Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wandering in the Metacognitive Landscape

Hmmm...Noe's idea of art as a "communicative landscape in which we are wanderers" (see my previous blog post)...I keep returning to the idea of a metacognitive landscape—if one can't communicate with oneself, there's little hope of drawing others into the conversation. Art as metacognitive landscape, a landscape that then succeeds in drawing others in.

I think of Jackson Pollock, driven by the battle of his creative spirit and inner demons to do the drip paintings. Talk about a metacognitive landscape, pre-verbal and visceral and yet offering a place where conversations can begin.

Or the work of a very different visual artist, Dora Carrington—her portrait of Lytton Strachey, a metacognitive landscape of love and regard, of everything that made her life worth living, there on that canvas, her way of saying See? after she herself was able to realize her own vision.

This is why art is essential. It is the visual (or aural, in the case of music) offering of the metacognitive landscape, one particular person's metacognitive landscape made communal, open to anyone who feels able to participate in what can then go on to be communication.

I think of Henry Thoreau at Walden Pond, learning how to be alone before he could learn how to be again part of a community.

Every work of art begins, first, as a landscape for that community of one.


overwintering bluebirds the company we keep

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