Dissertation Text-only: Pages 1-64

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“BIG DATA” = The accelerating accumulation of information systematically designed to reduce accountability; the faster the data compilation occurs the less present cause will be – e.g., with respect to civil liberties (such as 4th Amendment protections of civilian privacy) – in both the “justifiable” circumstance of data-gathering methodology and any derivation action by the data-gathering/centralizing/storing/exploiting party.

One's “data” (bio-) is or must/should be a non-transferable “right,' an inherent quality of actual personhood and designated/treated as such. It is one's only true/fictional property. As such, no government/private entity should ever by any means “possess” this information, except under the auspices of “anonymity” and outside any numeration regime empowered to displace, dissolve or in any way disperse and diminish the actuality of any human being.*

Verification is the prime social organizational principle of all and any legitimate, actual democracy.** The verifying discourses in such a discourse involve constant consideration of moral performance within the democracy on the individual to collective spectrum for the benefit of all.***

**Obviously, markets ≠ democracy; the prime function of the market(s) will be “redemption” (order fulfillment, conversion, etc.)
***(As in U, or everything/-one


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LOST CAUSE: The Matterhorn Project
By Paul McLean


“It is an artificial mountain, a picture corresponding rather with the exaggerated effect it produces on the astonished mind of the artist, than with the real form of the mountain.”

*Rey, Guido, The Matterhorn (translated J.E.C. Eaton) London, 1908. [Wikipedia “Matterhorn” Entry]

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The Matterhorn Project


The following text and illustrations will present a conceptual art project, “The Matterhorn Project,” for the purpose of illustrating the dimensional quality of art today. It is possible to trace the linkages between art and philosophy from 2015 (the year of this paper's inception) to the Classical Age. The earliest known examples of art* predate Plato's discussion of art in The Republic by tens of thousands of years. While it is impossible to say with certainty what motivated the painter(s) of, for instance, the “paintings” adorning the Lascaux or Chauvet cave walls, it is not difficult at all to recognize the value of these art works. They are treasures.

But why? To understand the value of art, we may assess art categorically, subjectively, critically, technically, comparatively, contextually, anthropologically, aesthetically, academically, economically, socially and so on. With so may applicable criteria for art, one will be hard-pressed to estimate the value of art conclusively, as a reductive exercise.

*If this is the proper term

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Is art worth dying over? [Yes/No] Should a single painting cost $150,000,000? [Yes/No] Does a great painting belong to everyone? [Yes/No] Is an artist only a conduit for art, or is art “making” the artist what she is? [Yes/No]

Art seems to possess a mysterious quality, a gift or talent for evading recursion. Like a mountain, art appears to be a topological phenomenon. Art seems to arise from context. The process by which art is created can be deconstructed, and elements contributing to its creation can be identified. Yet art seems to be more than the sum of its parts. Art has the characteristic of being both distinguishable from its environment and of it.

When art is extracted from its original context, the art undergoes a transformation. Superficially, the change, post-extraction, suggests clarification, or definition. If the art is then placed in a context containing other art “pieces,” art invites generalization. The viewer may attempt to compare one art piece with another, to draw conclusions about art in general.

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Art seems to encourage the specialization of the viewer, post-extraction, post-induction into the collection of art, or after art is staged and experienced within a collective scenario, curated, artificially associated among other art pieces (assembled), for the purposes of analysis.

At this stage (post-extraction, or post-ex-) art seems to assume universality. Time,* as chronology, as context, infuses art with meaning. Looking to the past, art serves society as memory. In the present, art acts as experience. For the future, art becomes projection. All at once, art is dimensional.

By now, the artist is usually an after-thought, an attachment. Art seems to develop its own life, an autonomy from its maker, a separate trajectory.

Art at its inception is a simple thing. As art proceeds, it becomes complex.** Art enters the domains of form, of the formal. Art can be exchanged, as property. Art may become influential, affecting its discipline, the craft for art. Art may obtain associative characteristics, as style.

*”Post-“ invites a discussion of phenomenological time and art
** - E.g.: Banksy “art created for/during his NYC residency

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At this point, Art belongs to a second “topology.” Art becomes social. In the extreme case, art can emerge as content, even mass media, a meme. Here, art ceases to exist simply as a fundamental type or expression of techne. Art is born again in the sphere of technology as a multi-faceted, dimensionist version of itself. Art is compressed, flattened by the medium, like everything else. Everyone who encounters it “creates” it. The physicality of art becomes an afterthought. Art is free of itself, as data. As such, the idea of art, and art as ideal, are replaced: as art with ID; or art with mathematical, statistical, time-stamped identity, or metadata. In this configuration art is extremely fragile and prone to erasure, on more than one level.

It is worth considering where art begins, and where does it end. Designating art's parameters, when we are talking about painting, can be as simple, one might think, as pointing to the edge of the canvas,

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or to the frame. A viewer with a background in physics, however, might object to our limit, since his understanding of the thing ruptures at the subatomic, or on a continuum of changing states.

An analyst with a degree in psychology (or sociology, anthropology, or even history, philosophy or critical discourse, etc.) may feel compelled to refute our obvious indication of the painting's boundary. Those qualified to elaborate on the immaterial world of human experience and interaction, the social, the relational, view art as an expansive subject, more than (only) a singular, singularly created and specific kind of object.

Art can provide the means by which we receive our perception of the cosmos in which humanity exists. Art can be utilized further, to suggest how we should exist, how we ought to behave, how we should react to conditions, events, others and so on. Art can be instructive, in short, as a tool in shaping behavior.

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This admission of art's potential as a utilitarian device, as a mode of transmission, obliquely engages the art object in a dimensional conversation, not only with communication itself, but also with setting, scenario, and the location of the discussion in time, space, and relative space (place).

It is precisely the universal that unhinges art from itself, and situates art beyond the visual phenomenon into the realm of vision, which has spiritual connotations. Drawing an imaginary line between “contemporary art” and ancient pictographs is not possible without one's acknowledgement of art's peculiar constitution.

Art serves people, and the nature of its service is unique. For humankind, especially the artist, art can engender a reciprocal orientation to service. Hence, the consciousness of the gift attaches to our various notions of what art is, isn't, should and/or shouldn't be.

Art's morality is both a component of art, an architectural layer in its structural design, if you will, as well as a fundamental aspect

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of art, inherent to it. The predisposition of art thereby confuses reason, and tends to leave art irreducible in terms of language. We can see how art might provoke (sometimes extreme) reactions among those of us for whom irrationality, contradiction and/or the Spirit(-ual) are problematic.

Representation and art seem to revolve around each other as in a helix. Adjacent to representation for art is the mirror-like operation art can offer its viewer. Consciousness of oneself and consciousness of the appearances of the world and the things in the world (including people) – art seems empowered to affect such perceptual apparatuses in the viewer during the viewing experience, and sometimes long after the initial encounter of viewer with art.

Here the artist re-emerges as both mediator and originator. The art and viewer are acting together in a triangulating formation in the art experience. The artist functions as a mediator, a translator, of the cosmos, for the viewer, by way of the art.

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Representation in art historically has been progressive. The desire for the art as image to realistically represent externality has driven significant innovation over time. The camera, for instance, as a device for capturing the visible at a point in time – producing a “still” image – or over a length of time – producing a “moving” image – within a rectangular (2D) framework, has proven to be an important invention for representation. Another valuable innovation for technical representation consists of an array of tools and practices that facilitate the generation of “3-point perspective.” One of the most recent inventions revolutionary for the purposes of representation is the 3D printer and the array of tools (hardware, software, peripherals, etc.) involved in 3D printing, which included the specialized materials for the production of the output, the “end product.”

It should be noted insofar as representation is concerned, the mechanical devices for representation are not, clearly, only for art. Cameras are ubiquitous in much of the world. Millions of still- and moving-images are produced and shared across a variety of (non-art) networks daily.

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Perspective-drawings of impressive accuracy are employed in any number of design and engineering fields. The 3D printer can be used to “print” a gun. Representation is one area where art and science overlap and intersect. The value of an accurate sketch is great in many practical applications.

Backtracking a moment to the simple triangulation model described above:

[Fig. 1.1]

The dynamic relationship represented in this simple sketch can be additively enhanced to illustrate directional exchange:

[Fig. 1.2]

Figure 1.2 conveys exchange complexity in the triangulating configuration (art-artist-viewer). For example, we can deduce that art and artist compose a quasi-autonomous relationship. This is true with all parties in this model. However, the sketch does not in its simplicity describe the

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differences between and among the three parties. The relationship between art and artist is not identical to the relationships between art and viewer, artist and viewer, and so on. Our model, thanks to its fundamental simplicity, can subsequently give rise to derivative models of expanding complexity. As a second-order for our ruminations on the relationship(s) among art, artist and art-viewer, we simply pluralize the configuration, adding variables that can enhance our understanding of art, artist and art-viewer [R], by supplying particularizing data for each participant of R. For instance:

[Fig. 1.3]

The points of our triangle model's corners become data sets. We might add a picture of the paint at A1, the poem Turner attached to his presentation of the painting to his peers and the public, and Ruskin's response to the painting, and so on.* Conceivably, we

*The process is amplification, an asset for generalization

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could follow the same protocol to create a database to include all paintings, adding any number of relational layers among the string of entries. Thus:

[Fig. 1.4]

...Which would not preclude us from further consideration of complexity expansions for our original model. For example, we might consider how the artist views the relationship between art and art viewer, and how that view evolves over time. A model to describe this facet of R might be represented as a hyper-triangle, expanding (with each catalog entry recording the artist view of A1 + V) over time.

[Fig. 1.5]

...Noting that we can share in the artist's evolving analysis (+1 plane in the dimensional model), perhaps adding an analysis of the artist's analysis (+1 plane) and maybe adding space in the form for the viewer to react to the artist's perspective on V's relationship to A1 (+1 plane). The Base of the pyramid model in Figure 1.5 acknowledges that the

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phenomenon we are (in part) examining constitutes a platform, a platform that is social, technical, perceptual, intellectual and so on. As with our particularized 2D model, this one can be serialized and substantially expanding, with additional relational layers connecting each cell:*

[Fig. 1.6]

...As one might infer from Figure 1.6, the directionals indicate a consequent derivative order of complexity. From here, we are moving into 4D territory. In some measures, we have reached the limits of binaries, simple abstraction, the sketch and many other tools for apprehension at our disposal. We enter a new sphere, an imaginary one essentially, wherein our original simple model, representing an urge to understand a phenomenon, really, begets a project.

Returning to our original model, we might represent our derivation project in this fashion:

[Fig. 1.7]

*The platform becomes a “school”

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...With R, being an original model, R2 being a dataset containing all possible iterations of R1, and R3 containing or indicating (representing) all possible relational quantities and qualities pertaining and connecting to R1, in time (effects, associations, contingencies, perspectives, meanings, values, histories, techniques, modes, metrics, analyses, applications, causalities, and so on). Then:*

[Fig. 1.8]

...Figure 1.8 demonstrates the generational complexities of our project R1>R4. The derivative project naturally can be serialized infinitely, with each plane, intersection point, derivative shape (obverse, and so on)... affording the user the opportunity to add layers of supplementals, ad infinitum.

The “imaginary” quality of the project (derived from a simple model) might lead one to believe that the program outlined above has no relevance “in the real world.” Not true. Take, for example, the NSA project, “Total Information

*Obviously, a bad sketch (but still a fine model)

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Awareness,” or the financial sector's “project(s)” involving derivatives constituting a shadow market whose valuations are rising into the quadrillions of dollars (an ever-rising figure that encompasses and surpasses the actual economic value of everything on earth, and conceivably could surpass the unimaginable monetized valuation of the planet itself). Both projects are facilitated by mechanical means, employ complex and sophisticated networks monitored and utilized by armies of agents, generate massive quantities of information, collect and apply massive data sets, have fairly obvious objectives. Both, we can assume, originated from simple premises. Neither project seems on the surface to be especially benign.* To know everything about everyone; to own the world and everything in it – something about the promise of 4D awareness tempts man to play god. We perhaps should proceed with caution.

Practicing 4D in art might be safer than doing so in the domains of spying or speculation. In a slower, saner reality, perhaps society would

*Juxtaposing our art project with the two sample correlations, NSA TIA and the derivatives market(s)

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assign artists the task of experimenting with new perceptual toys/tools, then monitor and evaluate the results. In such a scenario, the artist serves as “canary in the coal mine,” which in other meaningful ways, appears to be part of the artist's “job description,” or vocation/“calling” in the Social.


In Section 1.712, we initiated a discussion of vision pertinent to art dimensionally. Obviously, the subsets of this discussion, and the matter of vision itself, on its own terms, are essential in any examination of art. The literature of art includes many valuable contributions on “seeing.” These may be instructional manuals on how to see, view, or look at art, so as to maximize the viewer experience and understanding of art. Art-centric storytelling may take form as personalized chronicle, an accumulation of anecdotes or impressions. This second mode has some characteristics of “witnessing” (and “testifying”). Art stories can over time be aggregated, so as to “paint a picture” of the picture (over time and populations). Again, we should note art's urge to the general, toward shared and/or social experience. This trend is important to note, because it is suggestive of the value of art's context, access,

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mode of presentation. How, where and when art is presented significantly impacts how it its received and perceived.

Further, visions encompass an aspect of human experience that can be described in terms of the extraordinary, as in “the visionary.” Vision, then, can have the quality of intensifying some “normal” state of the senses, opening one's faculties to a “heightened” awareness. Art has a profound position to occupy, with respect to vision, that it must share with tribal people, religious folk, thinkers, scientists, etc., since “visionary” (n.) has come to mean, more or less, anyone who realizes something or invents something that proves to be important over time (before any- and/or everyone else “gets it”). Powerful vision can also entail one's seeing the world not only exactly as it is, but also as it could be, or should be. Or even (still referring to visionary/n.) perceiving alternate realities vividly.

Addressing painting once more, art as a visionary tool or device can function like vision-window. It is not surprising that the magical as an attribute is assigned to art, nor is it surprising

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that skepticism attaches to art. Art's skeptics regard it as little more than “snake oil,” a grift or a con, playing on the gullibility of the dullard and the bias of the predisposed fool. Vision indeed is a battleground, in practice, as forces in conflict struggle for territory in the domain (of vision-projection). Why? Because the mediator of the human “heart” and mind is vision, which arises from the visual and visible, but is more; vision is accompanied by narrative and faith, and the status of being for those of us “chosen” to receive it. Vision can be a bridge to the divine (the sublime), for a believer. Prophets have visions. Saints and holy people have visions. (so do schizophrenics, the psychiatrist of the 20th and 21st centuries might point out).

Here, we ought to probably again note the power of vision to mobilize people to collective action. It is safe to say that those among us who, for whatever reasons, fear collective mobilization and action* (effects) display a certain caution towards visionaries, artistic or otherwise.

*Arising from visual stimulus

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Another interesting quality of Vision, applicable to our introductory rumination on art, is the common urge to assess and qualify vision in terms of the binary (“true” or “false,” for example). Is the vision “pure?” Or less than that – and so we range into the scope of the Oracle, and prediction, or in a current vernacular, “future-tripping.” The magical ability to forecast the future brings together the palm reader and the meteorologist, in the imagination complex of humanity, touching us on a deep level, at our hotspot for insecurity. Whether “I,” “mine” or “we” will be OK tomorrow is a primary existential concern for most of us. It makes sense the Drama utilizes vision, the Oracle, and the fulfillment (or disruption or destruction) of plans (patterned or predetermined outcomes), and the foibles of prophecy, as valuable tools for dramatic plot development.

Drama, itself, might be thought of as a kind of vision, or at least a Vision Channel Device (VCD). Following on our discussion of Vision in the preceding paragraph, the binary feature of Vision as concept or even precept points to a condition of drama that for our purposes can be reduced to the question, “Is it fiction or non-fiction?” Or even more to the point, “Is it true or not?”

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In a way, this line of inquiry gets to the crux of digital imaging, the virtual, and by extension, the mechanical image, such as the photograph. Before arriving at that destination, however, a discussion of the mechanics of vision – optics - is necessary. We will cover this topic in more depth later in the text. For now, it is sufficient to acknowledge a subject that forms parallel to vision and art in the digital and mechanical eras, namely artificiality and machine sentience. Tensions exist between “real” and “pure” vision and the image produced by mechanical means. Epistemic analysis seems under-equipped to resolve these tensions satisfactorily. In part, this incapacity for the epistemological to provide synthetic satisfaction in the presently unsettled (and sometimes unsettling) sphere of the visionary image that is status quo might be a symptom of deeper and broader conflicts, such as the divergence(s) between user and code(r), and the “owner” of the “intellectual property” in use/encoded.

Speaking universally, spirituality resists being “set in stone,” and resists the command, which might for our ends be reduced to “right” and wrong.”* In fact, not all peoples adhere to any notion that separates the spiritual, the mind and the body. Not all societies

*Especially apparent in art

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evolved under the auspices of command. Truth, fiction and the literary are alien in some human formations, although imperialism, colonialism, evangelism, etc., have to a remarkable degree reduced such societies. We might group the movements listed above (imperialism, etc.) in a set of actions:

a) explore/discover
b) conquer
    i)    convert
    i)    extract
e) exploit

We could nominate this set of actions as “The Arc of Civilization.” Further we might see how our topics have been, indeed, are, employed in the process of civilization. Art, vision, topology or mapping, the machine, representation, drama, prediction, imagination, analysis, techne/episteme, tension, spirit-mind-body models, command, true-or-false binaries, social configurations, etc.: all have been (and are) employed by and for the purposes or cause, of Civilization, which is a time-based phenomenon.

The question of external and internal and by extension, eternal, as types/states, is critically linked in human experience, to the question of true-or-false, and by

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extension, right and wrong. Fundamentally, the issue is survival, which is why the stakes are high.* As suggested above, the role of the artist and/or visionary (supplemented by the wisdom of philosophers, the tools of science, the lessons of the historian, etc.) is mediator; to serve as faithful transmitter (as in representation) of the cosmic situation, encompassing reality (“on-the-ground” in which we find ourselves now), in order to provide the qualified interpreters with the data they require to make sound judgments, to create new technologies for changing or different circumstances to recall past experience of value in extant conditions and so on.

This model for artistic and/or visionary utility can be describe diagrammatically:

[Fig. 2.1]

*In the particular instance, the connection my or may not be valid, hence the subsets of drama, comedy and tragedy, and correlates such as absurdity

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This particular model of artistic and/or visionary utility can give rise to an extensive exploration of social formations, the structures of societies and social networks, with dimensional implications. Some examples:

[Fig. 2.2]

Figure 2.2 (somewhat cryptically) describes a social formation fundamentally reliant on the dynamics of the visionary. This model is also vitally enabled by sonic dynamics in its lines communication, which compose a matrix that resembles a moving wheel (in space, place and time). To summarize, a “chief” is (s)elected and centrally positioned in the formation. Imagine her on an elevated platform on wheels, directing collective action, based on input transmitted external-to-internal and vice-versa. Information also cycles circularly, among the people

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from the middle point outwards. This model abstracts tribal social formations well-suited for small bands situated in large open spaces, a circumstance that generally rewards cohesion.

[Fig. 2.3]

Figure 2.3 describes a social formation well suited to command and control orders (as in the phalanx and modern classroom or theater). Because of its ubiquity, we can assume the reader's familiarity with its general functions and dynamics, and variations in application. However, it may be worthwhile to point out the effectiveness of this formation, as a military* application, for decimating the model described in Figure 2.1.

Finally, for a third example, the text introduces a social network design originally produced for Occupy Wall Street technological operations (Tech-Ops). This model was offered as a schematic to solve complex problems (dimensional),

*And, it can be argued, cultural and informatic applications, as well

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involving integrity of network communications, social hierarchy, access, transparency, applied aesthetics (as in Graphical User Interface, or GUI), programmatic utility, systematic responsiveness, and more:

[Fig. 2.4]

At this juncture, we will leave off a more detailed narrative explanation for the model as 2D sketch. Instead, we will move on to a discussion of replication and/or reproduction, which pertains to art, vision, objects (and models), as they manifest and dissolve, appear or disappear across networks, in the case of the “virtual,” and across time, place and space, in the case of the “actual.”

It is pertinent to our discussion moving forward to recognize the essential divergence of narrative and reproduction. Both share the binding element of transmission. Replication in transmission obviates narrative. The copy reduces the original and reproduction to equivalents. The

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Progressive characteristics of narrative are ended when reproduction sufficiently overtakes, displaces and/or replaces narrative, as it manifests in, for instance, oral and written history, craft tradition, literature and any of the other serial arts, including art itself, which are linked to civilization, and, in subtly different ways, to tribal existence.

If we review the set of five actions for civilization outlined in Section 2.4, we can now add a sixth, although, strictly speaking Number Six is not exactly or only an “action.” Historicizing is not only an action; it is also a cause for action, sub-sequentially or post-sequentially. Narrative operates for Civilization’s Set of Five Actions as justification and rationalization. Reproduction eradicates this narrative function, obviates it.


Another pertinent facet for our discussion, arising from an examination of the radically visible features of the Civilization, is “the spectacle” as phenomenon. We might concern ourselves with two types of spectacle, initially, although a third is noteworthy also. The first is the designed spectacle. The second is substantially more complex in its variable qualities. We might call the second type of spectacle the

*This thread owes much to Debord and Badious, and others, whose insightful, decisive work is indispensible

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Catastrophe, or the “accidental spectacle” (although the actual catastrophic event may be systematically rational, a perfectly logical outcome of given system mechanics and/or dynamics). The Third we might term an imaginary, fictional or quasi-fictional spectacle, or for the sake of concision, the “virtual spectacle.” To begin, we need not limit our focus on spectacle unnecessarily. To that end, we might point to general features, such as the presence of creation and/or creativity in all forms of spectacle.

The designed spectacle “creates” history, plus* a subsequent narrative opportunity. The value to Civilization of this kind of spectacle should be obvious. It is possible to suggest that spectacle design, especially in 4 Dimensional applications, is a kind of (immaterial) sculptural form, in that designed spectacle can shape/script perception of Civilization for civilians, utilizing visible (material) means and components, while simultaneously proposing or proscribing an attached meaning (immaterial). Therefore, the designed spectacle is a phenomenological hybrid. **

The catastrophe is a perceptual bridge connecting humanity to a dangerous (for humans) Cosmos, Nature and “environment.” The “accidental spectacle”

* Or “as”
** (Without substantial comment) consider Wagner’s Ring Cycle

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Refers to those scalable events that erupt through fissures in flawed human systems (civilization, itself). Such events tend to precipitate after-the-fact containing or shaping narratives (complaints and/or calls for reformation; justification and rationalization). It is tempting to address the “virtual catastrophe” here, and veer into the cinematic genre of “disaster porn,”* for example. Indeed, the subject is important to a thorough discussion of visions, which should include the Apocalyptic, given that Civilization today, and perhaps since the invention of the Atom Bomb, and with the symptoms of Climate Change daily revealed as compounding and exponentially burgeoning existential threats; catastrophe currently has tremendous currency. The potential problem is conflation of virtual catastrophe with virtual spectacle. The two phenomena, as we shall see, have very different applications, especially as humanity transits from 3D to 4D perceptual matrices. Concluding our brief introduction to the second type of spectacle, we should note its utility to civilization. Catastrophe serves Civilization by providing an existential

*New York City has been destroyed many times onscreen.

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Obverse to Civilization’s ordering aspects, such as its hierarchies, formations for applications of force, implements for command and control, technology regimes, processes and measures, etc. The disorder typical of catastrophe reveals the reasons for Civilization,, and provides justification for further, continuing expansion of Civilization’s defining, enabling powers.

The Virtual Spectacle, our third type, is actually a nascent, emergent phenomenon, about which we know only a little. At this stage, what we can assert with some certainty is that the nature of the virtual spectacle is 4 dimensional. As with any “new” phenomenon pertaining to evolving human perceptual (and technical) evolution, it is possible to project or invent “good” and/or “bad” trajectories. We will return to the virtual spectacle at length, in due course. Suffice for now to say that the virtual spectacle is central to our thesis and project.*

Wrapping up this section, and transitioning to the next, let us consider briefly another meaning for “spectacles,” namely corrective lenses. Glasses have been a sign of the user’s knowledge-seeking, maybe

*”The Matterhorn” is a virtual spectacle and 4D phenomenon

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indicative of attention-to-detail, “reading the fine print.” Optometry as a sub-discipline for the science of optics has produced remarkable innovations over the past several centuries. The advent of Google Glass points to a multi-dimensional convergence of “actual” and “virtual” in the domain of vision and optics. This might be a proper moment to reassert the philosophical, as wise arbiter, in the arena of ideas and technology. While it is true that research and development in optical technology have yielded amazing products, we might consider how advances are being applied. Optical technology is increasingly present or ubiquitous in war machinery, the systems of mass destruction. Even the foot soldier in today’s army is fitted with optical-enhancing technology.* Concurrently, optical technology is employed in a variety of robotics applications, with “game-changing” implications in the business sector, especially in manufacturing. Another area in which optical technology is having massive impact is in the communications and/or surveillance fields, which we might - somewhat ironically - call “media,” since the term

*Google Glass is the “soft” version, not a military hardware, per se, but still a powerful tool for expanding surveillance regimes potentially

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Is blurring almost to the point of meaninglessness (amorality), as everything from cameras to software, configured in overarching network schema, collapse into informatics regimes. In the architecture of this actual/virtual array, we have “us.” What role do we, individually and collectively, play in determining how, when and why we might participate in the emergent Civilization, which is substantively enabled by optical technology?

We might ask “should” questions right now _ which is the purview of philosophy, or can be. Art, on the other hand, can be very helpful in mapping the territories of vision and optics, and their treacherous borders, from the standpoint of Spirit. Even if that visionary art returns us to the prehistorical awareness that does not differentiate mind-body-spirit (society),* as compartments. To survive spectacle, humanity will need vision, as always. We might start by asking “What are our ‘blindspots.’”


Rudimentary admissions for our platform of thinking about vision are important. First, we must acknowledge that vision

*Time being the “only” object, and no hierarchy of finite expressions of infinite “time,” or Heidegger’s “true (4D) time”

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Is integral to humanity, and to what it means to be “human.” One of the wonders of modern medicine inarguably is the tremendous improvements in understanding our eyes. Secondarily, we have over the past several centuries (at an accelerating pace*) added significantly to our understanding of the many processes and functions connecting to our optical apparatus. It is hard to overestimate this phenomenon’s radically transformative power, manifesting as it has, throughout the human perceptual complex. People see ourselves differently than we ever have (as far as we know). Clearly, evaluating - even deconstructing - this massive change will be in our interests. Vision, remember, is key to our survival. Any modern analysis of the brain, the nervous system, manual responsiveness, gland function, and so on, demonstrates conclusively the experiential, existential primacy of vision for us.** So, before one engages in unequivocal hucksterism, celebrating the impressive products of advances in optical science, as noted the previous section, one should take pause. For every anecdote about successful Lasik surgery, yielding excellent results, we

*A qualifier applicable to most technological fields, and beyond
**Even “Cogito” must be re-assessed

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Have a leaked video documenting the use optical real-time technology to wipe out a cluster of civilians in a war zone. One might wonder, then, to whom are the benefits of optical technology advances accruing? Why? And what are associated costs, and should “we” pay them? Ultimately, if we think of vision technology in terms of Human Resources, as a shared concern, we may come to think of this vital field of human enterprise and awareness (as in “self-“ and “shared” or common awareness) with respect to processes of rational, universally beneficial privatization. Right now, we might then ask, “Who is managing the vision industrial complex?” And “What motivates their decisions?” Finally, is this “program” operating in our best interests?

Revisiting our discussions of art, vision and technology, now: If we appear to be straying far afield, rest assured, this is not the case! Consider, with regards The Matterhorn Project, the senseFly project utilizing a swarm of drones to map the Matterhorn in great detail. The visual data gathered by senseFly has many potential uses. The images deriving from the project are, in the terminology of “New Media,”

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“Data visualizations.” Whether or not such data visualization are art might generously be described as an “open question.” Why? This is where the discussion gets interesting, if not messy. To a great degree, aesthetics is “behind the curve” of technology, failing to adopt/adapt basic definitions of art to accelerating image science, production, presentation and interpretation. Few aesthetes can knowledgeably compare (e.g., qualitatively) one data visualization to another, much less undertake an informed, integrative discourse, that would situated visualizations like senseFly’s Matterhorn(s) with “Old Media” versions, or any other, for that matter.

Moreover, as discussed earlier in the text, “art” has suffered an ongoing, dimensional “identity crisis.”* The tautology - “Everyone is an artist/Everything is art” (associated with comments by Beuys and Warhol and others) and its obverse (No one…/Nothing…) - have proven longevity in subverting aesthetic certainties. Successive waves of anti-art theorists, art-denier “artists” (e.g., Cindy Sherman) and territorial incursion by a “creativity industrial

*The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently failed to define art, for the purposes of funding and/or advocacy/celebration of it and its creators

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complex” campaigning for cultural market share and “product” legitimacy and prestige, etc., have destabilized, disrupted and displaced art substantially over time. In a macro analysis, however, Media, as we have on a summary basis defined it in this text, has done more to marginalize art than any other force in the past 4-5 decades. This is a dimensional phenomenon, involving cross-sector operations, ranging from public policy to “patronage” to “air time” and - to complete the destructive loop - the “creative destruction” of the definition of art, itself. To put it blithely, art is in trouble.

To begin seeking a solution* for art, for humans (as opposed to “art” for - and by - “machines” or “art” for any other “_______”), we can commence by questioning whether or not senseFly’s Matterhorns belong in the same category of human expressive endeavor as the cave paintings of Chauvet, or the Classical bronze sculpture “The Boxer,” or Turner’s “Slaver Ship,” or a Pollock “drip” painting, circa 1948. If the proposed set, a comparative construct on one level, agitates the reader


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Predisposed to arguments of global inclusivity and exclusivity, or other criterion-based contradictions, patience is requested. We are here, after all, concerned with “art for humans” and 4 Dimensional “art ultimately. Any sustainable solution will need to resolve such (valid) concerns.

The second admission we must make is how fragile the human eye is. To a great degree, the same can be said of the vision apparatus, whether we mean optical biology, technology and, by extension, art. Fortunately, we equipped with other senses. Recognizing the combinative value of all senses leads us toward a concept of the sensory in aggregate, and in turn to the consideration of the environment and the related sensory phenomenon of immersion.


One of the original ideas of Dimensionism (N+1)* is the Additive being a feature of the “program.” For a sample of how significant this notion is, we only have to look at Wikipedia, which operates almost entirely as software on the basic Additive

*See the Dimensionist Manifesto

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Principle described succinctly as “N+1,” although it is hardly likely that the designers of Wikipedia ever connected their program and site with Charles Sirato’s (currently obscure) 1936 Manifesto.* At any rate, 4D “art” is inclusive of “multimedia” and a long list of colorfully, innovatively named “artist practices.” A basic characteristic of dimensional art can be sensory immersion for the “viewer,” who may better described in the 4D context (as in “exposition”) as a “user” or “participant.” The fully realized 4D environment provides the user an encompassing sensory encounter, with the “art” presented. Here, “art” as a term is interchangeable with “content.”

Obviously, at this juncture, we are establishing a viable bridge (actually, a sphere with infinite entry and exit points, theoretically) that is capable of connecting territories that previously were not mutual, or common, much less intrinsic. Orientation, navigation, interface, direction, and so on become emphatic

*I have no information on this, one way or the other

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Issues in the dimensional environment, or scenario. Relatively matters, and, for the responsible architect or designer of a dimensional scenario, “user experience” is a primary concern. We are describing a platform where virtual and actual, material and immaterial converge, co-exist, are simultaneous. It is no coincidence that concepts and terminology emerging from and viable for internet culture translates well for dimensional art discourse.

It is probably a good point in our text to remember the pioneering work of computer scientists like Jaron Lanier, and their important contributions in the field of creating “virtual reality,”* and their development of technologies for user experiences of them, and “in” them. Derivative systems are in use in a range of applications, for war, industry, gaming, even space travel. The division between “real” and “artificial” has perhaps never been more tenuous.

Here, we can possibly begin to map a topology where Chauvet, Occupy Wall Street and modern warfare or HST (High-Speed Trading) markets “share space,” dimensionally,

*a problematic linguistic construct

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Or technically converge, or are contiguous and congruent, even simultaneous. We might even apply the term “multiverse,” to our scenario.

Before proceeding, however, we might revisit our triangular model of Figure 1.1, and consider its relevance to a discussion of media, 4D “art,” and the many factors and applications, etc., we have noted, linked or traced in the intervening sections. Rather than attempt to represent through recursion, in some ham-fisted action, the structure and dynamics of the exponentially more complex phenomenon we are mapping,

(Post Fig. 1.1)

we can try to pinpoint a particular component present throughout: the Machine.

In the next stage or phase of our discussion, we will address the mechanization of art, vision and humanity. The phenomenon is comprehensive and pervasive, not to mention critical. We are not only questioning the machining of Vision (and imagination), but the consequences of not socially prioritizing* the evolution of optical technology, with an eye on applications. We are assuming it is better to proceed


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with “eyes wide open,” instead of stepping the future, with “the blind leading the blind.” If we take seriously the value of art to humanity, of vision to survival - and hopefully more - of worth to beautiful survival, then we may be more likely to pursue solutions and priorities that radically redefine our relationship to machines, ourselves and our cosmos, independent of and liberated from the Arc of Civilization, “creative destruction,” property and other brutalities. In such a scenario, ideas like Singularity, Artificial Intelligence and even space travel may become moot, along with binary functions, like “us versus them,” and “winners and losers,” which humanity might do well to abandon and/or outgrow, and outlast.



Disney’s version of the Matterhorn is not senseFly’s, and neither is the Matterhorn, itself. The mountain known as the Matterhorn existed long before its current name, and as far as we can know conclusively, the mountain predates humanity, itself, and human consciousness, as such. Geological forces, those we think of as those Nature “uses” to “create” a mountain like Matterhorn,* apply themselves to Nature’s Matterhorn Project autonomously,

*”like Matterhorn” is problematic

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Insofar as humanity is concerned. If people for whatever reasons, decided to intervene in the natural process in play for the Matterhorn, say, to an extreme, as in the case of the mountain known as Cerro Rico, what does it reveal about mountains, humanity, Nature and so on? If this is a philosophical question, even a spiritual one, it is also a question that drifts toward the Arc of Civilization, and to technology, eventually. Humanity’s extreme interventions in Nature have to a great extent been enabled by technology.

Now consider image technology; the Matterhorn is billed as “the most photographed mountain in the world.” Why this might be so (or whether or not the claim is actually true and verifiable), is worth thinking about. On a more basic level, we might wonder about the urge people have to capture, possess, preserve and share a picture of the Matterhorn.* Art, and specifically painting, as a utility for representation, have been employed in the project of “moving mountains” from their original settings to generally more comfortable and safer ones for human encounters, such as homes, galleries, offices and museums. Structurally, the process at one phase was similar to the practice of hunters and their wild game, with some variables. Cameras reformed both practices in a remarkably short period of time, simultaneously consigning the underpinning platform** to a weird kind of obsolescence.

*or anything else, for that matter
** Think Old Worm

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But what of the aesthetics of mountain-painting, whether by that we refer to the advisements of Ruskin in his voluminous writings on the topic, or the guidelines outlined in the venerable Mustard Seed Garden Tree? More to the point, does the ubiquity of the camera and its image-product (digital, analog, moving and/or still), obviate aesthetics, and/or the myriad of metaphysical responses of people to mountains?*

A knee-jerk reaction to this question, especially for an artist, might be, “Of course not!” But that reaction would not at all suffice, as we survey the effects of ubiquitous, camera-enabled image production and the current platforms for image sharing. Billions of pictures are uploaded to sites like Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. What does this mean for the Matterhorn, for Art, for people? More central to our text, how does the image production boom, enabled by optical technology, the machinery of vision, and networked transmission devices (a very complex set of technologies) affect our perception, and more particularly, what in this text we are calling Vision? Can the machinery of vision destroy Vision? Are there better ways to frame the question, and/or the “problem?”

*Or anything else, for that matter

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Here, some clarification and expansion of our discussion might be in order, to establish relevance, if not relativity, as in cross- or multi-disciplinary congruency or rationality. As evidenced in the previous several passages of our text, and the introduction of this section, we are attempting to discuss phenomena, conditions and circumstances that share characteristics, issues and even terminology (language). However, one discipline may have developed approaches, formal and/or informal language, and subjective “attitudes,” etc., toward a given phenomenon of interest to that discipline, which may over time “harden” into a kind of proprietary privilege that said discipline might over time assign itself. Such exclusivity is anathema to dimensional analysis.

For example, take the term “4D” (4 Dimensional), itself.* Across the disciplines of science and humanities, there a plethora of definitions for 4D, which may or may not conform. Probably the most common ideas of 4D have some associations with “time” or duration and “motion” or change. “Dimension” simply (!) refers to measurement, but 4D often generates predictive modeling, as in “data mining,” which has as much to do with projection as it does with measuring anything

*The reader is her (gleefully) directed to review P.D. Ouspensky’s preface to the 2nd edition his Tertium Organum - and the text itself. As well as the writings (and practices) of Hinton. And to do so with any prejudice suspended. “4D” in the first third of the 20th Century enjoyed currency in some influential intellectual circles, spanning domains of arts, sciences, economics and spiritualism. As an essay like “Is it Heavy or Is it Light” by Brian Kuan Wood (e-flux, 1/2015) suggests, we are looping, and those early forays into the dimensional again have referential traction

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(Except for marginal “quantities” like “risk” and/or “power”). “4D Design” and the 4th dimension as a mathematician might think of it may not, on the analytic surface, share much. It does help to “put some distance” between the analysis A of subject(focal) X, and other-disciplinary analysis B of relative or similar subject(focal) X or X2, before analyst A rules out any substantive value between or among analysis of subject Xn. In fact, as a rule, all dimensional analysis of any subject(focal) X benefits from a multiplicity of disciplinary perspectives and approaches. We might describe this thus:

[Fig. 3.1]*

*with C>∞ implied; with O being spherical; with < = directional focus

So, if within our text, we have moments of apparent flippancy with respect to other disciplines and their

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specialized interests, modalities, etc., as we discuss subjects important to our project, most likely such a flippant attitude does not in reality exist. There will be instances where we avoid cross-disciplinary conflict and territoriality in the interests of maintaining narrative flow. By no means should the reader misapprehend such avoidance as a suggestion that cross-disciplinary definitions, analysis or conflict, and even cross-disciplinary territoriality are necessarily unhelpful to our collectively achieving our overarching goal: to develop an improved understanding of our subject(s). “Hashing out” conflict and addressing territorial formations is ultimately conducive to our stated objectives. How and when, time, place and sequential order (of unfolding), etc. are the more pragmatic concerns.

To continue: In our text, we are encountering some semantic headwinds, which might point us obliquely to a summary discussion of polysemy and sense extension, as they pertain to language in dimensional analysis* and the following examination of relations among Art, Vision and machine, and more. For example, when talking about 4D production, for “art,” it is easy (if not facile) to adopt the language of Net-based processes.

*as effect

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There are some “traps” created, when one does so (but also some benefits). One of the traps is chronological in nature, another pushes the discourse toward causality, and certain circular insolubilities, having to do with evolutions of perceptual complexes or systems (this latter trap also has a time element, though not the same one as the former, exactly). Nonetheless, creating a 4D painting, for example, can easily be explained (if facilely) by referring to Photoshop production processes. An interesting correlating conjecture can continue, extrapolated from comparing painting and file creation and staring, formats, etc., a conjecture that can expand to incorporate topics, such as presentation (“framing,” online-versus-actual “galleries” or galleries, viewership, etc.). However, beyond helpful comparisons and interesting conjectural correlations, we still have the “art world” and the digital, “Net” or “wired” world(s), which have yet to a substantial degree resolve much pertaining to their their many intersections. Which ought not to in any way prohibit the pursuit of our project here. On the contrary, one hopes we might add something helpful to the situation.

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To close the section, and to make a gesture at answering the question, “What is 4D ‘art’?” “4D ‘art’” is the same kind of 4D linguistic construct we find in a term like “Virtual Reality” and the movement-name “Occupy” as in “Occupy Wall Street.” For now, we will leave this important facet of our study, with that teaser, and move on to the machine, returning later.


The concepts forming “machine” can be traced to Classical thought and language. Since the so-called Industrial Revolution, Machine has become central to society and the individual, dimensionally. Social systems on a broad spectrum, and our bodies, our modes of communication, the Cosmos that contains “all,” DNA, Art, spiritual practice, etc.: all have proved susceptible to machining. Evaluating whether this “good” or “bad” is a big job, especially since each new machine seems to arrive an advocate skilled at hyperbole and conversion. A dynamic (if not discourse) has developed over time that resembles that one represented in Figure 1.1:

[Fig. 3.2]

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Juxtaposing Figure 1.1 and 3.2 reveals a rich line of inquiry. The long arcs of Art and Machine blur, merge, diverge and realign over time in Civilization. Mapping this historical intertwining* generates a dimensional construct or model with the qualities of waveform. Keep in mind that such a model is imaginary, or better yet, an imaginary. Our Art-Machine Waveform is (initially) abstract, a sketch for better understanding a complex perceptual relationship emerging over a duration. However, we must also keep in mind that a 4 dimensional discourse on Art and machines will necessarily require us to consider Things. Thought-art and thought-machines are precursors to a 4D Art-Machine study. This is worth pointing out here, if only to not the fluidity that exists in 1D-2D-3D-4D thinking (and production). One way to represent the Art-Machine Waveform:

[Fig. 3.3]

If Figure 3.3 seems a bit decorative and

*A worthwhile task beyond the scope of our project and text

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playful, well, that’s because it is! Figure 3.3 is not a data visualization (although it does suggests some graphic means that could be employed for the purposes of representation). And like any useful sketch it can be actualized: either manually; or, with the aid of a #D printer, as output, in both cases with color enhancements (interpretations optional).

Returning to our Art-Machine (figurative) revelations and inquiry, consequent to a juxtaposition of our discursive models, we can commence to “unfold” or “unpack” the dynamic relations and their symptoms. The tendency to preserve a hemispheric ambiguity for any conclusive definition of Art is present from Classical times through the present day, and will likely extend into the future.* The techne-episteme binary has proven to be a resilient compounding - if often compounding - feature in determining identity and parameters for “Art,” sometimes in defiance of “common sense.” For our program, we might set aside the vagaries of art’s historical (epistemological) definitions, and look instead at defining features of Machine for a moment. Machines are contrived to solve problems and perform tasks. One must contrive, design or at least think of Civilization as a systematic machine in order to contrive a utility for Art,

*Over the Arc or span of Civilization

as in problem-solving or task-performing.

Scanning today’s “art world(s),” without much effort, we discover much activity - and critical receptivity plus patronage for such activity - devoted to problem-solving and task-performing “art.”* It is not hard to see that the utilitization of Art is endemic and systematic. “The Art of Problem Solving/Learning  Through Art” study funded by the U.s. Department of Education** and Wim Delvoye’s celebrated Cloaca Machine.

In the great essay “Past Machines, Future Art,” 20th Century art writer Harold Rosenberg discusses “the new machine” and “a new machine aesthetic,” commenting, “Philosophers of culture may find significance in the fact that so many of the creations of modernism embody destruction, either of objects or earlier art.” It is worth mentioning that this essay was published in a collection titled The De-Definition of Art. Further contextualization may benefit the reader. Much of the 20th Century, as a matter of historical narrative, might be characterized as periods of: a)global warfare; be)intermittent periods of reconstruction and reformation; c)tense periods of “detente,” “appeasement,” “Cold War,” etc. Throughout the century’s “progress,” we witness tremendous technological

*Google “the art of” to survey the extent of the phenomenon
**”Students were scored on a rubric based on six problem-solving areas: imagining, experimentation, flexibility, resource recognition, connection of ends and aims, and self-reflection.” …Teaching artists were measured through observations and were scored based on the degree to which they exhibited teaching practices that supported four areas: using multiple approaches, seeing mistakes as opportunities, following curiosity, and making deliberate choices.” (Source:

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“advancement.” By mid-century humanity (or, rather, scientists, industrialists, military men and politicians) had created, refined and demonstrated the means by which much or all life on the planet might be extinguished, in horrifying fashion.

Revisiting our imaginary map, proposing a way of thinking about Art-Machine, we might add, for the sake of relevance in our discourse, a layer (actually a spherical device, with spatial. And contextual attributes:

[Fig. 3.4]

And another:

[Fig. 3.5]

These additions to our Art-Machine construct permit us a profoundly expanded

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perspectival position, narrative field and arena for operations. We might now reference Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but also Machiavelli’s The Seven Books on the Art of War, and, recently, Laura Brandon’s significant Art and War, and Kittler’s contributions on the topic. We might also review and reconsider the “Trojan horse,” the war machines of Leonardo da Vinci, Goya’s “Black Paintings,” Picasso’s “Guernica,” and so on.* Each of these references can serve as point of origin for consequent study. Pursuing all of them, much less all possible derivative lines of inquiry is beyond the scope of our project and this text. Which is not to suggest that pursuit of any (or all) such lines of inquiry derivative of our imaginary model and thesis is not a worthy objective - it is, for many good reasons. Certainly least among these is the apparent lost cause** of Civilization, itself, and by extension, Art, technology (Machine), War and humanity as such. It may be that this “lost cause” may be a perceptual disorder, or more, a perceptual, dimensional reformation, synthesis and/or expansion. Whatever it is, it behooves us to attempt, one would think, to develop and render clear and true a representation of what is

*The inclusivity-exclusivity disclaimer in Section 2.7 applies here, again

**”cause,” as in “reason for”

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happening, in order for us to respond (adjust, adapt), in our best interests, which is to say, for the purposes of survival, and hopefully, beautiful survival.

Here I will add another Art-War-Machine reference, for our now-expanded pool of referents: Murakami’s “Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture,”* as well as his “Superflat” series, specifically, those depicting in cartoonish manner (as in Pop Art) the mushroom cloud produced by an atom bomb detonation. As with other references, this one deserves a thorough treatment. For the purposes of our project and text, we will draw a rough sketch of points of interest and contextual connections presented to us via “Little Boy.”

To begin, a word regarding Murakami’s production model, which draws from both the traditional Japanese “school” (Kano) and, loosely speaking, Warhol’s “Factory” schema: Murakami’s “artist” role in art creation, with respect to individual pieces, is complex and dimensional.** “Murakami” may even be regarded as prototypical of a rare and influential type. Murakami is: in one aspect, a multinational corporation; in another, a “brand;” also a production

*Murakami curated the exhibition, which was presented at Japan Society of New York in 2008
**See Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World (2008) for expansion, plus artist interviews

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house (and model); a talent platform supporting other, “emerging” artists; a “signature artist” possessing a distinct vision; and persona, which toggles or bounces among a multiplicity of cultural domains or worlds;” and more. As “Little Boy” demonstrates, Murakami has achieved the position or status, which allows him to represent Japanese culture at the international level through sanctioned, institutional vehicles. Even as he continues a successful (for-profit) career. Suffice to note that this prototype is hardly limited to the “art world [or the “1%” art market(s) with which that term is routinely and incorrectly conflated].” The prototype, which we might describe as a multi-faceted or dimensional high-performing persona can be found across the spectrum of social sectors, with variations. (Michael) Bloomberg would be another prime example.

While it is conjoined to dimensional Murakami, “Little Boy,” the exhibition, in some compelling ways functions autonomously from the Murakami machine.* Even as the exposition, as dimensional phenomenon, reveals and/or infers qualities and dynamics at play in contemporary individual-collective relations. To celebrate this show as “important” is to hint at its value as a prototype, itself, or even, as a meta type.

*At the level of structural components, which may function additively as (N+1)

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Without subjecting “Little Boy” to a “close reading,” which is not required for our purposes, we can still gain much from a cursory, symptomatic scan of some of the exhibition’s distinctive features. Before doing so, we can further acknowledge that other equally important projects have been, are being and will be launched in the field, and that the arc of development and production for this prototype- or meta type is long with many diverse instances, each consisting of particular or unique resources, cultural “content” and individual contributions.*

“Little Boy” is a polysemic title. It is the “pet name” given to one of the atom bombs dropped on Japan. The Bomb, itself, presents its own iconography and dimensional narrative, one facet of which is “historical,” although the exhibit “reboots” the Bomb’s (Western) narrative,** by expansions, one of which proposes that Japan’s experience of the Bomb be acknowledged, both with respect to history and with respect to derivative or consequent cultural responses, including perceptual changes at all levels of the social (collective through self-),*** but especially at the level of the imaginary, the creative and expressive, in manifestations, in form, in movements, etc.,

*i.e, “structural components”
***”fabric,” as in “weave (> “waveform”)

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which is to say, in art, or with a little latitude, “the arts.”

Technology and spectacle underpin, or to appropriate another technical term, “underwrite,” “Little Boy.” To suggest that “Little Boy” is about the Machine is insufficient.* This point is not minor. If we consider “Little Boy” at a fundamental or universal level, the construct describes a condition experienced by half of humanity (males) existentially, if that is the proper recursion, and the other half in innumerable, if secondary, ways. Gender Japanese society is an incredibly rich subject for inquiry, and “Little Boy” (the exhibit) - the otaku sub-culture, and Murakami’s curatorial practicum, his artist oeuvre, not to mention his production model, plus a robust list of other applicable subjects encompassed by the expo (meta-)narrative(s) and presentation - offer many material and immaterial points of origin for consequent, derivative inquiry, for those so inclined. Such is the nature of dimensional production. Given a sufficient premise and representative material, and a universal zone of response,** an inexhaustible supple of potential inquiry points-of-origin will materialize (be present) in 4D exposition.

One way to represent this:

*In a corollary comparison, we may point to Lev Manovich’s data visualization project using manga covers as subject, referring to our stated goal

**a free speech/thought space or context

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[Fig. 3.6]

Returning to the exhibit title, we its conjunctive construction (“…: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture”). In the secondary descriptive, the show and its creators establish its relation to a regime of hierarchy appropriate (respectful of-, honoring) for Japanese institutional culture, as status quo.* Admittedly, “Exploding Subculture” is a quirky, perhaps leaning glib, “sense” translation, delicately alluding to Pop sensibilities. We shouldn’t be too critical. Everything is strange, in relation to the Bomb. Especially for the only nation that experienced its devastating impact and effects in wartime, and after.

The Bomb is a Machine. As a type, it is a “Weapon of Mass Destruction.” Recalling Rosenberg’s postwar reflection, maybe it is fair to say the Bomb is a “pinnacle technology,” a prototype- or meta type of machine. No painting ever killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, and poisoned


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Affected territories (for who knows how long). Art is not the Bomb. The converse, if we allow a minor order of complexity, as a provocation, also negates comparative equivalence. Creating the Bomb is/was not Art, an art, an artistic act. The mushroom cloud produced by “Little Boy” detonating at 1945 Hiroshima was not beautiful,* a sign of hope, for the people of 1945 Hiroshima. And yet, as the exhibit “Little Boy…” illustrates, a strange beauty and signs of hope arose from the ashes of Hiroshima 1945, and the detonation of “Little Boy” (the Bomb).

“Little Boy” (the exhibition) in essence is a survival narrative, “told” through “multimedia,” including Art. Prior to 1945, as we know, the civilization of Japan, in its arc possessed its own “arts,” expressive of its cultural identity and social priorities.** The impact of the Bomb on the arc of Japanese civilization is profound. If we reflect on the outlined set of 5+1 action comprising the Arts of Civilization (Section 2.4),*** and consider the post-Bomb period in Japanese culture, as presented in “Little Boy,” do we see a causal rupture and reformation induced incidentally by technology, specifically, a spectacular, cataclysm-producing war machine? Or do

*Leaving aside other, distanced perspectives, interpretive or “witnessing”
**The Samurai sword occupies a special “place” in Japanese consciousness, in its “symbolic life,” as a perfect convergence of Japanes art, Spirit, technical innovation, and more
*** Applying it to Japan, to frame or guide our historical analysis

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We see the proto- or meta-typical “action” of the Machine on Civilization? After all, sixty-six years after “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, Fukushima happens. No glories nor abjection of War won or lost applies in the second case. Maybe the more apt question, post-Fukushima, is, “What now?” If the Bomb, for Japan, represents the moment, destructively “created” by Machine (war technology) at which point Japanese Civilization lost its cause, if not causation and/or causality, does Fukushima represent the moment, destructively “created” by Machine (“peacetime” technology, derivative of wartime technology), of Japan’s lost cause - again? And if “Little Boy…” is an attempt by Japan* to recover from the first spectacular, machine-induced cataclysm, what does a show, sixty years after Fukushima, presuming Japan’s (or any) civilization survives long enough as civilization to mount one, look like?

The argument that somehow art can justify and rationalize the progress of Civilization and Machine, in short, is lost. The narrative hinge for the cycles of Civilization is being decimated in spectacular fashion, one disaster at a time. Machine is the destructive agent and man is relegated

*As represented by a selection of Japanese artists, considered through “a lens” created by aggregating their art and presenting it as a “movement” or “subculture”

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to a role as medium. One thinks of Oppenheimer’s famous quote from the Bhagavad-Gita, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” But Oppenheimer was wrong. The Bomb destroyed 1945 Hiroshima, which is to say, many “worlds,” “worlds within worlds” in the world, if take “world” in its broad, universal and cosmic sense and meaning, and its particularity, too. Japanese Civilization (pre-1945 and post-1945) is a “world” or “worlds,” at least represents a “world-view.” Hiroshima likewise is its own “world.” We can continue to particularize until we reach the individual. How do we parse Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project, of which he was but a component, etc., the Machine (Bomb), the quote, and the worlds” of Japan? What art can possibly justify and rationalize this catastrophe?

Cycling again to our triangular models, we might sketch the convention [War]-Machine - [Catastrophe]Spectacle - Civilization, subtracting Art from the configuration, temporarily:*

[Fig 3.7]

*So as to pursue the relation of art to the configuration, propositionally

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> Some interstitial notations, as “buffering,” are in order here, beginning with an apology on linguistic grounds, which may be of help in understanding why “4D Art” is elusive (not evasive) as terminology. “English” is not a 4D language. Translating dimensional practice means, processes and “objects into any less-than-4D vernacular requires recursion, generally, of a destructive nature. Reducing 4D to English is, without much exaggeration, “creative destruction,” a “civilizing action,” a type of machining. The status of English as a “world” or “universal” language is the outcome of a remarkably complex phenomenon, arising from the Arc of Civilization. Chronicles of the disappearance of many “indigenous languages, contiguous with the “advancement” or “progress” or “progression” of English to its status as Civilization’s “common language,” a platform for global thought-data-exchange, infer at the most insufficient, Machine level, the “costs” of progress, by Civilization.

We have arrived at a narrative problem that cannot be “written off.” When “revolutionary” theorist Terry Eagleton proposed that Critical Theory in some application(s) would, could and/or should supplant art, or when Plato proposed the banishment of artists from the Republic, citing the “dangers” of what later would become Trompe l’oeil - how are these proposals structurally dissimilar from the Nazi campaign against Decadent Art or the circa 1980s campaign against “obscene art”* by social

*e.g., Mapplethorpe, Serrano, etc.

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Conservatives? All are idealogical, more or less, and all are recursive, and all attach to proposed reformations of Civilization, as such. What actually is needed now is a “true” or “native” 4D language. To “create” one would be radical and revolutionary, constituting a true reformation, obviating ancient feuds between artist and ideologues of every description outright (and a host of other false binaries, too). Until that momentous creation arrives (or appears) we are presumably stuck with progressively obsolete, recursive communication tools, devices and modalities, advancing mainly in their needless complexities and fragilities, fostering confusion and “lossy effects,”* effectively designed to eradicate “the competition,” which ultimately may be humanity itself. Which is to say, we are stuck with English, and we proceed (toward 4D art), for now.

Next, we must confront the fallacy of justifying and rationalizing the inherent cruelties, the monstrosities inherent in the Set of Five Actions that comprise the Arc of Civilization. This fallacy, and the necessity of rejecting it, applies to the entirety of the distributive schematics of Civilization, in addition too its technological application (techniques), its mean of aggression, consumption, and oppression, or tyranny. Art is not “art,” that ratifies

*Thinking of Claude Shannon

(Page 64)

The Arc of Civilization. Any art (“art”) acting or performing in that capacity is fallacious, more or less functioning as Machine, and therefore susceptible to gross problems of conflation, such as fungibility (in the vein of “money” and products such as derivatives, and other similar destructive bene-fractional devices, for example). “Art” - or non-art - of this type is prone to “flattening,” monopolization and/or homogenization, etc., which are all terms to describe “processing,” as in systemization and utilitization, if not outright genocide.*

What of the people perpetuating the fallacy? Culpability is a compelling conversation to commence in the context of a discourse on Art-Machine-Civilization (Spectacle). Public executions have proven “value” as spectacle across the Arc of Civilization. Technology/Art attaches. For instance, at one time, the quality of Samurai sword could be determined by the number of criminals it could split into two pieces. Perhaps, we can consign this derivative inquiry to another project, while offering a teaser in the vein of Heidegger: True justice is 4 Dimensional.

That said, identifying the most egregious instances of “art” in servitude (not service) to Civilization’s Arc is a worthy

*As in Nazi protocols for its systems of mass murder


Notes on Dimensional Time [2010-18]

4D processes generally are easier to demonstrate than explain, a dynamic arising from the convergence of immaterial and material in 4D. Time and the image provide a reliable construct for presenting predictive characteristics in 4D analytics.

In 2010 my newlywed wife and I relocated to NYC from SoCal. I performed an extensive photo documentation of the first phase in the City. Almost eight years (to the day) have passed, and we are making preparations again to relocate, this time to the Pacific Northwest coast of the USA [Astoria, OR]. I want to draw attention to the content of the Notes on Dimensional Time [nodt][nyc2010] photoset, to show how the 4D artist in the flow of 4D processing/analysis will produce proof of the presence of the waveform cycle that exists, and can be perceived, if she only points the lens of perception at the correct thing, event, person, etc.

To provide expansion in commentary, to anecdotally reveal connections across time in space with formations and constructs of many kinds, is the work of perhaps months' 4D academic course. I won't attempt it in a blog post, and the images can speak for themselves, to the attentive viewer and dimensional historian. I will suggest that understanding the unfolding 8 [past] years is improved through a review of the particular selections I am emphasizing, extracted from the [nodt][nyc2010] photoset. Surfing the entire collection of images is of course, better, more thorough.

Human experience involves coming and going. The nature of our movement in time, or what we define as time (artificially), is inherently complicated. The integrating features of our perceptions in changes that include movement and time are convoluted. If one attempts to analyze complicated, convoluted 4D movement and attaching human experience, vision, perception/interpretation in less-than-4D terms, the outcome will naturally be a failure, a false impression, a fictional narrative. Better to see the past and present in a neutral state, if you are concerned about veracity in analysis, much less assessing potential futures.


MESH: Notes on 4D Systems in Art (1.1)

1. The Fourth Dimension in art can be thought of as a sector in which the material and immaterial intertwine, creating a generative woven form. The material elements stay constant, an expression of the finite, in the integrating fourth dimension. The immaterial can be expanded infinitely, as a derivative continuum, attached to the original material. This complex state for art in a 4D mesh-space is simultaneously existential and perceptual.

2. Time is an immaterial component in 4D art mesh-space. The concept of Time as the 4th Dimension for art is incorrect. This fallacy poses both technical and perceptual problems for the 4D artist and 4D art viewer. Most significantly for both artist and viewer, the misapprehension of Time in 4D art encourages the displacement and obscuration of art itself, during its creation and presentation phases. Time is a distraction for the 4D artist. The Time fallacy in 4D art affects the artist’s transmission of the material. The Time fallacy in 4D art affects the viewer’s reception of the material. Artistic transmission in 4D is technical. Viewer reception in 4D is perceptual. Time distorts the 4D art viewer’s field of vision.

3. The 4D art is still a thing, even if it is projected, reproduced, inferred and so on. The original remains intact, an object. The 4D object combines and integrates with its derivatives in the 4D mesh-space. There it can be thought of as itself and a new thing (simultaneously). To test the validity of 4D original art, one may touch it. “Feeling” in 4D art is prospective, and a proper 4D mesh-space presents the viewer and analyst ample opportunity to experience and interrogate an encounter with a 4D art original. Responses to original 4D art are derivative of the original, not the original itself. Each response is itself an original, though not necessarily original art. Comprehending “original” and the derivative response is essential to a correct understanding of 4D art in its presentation mode (in 4D mesh-space).


Selfie-ops as 4D Definition (China-style)

The hot trend of building environments (Museum of Ice Cream, et al.) to attract crowds of WOW-seeking Selfie-gatherers is a global phenomenon. In 2011 Gavin Allen of the Daily Mail (UK) got ahead of the event-arc and penned a lavishly illustrated article on a promotional art project in China that combined interactive paintings and the ubiquitous mobile camera to suggest a new take on 4D. Which sort of ignores the Platonic assessment of art/illusion (bad thing > artists banned from the Republic) a couple thousand years ago. Allen's story notes the efforts by Chinese players in conjunction with the State to compete with the West w/re Art. If you track the art industrial figures (sales, etc.) you know that the efforts of China to frame itself as a global cultural powerhouse are yielding astonishing results in a short period of time. Lastly, I think it ought to be noted that Yayoi Kusama's installations are structurally similar to the stuff in the China show, the Museum of Ice Cream, and so on.



A Nice Summary of 4D Art (>Art History)

Dali's Christ crucified on a floating hypercube is one canonical 4D citation. Click the image to read a straightforward article at ThoughtCo outlining key points in the art historical narrative for 4D + art. The established proponent of this narrative is Dalrymple Henderson, who published her book on the subject in 1983 (linked below). It was re-issued with an update-chapter a few years ago. Bill Davenport of Glasstire covered the re-release HERE.