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Post details: Autumn Kaleidoscope

Autumn Kaleidoscope

Arts and sciences differ in one interesting aspect. In sharing credits. Or - to put it differently - in the intensity of interactions of its main protagonists.

Science is definitely a team sport. Of necessity. The last do-it-yourself kind of guy died in 1519. His name was Leonardo da Vinci. Scholarly background and technical prerequisites for a publication in a respectable journal can be mind boggling these days. That is why research papers have usually sizable lists of references at the end. Even if you are a certified genius, you still need many intellectual sherpas to conquer the high peaks of contemporary knowledge. A novel idea needs to be properly exposed, presented in sufficient detail, and eventually accepted by the specialized community, and that requires more brainpower than a one man show can provide - others may need to step in and clean up the argument, offer shorter formulas, suggest better notation, find proper context etc. In sciences it is really hard to create your masterpiece from the scratch. Understanding nature is a truly collaborative effort.

Art on the other hand has always been more about capturing the personal view. You may find signs of collaboration there too, but they are few and far between. And whatever little remakes, tributes or variations on someone else's theme you may find, they usually offer only minor tweaks - perhaps changes in orchestration or a few special effect unavailable to movie makers twenty years ago. And that's it. Sometimes I wish authors were more daring and their alterations reached deeper into the plumbing of the given oeuvre. I would love to hear the story of Harry Potter retold by Carl Hiaasen. I would love to see a cross between Groundhog Day and Hamlet. I am curious what would happen if you tossed the Ninth Symphony, Verdi's Requiem and Carmina Burana into the blender and then poured the result over the keys of an old church organ. Or how about if several rock bands took turns in tinkering with say the Bohemian Rhapsody (or any other pop classic), each building upon the successes of previous tinkerers - kind of like scientists do - and adding their own touches to the evolving opus. Would we get something intriguing back or just a tone salad of incongruent and incoherent measures?

Johann Wolfgang Goethe once said: "In the colorful reflection we have what is life". In that regard - art is like a ground of a public park in late October. All covered by colorful leaves that fell down from a tree of someone's imagination. Now if only we could unleash a wild and crazy soul into the midst of it and let it hurl a bunch of leaves into the air and see what unexpected configurations they'd form upon landing. We could even computerize it and get a limitless source of inspiration - kind of like a large virtual kaleidoscope.

But on second thought - at some point we'd probably have grown tired of throwing the same leaves into the air over and over again and we'd start pining for the magic of pure creation. For that is why I think we really have arts. We can always use that extra color that has never been seen before. That colorful reflection off of a piece of technology that wasn't here yesterday.



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