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Cybernetics and Contemporary Art - Jackson Pollock

Updated on July 9, 2013

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Especially after the Second World War, the meaning of the word “art” shifted. Towards what? Influenced by the cultural transformations in the society, as well as new philosophical currents, art became an appropriate portrayal of the present mentality. It depicts the idealization and abstractions of forms, trying to achieve totality.

In order to obtain this all-encompassing term and because, at the same time, art is a very “loose” definition, what can nowadays be considered as being “art”? Trying to explore the subconscious, could Jackson Pollock’s unusual style of painting, as seen in the picture above, involving continuous dripping of color from his brush, be art? It is needless to say that the level of abstraction in Pollock’s paintings is to such an extent that the viewer would capture either a glimpse of totality or just a bunch of seemingly random splatters of paint on a large canvas, as the video clearly demonstrates.

But how can Jackson Pollock’s painting, for instance, be related with cybernetics? Because of the high degree of abstraction on the canvas, this requires a very personal interpretation. Therefore, the feedback given with regards to the painting is divided between “genius” and “doodle”. Obviously, it is easy to observe that this particular type of interpretation characterizes the modern-day art. To my mind, it seems that art has lost its universality and truth. It is no longer an allegory, as Martin Heidegger claims in “The Origin of the Work of Art”. Now, we do not have a universal beautiful art; instead, it has all been broken down to each and every one of us. At its base, I believe that contemporary art has a constructivist foundation. As Henri Bergson’s philosophy clearly demonstrates, it is “change” that is fundamental to “the experience of reality".

With the rise of cybernetics, it was only a matter of time before the artists tried to emulate and embed this in order to fully achieve their creative potential. As discussed before, concepts like feedback, motion and interaction have taken an ever-increasing role in the production of art. Thus, the “artist” is no longer the person who writes “The Book” or paints “The Painting” or composes “The Song”; he just takes the role of initiating something, of starting it and leaving the rest for the receiver to “steer” the work of art into whatever direction he pleases. It is just like introducing a computer algorithm and watching it replicate itself time and again, with the cycling of the repetitive instructions.

In the age of “mechanical reproduction”, I feel that art has lost its depth. Now art is no longer individualistic. Everybody virtually uses the same software, the same creative-limitations presets within a program. The novelty, though, resides in the process of manipulating those presets. Moreover, I think that art lost its tangible feeling. Now, sculptures are no longer carved in stone, but designed with the common mouse and keyboard. Regarding the future of music, perhaps Jim Morrison best foresaw the death of art (especially music) as we know it: “I can envision maybe one person with a lot of machines, tapes and electronics singing or speaking”.


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    • The Touch Typist profile imageAUTHOR

      Walter Dark 

      5 years ago from Amsterdam

      Dear ytsenoh,

      Thank you very much for your kind thoughts, and I am really sorry for my late, late reply. All things considered, I believe that modern art is way more successful in capturing that raw emotion, even though the actual drawings make no sense whatsoever. To some extent, this is better, because it makes the viewer, reader, etc. more aware on the function of art itself: not so much about technique; rather, a short but powerful burst of emotion.


    • ytsenoh profile image


      5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      This is a very interesting take on your subject. I think cybernetics can be as broad and convoluted as you want the term to be. You do make some interesting points, however, using Pollock as an example as to how his art could be perceived as you put it..."genuis" or "doodle." I saw the movie on Pollock's live and did some research on his life--like you could feel his frustration of what he needed to express. Naturally, art has evolved so much through the centuries and technological advances has affected its output. There are so many wonderful artists out there in the world and everyone has their perspectives and perceptions of what they take in. Thumbs up on your hub because it was very thought provoking. Thanks and welcome to HubPages.


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