Art and human consciousness.

artwork by I. Giardina
artwork by I. Giardina

Is consciousness representational within a classic marble art work?

Art work and writings by italozazen (I.Giardina)

Phenomenology of consciousness

Art and human consciousness is in reference a complex set of philosophical concerns pertaining to representations of consciousness . However I am focusing on a hypothetical painter’s phenomenology experience or ‘Qualia‘. So for example, the experience of ‘red’ is an experience of redness, prior to further judgements on the properties of redness.

Paradigm of general conscious states.

The question pertaining to how consciousness fits into a physical paradigm in general on one hand and a painter’s experience – for example, Pilbara red, or Alizarin crimson or Indian red- on the other is at the heart of this speculation. If consciousness ( direct visual experience; other sensory experience; bodily feedback as pain/pleasure; emotions like anxiety, empathy, feeling rewarded so happy, imagination, urge towards a goal) is distinct from the painter’s judgements which are based on rational choices, then one might ask what role is there pertaining to phenomenal experience in painting or art in general? The whole activity could happen without the need for consciousness so long there were a rationale which could be accomplished by an advanced AI system without these conscious states.

Social interdependence.

After all the rational processes in paining is generally associated with value judgements. Although the painterly phenomenology is in the present, it’s the future that captures prospective rewards (social and economic capital), as a target audience, artistic goals, along with associated anxieties. So general consciousness in this sense is differed from the present leaving only the direct visual experience as the true candidate for authentic art consciousness. The authenticity is contingent on the ephemeral nature of phenomenal consciousness, as in the direct visual experience of interacting with the paint or art work media.

Gradations of experience from phenomenological to psychological.

The phenomenal experience the painter has of red is a sufficient reason to choose a colour attribution out of the three cited possibilities that match their content of thought correlating to their judgements qua psychological experience. The visual experience seems to be a necessary condition for appreciation of intrinsic value of colour given there is a contrast in non humans. So take for example of critters with attitude which is constrained to patterns of predator instinct and avoidance. This infers conscious states that may vary in a population. The phenomenon suggests that there is a correlate to non humans when it comes to variations in responses the phenomenology of colour states. The ability to do meta cognition (thinking about thinking if this is one or another shade of red) is however still an intrinsic experience of a subjective nature. However reflecting on subjective experience can led to a changes in self awareness of the role red plays in a certain political community as in a public space, however the experience itself remains subjective. It is by thinking about why I have subjective consciousness states, like “I am now experiencing the colour red” constitutes the meta-problem of consciousness. It is this meta-problem that I will address in relation to the epistemological foundations of art and human consciousness.

Is the primary experience of colour really necessary when it comes to art in human consciousness.

The meta-problem is how the painter’s primary experience of a colour can be about an intrinsic field of say, for example bluish green. Could it be that any statement made, such as ‘I am experiencing pilbra red’ explanatory irrelevant to what is actually going on as behaviour. What seems relevant refers to a series of factual judgements. The judgement to paint this style seems embedded within a cultural community, social status, education, mood, and more which are based on their integrated information. So the cognitive content as brain waves cannot explain the actual experience.

The painter may after all just have all the reasons to choose pilbara red (cognitive content) without needing to experience the redness of the Pilbara. A whole painting may follow this second order of experience as a form of judgement of colour facts. There is a thought experiment to give some credence to this proposition. And if taken to its logical conclusion would even qualify the painter not necessarily needing the capacity of sight, and for that matter any conscious experience at all (as opposed to access consciousness where it what guides actions be it raw experience or not) yet still accomplish their ambitions as a painter or musician as in the case of Beethoven who completed the ninth symphony with hearing lose.

Are their experiences as primordial that drive persons to do artistic rendering of consciousness?

Art and human consciousness refers to experience as an ostensible referent from a fine grained structure correlated to experience realisable as an observable. So by ‘fine grained’ the analogy pertains to some structure and functions, such as the firing of neurons (rather than a non physical soul) as realised through cognitive functions. These interdependent functions with complex brain states are observed as human behaviours. Consciousness as primary experience related to deep biological constraints has an analogy with street art as being site specific as a correlate to species specific.

Conscious states and the art object.

The example being that if there are a series of brush strokes then what emerges as an artefact. The artefact depicts an ostensible form, or conceptual abstract representation that was based in a first person experience. It suggests that rendering consciousness through an artefact is illusive. That is because the artefact is not a representation of first person experience but the objective content of thought embedded in a social referent. So the experience of what emerged as the artefact would be identical to a configuration of cognitive content. The experience of creating the art related to the neural correlates of consciousness thesis or its contender the global workspace theory of consciousness? The other conjecture is the notion of panpsychism. This would place the experience and the artefact as one and the same consciousness. Although along a stream of being maximal within a brain and minimal in for example a grain of sand but more evident within the artists artworks which acts like a virtual world that from the artist perspective are a genuine simulation of, if not consciousness, their mind.

Reductive dualism, soft.

This feature of primordial states is a form of reductive dualism. That is because on one side there is the observable art work, contrasted to experience qua subjective states of a person. Its not the strong form of Cartesian dualism, but property dualism. Art and human consciousness is related to a form of property dualism by token certain properties of consciousness are inferred within the art work.

Property dualism, light.

Human consciousness seems to be a property of the art. This is because there are intrinsic supervening cognitive states in the form of signatures. The signatures convey meanings that emerge through a set of interdependent associations of conscious states. These meanings emerge as detectable brain patterns constructs the art work in a similar way to the convention of language. However the basis is experience, where consciousness has a correlate through whatever be expressed by token of personal necessity qua behaviour. The expression is mediated by extensions of thought. A typical extension of thought are society and culture as realised through international modern functionalism. It involves global assembly line technologies that are contested by nation states but have a profound impact on the art object.

Mind/body interactive arts dualism.

The theory around the notion of renderings of consciousness is that consciousness properties are transferred into an art object. The theory being the mind needs to interact with primary material stuff and through representations consciousness transfers its properties into the art object. However there seems to be a gap given its the thoughts as psychological states, which depends on international modern functionalism, of the artists that is transferred to the art, so leaving out the necessity of conscious experience contributing to the art. However a counterpoint would be that a philosophical zombie (on behaviour and no consciousness) could produce art. This seems to suggest that artificial intelligence could create art given the social function within internationalism but the absence of consciousness.

So a tangible experience of seeing a landscape correlates with the intentional state or desire to cause a painterly stroke or chisel of stone which the body does through some process contingent on ability to function. This would be a property functionalist account of artistic representations of consciousness.

The concept of digital materialism is based on the theory of computational power. It is the sort of power that brings about the visible digital manipulations. These manipulations are behaviour verified through observation. The example of interaction of fingers on the glass or plastic key board, or within a virtual reality head set is a case in point. It is at a fine grained level we infer the mind is working through forms of digital outputs as consciousness of the experienced phenomenon. So as course grained neural activity emerges as thought then following the functionalist line of reasons its possible to represent a digital print of a flying bird which may have been a first person conscious experience unless it were automated as for example through time lapse photography. This brings up the question of artistic frame of reference.

The artistic reference frame.

If the frame of reference is fine grained neural activity of thought to observable art outputs then there is a representation of the ontology as the process representing how art emerges from perception to production. This might be a structuralist frame of reference but not one that is a reference frame that could ever represent consciousness itself as it defies fine grained representation through a form of reductive methodology such as neurons firing and interdependent with other neurons that result in cognitive states such as the awareness of a thought such as “I choose cobolt blue”. So a proposed non reductive frame of reference for representing consciousness might be found in the theory of resemblances.

A theory of resemblances

Resemblance takes a divergence from the cognitive science approach through correlation of facts derived from statistics and realised through data. The features taken as fundamental are forms of associations. This can be through various modes of representation. The emphasis is how to render consciousness as a form of representation of qualitative and abstract states that are interdependent. The theory requires interdependence of features that resemble the renderings of consciousness state space. Modal realism expressionism is a way to approach the problem of rendering from the angle of logical possibility that is anchored through expressions anchored in the world of causal agency that extends at the boundary as a form of digital materialism.

Binaries as primordial state space consciousness

The attempt to find a possible configuration through the art object to resemble subjective experience as individuated consciousness is based on the operation of binaries. The field as each side operates as a organisational functional system similar to a brain state. The art field content of the abstracted larger sides is then realisable in the form of digital prints on the edge of the binary. The unitary whole depicts as a artefact a form of property dualism. It places consciousness manifested experience as a peripheral construct. The digital images appear to randomly supervene more like a dream state then the normative waking state of perception of colour fields that are anchored to rationalistic modes of representation. So in this sense the larger colour fields are a form of relational abstractions. The relation of one side with the other side in fact anchors the digital images to what might be a token to type relation. The type being psychological experiences as primordial as a primitive quality that anchors phenomenological experience of colour for example. So the primordial experience is a fussy conscious state akin to a form of quantum materialism where as phenomenal conscious states such as the experience of colour appears as relational to interdependent quantum states over time. The use of street photography and evocative naturalism techniques (next article) dependent on the primary abstraction that requires two sets of interdependent binaries.