ART and Research
Poetics of Confusion - 2011
Sometimes processes of thinking that lead to understanding and hopefully intellectual serenity lead also to chaos and frustration. Creating images is liberating. It gives space to tacit and emotional glimpses of understanding. This experiential use of a universal, holistic language covers the need to communicate the unspoken. It is not to convey a message; it is about visually bridging parallel narratives. It is also to escape to a virtual reality in the brain, walk inside the storage of memories and transform them into visual expressions.
The balance we experience Nature possesses seems to be something we are missing ourselves and longing for. Nature is what everything comes out of, that is, plants, animals and even life itself. Yet we have abandoned Nature. First, we replaced Nature with language, taxonomy and images, later with plastic and now with virtual digital simulations of Nature. But those products are consequences of the duality we have attached to the world. That is, Nature seen through science (and this is the dominant perspective) and Nature as we experience it.
The English philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) gave a name to this duality: he called it the Bifurcation of Nature. We cannot understand the world by splitting it, picking up what “cooperates” with physical laws and ignore the rest which do not fit to these laws. We are part of Nature. “We come out of it” as Alan Watts has said. We are expressions of Nature. Could it be that this scientific image of Nature created by us is so wrong that it makes us strangers in this planet? We cannot identify with Nature because we try to identify with the image we created.
Scientific explanations can be wonderful and inspiring. (They are for me!) For example, it is thanks to Copernicus we know that the Earth is rotating around the sun. But how can we be sure that we are not just one cell in the body of a giant, which is sleeping on a ground and dreaming our psychological world?
My pictures are an attempt to visualize the possible ways of connecting to Nature by using “codes” of Nature. Through analysis, I studied one code of Nature which is manifested visually as a kind of branching which is also bifurcation.
This visual code is observable in many places: in roots and lives of plants, veins, trachea of insects, colonies of bacteria, rivers, valleys and mountains, many physical processes involving materials and chemical components, but also road networks built by humans and hidden branches of a sewer system, not least in the logic of a family or genealogical tree.
This hidden code has fascinated me and led me to fractal geometry, which returned me to Nature with even more fascination of this visually manifested code. We can observe it in many phenomena. Branching appears in one’s life-path when one has to make life choices. There is something sad in knowing that your path is just one branch of many possible ones. One can´t see all the branches of possibilities and know what they promise before one chooses because a branch will grow as one goes on with life.
Branches can be confusing visually, but they are perfect forms for distribution, development, exchange, communication, they are path-makers in the space they occupy.
The graphic designed by me for the Science Prize, awarded by Telemark University College