Creative Exchange Lab @ PICA | Descending Mount Improbable
This was the presentation I gave for my work over the past few years and my most recent explorations that were a part of this year's Creative Exchange Lab with PICA.
The full set of presentations from all of the artists can be found HERE.
The title "Descending Mount Improbable," is a take on Richard Dawkins', "Climbing Mount Improbable," a book that I'm quite fond of. In it, he writes about various improbable evolutionary architectures that have risen up over many millions of years and across what we may consider an expansive "evolutionary mountain range."
A particular quote from the book, where Dawkins' further quotes Darwin, is as follows:
"To suppose the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree."
Dawkins then expounds upon the various ways in which eyes have evolved in all their myriad fashions:
When we speak of 'the' eye, by the way, we are not doing justice to the problem. It has been authoritatively estimated that eyes have evolved no fewer than forty times, and probably more than sixty times, independently in various parts of the animal kingdom. ...
And I'll end the quotes there - you may read the full book as I certainly recommend it.
What I want to say about all this is that my work, over time, has been informed by various works of others, and not just artists. Biology, particularly human biology and physiology, has been an interest of mine and I have decided to take it upon myself to continue expanding research into how our biology - and our neurophysiology - informs the way we experience the world. Obviously, when I read Dawkins' book the first time (out on a backpacking trip in the middle of the Grand Canyon no less) I was inspired by this chapter on eyes - as eyes are the primary orifice through which the work I make is experienced - and how the landscape I was surrounded by at the time was a reflection of Dawkins' metaphor. That eyes have evolved along differing trails upon their ascent up this "Mount Improbable," and have found themselves, each with their own characteristics, perched across various "cliffs". Concepts that also relate to perception across the senses are what I've also been incorporating as a part of design practices in my more professional work.
I confess this has been a daunting task, but I will continue writing about it and we shall see how the road opens before us in this regard.