Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Embodiment and the Hierarchy

People use this new language to communicate with our machines and teach them different tasks to repeat and build on to create something. Humans can now inhabit the same power as the forces at work which make our DNA form the way it does, causes atoms to attach the way they do. We have become the analogous forces for our machines and computers through the use of an interface. Throughout history, people have been fascinated with this idea of creation, hence why many have turned to inventing and art, a chance to play god for just a little while and be in total control of a medium. However, when software art comes into the picture, it seems that we enter a more modern view of the god complex. We place all of the pieces in their place and send them on their ways, not caring where they end up; hoping that something will come of it, but not completely disappointed if it self-detonates. If this is considered what the wave of the future is going to be, the new creation, and the realizations which lead to more and important creations of functions and patterns by humans, then it seems that a hierarchy of art is established, with software art as the next platform, the next step up, the new wave of the Hegelian ladder of understanding. This would make sense as the role of the human has become the creator of the process, the creator of the electronic pulses which create action and life. However, why do I find that the more organic arts which embody the human mind, psyche, kinesis, and entropy to be more important and striking to the way humans react, interact, and use the world and materials around them?

Perhaps it lies in the grounding of these aesthetic forms of art in processes which come naturally to the human understanding, our senses and our physical and mental anguish, as we process it in our heads. Embodiment of art seems to be more legitimate in communicating something beautiful and creative to the human spirit. I would risk to go so far to say that ballet, or any other highly, highly, structured dance should be coupled into the same categories as coding, which for the sake of argument, I will call “aesthetic separations.” These highly stylized, other language base forms of expression seem to want to break from the human body, break from the human experience, and break from the organic structure the process of evolution created. This further evolution leaves this organic understanding of things and leaps to a new understanding, which I argue should not be taken to be above more organic types of dance (folk dances, African dance, etc.) which acknowledge the body and use its own language to communicate, a language which we understand not with our minds, but our visual connections. Writing and speech also are put into the organic arts as stemming from a series of sounds (although mechanically created) that are produced within the human body, grounded in our organic selves.

Therefore, I would argue against Hayle’s arguments about how code surpasses speech and writing, and I would argue that the highly stylized “aesthetic separations” do not achieve a hierarchical stance as the more noble practices in relation to the peasant-like organic arts. Code is created in a language not inherently part of the human body, not produced by the human body, but rather by the electrical impulses created within the machine. The creator is limited by the electronic currents the machine produces; in a way, making the machine the force higher than the actual creator himself. I can appreciate these aesthetic practices and new and exciting and creative, but I would go to argue against the bourgeois hierarchy of these arts. No hierarchy is necessary, as each applies and affects their own reaction mediums. The organic arts appeal to the human experience, whereas the artistic separations appeal to the human mind and mechanization out of the acknowledged organic self.

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