Friday, January 23, 2015


Code Oil on linen 60 x 110 cm
I have previously written about my idea that the tree may hold clues to the template or code of life. In September 2010 I wrote a post called Master Template? where I discuss some of my thoughts. And, yes the post is accompanied with a number of my tree-of-life paintings. And, yes it is a fanciful notion, based on nothing other than observation and imagination!
Since 2010 I have read some fascinating theories about the Universe, a Multiverse and more. One very interesting idea is that all of existence is, in fact, a computer simulation! Yep, a computer simulation. Prof Nick Bostrom from Oxford University has made such a proposition. Please check out a very interesting webpage where you can read Prof Bostrom's theory, plus scholarly commentaries etc. Also, check out Prof Bostrom's own page for some very thought provoking ideas on a range of issues from artificial intelligence, to embryo selection, to transhumanism and more.
But, back to the computer simulation idea. Prof Nick Bostrom's theory, as I understand it, is that we are living in a computer simulation devised by post humans who re-live their human existence via a simulation which they 'watch' and vicariously 'live'. Not only is it a re-living of the human existence but also a re-telling or re-evolution of all existence since the Big Bang. I have previously written about the theory in Watching The Universe and Count Down
In my previous post Count Down I wrote So, we maybe living inside a computer? But, then again we may not? But if, indeed, we are living inside a computer it would have to be a really magnificent computer and probably not recognisable as a computer to us, otherwise we'd detect the subtext, the guile, the subterfuge...wouldn't we? But, as the Professor writes, if someone did detect something, the post-human simulators could eradicate the memory of detection, wipe the slate clean...and the simulation would continue.
But....maybe the Professor's postulation is a sign of the simulation itself...maybe an undetected leakage from the post-human future or maybe a deliberate play...a teasing loop?
Prof Bostrom is not the only one talking about life...all a simulation. Check out this quirkily presented video interview on Talk Nerdy To Me with physicist Prof Martin Savage from the University of Washington .
IT IS FASCINATING STUFF don't you think?!!
That brings me to my new painting Code
My visual interpretation of the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life forms a semicircle, which represents a planet...maybe Earth? One branch connects to a swirling, looping tree that seems to emanate to and from a distant space/place. If you look closely at the tightly coiled part of the tree you will see the word LIFE in binary code. I did not do this on my own. I had the Internet to help. It's provides text-to-code conversions!
Anyway...also take a closer look at the 'planet'. I have painted some of the 'branches' as parts of a computer chip. Don't you think they look almost like music notes? And, music itself is a code of sorts too! However...the point is that systems, both naturally occurring and human-made, seem to need a branching type of appearance/existence. Maybe it's how the post-humans 'play' their simulation?
I am ploughing my way through Douglas Hofstadter's 1980 Pulitzer winning book Gödel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid [Basic Books, 1979]. It's fascinating 'trip' through various kinds of loops: logic, music and art. In fact, it has inspired me to become more aware of looping trees in a few of my paintings [couple of example below]. Since starting to read the book I now deliberately often depict the tree with looping aspects. Once I have finished Godel Escher Bach I will read another of Hofstadter's books called I Am A Strange Loop - great title! It may take some time though.
Beyond The Dark Night  Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2009
Getting back to the tree...the tree-of-life to be specific. Regular readers know of my long term fascination with the age-old symbol...more importantly my fascination with how we can tease out symbolic energy in a way that is meaningful to us in the 21st century. I suggest that staying connected to age-old symbols may actually help us remain human...?
In Code the tree is the dominant 'player'. This is deliberate.
Tree Of Life Time Travelling Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012


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