For me, as an artist and teacher, the experience of being moved by ideas feels similar to the experience of being moved by art, even though one is more cerebral and the other is more intuitive. I’m interested in finding connections between them. It’s kind of similar to what happens in a lot of religions out there, where texts and sermons are merged with music and dance. The whole of your consciousness can take part; not only understanding an idea, but also feeling and experiencing it. So here’s a new video I made. It’s part lecture/spoken word and part musical performance. It’s about researcher Michael Shermer’s work called “The Pattern Behind Self-deception”.
“Even though we can conclude that supernatural beings like spirits and flying saucers are probably just psychological projections, it does not mean that we can conclude that there is no grand scheme at work all around us.”
"We need to remember that at this moment, humanity is aware of only a small part of a much bigger picture of the universe."
While Shermer’s argument is very convincing, we must not conclude that our existence is therefore meaningless and insignificant.
"Pattericity" is the tendency to give random patterns and signs out there, meaning and intention.
In Michael Shermer’s TED Talk about his book “why people believe weird things” he argues that as humans evolved, it was to our advantage to assume that something like a rustling in the grass, was a dangerous predator, rather than something harmless like the wind. Because of this, people tend to give random patterns and signs out there, meaning and intention. He calls this, “Patternicity”. It explains our belief in things like gods, spirits, aliens and conspiracies theories. They are all seen as powerful hidden beings somewhere up there influencing our world.
In Michael Shermer’s TED Talk about his book “why people believe weird things” he argues that as humans evolved, it was to our advantage to assume that something like a rustling in the grass, was a dangerous predator, rather than something harmless like the wind. Because of this, people tend to give random patterns and signs out there, meaning and intention. He calls this, “Patternicity”.
"Space is Romantico" Brian Cooper 2013.
I had to wait forever today to re-install software. It gave me time to doodle.
"Space is Romantico", Brian Cooper 2013, ink on index card.
New song from EARTH LIKE PLANETS. During an improvised session, my friend, artist and musician, Jim Ovelmen, opened up one of those old 60’s Time/Life science library books he got in a thrift store and began singing what he was reading. This particular one was all about drugs and pharmaceutical research.The song focuses on research about the medicinal uses of biochemicals from marine life.
"Empty Space Is Not Nothing 1", Brian Cooper, 2013, oil on wood, 9"x 12".
The thing I want people to feel most deeply is the intense need people have to be deeply moved by art.
New “Earth Like Planets” cosmology lecture for the song “Empty Space Is Not Nothing”.
As I have become more involved in writing and performing music in the last couple of years, I have been thinking about how I juggle both worlds of art and music. Creatively, I felt the overwhelming need to begin to take music more seriously. But my practical side was a bit skeptical. Now as both my art and music have evolved, I feel confident that I am developing a voice that manages to incorporate both of these worlds. In fact, I feel more creatively invigorated than ever because I strayed outside my usual medium of visual art. The downside is that it is a bit less obvious where to find a market for what I am up to.
Consumers of all forms of art have the luxury to be a tourist of any particular artist’s world. They can casually come and go as they please from one artist’s domain to another. Some guy with a 9 to 5 job with a wife and 2 kids can leave for work in the morning and get in his car and briefly enter in to Lil Wayne’s nihilistic world of sex and drugs and wallow in the tragic beauty of it all and then just as easily switch gears and go back in to his normal life. The next morning he can do the same but now he’s inside Bob Dylan’s world for a half hour or so. There’s a real beauty to being able to do this sort of thing.
Of course artists do this stuff too. But, they can’t make their art this way. If they want recognition and success, they can’t be tourists of many different genre’s, styles and mediums. The market place has a hard time with this. Consumers have so much to choose from out there that they need their flavors to be clearly defined and consistent. It’s like when we hear about well-known actors that suddenly start performing music. It feels kind of annoying.
I can see both sides of the issue here. On one hand, it can be a real burden for artists to be forced to stay inside their box. They don’t have the freedom to be multifaceted. Lil Wayne can’t put out a country album or decide to make romantic comedies. The only way he could make those sorts of things is if he does it in his own “Lil Wayne style”.
While on the other hand, staying within a genre, medium or identity shows thoroughness and substance. We all respect prolonged focused study and investigation. It helps convince us that a particular artist’s intuitive values and sentiments within their work are really worth getting behind and believing in.
It seems like to placate the marketplace it’s smarter to go with the idea that staying within a genre, medium or identity shows thoroughness and substance. But part of me still can’t help but feel like this relationship artists have with the market and the audience is a limiting experience. So many of us think of art as an arena of freedom. But maybe this is only an absolute truth for things we call “hobbies”. Like so many things in this world, there are trade-offs. It’s a very old issue. Where we lose freedom and purity, we gain economic stability and social acceptance.