Blogging As Art

August 2, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Auto-Biography

Using a medium built of associations, I seek to describe a realm of experience characterized by subtle, multi-scale interconnection.  It’s a bit like blowing bubbles that can intimate a cube or playing charades in the dark with only the sounds of my movements available to make a point.  The words “evolution, society, ontogeny and personal biography” are accompanied by associations that suggest different things.  Communicating my experience of their being four aspects or facets of the same thing is my challenge.  To do so while embracing the confines of the medium of blogging makes this an attempt at art.

Ten years ago, when a lot of these ideas came together, I posted the website and sought academic support for a hypothesis that included a proto-dance based, neoteny-influenced, runaway sexual-selection driven theory of human evolution revealing the origins of autism and other conditions characterized by maturational delay.  The theory was grounded equally in anthropology, neuropsychology and evolutionary biology.  Perhaps twenty academics from around the world responded to the website, my letters or emailed inquiries.  After their initial interest, the multi-disciplinary character of the work made it difficult for them to support it in their own discipline.  None of the professors that emailed me had contacts or experience outside their discipline in the other two disciplines that the theory explored, making it difficult for them to intuit the theories’ validity in other areas.  It didn’t help that I had no institutional support for my research, no advanced degree, and was, at that time, a salesman by profession.

It took almost two years to stop obsessing that I was not being understood.  I felt isolated, angry, hurt and ashamed that I could not get across what I had to say.  Then 9/11, the war started and my attentions turned to social change.

About a year ago, I got a call from a professor funded to put together an online science encyclopedia.  He wanted to pay me to write articles on evolution.  I asked him if he’d read my work, it not exactly being an orthodox theory that he’d want represented in a conventional overview.  He responded that he was not looking to have my theory represented in the articles, but that my evident ability to communicate the complicated nature of the principles I was exploring suggested to him I would not have trouble providing an overview of the discipline of evolutionary biology today.  The gentleman went on to say he’d already hired and fired two academics.  Both of their writing was professorially obtuse, failing to take into consideration a nonacademic reader, so he resolved to find a writer that could communicate.

I was astonished.  No one had ever accused me of being a good communicator.  As a comic strip and panel artist, I’d been described as creative.  Though I refused the job as article writer for the encyclopedia, I was very pleasantly surprised by the offer.  I felt complimented.

Which does not often happen.  I have a hard time feeling complimented.  I am deeply suspicious of my ability to communicate through words.  I did not speak until I was three.  I was in speech therapy until college.  I was a horrible speller with unorthodox grammar.  I experience a deep-seated belief that I will not be understood while having created goals in my life that require my trying to communicate difficult-to-understand concepts.  I deeply desire to feel connection and choose as my medium a discipline where I feel inept, communicating principles that are subtle, characterized by unconventional concepts of interconnection.

Which makes this art.  I don’t seek to make science anymore.  I am not qualified to be a scientist.

I am qualified to be who I am, blowing bubbles to suggest the nature of a cube.


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