The other night I woke up around 4 in the morning, not an unusual occurence, it’s just that this time instead of going through my spin cycle for two hours uselessly worrying about stuff, my brain started concepting on its own. I just went with the current to see where it would lead. This idea came up, even the name, The Compositron. I’m sure this notion isn’t the first of its kind, I’ll bet if I searched enough I’d find many like it. But since this is an intellectual excerise just walk with me for a while.
I watched a video on TED.com that day which featured a man talking about “cleaning up” modernist paintings. It was like allowing Mr. Monk to rearrange all of the paintings’ elements until they were neatly organized to meet his anal retentive ideals. Which is what triggered this thought, how can you teach an artist that they have full license to move things around to his/her hearts delight? To recombine the elements to play with the boundaries of what is possible. One way is to desubjectify the object, perceiving it as a shape rather than a thing. Once that happens, then the laws of physics become less important, playing with the forms becomes an exercise in design and not depiction. So the compositron is an interactive webpage where you have a stable of simple shaped icons with four choices; the order, change the scale, change the value and change the position. When done, you post it as a thumbnail where you can see it along with whoever else has posted one. I want to see if it’s affordable to make something like this and attach it to the blog.
What I think would happen is at first all the obvious solutions would get used up and having no where else to go, the creative, competitive mind would start pushing things. And then the good stuff would start to happen. The elephant is just an element after all so it doesn’t have to stand on the ground, what starts to become important is the relationship of one shape to another in scale, value and in placement. This is how good critical thinking works; we burn through the obvious, first level stuff and then really start digging for something deeper and new. If you look at art history that is precisely what the artists in each stage were doing, they got tired of what was done before them and started moving things around to satsify their creative, competetive spirit. That’s progress, baby.