About this collection
℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက is about identity; both individual identity as well as our collective identity as a species.
Since the very beginning, human beings have been fascinated by the world around them. We have tried to understand it, our place in it, and ourselves. In this process, faced with chaotic complexity and forces we couldn't comprehend, we gave significance to otherwise meaningless events, and created a meaningful world for ourselves within the greater unfathomable universe.
Things do not have names, nor exist in inherent categories. Humans are responsible for these... We are the inventors of meaning.
With this in mind, I present my own creation: ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက
I'm a single human, attempting to be humanity itself in my own analogy, with my creation as a metaphor for all we have created.
℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက is an ever-evolving artwork that focuses on the experience of existing as a human being; our grappling with the apparent chaos we find ourselves in and our constant attempts at finding order and meaning in this chaos.
And just like our lives, there are random, meaningless elements in it, there are deliberate, purposeful elements in it, and there are elements that depend on your interpretation as to whether they have any meaning or not. ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက asks you: Do things have inherent meaning, or are they empty of it until human beings consider them worthy of consideration? And it dares you to find meaning for your own life in it.
Thus, when you look at your ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက, you will have questions about the meaning of its elements, just as we have questions about the meaning of everything we experience, including our own existence. And while all the answers to the latter might not ever be fully understood, the answers to the former can be found with the help of one of humanity's greatest modern inventions: the internet. Whether this then goes on to help you find meaning in your own life is up to you.
Any attempt at describing ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက without mentioning Matt Kane's "Gazers" would be incomplete. In both a literal and figurative sense, Gazers are what gave birth to ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက. Literally, because it was while reading the art description of Gazers that the idea for ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက came to me. Figuratively, because if Gazers represent any one thing at all, that thing is nature, while ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက represents humans and their experiences. And through evolution by natural selection, humans were born from, and are a part of, nature.
It could be said that ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက is a kind of mirrored-reflection of Gazers. It focuses on and celebrates general subjective human learning and perception of reality, while Gazers' weave a delightful tapestry of light and time of which we humans partake of as entranced observers.
Gazers ask questions about the future based upon observations of the past, and evolve according to specific rhythms in nature, using deterministic design rules upon their creation to determine all future evolution. ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက, on the other hand, asks no questions about the future, but rather focuses exclusively on the present, and how it has been influenced by the past. It asks, "How is today important?"
℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက's evolution is inspired by the lives of humans, as well as by the arbitrary, irregular clock of that which humans give importance to. Thus its deterministic design rules give the illusion of random evolution, as well as celebrate sporadic points in time determined beforehand, mimicking how human lives seem to progress chaotically except for certain moments in our lives that feel like "destiny".
These moments only seem this way, however, with hindsight - when we look back, see our own personal story, and try to make sense of it. In the same way, ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက will change according to celebrated dates in the past from the date they were created, regardless of whether those days continue to be recognised or remembered in the future.
This pseudo-random evolution is also meant to be an analogy for compatibilism when it comes to free will. Compatibilism says that even though everything, past and future, is all predetermined, we can still act with free agency in what we perceive as the present moment. In the same way, all the randomness of the colours, characters and positionings of the characters of ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက are hard-coded in. But when actually looking at the work in the present, all these elements seem to change randomly.
In the end, humans and their culture all still fall under the great umbrella that is nature/the natural world. As much as our ancestors tried to deny it, we are as much a part of nature as the lowliest slimes - we just follow different rhythms, and at its core, this is what ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက is a celebration of: The wonderful fact of our existence as a result of simple, natural processes in the natural world, and our unique complexity that is so remarkable as to fool itself (ourselves) into thinking that we're something apart.
For information about what each element in ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက symbolises, visit : mandelsage.com/eye-am
The Eye changes over time.
SPOILER ALERT. If you would rather be surprised, stop reading now.
Each part of the Eye represents some part of you.
The pupil is that mysterious part of you that does not change. Everything about us changes - our bodies, of course, along with our thoughts, ideas and opinions, our trivial preferences, our habits, etc, and through all of this, our personalities. But then, we think back to any point in our past, and we remember ourselves back then and feel - "...that was me. Different in many ways but still me." The pupil represents that part of you. Thus its shape and colour never change - its constituent characters do, however, albeit very infrequently (once a year). An almost imperceptible change, symbolising the fact that absolutely nothing is permanent.
The spots in your eye represent random mutations that might add a certain charm to your character. They are special in that they have no special symbolism. But if there is something that you feel is not quite adding up in the over-all analysis of your ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက, then look to the spots - they might reveal a hidden clue. They change every 6 days.
The iris represents not only your personality, but also your impression of how others perceive you, which is quite slow to change, as we generally think others see us the way we see ourselves. Thus it changes rather slowly and subtly. (characters: once every 2-4 months | colors: very subtly in long cycles).
The white of the eye is how others truly perceive you, regardless of your personal perspective of this. Characters change at an irregular rate, since many different people enter our lives at different times, and stay in it for different periods of time.
The eyelid represents your body. A slow but constant change-rate of characters (every 29 days) - the colour changes with the change of the background's darker colour. The backgrounds represent the external environment and this commonality symbolises our bodies being part of said environment.
I think of the front background as a bit like the sky... Always there and ever-changing. During the day, you have the clouds, and during the night, the stars, both of which we humans love to look at, trying to find meanings in the beautiful patterns they form. They change twice a day.
The back background symbolises every external phenomenon that we directly interact with or that directly affects us, no matter the scale... From the city or town we live in, to the traffic as we drive, to our own bedroom and the very desk we sit at to work. All are in constant flux. For some, changing all the time, for others, less frequently... (every 2-5 days).
The border has colours and characters that represent the Passions each Eye gets upon being minted. They are a permanent feature of your Eye and thus do not change, except on celebration days, when they'll become highlighted. The possible Passions one can get are: Computer Science, Maths, Philosophy, Physics, Astronomy, Engineering, Biology, Art, Literature and Music. Getting only one Passion means an obsessive personality and is the rarest. Two Passions is almost 3x more likely. Most Eyes will have three Passions.
The three symbols that appear above and below the ℈ℽ⍷ are randomly picked from four groups of symbols: The entire "I Ching" set of 64 hexagrams, the Norse/Germanic Runes, several common putonghua (Mandarin Chinese) symbols and a set of unicode symbols chosen by me personally. The first two are very old, and have been extensively written about, from their history to their supposed divination purposes, so you will easily be able to find information about their meanings. The putonghua letters have clear, albeit often multiple, meanings and the unicode symbols are up to you to interpret.
The top symbol changes every 2 days, the bottom-left, every 7 days and the bottom-right every 17 days.
More on this: Writing symbols down for the purpose of transferring information was something first invented by the Sumerians around 5500 years ago (for trade purposes), closely followed by the Egyptians. Long before such practical use though, humans were using symbols of varying kinds for "magical" and ritualistic purposes. The idea of a symbol or a carving somehow holding meaning was a powerful concept understood only by the wisest among us - elders and shamans of the tribe.
Ultimately, it seems it is in our nature to find meaning in patterns and symbols and constantly ask ourselves how they are relevant to us personally, consciously or unconsciously. My intention for these three symbols are to serve them to you at different intervals and let your mind do the rest.
You may or may not believe in "signs" or the authenticity of the I Ching or the Runes as a means of "divination" but one thing is true: We are complex, irrational beings and even the most cynical of us will sometimes make decisions for our lives based on a mere feeling or intuition. You may either appreciate the symbols only as an aesthetic part of the art, or occasionally find meaning in them, if they seem relevant to something in your life or seem to have answers to a specific question you have. Just how often you do this depends entirely on the kind of person you are.
NB: Not sure why ArtBlocks renderer doesn't recognise a few character sets that display everywhere else (I've tested thoroughly across platforms/browsers). So while the preview image will sometimes have placeholder rectangles, do not worry, you'll see the live piece displays perfectly fine.
Mandelsage is an artist who creates beauty and meaning out of chaos. Inspired by the astounding fact of our existence and the lack of innate meaning in the universe, he uses fractal geometry, code and (recently) A.I. to explore and discover unique patterns and forms. Driven by randomness and pareidolia, he describes his process as a joyful march of blind discovery, extracting beauty and meaning from the chaos of complex forms extrapolated from simple ones, similar to how evolution by natural selection shapes complex life. That said, he has recently begun attempting to create work with very specific intention, telling unique stories that leave little room for interpretation.
He sees ℈ℽ⍷-ᚤက, his pilot gen-art project, as a blend of these two creative approaches - specific intention in process and concept, yet the completed work enables varied understandings, depending on not only the observer but also (because the work is constantly evolving) the point in time of observation.