Studio –> Gallery –> Reality:
Art’s Post-Rational Future
Heather Watts, 2021
The “left brain” with it’s intellect, grounds us in our reach towards the limits of the knowable. It brings us into contact with reality through our reason, granting our species unrivaled powers over the material world.
But the intellect’s domain is finite.
Reality is infinite.
When we limit our ourselves to intellectual tools of inquiry, we limit the potential for knowledge itself.
The artistic impulse does not derive from intellect, but bubbles up from the numinous depths of a “right brain” ocean of both/and. Here, logic breeds puzzlement and paradox; knowledge resides in the marrow of bones. Here our prehistoric ancestors once swam freely as seamless parts of a flourishing whole. Our genes remember: the flux and flex of gills, our shocking first gasps as we crawled–or were dragged–on to civilization’s shores. The painful formation of lungs.
But our conscious minds have forgotten. They know only land, and have drained any trace of these waters from our commerce, politics, media, science, academia–even large swaths of religion and art. Reality’s wholeness has been abandoned in favour of a part and the result is equilibrium disturbed. The pendulum swings back, the waters return from without and rising waves of converging crises surge from all directions.
Meanwhile, quietly, like spores of possibility, the dormant gills in all of us are beginning to wake up.
But it’s not a return to the waters of old that beckons us. We’re entering an age which is neither aquatic nor terrestrial, the age of the amphibian: the one who dwells both wholly in logic and wholly beyond it.
The call is to unfurl our gills and turn our ears within–without forgetting our hands and feet and lungs; to hold the domains of “left brain” and “right” together in integrity, as “left” bows into its new position as servant rather than master.