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Epiphanies of the Upload

by Daniel Y. Harris

image:An Essay in the Art of Formation.Daniel Y. Harris.jpg

Daniel Y. Harris is a poet, visual artist and essayist who lives in Oakland California and teaches courses in Jewish mysticism and kabbalah through Lehrhaus Judaica. He is Director of Communications for MesArt, and has been Board Secretary and Co-Curator of Art for Artship Foundation. He was born in Paris, France, and came to the United States with his family at the age of ten. Daniel holds a Master of Arts in Divinity from the University of Chicago, and wrote his dissertation in the studies of medieval and contemporary Kabbalistic thought. Daniel has exhibited his sculptural work in galleries and museums in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Oakland, and more recently at The Euphrat Museum in Cupertino CA. He is currently working on a manuscript for a first book of poetry entitled The Arrival, and a book on the life of Medieval Kabbalist Moses de Leon, includes The Denver Quarterly, Panoply & PoetryMagazine.Com among his publication credits. He is also assisting in Coordinating reading events for Poets for Peace and is judge for its Peace Sculpture Competition 2002.

image:Epiphanies of the Upload.Lilith on the Stairs.jpg

Lilith on the Stairs
(The first work I uploaded myself and added to my MesArt Portfolio!)

This essay is a personal reflection on my experience with technology, art and MesArt. I have been known to be anachronistically a purist embracing all the preconceptions so loaded a trope conveys, and feel as if I have been the last person alive to discover the Epiphanies of the Upload. It is not that this tendency to purity is in my art per se, mentored to mimic the praxis of medieval and renaissance art, and thus by extension, overdetermined and defined not to be au courant. I have been rather a purist verging on the puritanical and thus, by insipid analogue, horrified by technology. This has all changed. Theory was not the instrument of my conversion. It was experience.

The dark side of technology has always been the automata: stripped of a moral code and essential bodily organs, this drone matter was a psychosis infecting the brain and soul like an incubus from an angry god. Though I wax the medieval macabre and beg extremity for its own sake to make a point, elements of this paranoid dross percolate in the far reaches of our latest incarnation as 21st century sophisticates. I found myself listening to these little dross pellets clanking about in my skull, until I had the opportunity to add another horizon to my aesthetic and change clanking dross pellets to the perfect tonality of a sound akin to Mozart's Serenade No.#10 in B-Flat.

My first Epiphany of the Upload occurred literally upon my first effort to upload a photograph of my artwork (Lilith on the Stairs, displayed at the beginning of this essay), while being thoughtfully guided by my partners Andrey Potekhin and Tatiana Lyskova of MesArt. I scanned the photograph and soon the image took up residence in my computer but suffered from kilobyte obesity, weighing in at 10,732 kilobytes, too big to fit through the door of my computer. It was an obvious endomorph needing aerobic training. Andrey suggested that I transfer the image to a program on my computer named Paint. This Paint program is an adumbrated version of Adobe Photoshop. Soon I was a master manipulator, transforming my obese image into a lean mean fighting image, instantly active and weighing in at 347 kilobytes. It was ready to be uploaded into my portfolio.

I proceeded to press Member Log In, and was instantly hurled forward to a listing of available categories to add, amend or delete. I pressed My Artworks, and was immediately at the Temple Mount, about to enter into the catacombs of a lost demiurge: my art. It asked me to upload my image from an open file. It new I was a devoted scribe of the integral and could handle the perspicacity of new technology and command to comply with kilobyte size. I thought about this artwork, of what qualitative apparatus went into its creation, and here I was about to create it again: a second creation, a second Adam. After a few minutes, the image was uploaded, and I proceeded to the next item. I entered dimensions, year created, materials used, type and style of art: what might be called the normative components of art as one of its integral components, the commodity, all the way to the actual price of the work. Since this artwork was no longer in my possession, I had the photographed image of the sculpture on the stairs of my studio to sell. I put in the amount.

The last and most wondrous step of this deeply pleasurable and expansive experience is the Artwork Description. For those in the visual arts who have literary panache and/or verbal proclivities, this is ideal. For those in the visual arts who privately feel that they are in possession of a new type of illuminated manuscript, this is epiphanic. There is enough space in the Artwork Description to actually write flash fiction, poetry, adage, fragment or what one chooses about ones work. The Artwork Description constitutes for me an interruption of eternity, an effort to slow the infinite with words and convey the mythos at the center of the experience of creativity. How ironic is the concept of time in this domain! That one is able to instantly publish (albeit with the instant ability to revise ones words anytime) slows contemplation of ones work to thoughtful refinement, solidification of ideas and concision. In fine, I am able to engrave the tablets of my temple for all who log on to see. This experience is archetypal and available to anyone with a body of art, a computer and a scanner, a penchant for language and a desire to join this elegant global community.

I conclude this personal encounter with technology and MesArt by conveying the ease by which Epiphanies of the Upload occurred. Once Lilith on the Stairs was safely uploaded and in her proper sequence, I began adding one work after another, developing a new relationship with old art and adding new art. Nothing less than re-inspiration entered my psyche and those noisy dross pellets were replaced by the melancholic beauty of the B-Flat note. This B-Flat is for me the sound of merging, when what appears to be disparate elements, combine and add to the unity of an encounter. MesArt has been this for me, and never has the desire to create new art been stronger. Nothing will have been in vein, thanks to all those potential Epiphanies of the Upload available at MesArt.

We wish all of you happiness and success!