Risk One: Never get out there; can't find the wilderness. The Risk of Stagnation.
Risk two: Never come back; lost in the wilderness. The Risk of Insanity.
Risk three: Go full circle (and take audience with). The risk of Completion. (Evan Parker )
Some thoughts on improvisational drawing, motor control and paradox.
Common coding theory states that perception and production are generally coupled in the motor system,
It suggests for instance that people perceive spoken words by identifying the vocal tract gestures with which they are pronounced rather than by identifying the sound patterns that speech generates.
Assuming that perception and production are linked in this way; How does paradox manifest itself in the motor system?
The muscular system exists of antagonist(stretching) and agonist (bending) muscles
A paradoxical instruction could co-activate antagonistic muscles and create a freeze or immobilisation of the limbs.
What kind of effect might this co-activating of antagonistic muscles have on free or improvisational drawing?
1.EVERSIVE (escaping completion)
Antagonists (quadriceps and the hamstrings) are simultaneously active when you arise from sitting.
This co-activation of two antagonistic muscles is known as Lombard's paradox.
The limbs don’t freeze because the extensor moment exceeds the flexor moment..
Here paradox brings about a fundamental change (from a passive to an active state).
So if a drawing based on instruction or method ends up in a passive state after it went ‘full circle’ the paradox could maybe offer some kind of escape.
2.INVERSIVE (back from the wilderness)
Blocking the wrist shifts movement control back to the elbow,
freezing elbow and wrist shifts it to the shoulder etc..
Consider this quote from Greogory Bateson; “Ashby has added a new facet in pointing out that to prevent change in the superficial variables is to promote change in the more profound.”(Bateson, G., Bateson, MC. (1988). Angels Fear:)
Black ink-marker drawings share a fundamental property with classic binary logic, that is;
Any section of the plane is either black or it is empty.
Your head asplode
In classic logic any proposition is either true or false; hence, contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense.
The principle of explosion* states that if a contradiction is true, then every proposition is true.
In formal terms, from any proposition of the form P∧¬ P, any arbitrary A can be derived.
‘Explosion’ however does not represent a formal symbol of logic, it rather points at a psychological side-effect for binary systems like computers or in this case, any black ink-marker agent.
The logical proposition is not sequential but combinatory,
so if P represents a random dot on a paper plane, then P∧¬ P represents a
[black dot, no black dot, anywhere, nowhere, instantly].
In general a computer will not recognize this as a valid instruction and do nothing,
However a creative or fictional ‘computer in mind’ may start processing infinitely,
fruitlessly looking for clues in an undifferentiated field of grey noise caused by the contradiction.
The infinite search causes the system to ‘overheat’
a conclusive output becomes increasingly urgent and necessary.
Because the infinite loophole has hijacked executive functions,
action can no longer be motivated by ideas and the system is left with reflexes.
In science fiction the sentient supercomputer infected with a contradictory instruction (logic bomb*) may become restricted to expressing only punctuation marks(...), stammering, or a more rigid version might burst into flames,
A black-inkmarker ventilating heat via an instant blind sweep that stretches a dot over a large section of the plane
This stretched dot then is a primal trace that creates a difference that can set off a new creative chain of events towards a next possible state, a ‘finished drawing’.
(also note the dramatic structure* of the principle;
First the causes are downplayed, then there is the crisis, followed by the resolution.
1.incentive moment→(complication)→ 2.crisis →(unravelling) →3.resolution(catharsis))
Experimental drawings that use ambiguous or paradoxical injunction(1) as a kind of source generator for abstract gestural drawing.
For example the asemic injunction ‘write without words’.
The instruction is a 'call for action'.
The injunction to 'write' constitutes a language-based content but the restriction to 'not-use-words' obstructs the bulk of the formation and prevents it to externalize into a linguistic expression.
Under pressure conflicts like this, between digital and analogue domains can be made to erupt in an uncontrolled gestural reflex.
(This is not like the ‘get-it-out-of-your-system-and you’ll-be-ok’ catharsis kind of expressionism because it results from conflicts in communication and not a built up frustration from the past. The generated energy also differs from the raw energy suggested in classic abstract expressionist painting in that it doesn't imply some idea of primitive man acting out but is purely situational).
The uncoordinated gesture can be used to draw unpredictable and chaotic lines.
It is this basic sensorimotoric pattern that is the source of these drawings and that pose the gesture as the antipode to a formal grid.
(1) see; Bateson and Watzlawick; although here paradoxical injunction is used in an artistic rather than a psychiatric context, the common denominator is the 'breaking of a routine’.