The byline of my blog The Swinburne_Complex is “Tightening Up Loose Associations”.
The sheer volume of creative work on the Internet is an amazing and overwhelming resource to feed one’s creative process. It is also an opportunity to share the diverse sources one draws upon for inspiration and information.
One of my concerns as a visual artist is reaffirming that the core discourse of visual art remains between the works themselves. All else is peripheral. The visual dialogue is it’s own thing that we happen to eavesdrop (or rather, eyes drop) on and that this condition remains ultimately ineffable allows for a certain paradoxical freedom within a cognitive dissonance of the desire to describe one’s genuine experience whilst that very desire is being undermined – we resort to something close to grunts – look! Wow! Cool! Brilliant! Or is that the effect of the seven-second world of electronic media? Three minutes is an eternity in the land of pixels, or is it? Transcendent power eludes speech our persuasive power of social cohesion.
Our attention longs to be held. The popular upsurge of mindfulness as a panacea to solve unrest and cure discomfort in one form or another attests to this. However, creative attention is unrest. It is mutable through observation and imagination but anchored through themes, obsessions, perceptual biases and repetitive strivings.
Observable patterns that fluctuate like ocean waves I watched for hours are set deep with a meaningful sensibility that have become descriptors of abstractions and formulas I barely grasp but sense a unique convergence that motivates me to sort and collect as I have always done, but with a greater sense that others are on similar paths and we have this medium to share the journey.
Through my researches Gaston Bachelard, who coined the term “The Swinburne Complex” describes the condition of reflective attention well in the following passage – although he is referring to poetry, to poetic sensibilities if you will; to my mind this speaks to contemporary media streams:
“Thus water, by means of its reflections, doubles the world, doubles things. It also doubles the dreamer, not simply as a vain image but through his involvement in a new oneiric experience.
Of course, an inattentive reader may only see yet another worn out image. That is because he has not really taken pleasure in the delicious visual effects of the reflections. It is because he has not lived the imaginary role of this natural painting, this strange watercolour that moistens the most brilliant hues. How could such a reader follow the narrator as he proceeds with his task of materializing the fantastic?” – p48 Water And Dreams an Essay On the Imagination of Matter
This circuitous linking of the experiential, the metaphorical, the literal and the factual is what interests me with respect to the doubling that Bachelard speaks of. Within the compressing attention demands of the Internet, I wish to compile a series of reflections not only as part of my own creative processes, but to test if any linked associations become salient enough to stimulate and endure.