The thesis: self-expression in representational imagery may be obtained strictly through the access provided by the formal logic, and accomplishing this represents an event of significance to the history of the creative process. The formal logic is that of computer programs and scientific models of nature, couched as they are in mathematics. The artistic self-expression takes the form of renderings in which the artist is satisfied that an internal archetypal image has been reified, thereby providing a window into his/her soul. Using logic, math and science so directly in the inherently subjective practice of obtaining self-expression marks a peculiar and novel artistic process, one that entrains with it the formidable conceptual depth of those objective disciplines.
In this method, process and medium are neatly partitioned: “process” is the highly abstract task of formulating an appropriate formal system and deriving a suitable theorem in it, while”medium” concerns the physical manifestation of the visual interpretation of the theorem. The formal system consists of “rules of production” in the form of a mathematical model of Nature mapped into a computer program, and “axioms” — the input to that program. Using these instructions, the computer deterministically derives a theorem, which is an abstract “metarepresentation” of an image. The theorem consists of a large string of symbols. These symbols are interpreted as numbers; the numbers are in turn interpreted as colors; the series of point-values for colors as an image; the image as a representation of a possible aspect of Nature; and that rendering of Nature as a spiritual statement by the artist/scientist/mathematician/programmer.
The method is abstruse. The author attempts to describe various aspects of it and to illuminate some of the deep conceptual foundations involved, to the end of supporting the claim that its inception represents a significant event in the history of the creative process. The direct linkage of determinism, contraindicating free will as it does, with spirituality, at least provides an interesting philosophical juxtaposition.
- F. Kenton Musgrave, George Washington University, VA, USA