Re: Extropic art: symbolism, interpretation & association

Sarah Marr (
Sat, 15 Mar 1997 10:41:55 +0000

Kathryn Aegis wrote:

>Sarah Marr:
>>Art is a discourse, and the creators of Extropic Art act as a voice for
>>Extropianism; indeed, they may define Extropianism.
>I disagree. I have never heard of a philosophy, a movement, or a
>religion that has been defined by its artists or by their artwork.

That's partly because these philosophies, etc. have already defined by
myriad other cultural devices. So interpretation of their artwork is
necessarily tempered: as I said, art is a discourse based upon existent
information. (Yet, ask someone to describe Jesus and they'll come up with a
bearded young bloke - essentially a representation of Zeus, with a little
Alexander the Great thrown in: and this is simply because of early
Christian artwork. For that matter: God's this old bloke with a white
beard. And yes, _you_ may question this, but others would not: that's
because art is a discourse between work and particular observer.)

>To make artists definers or cheerleaders...

Nobody makes them such. They _are_ such because they are presenting
Extropianism to and audience with no, or minimal, prior information. They
don't need to have authority vested upon them. If I created art-work
showing graphic and cruel vivisection, called myself an Extropian artist
and displayed all over Britain, how many people would question my view
vocally and publicly enough to undermine the imagery placed in the minds of
those who attended the shows? Even if Max et al. publicly denounced me I
suspect the image of Extropianism in this country would take years to recover.

>...our [artists, I assume] role involves the challenging of assumptions
and >the exploration of new avenues of thought.

A piece of artwork cannot challenge generic 'assumptions'. It can only
challenge the particular assumptions of its audience. Very few people have
any assumptions at all about Extropianism, so artwork has the ability to
create, rather than challenge, any assumptions about Extropy. Another
example: if I paint a series of pictures showing Max wearing flowing robes,
in front of a cross, preaching to people, then how many people do you think
will not consider Extropianism some wacky cult. (To avoid argument the
paintings would bear the legend 'Saint Max - Extropian leader' in an halo
around his head.) Of course, some people, not brought up within Western
Christendom, may not see the imagery, but that's my point exactly.)


Sarah Kathryn Marr