Synchronicity and Art

"Synchronicity arises from our search for meaning."

--Ed Kerns, artist

"Martian Sex" painting by Ed Kerns

This week I had a job modeling for a painting class at Lafayette College.  I frequently model for artist groups and classes, but it was my first time modeling for this particular class.  When I introduced myself to the professor, Ed Kerns, he immediately waved me over to a seat beside his desk and started to talk to me about art.  He invited me to sit in on the beginning of his class, which turned into an hour-long lecture which blew my mind.  

I LOVED Ed's lecture and I felt extremely envious of the students in the class.  I really wanted to be taking this class myself!  What fascinated me was how much Ed talked about science, evolution, geology, and philosophy in a painting class.  He spoke as if it were common knowledge that these things were inherently one thing, indivisible.  I didn't have a notebook, so I couldn't take notes, and I could hardly keep up with the pace of the new ideas coming at me.  It was so exciting!!!

"Breath Web" by Ed Kerns

I had never heard these terms before: entropy, emergence, synchronicity.  As far as I could gather, "entropy" has to do with the universe's inevitable, gradual decline into disorder, or the tendency towards chaos.  A force which counter-balances that is called "synchronicity," or meaningful coincidences.  I didn't totally understand this; it was all so new to me.  Among other things, Ed said, "Synchronicity arises from our search for meaning."  We watched some of this Ted Talk: The Science of Sync.

He made me question things that I assumed were true.  For example, is vision true?  Do my eyes tell the truth?  We watched a good part of this Donald Hoffman video, Consciousness and the Interface Theory of Perception, which made me question the reality of what my eyes tell me, and how that relates to being an artist.  Because, what is an artist anyway, beside someone who manipulates visual objects?

We also watched this video of Rupert Sheldrake: Can Emergence Explain Reality?  I didn't quite comprehend "emergence" and I really felt out of my depth here, but one thing I got from this was how pervasive change is in the universe.  We can't really say "Laws" of nature, because they are inherently subject to change.  They might more rightly be thought of as "Habits."

"One Thousand Miles Just to Shed this Skin" by Ed Kerns

This blog post in no way accurately summarizes the painting class.  I'm sure I didn't really understand most of it anyway.  It's just my feeble attempt to write down the things I felt I was able to grasp.  What I got out of the afternoon was a sense of intense curiosity about science and the world, and a desire to wonder about things.  I had always thought of myself as a very unscientific, very right-brained person, but now I'm questioning all that.  Aren't I a scientist and a philosopher simply because I am alive and inquisitive, and part of this fascinating universe?    And making art isn't separate from that!

I'm excited about modeling for the class again this afternoon.  I'll let you know what I learn!

an image from Cajal's Butterflies of the Soul: Science an Art, a book Ed Kerns let me borrow