Watching contemporary art and a development of creative internet communities one may think about it as about a very complex system which is a part of other intricate systems.
The difference between natural and artificial systems is caused by two things: the first is self-organization and the second is incomprehensible nature of the first. There are structures and processes one can perceive only with intuition due to their immense complexity and diversity. There is no distinction between a structure and a process because a process is an ever-changing structure or a structure with an additional dimension. Examples of similar things are evolution of life, human brain, Universe, any life form. These are material things which anyone can see but nobody can explain. Spiritual or non-material complexity is connected to them but is less obvious. Why do we love music or pictures or literature? Music is a sum of frequencies which can be similar to the electrical frequencies of a brain. Resonance is a simple explanation of all the passion and trembling the music arises in a man. Of course this hypothesis seems doubtful and very primitive . Let’s think of complexity itself. Maybe there is some closer connection between all the complex structures in the Universe, some fractal likeness. All these structures are the parts of a greater one– some everlasting attribute of universal continuum, like time and space.
We have mentioned the intuition earlier. It is of course the part of this ubiquitous fractal which is a function describing self-similarity. The explanation of intuition is that one can not grasp the connection between himself and the universe but one can feel it, can even see its blurred silhouette within his own mind. One can feel it because due to self-similarity it is always within everyone, this is not a talent or a quality but just a fact like life itself. And this eternal beauty, this ever-connecting wire is the thing we search and find in the art. We do not mean that a complexity itself is beautiful but we mean that there is a special type of complexity which unites art, science and religion. That type of lucid sensation which is the same for the sudden understanding of some theory or reading of a book or listening to a beautiful music. It does not deal with feelings or attractions. It has much in common with physical laws – for example we can not say about a stone that it likes or needs to fall down on earth.
One may say that there is primitivism in art. It is not a primitive phenomenon but is very complex indeed. The art is a system which includes an author and a consumer. Both of them are affected by society where they live (there can be significant differences between societies of an author and a consumer– that’s why some authors became well-known only after their death). Primitive art appears as a growing need for something new, as an opposition to the mainstream ideas. And this need depends on hopes, expectations and general mood of the society. The beginning of the previous century seemed to be the time of great changes and big hopes. The art answered with dadaism, futurism, surrealism and other styles. Great tempo and alienation of contemporary life have led to postmodernism– the art of weariness and decay.
There had been much talk about integrative or synthetic art which would unite different art forms. However the progress of this is not very impressive. The computer had brought to life some new styles and techniques of art. Among them there are digital art, skinning, game design and demoscene. The most important trait of this new art is a unity of strict mathematics and free art genius. Without any of these parts the work is incomplete and imperfect. Demoscenes are a perfect sample of such a unity. By the way, with their music, videos and texts they may be considered a step to integrative art.
Another stunning samples of this unity are visualization plugins and fractal drawings. A boundary between art and pure mathematics is very thin and sometimes it is just disappearing. Now it may seem doubtful whether this activity can be called art. Strict formulas are considered to be incompatible with concepts of the art.
But we have to think about visualization as an elaborate multi-dimensional system. Traditional art includes a creator and a spectator . The system we are talking about connects not only a composer and a listener but also a plugin maker. The mood of a creator and the experience which he tries to express in his work is added to the self-expression of visualization maker. We can see an additional dimension of mood or another point of view in such type of creation.
The first point of view belongs to a composer of music, the second one to a plugin maker and the third one belongs to a spectator. The mood of a visualization plugin is affected by another music being listened at the moment of creation.
AVS is a very special type of visualization plugin because of its simplicity and great possibilities. It gives you an opportunity to create advanced graphics without any programming, to implement mathematical beauty into the graphical form directly. Moreover it gives simple interface for step-by-step effects creation.
Usual art works are not complete until they are “officially” finished by an artist. Before this point they are of no interest. Presets may be complete when they consist of one ore two effects. Completeness is not demanded by the form like in music or literature works. The artist may decide about it.
Another special feature of AVS is that the creation is not necessarily predefined. An artist or a writer usually gets some thoughts and ideas which he tries to implement in his work. Visualization making may deal with experimenting (or playing) mostly. One tries “this” and sees what happens, then he changes something to see another effect. So on each step one can not say what he will change next and what result he wants until he sees it. And the preset itself can not be considered the only result of such a work. We can say that AVS preset is a process rather than a structure. The process of creation is a very special type of art, because the visualization artist is a creator and a spectator at the same time. He is influenced by the music and a preset itself. Making preset has much in common with a game, for example playing patience.
Contemporary literature is based on cross-references mostly. In many of well-known books there are hidden or obvious borrowings of images, characters and events from literature historical documents. Mixes are an important part of modern club music culture. The art nowadays is a complex net of interdependent images, thoughts and moods. It is self-organizing, always developing and changing and has some traits of another natural systems. And this returns us to the idea of universal complexity because this can be considered the part of another complex systems– like humanity, biosphere, galaxy.
Another sample of self-organizing system which appeared not so long ago is an open-source society. The idea of open software which can be developed by many people working together is opposed to the “commercial” software. This idea had proved itself already.
Traditional art can be compared with this “commercial” software. It is created by a special group of people and is sold to another part of humanity as a completed product. The problem is that there is no “source code” for traditional art forms. How can a writer or a musician publish his state of mind? But even here the tendency for communal work and integration is showing itself. It can be seen in above mentioned cross-references, borrowings, mixes and fast-growing internet art communities.
AVS is an instrument for creating a really open art. It allows to edit presets by other artists, to merge them into one, to borrow effects from different sources and combine them into something new. It can be called meta-art being based on music. It has some important peculiarities of our time: it is open to development, based mostly on communal creation and is cross-referenced highly.
There are more other interesting questions to discuss– like interdependence of art and Internet, like possible future of communal literature (dealing with web too), relation between mathematics and art (which can be sensed through mechanisms of great discoveries) but now there is a place only for a few thoughts of digital art and a place of visualizations in it.