Here’s a different kind of post. I could post a WIP but this one isn’t about one of my paintings, for a change.
I’ve been following, and enjoying, the new BBC TV show (now airing on AMC) “HUMANS” (sorry, no way to up-end the “A”) and have discovered an oddly surprising similarity between the synthetic humans (“Synths”) in the series, and the concept of “The Artist” in our modern -real- world. Please, bear with me if you haven’t seen the TV series but, if you like science fiction, it’s worth a view. The big question regarding the TV series would be “Define human,” and I, of course, think about that in terms of the arts, and what kind of connection an artist could have with a ‘robot’.
The TV series takes place in a not-too-distant future where synthetic humans (in the Asimovian context of human-like robots, sometimes known as androids) are an everyday fact of life – maids, caregivers, etc. If you haven’t read any of the works of prolific SF writer Isaac Asimov, he literally, and I do mean literally, in the literal sense, as in actually and really (no offence intended, but some things have to be spelled out), invented the “3 Laws of Robotics” – please, do read his now-classic Foundation series, at least the first three books. He is one of my favourite of all time SF writers.)
My apologies, I digress…back to the idea that an artist and a synthetic human could possibly have anything in common.
The Synths in the TV series (the main characters, at any rate) don’t necessarily want to be human – they ARE human – at least in part, and so they believe (that they can, and do ‘believe’ is essential to the storyline). One of the best lines I’ve ever heard is when a human – talking to a Synth – points to his own chest and says “I am a human with a machine inside me”, referring to his artificial heart, and then touches the Synth in the same spot, and says “You have a human inside a machine.” He says that the line between Synths and Humans is being blurred. He is beginning to recognise that Synths FEEL, that they EMOTE, that they ARE, for all intents and purposes, HUMAN. But, of course, they aren’t truly human. They need to be plugged in to a source to re-charge.
THEY NEED TO BE PLUGGED IN TO A SOURCE TO RECHARGE.
Artists need to be plugged it to a source to recharge, too. We need this. We don’t actually, physically, plug into a wall socket like the Synths do – but we do ‘plug into’ ourselves, our universe, our world, our beliefs, our time, our understanding of our world – and we do need the same type of space, an “I can’t-talk-to-you-right-now- I’m recharging” – kind of place where we can plug in and truly recharge ourselves, our creativity and our very being. Artists step outside of our own humanity to view it and record it and give it back through our perceptions and understanding.
Artists, whether word-artists, or visual-artists, or performing-artists, or musical-artists or any artist who feels and wonders about and tries to reflect back the human condition through their work, need to re-charge. People might say we’re “daydreaming” or going off on our own, gazing into the distance, or being anti-social….but…we’re really recharging ourselves.
We, as artists, need to break from the world, from our lives, from our personal relationships, and just take it all in, review the whole world, while we’re plugged in to our own-selves, our own experiences and beliefs, and let the sub/un/conscious filter it all back out to us so that we can give it back. Inspired, beautiful, outrageous, terrifying, and always personal.
Could a Synthetic Human create art – visual, written, performance or other? I don’t know. Was that even a question when I started writing this? (In any event, that’s the subject for someone else’s novel.) It’s the idea that a Synth needs to step out of its/his/her world to plug-in to its source and recharge, and then to get back into the world and deal with it, be part of it, live in it, that resonates with me as an artist. I can’t speak for a Synth, but as for me, I need to throw something back at the world when I am done recharging. Sometimes words, sometimes a painting. This time, it was words. Whew – glad that’s done. Back to painting now….
Okay fine. I can’t not put up my last painting. An artist’s blog needs art, after all. Here’s “The Swimming Lesson”: