Studio –> Gallery –> Reality:
Art’s Post-Rational Future
Heather Watts, March 22, 2021
The “left brain” with it’s linear either/or logic, grounds us in our reach towards the limits of the knowable. It reveals reality to us through the exactitude of reason, granting us unrivaled powers over the material world.
But the “left brain’s” linear domain is finite.
Reality is infinite.
When we limit our knowledge of reality to that which makes sense through the linear lens of either/or, we limit knowledge itself.
The artistic impulse does not derive from logic or linearity. It bubbles up from the depths of a numinous “right brain” ocean of both/and, a place where logic breeds puzzlement and paradox. Our prehistoric ancestors swam there 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 and inland. The painful formation of lungs.
But our conscious minds have forgotten. So thoroughly have we drained these numinous waters from society–from our commerce, politics, media, science, academia, even much of our religion and art–their natural equilibrium has been disturbed. Resurging from without, they return to us now as waves of converging crises, crashing over our carefully-laid plans as politicians rush for sandbags and businessmen gaze down from castles on the hill.
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, as “left” recedes to its new role as servant rather than master.