terça-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2009

On Active Silence

Silence is not – as commonly thought at a glance – the representation of void, but that of home, a kind of shelter. Thus, John Cage knew that in order for us to truly appreciate music, we have to know silence.

Art is meant to cleanse and stands as a sensorial stairway for the silence that succeeds it, granting access to the divine in human nature.
There is a certain sense of homecoming in this access of the unconscious, and we prove this by hypnotizing ourselves various times during the day and even talking inwards. Many times one finds oneself staring vacuously into a blank – there's a reason for calling it white noise – and indefinite point in space.
The upside of this (in)definition is focusing through unfocus.
Paradoxically but co-dependently, by unfocusing, you rest your eyes comfortably and recognise the value of this home allowing for the dust to settle down, hence focusing.

So, "there, where none of those objectives are sought, silence becomes something different – in no way silence – but sounds, ambient sounds".

Take type design for instance: the counter, negative (white) space is seen unanimously as what truly defines the soul of the alphabet, and ultimately the typeface. And the generally deceiving perception that the body of a letter is its true recognition – when obviously one can't live without the other, being complementary – is dropped as soon as you see past through plain syntax.

This of course is an essay on a resting space, a pause for breathing; after all, the rest is what defines rhythm.
And it also doesn't have to – I personally think it shouldn't – be as haiku or irritatingly zen as that. It is merely a suggestion of balance.

Drop your but does it float or fffound feeds and just gaze for a while.
I know that most designers already have their kind of haven or their walks in the park, even sheep in the big city moments; whatever floats your boat.

But stop looking and start seeing.
The act of seeing is a sensible interaction. It isn't just watching or sheerly observing.
In turn, this creates an isthmus where artist and life or reality perceived meet and merge; practically speaking, creating renewed semantics instead of redundant, uninterpreted – barely or not even changed at all – cut-and-pastes.
Pretty much like trying to fit two different pieces from two different puzzles together. These mind-numbing juxtapositions of concepts usually result in lifeless depictions – more noise, that is.
Good designers are by and large good observers whereas the great artist – or human – is an active seer.

That's why an eraser is a great transparent pencil that may come in handy.
Silence is a still water; a perfect basis for being able to be surprised, by not putting reality in a box of routine/predictability, i.e. expectations – in the most literal sense of the word – as if you're looking for something greater. Allowing yourself to see what's around you with a simple moment of quietness can shed some clarity.
And bring you home.

Our home is our world, our life – Yes/Jon Anderson