Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Paper Chase - Part 5

Before the word, the infinite was known.

I love cave paintings.  I can't look at one without deeply appreciating it's sacredness. I am always humbled by the fact that thousands of years ago, very simple people, facing very primary struggles, were moved to express themselves as human beings. Who could have known that these simple expressions would have such permanence?

There are many theories about the purpose and function of the cave paintings. Some were purely decorative. Some may have been a recounting of hunts and some may be meditations or prayers. All of these primordial images speak to the seer without a linguistic framework. They are, in a sense, feelings and what takes place within the feeling state is the direct transmission of clear knowing.

Before Adam and Eve were cast out of their well painted cave in the garden of Eden, mother earth was undivided. She was undivided by here and there, mine and yours, him and hers. It was Adam, the masculine principle, that was given to name things and by that invention he cut the world into pieces. Before the word, the infinite was known.

Within the construct of language, the cave painting is both a communion and a communication. The image through the force of its composition engages the emotional energy of the viewer and in that engagement there is a direct communication of knowing. In receiving the image, the seer becomes one with it and from that experience of oneness the subject of the image is deeply understood.

The problem for us is that we can't look upon these images cleanly. We're blinded by our post-modern, 20th century sophistication and there is far too much information moving through our synapses. We can't look at an image of a cave painting without going through the mental process of decoding it. It gets reduced to an ideogram of something we might deem familiar. Early man had no such complexity. Seeing was believing.

I once worked for a very well known, slightly insane, creative director. He had taken over a loft in Venice for his office. One day, I walked in and on the far back wall, he had taped hundreds of images to the left half of the wall and on the right half of the wall he had taped huge print out of words. In the middle he had made a sign which read, "Pictures Give. Words Take."

I have always loved the power of words. I have also been fortunate, through the course of my career, to work with and come to know many wonderful film makers and photographers. As media and content become more integrated with compute systems, we find ourselves dealing with the multidisciplinary challenge of designing meaning experiences. They are not books. They are not stories. They are experiences.

When I think of what is possible creatively and technically as tablet technology takes hold, I am truly in love with the possibilities.

For me, it's an opportunity to appreciate and be informed by history and in doing so, hopefully, contribute to the next wave of human expression and knowledge.

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