a virtual realm relates to ownership. In the early says of the well there was the phase You Own Your Own Words. The theme has a powerful presence on the Net, relates right back to notion of “free speech” with its elevated, sacred, archetypal complexities.

I’m not all that clear, I know. I just have a sense that probing the noosphere here involves fully grasping the free software phenomena, with its associated stories of cathedrals and bazaars etc. Anyway, I run Linux for that reason, to travel into the different realms of the cyber-world. I think of it as a journey into the psyche!