Chaos describes making the process of art more so than scientific process. Despite the fact that art is a lot of trial and error, there is something more to making art thqn just relying on a scientific process. Leon Battista Alberti, an Italian author and artist, wrote a book called On Painting, it was a successful method of explaining how to reproduce perspective drawings in a very articulate scientific method. Alberti gets and deserves a lot of credit for this style, however there were many artists during this time working along the same lines, this style was extremely popular in Italy at the time. According to The Science of Art:
Had the first written explanation of perspective come from a practicing artist, it would almost certainly have presented a different character from the first account which is available to us. It was written by a man of letters, Leon Battista Alberti. (Kemp, 21)
Alberti’s book, On Painting, allowed the art world to move ahead forward in a time where there was little knowledge of perspective drawing. However this very scientific method for making art is more of a tool to assist in producing art, not actually guaranteeing that art is created when reproducing what someone sees this way. Alberti frequently refers to the way that light works in his book, which shows that in his eyes, his process of perspective is what one sees. Art is reproducing what is not generally seen as well as what is seen. So Alberti’s process, which will be explained shortly, is much like a photograph, it’s a composition with only one angle considered, not like modern art, such as cubism where many angles are considered, and also probably drawn with more of an artist’s free flow. Alberti has considerate words for artists that can paint and make living more beautiful in the form of painting:
The extent to which painting contributes to the most honourable delights of the soul and to the dignified beauty of things can be clearly seen not only from other things but especially from this: you can conceive of almost nothing precious which is not made far richer and much more beautiful by association with painting… What else can you call painting but a similar embracing with art of what is presented on the surface of the water in the fountain? (Alberti, 64)
Here, Alberti basically admits the fact that painting and his methods are not the same, due to the fact that painters have something that allows them to see beyond what people see. This is referred to as the surface of water in a fountain. This is a clear difference that art has, which science cannot connect with, without thinking about chaotic systems. Also part of the reason why photographers don’t always just stumble across photos with meaning, they have to create the conditions for those photos.
Alberti, explains his method about a human in perspective:
First I begin with the foundation. I place the width and the length of the wall in its parallels… I note that, in any squared body which has right angles, only two conjoined sides can be seen at one time. I observe this in describing the foundations of the walls. I always commence first of all with the nearest plane, the great of those which are equidistant from the cross-section. These I put before the others, describing their width and height in as many braccia as I choose they occupy as many paralles. To find the middle of each parallel, I find where the diameters mutually intersect. And thus, as I wish, I draw the foundations. Then the height follows by not at all difficult rules. I know the height of the wall contains in itself this proportion, that as much as it is from the pace where it starts on the pavement to the centric line, so much it rises upwards. When you wish this quantity of the pavement up to the centric line to be the height of a man, there will, therefore, be these three braccia, you go up three times the distance from the centric line to that place on the pavement. (Alberti, 70)
Walter Benjamin, writer of The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, has this idea about quasi experts; quasi experts are the godheads of their trade. For instance, an artist in the 1400’s that could work under the conditions described in On Painting, for instance, DaVinci would be considered a quasi expert of art, if the artist managed to create something with meaning in the end. The first thing about this is the fact that the fact that a typical everyday artist has to compete with quasi artists. Quasi artists probably have a better chance of getting their work reproduced or at least have more mass existence with their art. This can be a good thing, and a bad thing for art. It creates more possibilities of working with new tools, therefore more changes in art and requiring education. This stimulates the economy, the evolution of the medium of work chosen, but may stifle the creative process. People have naturally learned to be creative at will but when faced with a process that needs to be learned and crafted, creativity may not be so free flowing. This is not to say that systems like these truly stop creativity, they might actually help increase it, because one can have conditions through a process where creativity spikes because it’s a more technical thing. However one has to go through a lot of wriggling around just to make slight changes. It’s just the fact that impulsive creativity needs to be stored away, recorded and contained for a later time when one is able to make the changes needed. A modern day example of this is AutoDesk Maya, a 3D animation production computer program, the process of creating a character that is capable of being animated could take at least fifty hours, even for someone that is well skilled and used to creating characters quickly. Then when it comes to creating the world for the character to interact with add at least fifty hours again. This could be enough time to come up with a better idea and work on something different, the good side to this though is that you could evolve your idea slowly with new ideas since it takes so long to produce with Maya as your tool for creation.
According to Benjamin, “originally, the embeddedness of an artwork in the context of tradition found expression in a cult” (Benjamin, 256). While on the other hand he refers to mass existence in art being especially capable of achieving its goal in film. “Their most powerful agent is film. The social significance of film, even—and especially—in its most positive form, is conceivable without its destructive, cathartic side: the liquidation of the value of tradition in the cultural heritage.” Therefore, the ideas in a film continue to contain cultural significance even if it’s altered or diluted. So, the creation of these quasi-experts allows for more social existence of cultural value, but they won’t get the attention without cult value. So essentially, when cult value ends up being part of the situation that creativity was imposed originally, in a big production then, cult value needs to make up for the lack of impulsive creativity. A few companies that focus on creative work environments, like to make all the workers feel at home. They do this by leaving doors open, stylized décor, free caffeinated drinks, and some have open bar policy. In a movie production situation, this will force out the people that can’t handle this environment quickly, and will also put people into a friendly euphoria and will encourage them to start (hopefully) working together better in many situations. This definitely helps with the cult appeal, as these places visited such as The Nerdery and Space 150, both media production companies in the Minneapolis Metro area, have huge cult appeal with their work and following. So if some essentials of art are lost in larger productions, there are ways to get back the cult appeal, but on the outside, there can be things like adding hot actors, new technology, special effects, etc.
Cult appeal in art is possibly more important than the message and that is the point of this whole essay. Questioning, the fact with technology and scientific interflow being mixed into the artistic process, that the message is being replaced with cult appeal. Some could argue this as the same thing but cult appeal could be as simple as a donut eating a cop, and that’s such a cliché message but there is a huge amount of cult appeal with the image. Art should be the cloak worn on the nature of experience, not a just an attack at the senses, the message should be the dagger, not the attack. According to Heiddeger, “[an]… essential phenomenon of modernity lies in the process of art’s moving into the purview of aesthetics. This means the artwork becomes an object of experience and consequently is considered to be an expression of human life” (Heiddeger, 57). Despite the fact that psychedelic and overly attention seeking art is cool, it shouldn’t be the point to just outdo each other in terms of a sensory attack. Sensory attack art deserves to be everywhere, but the point of the message shouldn’t be the attack, it should typically be the message. So therefore quasi-experts can hurt the art world with cult value destroying the message, by hypnotizing the world with a potentially half-baked message. The point would be to not lose the message, or let these quasi experts work on projects that could potentially lead into pro-totalitarian messages. “Fascism attempts to organize the newly proletarianized masses while leaving intact the property relations which they strive to abolish. It sees its salvation in granting expression to the masses—but on no account granting them rights” (Benjamin, 269). Therefore it allows people to express themselves for a specific message, a fascist one, but does not allow people any sort of individualism to anything other than the corrupted cause. The essence here is actively questioning, it takes a questioning quasi expert to not allow cult value to supersede the intended message or purpose. Propaganda art has a loss of ritual, as if you consider cult value having to do with mythical religious things, in the beginning for early artisans such as the Greeks offering their statues up to their Gods. So in the situation of propaganda the cult value would have to do with getting people’s attention directly by stimulating any source of popular cultural reference, and is really technically loosing the message because propaganda is intended to be one sided. So therefore the message is stripped of choice and is, in essence, fascist. This doesn’t directly say that any message with a clear single stereotypical idea is fascist, but has the power to make decisions for people that aren’t willing to decide for themselves.
Thus, this is why chaos theory describes the creation of art more than any of type, minus maybe advertising and propaganda. It can be formulaic, but on the other hand it typically is not. “Like architecture, art is not only the movement of territorialization, the movement of joining the body to the chaos of the universe itself according to the body’s needs and interests; it is also the converse movement, that of deterritorialization, of cutting through territories, breaking up systems of enclosure and performance, traversing territory in order to retouch chaos, enabling something mad, asystematic, something of the chaotic outside to reassert and restore itself in and through the body, through works and events that impact the body” (Grosz, 18). Art can change the way one looks at the world, at the environment, and at things beyond the physical world. Art can make a small space look large, or a large space look small. The focus of a work of art can be any random topic in an infinite list of topics, but about selective events on the artists mind, plus a nearly infinite list of other conditions, it could not be explained in another scientific system than chaos. Some force that exists in everything living and also in all natural objects, is what implements the creation of art. It requires a basic understanding of metaphysics and philosophy to think beyond the confines of the scientific process to really understand how art is made. So adding more science to the artistic process cannot truly stifle the process of art completely, because one cannot remove the force that is so present, nature, unless the artist was based on a computer program. Even then it could be attested that the element of chaos generated by the computers random function could even use a particular implement of this force. However adding an extra degree of science can possibly stifle the creative process in some way or another, whether the instance of science be precise single-view perspective drawing or the knowledge of how peoples minds react to certain stimulus. In the end though, it can also help creativity, for instance multiple quasi experts working together to accomplish something large, quicker. They could very easily create something much more creative than a single soul proprietor, the Sistine Chapel certainly wasn’t painted alone. Addition of more science and the variable of actual creativity is truly dependant on the artists and the situation at hand.
Finally, to be a quasi-expert is a good thing, despite the fact that some of these people are not doing the morally correctly thing for the world. As 1337% of π is 42, being leet (1337 looks like leet), or elite, is the way to be, despite its consequences. In Douglas Adam’s, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he refers to the meaning of life as the number 42. Having a life in arts mastery in an area is a great thing; it allows more, jobs more capabilities, and keeps competition strong. Different medias require different approaches, some require one to stay creative at all moments of working by keeping detailed logs and getting organized. Expertise also opens up a larger world for collaboration, if one is trained specifically in a certain skill, then, connecting with artists that have similar or related trades should be easier. Technology makes it easier to get the message to more people, and a lot of people don’t produce art they just watch it, so it’s important which artists are actually chosen for mass reproducibility. Despite technology could be a huge slow down for a lot of people, as it requires education of some sort. Technology definitely has its place in art; it will continue to expand art to higher degrees until the next big thing comes along. It’s just a good idea to keep your creative moments documented to their highest degree, because they aren’t always consistent and that can be a slow down when working with technology. What is important, is that artists must continue to question the message, when they realize what power they have available to them.
Adams, Douglas, and Robbie Stamp. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey Books trade pbk. Ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005. Print.
Alberti, Leon. On Painting. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956. Print.
Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, and other Writings on Media. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. Print.
Grosz, Elizabeth. Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth, Chichester: Columbia University Press, 2008. Print.
Heidegger, Martin, Julian Young, and Kenneth Haynes. Off the Beaten Track. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
Kemp, Martin. The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western art from Brunelleschi to Seurat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Print.