“Stained Glass” Maps

January 6, 2009

 Or, Digitizing the Absurd Other


Myth cannot simply be treated as language if its specific problems are to be solved; myth is language: to be known, myth has to be told; it is a part of human speech.” – Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology

This is from a real, or natural photograph of part of the cave paintings at Lascaux. I used a “filter” on photoshop called “stained glass”, and then tweaked with the variables. This is a further “digitization” from the original found on google. The “filter” on photoshop is a descendent technology of these paintings. It is some information that is not simplified, or made more complex, but that has changed. All with a processor signaling a network of circutry based on an specific type of algorithm, the computer graphed the color-bits of information and plotted points based on some random activity within the equation of “stained glass”, and then performed actions, rendering the pixels into an obvious rule-bounded form (even considering the random activity in the equation). In a way, the ancients wiping pigment on the walls of Lascaux were digitizing the things that allowed them to digitize. The mapping done on the wall, was a through a process of mapping the reflection in the mind’s mirror. The conceptual plotting, numbering, differentiating, and graphing was achieved through a re-cognition of the intial reflective cognition. Recongizing reflection, the origin of it, might be one of oddest mysteries of the human tradition. And, strangley, it is what makes us human. The other only becomes other through digitizing it, or following its rules. The ancients re-cognized the patterns of the bovines in both an “anatomical”, and “behavioral” way. They began to design them instead of being designed by the bovines. The bovines became designs, at the same time they were doing the designing. Or, in other words, the design is the designer. Here is where myths are made. The Bovines designed the tools of the ancient cave-dwellers. The paintings were an attempt to make whole, the fragmented maps of the initial reflection. This is rule-following language. In piecing together concepts through rules, more concepts are created, the map becomes larger, and the debris is much more difficult to put back together – to make whole.

Science is merely an extension of myth-making sprawling all the way back to the origin of humankind. 

I didn’t design it. It designed itself.


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