"Stop Looking at my Va J J"

There is a language we have yet to speak. There is an alphabet waiting to be born. There are artists, like myself, with our hands in the womb, searching for these symbols. And there are curators, and critics, and writers and philosophers and collectors and art lovers watching us throughout the procedure.

The process is as delicate and as engrossing as any birth. But we are also witnesses to death, the death of visualization as we have known it. That death began out of curiosity,when NASA scientists dared to envision the world surrounding the moon, when they took the black and white photographs sent back to earth by remote cameras and pasted them inside of a giant sphere, and then poked their heads into the sphere and looked for the first time at a universe humans had never seen before. In 3D, with mock colorization, surrounded in a 360-degree environment, those scientists saw exactly what the cameras were seeing. And in their exhilaration they neglected to notice that Renaissance perspective was dying. That the giant hubris, that made us earthlings feel we were at the center of the universe, was being smashed, never to be resurrected. What they did see was that the universe did not radiate out from us. Rather it surrounded us, enclosed us, and defined us as one infinitesimal dot in an immeasurable space. What those scientists witnessed, or helped unwittingly to create, was the Big Bang of Art.

In an episode of "Grey's Anatomy", ironically centered on the fragility of life and the immediacy of death, the background lyrics sing to us, "Leave out nothing. Tell me everything."

Today's artists are trying to tell you, and themselves, everything, without any GPS system to guide their way. We are trying to leave out nothing, and in the process inundating ourselves and others with marks we can't decipher and meanings we have yet to fathom. It will be up to our descendants, your great great grandchildren perhaps, to translate these new Rosetta Stones and comprehend their wider implications. In the meantime, hoping only that we are not all blown up by a home-made bazooka, or a suicidal radical, or a world gone totally insane and off its rocker, we can only and passionately continue our path into the unknown. Even if no one fully understands what we are saying. Even if those who think they know really don't know how much they don't know. Even if we ourselves don't fully grasp the implications of our markings and virtual meanderings, even so we push forward.

To those of you who have written me, sometimes in despair, sometimes in deep disappointment, sometimes in desperate need of what I call a bark in the dark, I say in caps, in full volume, you simply must carry on. Because you have been chosen to pick up the fragments of art's tomorrow, and you must reassemble them for the sake of humanity's future. Yes, kings and emperors are revered long after their deaths, as are today's rock stars and sports heroes. But it is to the artists and thinkers that others will look to understand what happened here in these early days of digital wanderings. You simply must provide the insight, or at least a fragmentary guide, to the early traces of that revolution.

For make no mistake: this is not a gentle move forward in art. This is a radical retooling of the mind of mankind, and of the marks that we use to reflect that event. If anything, radical may be too weak a term: total visual anarchy is more like it.

Back at Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Bailey, as she is giving birth, says to one of the young interns, "stop looking at my va J J". As artists, however, we invite you to look closely at our va J J, for that is where the creative juices today are truly flowing.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2006