fig. 48: Torso, 1995
© Corinne Whitaker

unfolding: a memoir

iii
Spirituality

Artists of the new digital frontier recognize that a major paradigm shift is under way which far transcends the bells and whistles of the technology itself. Thomas McEvilley, writing in Sculpture magazine, comments on the hollowed-out look of much current body art. He sees the body now being emptied of its dark Freudian unconscious world; others see it as the end of history, of time as we have known it.

"I am not contained between my hat and boots."

fig. 49: Winged Victory, 1996
© Corinne Whitaker

The spirit of a pioneering Woman Artist of the American West sees it differently. I see possibility and challenge. I see not end, but beginning. I hear this antifigure fugue, but it sings to me of the joy of pure release, escaping the body/gravity chains. Maybe the body will become a meaningless vessel; maybe human beings will become an army of disoccupation.

But maybe we need first to change the holy grail of digital imaging: ever more powerful machines that can simulate the world around us in true three dimensional accuracy. What will that give us? An artificially rendered copy of the world we already know? There is a God-like naivete to this quest - humans as the inheritors of She-who-created-the-world, a second generation genesis with each of us creating our own Bible.

fig. 50: An Uncommon Woman, 1996
© Corinne Whitaker

Our quest, however, might better be for an entirely new aesthetic, not a warmed-over microwave mainstreet. Steve Jobs had the right idea when he named his new hardware "Next"; the New Yorker magazine recently published a double issue on the theme of "Next".

fig. 51: The Dancer, 1996
© Corinne Whitaker

Digital artists, pioneering women of the American West, are drawn to explore and create, not copy and rehash. We are obsessed with the strength of ideas, not the power of machinery. We know that the next aesthetic will not be "yet again" but "other than", a totally new digital aesthetic unlike other art languages. It may look strange. It may even be booed, as Stravinsky's music initially was. It may appear alien and threatening. But we will have to discard the crutches of older art vocabularies before we can move freely into a new visual world. Once I invented a new language called Eskaloop, with words like rashtafolli, skiffledump, and gwynncher. I chose them purely for their delicious taste on the tongue. Then I invented another language called Zoberflux, in which all the words began with the letter Z to reflect the end of visualization as we have known it.

fig. 52: Zobix, 1995
© Corinne Whitaker

"I too am not a bit tamed. I too am untranslatable."


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Locality


Community

Identity

Syllabus

Spirituality

Locality

All text and images © Corinne Whitaker.