Friday, October 24, 2014

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] The Plight of the Supernatural...

"I'd be ok with the notion that art-science is being instrumentalized in the service of an atheist agenda.... the fact is, that in art-science, art has paired with a domain that rejects the concept of the supernatural, at the same time that most of the world's population still embraces it.... The concept of a non-supernatural cosmos is much broader than atheism, and fertile for an expanded discourse. I think we, who play on the art-science playground, should recognize and encourage it."


Sign me up, Stephen!

This idea of an atheist aesthetic is of particular interest to me right now, in that my most recent musical composition, An Unaware Cosmos, is an homage of sorts to various writers, philosophers, scientists, and political figures throughout history who have questioned or rejected the supernatural---and as a result, often suffering dire consequences at the hands of the religious authorities of their respective eras. My approach has been largely a reaction to the pervasive influence of religion on many contemporary composers---e.g., Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, to name just a few of the more prominent composers of religious music from the past half century---and a search for sources of inspiration based in objective reality rather than in mythology masquerading as reality. Like Stephen, I find the inherent beauty of nature all the more awe-inspiring in that it is completely unintentional---how much more interesting to realize that our very existence is the result of a series of coincidences and "happy accidents" over billions of years; and how banal the whole experience becomes when we attribute everything we know to some magical being who created it all just for us. That might have been a comforting thought for less advanced cultures from earlier in our species' history, but it seems quite unsatisfying---and more than a little ridiculous---in the present day. For this reason, I am exploring ways to address these concerns through my own creative work, and find the idea of a community of like-minded artists---inspired by the science side of the art-science paradigm---to be an encouraging and invigorating prospect.

(But we have our work cut out for us.)

Joe


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Joseph Klein, DMus
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Chair, Division of Composition Studies
University of North Texas College of Music
1155 Union Circle #311367
Denton, TX 76203-5017
(940)565-4926 (ph); (940)565-2002 (fax)
Joseph.Klein@unt.edu
http://www.music.unt.edu/comp/josephklein

________________________________________
From: yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr <yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr> on behalf of Stephen Nowlin <stephen.nowlin@artcenter.edu>
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 7:33 PM
To: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] The Plight of the Supernatural...

Hi, Martha -- Let's stipulate that broadly speaking, art-science comes in
different forms: design-science, data visualization, product innovation,
ecology/sustainability movement, media experimentation, makers, fine art
-- and more.

My personal perspective is the fine art art-science. And from that
perspective, it occurs to me in thinking over your excellent question that
perhaps after one has looked at, listened to, read, or otherwise
experienced a form of art, there's not too much else to do with it other
than to instrumentalize, interpret, critique, and conscript it to serve
the interests of a particular ontology -- to bend it to one argument or
another. In my case it may be an agenda (I don't know) -- but in the wake
of describing the phenomenology of a fine art art-science experience, I do
find myself wanting to confer a deeper level of meaning to it than simply
the pairing of two stereotypically unlike domains (novelty) or just
describing the attractiveness of a visual sensation. I want that sensation
to also say that the world is more lovely precisely because it wasn't
meant to be lovely at all. We are the lucky finders of beauty where it
wasn't meant to be. Not through grand intention, but because our evolved
biology allows us such emotions and their concomitant sensation of
transcendence. I want it to say that every human in history who thought or
thinks that sensation was an act of God or a work of magic superseding the
natural world, has been wrong. I want it to say that if we could rid
ourselves of that pernicious magic meme, we'd be much better off and the
errant directions in which it has sent human logic careening for millennia
might be rectified. I guess maybe that IS an agenda!

I'd be ok with the notion that art-science is being instrumentalized in
the service of an atheist agenda. It would certainly give the enterprise
some needed controversy! Not as a phony marketing gimmick, though -- the
fact is, that in art-science, art has paired with a domain that rejects
the concept of the supernatural, at the same time that most of the world's
population still embraces it. This tension is a legitimate body of content
to be identified with art-science. The concept of a non-supernatural
cosmos is much broader than atheism, and fertile for an expanded
discourse. I think we, who play on the art-science playground, should
recognize and encourage it.

/stephen






On 10/23/14 2:46 PM, "Martha Blassnigg" <martha.blassnigg@gmail.com> wrote:

>Dear list,
>
>
>
>The posts so far have been thought-provoking in various directions;
>
>
>
>Aprille and Ken have among other issues both pointed to the political
>instrumentalisation of the so-called Ĺ’supernatural¹ domain, in various
>sectors, science, religion and state...
>
>
>
>In reflection of the discussion around current art-science engagements;
>
>Is it again being instrumentalised, and if so what is the agenda behind
>it?
>
>
>
>Martha
>
>
>
>Dr. Martha Blassnigg
>
>Reader in the Anthropology of Media | Co-Convenor, Transtechnology
>Research
>| Editor, *Transtechnology Research Open Access Papers* | Associate
>Editor, *Leonardo Reviews* and *L|R|Q* * Plymouth University, United
>Kingdom
>
>http://www.trans-techresearch.net || http://trans-techresearch.net/papers
>
>||http://www.leonardo.info/ldrinfo.html || http://www.cognovo.eu/
>
>
>
>
>
>I have been invited to provide a brief background:
>
>
>
>My background is in Cultural Anthropology, Philosophy and Film and Cinema
>Studies (Universities of Vienna, Cologne and Amsterdam). I completed a
>Ph.D
>at the University of Wales revisiting the so-called spiritual dimension of
>the early cinema experience by shifting the attention to the contemporary
>debates around time, memory and consciousness at the interface of science,
>art and technology. My research interest lies in philosophical and
>historical inquiries into the metaphysical dimensions of technology and
>art
>in relation to the processes of human cognition. In this I focus on the
>perceptual experiences and affordances of media in both historical and
>contemporary contexts. Recent publications include the anthology *Light
>Image Imagination* (Amsterdam University Press, 2013), the monograph
>*Time,
>Memory, Consciousness and the Cinema Experience: Revisiting Ideas on
>Matter
>and Spirit* (Rodopi, 2009). Other outcomes of research have been published
>in *Convergence*, *Leonardo*,* Medicine Studies*, *REAL Yearbook of
>Research in English and American Literature* and in the anthology *Screen
>Consciousness: Cinema, Mind and World*, edited by R. Pepperell and M. Punt
>(Rodopi, 2006). Previously I have undertaken anthropological research into
>accounts and artistic expressions of experiences of angelic presences and
>compared processes of conscious mediation between technologically enhanced
>perception and multi-sensorial engagements of mediumship. A full list of
>publications and CV can be found at http://trans-techresearch.net/.
>_______________________________________________
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