Convergent Evolution

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Recognitions

Similarly to how social media collapsed high and low culture into a sinuous, middling unibrow; it made room for the fringe to graze the mainstream while allowing outliers and niche practitioners a foot in the door. Though institutional barriers to entry persist, a new art world has never been more possible. It would however be blinkered to consider it only in terms of finished and sanctified outputs; which often makes parameters of fault lines ripe for the pushing. Because it’s structural, the revolution won’t be televised until it’s irreversible and given us its first, fixed forms. The bet is safe, though: anticipate swerves wherever generalised crisis meets new media, patronage and deep shifts in values. The history of the avant-garde has never been more forward-facing.

My previous blogchain covered the surge in agile independent presses that support experimental writing through fictile business models; with a reach faster and more global than anything even their most explosive predecessors could have matched for ricocheting connectivity. The jury’s out as to whether these presses can or will attain real market and / or mythic penetration, though the signs are favourable (Fitzcarraldo Editions, for instance, was established in 2014 and has twice-proven Nobel olfaction.) Examples can also be found in the digital arts, where platforms like SuperRare permit the social collection of tokenised originals on the Ethereum blockchain. Initiatives like SuperRare are the undertheorised arrowheads in the emergence of complete ecosystems for art production and consumption that may soon give the gallery circuit a run for its money. The decentralised ledger may become the double-entry bookkeeping of art collection.   

Convergent evolution is behind the surge of genres that didn’t hit their unsuspected heights until quite recently; the most outstanding of which may be paleoart, a fascinating case spanning the history of human self-regard from evolution to post-humanism. Its archives are increasingly available in ways that urge the relational study of the scientific and artistic imaginations, their methodological friction and combinatory magic. Paleoart is basically an OS-cum-artform, closer in spirit and experimental nature to automata than illustration. Taschen’s 2017 Paleoart confirmed that it had finally arrived, transcending the scope of the natural history museum and the elementary school library. The synthetic shaping of prehistory through art and science over 200 years may contain important lineaments for speculative representation as we face a sixth mass extinction. The future could be fossil-fuelled.   

Series Navigation<< Amateur VigourHyperreality Prevails >>

Get Ribbonfarm in your inbox

Get new post updates by email

New post updates are sent out once a week

About Mónica Belevan

Mónica Belevan is Peruvian-born philosopher and design theorist. A co-founder of design outfit Diacrítica, she is the author of "Díptico gnóstico" (Hueso húmero, 2019), "The Wreck of the Large Glass / Paleódromo" (Sublunary Editions, 2020) and "OUTSIDEININSIDEOUT" (Formato Público, 2021), the Peruvian exhibition catalogue for the 17th Venice Biennale. She is currently tracking emergent Covidian Kultur and aesthetics on LapsusLima and through this blogchain on epochal art for Ribbonfarm. She can be found on Twitter @lapsuslima

Comments

  1. I’m officially spooked. On Monday August 17th, I was corresponding with a comp sci colleague about NLP, deep learning and AI. References include glass-bead.org // informal musings included “meditating on the vibe of an early human deciding to put fruit juice, chalk or blood on their face, intentionally designed for interfacing with the other human”

    Have you seen that Werner Herzog documentary Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World? Herzog fandom is neither here nor there, but there is a really gripping scene where they interview Ted Nelson–it’s really fascinating. His vision of links struck me as a bit incoherent but approaching something in the realm of (daresay) necessary for this riff on convergent evolution. Nelson claims that language is “illicit, a wrongful compression” for human interaction.

    I’m curious also, independent presses aside, and more in the realm of next step platforms a la your previous post: For communication, harmony, evolution…if all we have at our disposal are the same old tools ( language, art, the body, computers) for expression and if that bandwidth is still just a narrow compression, leaving so much room for misunderstanding, miscommunication–what do the real tools look like? what does real literacy look like? idk i’m just riffing here.

    have a good one!

Leave a Comment

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.