Space Time Coordination in Painting

Pradipta Satpathy
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How do we account for how we view the world while we are making art? How do we represent them while describing objects as we encounter them in space and time? The drawing of any object will, historically, be "mimetic." If we take an apple as an example, to evoke an apple, a painter will imitate all those features of 'apples' in paint: the circular form, the glossy green or red skin, the stalk at the top sticking out of a little smooth depression. That you would know as an apple. If you think about it in these terms, you know that there is a kind of virtual reality in "naturalistic" (by which I mean realistic) works of art. That is, in space, a constructed approximation of real things.

But is that how we experience an apple? I mean in the sense of time and space. We'd have a brief moment to approach the apple, look at it, walk around it. Drawn on a paper, painted on a canvas, or even carved in marble, how would that experience look? That actual encounter with real stuff? How we account, fundamentally, for change and flux in an artwork. This is something the Cubists had at the forefront of their heads. The Cubists were searching for a fresh mode of representation that could capture the flux and transition.

By incorporating an analog of non-computable elements found in literature and research, Cubism introduced ambiguity into art. It generated a model that we have used the modeling relationship to evaluate here, which is complex and more process-like than the product of a set of rules or algorithms. It thus freed the art of the twentieth century to escape the limits of laws, formulas, and computational methods. We are in a position at present to observe a true paradox. As the principles that are apparent in Cubism take over science and other fields more than fifty years later, the influence of the mechanistic/reductionist thought that spilled over from science to permeate all human behavior also poses a challenge to art in the form of the antithesis to the complexity of Cubism, namely computer-generated art. As the "complex systems" movement in thinking goes onward, there are counter-revolutions that will occur from time to time.

This is typified in biology by some advocates of molecular biology, which now peaks only because the technology was so long in coming for its implementation. Finally, it will bring into perspective the valid position of this unique version of physics and chemistry. A war is being waged in the industry over complex vs. computerized ways of coordinating activities. Instead of a complex method, robotics is also a popular way to try to handle all of the development processes as a mechanism. Modern economic theory is full of reductionist principles. Each of these touches the revolution. A very different kind of economic theory that emerges from Brian Arthur's work makes holistic sense and speaks to a new way of looking at adaptive, changing systems. The production method can be viewed from the viewpoint of dynamic processes. Cubism is the art form that deals with analyzing the parts of something, where the paintings look like a jigsaw puzzle and the forms have been disassembled. It's an abstraction. It wasn't meant to turn things into cubes but to merge the illusion of a painting with the reality of the painting. Picasso is best known for abstract paintings but he didn't aim at asking us to put them back together with the pieces of a puzzle.

There has always been a sense that vision itself is unreliable. Picasso had always believed that paintings are illusions, a representation of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Such a strong desire to show space-time coordination in paintings to make them more realistic, Picasso invented a new language for representation that rather than ruining the two-dimensionality of a canvas, puts it in the forefront.