05 November 2017

Blade Runner 2049: a surprising metaphor in the love scene between Joi and K

This post has a mild spoiler...

In Blade Runner 2049, the Ryan Gosling character, K, returns home, where his holographic AI lover, Joi, played by Ana de Armas, has hired a replicant sex worker, Mariette, played by MacKenzie Davis, to enable K to make love physically with bodiless Joi. Joi projects her hologram over Mariette’s body, so that K sees Joi while actually having sex with Mariette. The overlap is a little imperfect, with vestiges of Mariette emerging from the Joi projection at times, probably to remind the viewers that the body is  not really Joi's. K is a replicant, a kind of android manufactured by the Wallace Corporation and Joi is an AI, whom K has purchased. She too is a product of the Wallace Corporation. Both K and Joi, despite their artificiality, are real persons. K’s love for Joi is reciprocated by Joi’s love for K.

Love is real, but it’s not entirely real. I was startled and moved by the love scene, which very concretely mirrors the psychological  projection that nearly all of us do with our lovers, as well with other persons in our lives and experiences. Originally, psychological projection was seen (by Freud for instance) as a process in which negative and unacceptable parts of one’s unconscious are projected outward into the world onto other people who are then seen as evil and inferior. Negative psychological projection has always seemed to me to be the best explanation on a personal level for racism and bigotry. Of course there are political and economic explanations as well, but these work more on a social level. 

There is also positive psychological projection, in which something greatly valued in the unconscious is projected outward onto a person who then becomes an idealization. Seeing this idealization coming to life in another person can lead to love, or in other situations to blind faith in a political leader, or many other emotional attachments. 

The complexity of what happens in this scene in Blade Runner  2049 comes from its multiple layers. K loves Joi, who as a virtual AI is already, in a sense, an idealization. He is projecting something in his unconscious onto her, which further idealizes her and gives rise to his love for her. She then projects her holographic image onto Mariette, making the metaphor of projection (imagine a video projector)  literal and concrete. Does K now project his unconscious idealization onto the Joi-encased Mariette?

I am happy to have seen this scene, which brought home to me very strongly what is unconsciously going on in my own emotional attachments. I love, and I know that in doing so I am projecting something inside myself onto my lover. I delight in this projection because in it I can see something of my unconscious self. At the same time I attempt to see the real person underneath the projection and love her for who she really is. It's complicated.

15 May 2017

An early end to Trump's presidency

I remember how long the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency felt. Not to mention the equally long eight year’s of Reagan’s. I dread eight years of Donald Trump. Like many people, I am wondering if there is some way to shorten his presidency. Countless articles have been written about this, mostly focussing on the impeachment process or triggering the 25th amendment. There are, in fact several broad categories of ways to rid ourselves of Trump, some of which are plausible. Although some of the possibilities are legal, others are not, and I emphasize that I am opposed to any form of political violence, including assassination, kidnapping, coup d'etat, and violent revolution.

Impeachment: the House of Representatives votes to impeach Trump, after which the Senate tries him. This seems unlikely to happen until after the 2018 mid-term congressional elections, after which the Democratic Party will probably control Congress.

25th amendment: the vice president, believing that the president is incapacitated mentally or physically, together with a majority of the Cabinet, declare to the Senate that he is incapacitated, and the veep becomes acting president. One can imagine VP Pence doing this.

Resignation: Nixon did it, under tremendous pressure. Perhaps Trump will resign out of boredom, frustration, or impending charges of obstruction of justice or treason.

Disappearance: the President runs away, without resigning. Or he gets lost (because of dementia, amnesia, or some other reason.)

I will not discuss the possibility of the President's life coming to an end. Although I believe that such a discussion, even without any desire for this to happen, is within my rights and is protected by the Constitution, I am afraid to do so. It's too dangerous. I can imagine returning to the US and having this blog posting used as a pretext to detain me, deport me, or do some other undesirable action.

Radical change or destruction of the USA:  As stated before, I am opposed to any form of political violence, including assassination, kidnapping, coup d'etat, or violent revolution. Nor do I wish the destruction or conquest of the USA.
1. There is a radical revision of the Constitution, eliminating the office of president, or otherwise making it impossible for Trump to continue as president.
2. One or more parts of the USA secede, and somehow Trump falls out of the shuffle, or remains leader of a rump state, and the rest of the USA continues intact, without him.
3. Military coup d’├ętat.
4. The government is overthrown in a revolution.
5. The USA is conquered by an enemy.
6. The USA is devastated by a natural disaster or huge and rapid climate change, and ceases to exist. 

Science fiction/Fantasy/Theology:
The President is abducted by a UFO.
He stumbles into a space warp/wormhole.
The USA is conquered by extraterrestials.
The USA or the planet Earth is destroyed by extraterrestials.
A time machine is invented and someone goes back in time to change something so Trump does not become president.
The universe is a simulation and the cosmic sysop revises the code so Trump is no longer or never was president.
Only your mind exists so the universe is a construct of your imagination. You come to understand that nothing in the universe, including the President, actually exists.
Magic. Make it didn't happen.
Trump ascends to heaven.
The Seventh Angel blows his trumpet and the world comes to an end.

06 September 2016

{M}anifesto: introduction to {M}

a system for making art based on ideas about the mind

I have copied this {M}anifesto to a new blog: {M} em-art-project. This will show the most recent version of this {M}anifesto. If you wish to comment, please follow the link to the blog. The texts below are gradually becoming obsolete, and will probably be removed before long.

{M} is a way of making art based on powerful ideas about the mind and the world. What we experience as the world is a construction by our minds based on limited and distorted inputs from our senses and the limitations of our brains. Nearly all of this construction is done by unconscious parts of our minds, which communicate with our conscious minds using feelings, images and words. The intention of {M} is for its audience to directly experience the workings of their minds, partly guided by these ideas.

These works can be uncomfortable, but also can bring wonder, delight, widening of the conscious mind and self-discovery.

The ideas behind {M} are not original, coming from philosophy, cognitive science, other artists, and spirituality, particularly Buddhism.

Works in {M} are intended to be universal, accessible to anyone without special training, previous experience or even being part of a particular culture. For this reason, works that deal with politics, gender, sexism, racism, and other higher level, socially-based themes are not part of {M}. These kinds of work are certainly valuable, but they should be put in their own categories so the definition of {M doesn’t become too dilute...


{M}anifesto: enigmas of {M}


I have copied this {M}anifesto to a new blog: {M} em-art-project.

{M}anifesto: dogmas of {M}


I have copied this {M}anifesto to a new blog: {M} em-art-project.

{M}anifesto: pragmas of {M}


I have copied this {M}anifesto to a new blog: {M} em-art-project.

{M}anifesto: Examples of {M}-like works

Examples of {M}-like works

I have copied this {M}anifesto to a new blog: {M} em-art-project.