Re: Self-promotion (was Re: S/N )

Natasha Vita More (
Sun, 03 May 1998 10:20:00 -0500

Paul Hughs wrote with a quote from Damien:

>"Artists like me will do what we can to shape our understanding of the
>realities about us, to catch its frenzy on the ends of our nervy tendrils.
>But poets are no longer the unacknowledged legislators of mankind, if they
>were. No, that role has passed to those who dwell in what C. P. Snow so long
>ago called the Second Culture."
>What of the Third Culture - the cross-pollination of the two? If wasn't for
>the vision of 'poets' such as yourself and other sci-fi authors, many of the
>pioneers in modern science would not have pursued their chosen careers.
>Wouldn't you say that poetry, art and literature helps provide a context, a
>navigation map, a passion, a *direction* in which to steer this rocketship we
>call technology?
>Hopefully Natasha is reading this and can add her own input on the importance
>of art in an extropian future.

I wasn't mentioned in Damien's book, and I don't know if my work was
relevant to the content/subject of his book or not, but I would hasten to
think that my work in the area of art and science is highly relevant
interest to a "Third Culture."

C.P. Snow was a major influence on my thinking. When I first realized that
art and science had something in common, I began to meet more scientists
with an openness - a willingness to understand the cognitive processes in
their creativity. It seemed quite similar to the creative process of my own.

The cross-pollination of artist and scientist is creating a well-balanced
artist, if you will. One with the unlimited imaginative capabilities and
the ability to implement ideas with today's engineering and technology. To
have a dream - an inspiration - and not have the capability to realize the
dream with the "tools of the time" can be very frustrating. A lost dream
can effect one's abilities in all areas of thinking, permeating a sense of
failure. To have a dream realized causes a sense of victory and self-esteem.

Today an artist needs a working knowledge of technology and/or engineering
to realize a dream fully. (Conceptual art remains a preferred art genre
for me, although I believe that I would be more satisfied and have a
feeling of involvement with life and the future by producing ideas rather
than only conceptualizing them.)

Because Transhumanist Art and the genre Extropic Art is occurring in a
period when we are engineering ourselves, extending lives and developing
new life forms, an artist (in the broad sense: meaning fine artist,
artists, and creative thinkers, which is inclusive of scientists) would be
in keeping with the times if she/he is knowledgeable about the technology
that will make this possible. Otherwise the "art" becomes gadgets with no
or little content.

Much of the Tech Art and Electronic Art is quite beautiful to look at, or
fascinating to look at or to engage in, but it does not represent the
transhuman extropian culture because it does not pronounce life extension.
("A-Volve" might even miss in this regard.)

Recently I was entertaining Dr. Hugo de Garis (well known for brain
building and ideas about genius that caused quite a stir on this list),
Forrest Bishop and friends in my home. We were discussing, among other
things, de Garis's art project.

Yesterday I had brunch with Dr. Roy Walford (leading gerontologist). We
discussed his most recent art project. He is a scientist as well as artist.

Marvin Minsky plays the piano. Vernor Vinge writes fiction. My brother -
Dr. Richard Clark - is a painter. It isn't unusual for scientists to enjoy
art, but this is not the point. It is an ability to transfer the skills in
the two different domains so that they begin to mesh.

Thus, having skills in both domains does not make a Third Culture. It is
the acknowledgment of abilities in both domains and a willingness to say
that art doesn't have to be only an intuitive, subjective and imaginative
process and that science doesn't have to be only a rational objective
process; and that both domains have qualities of the other.

I wrote about the short essay "The Importance of Creativity" which in large
part, refers to Paul's insightful post:

"Tomorrow our CQ (creativity quotient) will become the sine qua non for our
existence. It will become less a measure of creative aptitude than an
insight into undaunted inventiveness. It will become the metaphor for
individual escalation of innovation. It will become a symbol for what we
shall create without restraint, without limitation. It will be the
Creativity Augmentum."

What I mean by the Creativity Augmentum is a time when the Snow's two
cultures of art and science are blurred.

Art important in the extropian future? Why, yes, of course!


Natasha Vita More [fka Nancie Clark]:
Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art:
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"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."