We’re masters at interpreting and connecting the dots. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great! At least when we use it for creation, but when we use it to interpret the world that surrounds us it doesn’t always yield the best results.
Disconnecting The Dots
Zac Scy
52

This is a great point. Creativity these days is a necessary, but much misused skill. Learning to ‘connect the dots’ is THE cognitive function that has allowed humans to progress from cavepeople living day to day hunting and gathering, to what we are today, an incredibly complicated social organism able to act in unison, or individually depending on the circumstances - living in huge sprawling cities, exploring the depths of the oceans, the reaches of the universe, and the vastness of our inner experience via the mind.

Taking our own experiences, and those of the people we know best, we construct meaning using shared resources like language, images, and so forth. From that perspective, you CAN find meaningful connections between ANYTHING. The problem isn’t that there aren’t some connections between the 3 images you were working with, it was the lack of understanding you had about the images, or at the very least, the inability to identify the most basic elements that connected them to each other: the visual elements. From an art theory/ cognitive psychological perspective each of those images has common elements and relationships which allow you to interpret them as ‘images’ as opposed to just random squiggles. So at the very least you could say that all 3 images portray representational imagery. You could say further that they are linked by the portrayal of human beings; they are examples as well of different types of reproduction types - drawing, painting (digital and analog), and photography/scanning as they all needed to be digitized. The problem isn’t that there is NO data to tell you what the ‘connections’ are, it is as you say, a problem of incomplete data. With one caveat: There IS enough data to create accurate, meaningful connections between the 3, but the QUALITY and COMPLEXITY of the connections you can make with the available data given the common level of knowledge regarding all the myriad characteristics involved in the conceptualizing, creation, and dissemination of the visual images concerned, speaks less about the conceptual meaning of the connections, and more about the visual connections. It’s the difference between being a competent art critic, and being a competent intelligence analyst. Both can pull actual real meaning out of seemingly unrelated data, but while the ‘dots’ being connected might still be the same, the way the ‘dots’ are connected is likely different. The same way a Chef knows his/her dishes and how to make them, whereas a connoisseur of fine food knows how to taste the dishes and appreciate what the chef has done.

People’s insatiable thirst for new, unique media (movies, videos, music, video games, tv shows) and the false sense of competence we get from watching a marathon session of ‘24’, and thinking “we’re gonna catch us some terrorists” though is driving the paranoia we currently experience in society. When critics of consumer media (and believe me, everyone’s a critic) mistake their ‘art critics’ eye for that of a detective or counter-terrorism expert, if the underlying competence and grounding in the context of serious world affairs and history that would allow for an accurate, logical reading of the ‘dots’ and their potential connections isn’t there, well.

IMO that is one of the real problems with today’s ‘24/4 online’ community: too many technology specialists without a grounding in anything else aside from sex, drugs, and rock and roll (or hip hop, or DNB or whatever.) Jack of all trades mentalities that get habituated and become socially acceptable encourage over-reliance on technology and someone else ability to get you the ‘right data’.

The way too common solution for not having ‘enough data’ or the ‘right data’ to make a reasonable conclusion - the ‘creative class’ fostered by the ‘information revolution’ - get ‘creative’ and make it up. Everyone’s an artist; the question is whose art is good, and whose is not.

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