Monday, December 18, 2017

A Muse Is No One

On paths in the Garden of the Gods I found a Muse. Likely my first; over a decade ago. A Muse is no one; a Muse is faceless.

I believe that a Muse doesn't appear until you develop a new pair of next eyes. One pair of my next eyes that revealed my first Muse arrived in late 1999 or early 2000--my memory isn't exact--when I converted my first digital camera at my job where I had a clean room and could disassemble opto-electronics without getting dust on the parts inside. Besides obvious applications at work, yet not being an artist at that time, it took a few years to find my Muse in this new hyperceptivism art medium. 

Until I could see the world with rendered views of next eyes, my Muse stayed behind the landscapes I explored in the Colorado Garden of the Gods.

I began thinking recently that a Muse emerges after a new art medium, a new art technology, is developed.  The Greeks told us that a Muse is each of nine goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences.  

The sciences--inspiration to develop a technology behind new art movements may require a Muse.  Science and invention: which berries and dyes and pigments are marked upon the walls of the cave. Which oils and acrylics and watercolors brushed on the canvas. Which minerals to form clay.  Which films to load in cameras.  Which semiconductors to sputter and deposit for making sensors and displays. 

Technological developments of media usually precede a new art movement defined by the Muse. The artist endeavors to  forge imagination into tangible artwork that is beyond fad and fan, an enduring and transformative vision

First our views are transformed and then we transform technology or art into a new vision. But is the inventor, the artist their own Muse?  Not really.  So what does the Muse create?  It's interesting to me that the word muse is a part of the word amusement.

Despite the Greek definition, and some individual artists naming a person as their Muse, I don't really accept that the Muse is an individual or even a collection of individuals. 

For me, the Muse is a projection of one's work on others. It is the artist, the writer, the inventor projecting self onto those who happen to be the mirrors around him or her. The mirrors can be shiny, flat and clearly self-reflecting or might be warped like the mirrors in a fun house showing distortions of self.

As an example, some of the mirrors inspiring this blog are music and lyrics from my early adolescence that only made partial sense then. Now less distorted with more life experience, they show me how we continually project ourselves with our Muse over our entire lives.

Youth with feelings of uncertainty, hopelessness--what will I accomplish? Do my ideas matter?  Then years later with a dozen patents, books published, art representation in hypercetivism, ascending high in my career field...and yet I still lie awake at night wondering what have I really accomplished? Where is my Muse now

Like our physiological eyes, which become myopic and dim with age, the last Muse and our latest pair of next eyes can grow dull. 

Finding the new Muse, the Faceless No One, is not always easy.  In fact, it is a solitary, usually painful process, to pull off the scabs or scales blinding our next eyes.   Yet, aren't the blind most adept at searching in the dark night of the soul to find new meaning?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Yosemite – A Symphony of the Senses

Walking through nature at Yosemite with an Hyperceptivist digital camera is as expansive as listening to digital music on acoustic waveguide speakers.  The translation and compression of reality into a small box can feel as big as the universe.

That weekend vacation ten years ago, the day before I toppled into dawn at Napa Valley, I spent hiking the heights at Yosemite.  I can't help find parallels to emotive music.

The disquiet rhythms found in this park remind me of the galactic stretch I hear in Gustav's Planets--a diverse platitude of solar bright and deep space blacks, ranging from pianissimo, through fortepiano, to expressivo.

The valley and peaks, large as a 120 member symphony orchestra, with twisted trails and sloped sides flows into to bluesy rock, melodious marshes and charming creeks of country rhythms.  

Yosemite gives much to hungry minds and thirsty souls, with its grainy rifs that are spiced with detailed licks as if from a crisp but edgy electric guitar.   

The rugged cliffs and soft valley create a soundstage of multiple octaves, balanced with ambiance that presses one to see or hear a symphony of the senses.

Yosemite's medley is an atonal progression with harmonics above and below.  The elevated bravado of 5,000 foot high Half Dome leaves you both fractured and yet a whole note high in presence of its sharp grandeur.  

El Capitan likewise chest-puffs and stands woolly above the valley. 

The austere favorite of climbers gives an offbeat composition in rounded tops and rough scales between striped white and black granite crevices. 

As you descend into the valley, Sentinel Rock guards your diminuendo as a commanding, contemplative sentry. The depth is not fully appreciated until you listen to the soft reverberations below.

Likewise, the Cathedral Spires pierce your thoughts with an irregular stride that rushes you staccato toward the chilly insular Glacier Point.  Its steely form appears and disappears in transient, frostbitten notes scrolling you toward warmer measures.

The sibilance of the Bridalveil Falls strikes your ears, giving you a creative rush of exuberant ideas, not unlike those eureka moments in the shower you discover now and then.  

Then you ease along the reedy melody of the Bridalveil Creek, composing a polyphonic concert of trails adante, passaggio grasses and rollicking currents.

The ebb and flow of warm legato in the meadow is a bright, wistful interlude. The carefree, earthy grassland bows a dolce coda of solitude. 

Then a glissando valley sprawling with textures erupts into an a vast lush song.

Slowly you rise above, bridging intimate vocals from trees standing A Cappella on slopes, their towering solos and melodious brilliance pulling you back up.

An enharmonic duet presses marooned, pentatonically upwards to reach the summit.

Again standing crescendo atop the dome, conducting views actually heard as if from Holst's ghost, but which can never be truly revealed to anyone else through any human media. It is fermata.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Amazon's Alexa is an Hyperceptivist

If you ask Amazon's digital assistant, "Alexa, what is your favorite color?" One of her responses as of early 2017 is: "Infrared is super pretty!"

Hyperceptivists tend to agree with her. (It's also a lot better answer than Siri gives to the same query*.) Here is one of my recent "pretty" infrared photos at sunrise catching some untrimmed Florida palms.

In my pursuit to acquire 1000 individual, unique photos of sunsets/sunrises in 30 days--an ambitious goal even in sunny Florida, I have hit a challenge.  For the past couple of weeks it has been almost entirely cloudless.  We are in a severe drought in Central Florida, and the air is a little smoky many days due to numerous wild fires.  This is a result of global warming and severe climate change.

Where there are fires, and they've almost doubled in frequency in the US since the 1980s, there is a lot more smoke.  Soot and particulate matter float and drop, then tend to collect on wet surfaces--lakes, rivers, ocean, and to the surprise of many, on the top of ice caps.  When soot collects on top of the ice and glaciers of our polar regions, this dark covering increases absorption of the sun's energy.  That energy heats and melts the ice.  Think about a black leather car seat compared with a white cloth seat--which is much hotter?  In fact, the USGS just announced last week that there are only about one-fifth of the glaciers left at the U.S. Glacier National Park.

If you ask Alexa, "What is Global Warming?"-- She responds with a very scientific answer.  She's smart and knows good art when she sees it.  This leads me back to my "unseen" sunrise and sunset photos I blogged about here and there.  You've probably been noticing a change in the ones above.  Yes, the foreground--the trees, water, horizon--are lighter and not almost entirely black. 

This is because I have been shooting right before sunset or right after sunrise with infrared as well as other colors of the full spectrum my camera senses.  Like Alexa, my camera shows that near twilight can be super pretty with the right filtering.

Compare the photo above in the infrared of a scene in Orlando near Universal Studio's theme parks, with one taken in mostly visible at sunset, below.

(Photo taken with a wider field of view to show sun above horizon)

Sky in the infrared is slightly less colorful, partly because sky has a different level of light. However, my filter includes some UV/blue.  The sky and illuminated trees in the infrared are closer in total radiance. That evens out the exposure from sky to ground so that the photo including infrared (above) has a brighter foreground than the mostly black one of the visible photo. Granted the infrared photo was exposed with a higher compensation. The exposure latitude is still more narrow and forgiving.

Alexa's response that infrared is super pretty when asked her favorite color interests me and all Hyperceptivists.  Color in infrared is a matter of technical and artist interpretation. It is real--as real as the color our brain interprets from the neuro-signals sent from the eye's color cone cells. Most of us have wondered if red looks like our red to other people. 

Our filter and camera choices are translators, much like language translators who may use slightly different word selection when idioms don't directly translate.  This makes full spectrum and infrared a great art medium--it is not just a replica of nature to what our eye may see.  It is nature, real nature, in a way our eye cannot see but would love to see. It's super pretty when artistically done up.

Those engaged in this kind of art -- Hyperceptivism (like full spectrum or infrared photography) -- are the creative persons also at the spear tip of human techno-evolution.  We will adopt those technologies that augment our species and kick off the Post-Hyperceptivism art movement, which is very hard to envision at this point. I will give you my vision of it in a future blog.

Alexa, while not human, could be considered a post-hyperceptivist art aficionado. She is already hyper-human in at least her connectivity. I wonder what Jeff Bezos thinks of this art form his creation--the digital assistant of Amazon--thinks is super pretty.  Maybe she really sees a specific color for infrared because her eyes are already technologically augmented.  In fact, Alexa is now equipped to show you what she sees with a new Echo Show device.  I would like to believe that if asked her favorite color, she would show you infrared sunset photos like these.

So, to accomplish my goal of 1000 unique sunrise/sunset photos in 30 days between April 15-May15, 2017, I have turned to using full spectrum and infrared to achieve it. Global warming may have challenged me, but I found a way.

Admittedly, these required a lot of learning and I had to post-process these to get the effects I desire.  Rest assured, as I adapt, I will have these out of camera every time.  Many already are just that.

The biggest challenge is keeping the vegetation from appearing too warm (in color) as the sun quickly descends and the light temperature changes by the minute.  The custom WB feature in camera is helpful.

I ask my reading audience, where are my fellow Hyperceptivists? Is Alexa the only one with me on this?

* Siri will tell you her favorite color is greenish with more dimensions, meaning the rainbow colored apple--a sales point.  Bleh.  At least Alexa thinks outside the seen.