Chocolate and Flowers
You might think of red roses and chocolate boxes at the sound of the word Romantic. That's a fair image and one that society is given by adverts and marketing nearly all year around. However, it's much more than this, and definitely more than a soft and soppy way of showing your love to someone. The word became used to describe a sensibility during the 18th Century. Romance originally simply meant of Rome. However we rarely think of glorious city when he hear it these days. What does it actually mean though? Why chocolates and flowers?
Evolution of Culture
A gradual process of cultural standardisation began during the Classical era. This predates romanticism and is governed by a rigid set of rules based on theology and feudal tradition. A process of making everything uniform across wide communities took place as various technologies made it easier to do. Printing presses, measuring devices, clocks, and all manner of other inventions began setting standards and uniformity around the world. The way we organise our lives and the things we think we all made to fit a set of rules defined by those with the power to enforce them either culturally or legally. This time-period came to a close as the process of standardisation reached its pinnacle at the time of the Enlightenment. Thinkers such as Newton and Descartes defined the world in mechanistic and predictable terms. The usefulness of God was taken away from many of the universal processes we assumed were under divine control. Everything became mechanical and devoid of inner paradox.
The Art Form
A pushback to this manner of thinking emerged in the form of Romanticism. The total linguistic mechanisation of life and its processes left a gaping hole in the way we see ourselves and the world we are in. People wanted symbols and signs, metaphors and mind puzzles that helped them identify with something greater than themselves. In a way, the Classical era put out the flames of magic and mystery and the Enlightenment was their mission accomplished. We do need to realise the usefulness of scientific enquiry but many people didn't want to let go of that mystical part of human nature. This is where art came forward with the solution. When it's administered to art, magic and mystery, symbolism and metaphor all serve as tools and devices that offer personal insights separately to individuals. Wisdom and intuition, folklore and spirituality could be placed within the artistic and make-believe world of art for people to enjoy and assimilate in their own time and way.
The digital age has brought so many marvellous benefits. Digital pioneers have really demonstrated the power of computing and the extent at which these binary devices can be instructed to help us progress. There is one huge difference in the way we think and the way computers think. Although modern neural networks are capable of having independent thoughts based on active learning, they are always matter of fact. Much like the Newton of the cosmos, a computer sees the world in a very specific way. In order to communicate with computers, we too need to think like they do. We're nearly all brought up with some kind of computer these days and so we all learn how to communicate with these devices using precise and accurate controls. Programmers and coders will know that one false instruction can and does ruin the entire output, and getting things exactly as they should be is paramount.
You can't ask a computer to make metaphorical comparisons unless it has a list of them and their proper use. There is no imagination and no non-linear, abstract quality to the way machines think and follow instructions. Everything is done by procedure and process. Humans are not built this way. Our minds do crave order and process but they also crave richness, diversity, and occulted wisdom. We love to see big pictures that we can't describe as well as look to the little things for their unique detail. The modern digital age has given us the idea that facts must be accurate and information true. This can be great for making the right choices but when it comes to a fulfilling experience of life, we need more. In order to counter-balance the influence that digital machines have on our lives, investing in our ability to imagine, speak in symbols, and express passion without being rationally interrogated is something is going to be essential for our continued growth as a global society.
A new feature for Alternative Fruit, a selection of digital art pieces from the editor Rowan B. Colver. Writing about other people's art is always good but where is my own? Never previously published elsewhere, Crystals of Consciousness are photomanipulations made from a single image which has been digitally altered again and again to produce a series of seven unique and abstract pieces. Without further ado, Alternative Fruit presents: Crystals of Consciousness. Take your time and enjoy each image for as long as you wish.
Crystals of Consciousness - An abstract digital art display by Rowan B. Colver
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