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The Unthinkable Present

Yesterday The Telegraph published an article “Sci-fi or real life? Six fictional ideas that are happening now”.

Reading that in the 1976 film “Logan’s Run” citizens travel in driverless ‘pods’,  I immediately thought of the driverless pods of the Personal Rapid Transit system I often make use of in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. 

Some car companies are already working on making the concept of a driverless car a reality.  In January this year, Mercedes Benz unveiled its luxury self-driving car. 

More on the future of driverless cars can be seen in this youtube video

Sixty years before the launch of the Apple Watch in March this year, the US comic strip character Dick Tracy had a 2-way wrist radio which served as a kind of mobile phone.

Science fiction writers are known to be very adept at looking for patterns in what is currently happening, in order to be able to predict in their stories, what will happen in the future.  

Indigo - one of my recent iphoneography artworks

A google search reveals that “Indigo” appears quite frequently in recent Science Fiction titles and novels.

The science fiction writer, William Gibson, who coined the term “cyberspace” in his 1982 short story “Burning Chrome” and then expanded on it in his 1984  debut novel “Neuromancer”, speaks about the science fiction researcher being able to take snapshots of an unthinkable present,  implying a future scenario we are currently unable to imagine. 

In a recent articleJeremy Johnson draws attention to the fact that a new type of thinking for our species is becoming necessary. This emergent new thinking, according to many thinkers, is already living and breathing in the various cultures we will journey to in order to find it.  

It will reveal itself as the unspoken art and become a secret to itself, hidden in plain site within the texts and artifacts of human consciousness........It is alive and biding its time.  Our task, as William Gibson put it, is to become sensitive enough to recognize an 'unthinkable present'

To give voice to what is already being spoken to us, through us, we will need to listen carefully. 

As I read Jeremy’s sentence with “the unthinkable present” I suddenly saw it in an entirely different way - that is exactly what it would be - unthinkable! Unthinkable not in the sense that it is difficult to imagine now what the future will be, but in the sense that in the future we will no longer think - at the very least not in the way we do now!  

It is my sense that words and logic, will be strongly preceded by image and intuition and that even communication could take place energetically without the use of language as we know it now.  

Jeremy states that this hidden serpent lays buried and coiled in the fragments of art and culture and can be found piece by piece, “here a tail, there a scale”, “alive and biding its time”. 

Listening to his words and listening to the spaces I find myself in, whether they be in daily routines or online in cyberspace, I hear the image making itself heard more powerfully than ever before.

Selfies have become all the rage, and Nina Siegel, in her New York Times article, “With Rembrandt, the Selfie Takes On New Meaning” , states that

The most important lesson Rembrandt can teach us about the selfie, perhaps, was that in order to begin to understand others, we must first look at ourselves. But it is a process that begins with really looking, and not just pointing and clicking.

If understanding ourselves will better enable us to understand others that is a good thing. In the interconnected, interdependent world we now find ourselves in, caring for the other is most important as is the way in which we communicate with the other. 

In the current internet culture, we communicate frequently via images. Instagram grows in popularity and I have heard it said that it will trump other social media. My twitter feed has become so busy and more and more I find myself drawn to those tweets that include images. 

Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1976

Images are becoming poetical.  Twitter friends write poetry to images posted by others.  When an Instagram friend @cralmeida62 posted an image of the San Jose City Hall, his caption spoke of

The beauty of lines and the rhythm of their poetry 

Another instagram friend, Anibojo posted a beautiful photo of her calligraphy quoting Ken Wilber:

Art speaks of the new ideas 


A photo posted by @anibojo on Jun 8, 2015 at 2:13pm PDT


This touching artwork was another “scale” of the future “present” making itself heard to those who are listening.

Emotions are shared via emojis and I find myself sensing the being of online users through the content they post and the way in which they communicate online.  It is more a sense than something that can be put into words.  I have had the good fortune of getting to meet many of these people, and have often been astonished at how accurate these feelings about them have proven to be. 

In my blog on eL Seed and his calligraffiti, I mention that he states that,

Much of my work process is about letting the viewer interact with the letters without necessarily being able to read them.

When people come to view my iphoneography artworks they are often visibily touched and not always able to articulate why at first. Is it because the images touch them on a level which is beyond just thinking about what they are seeing but which can be distinctly felt?

The communication age related to the throat chakra is slowly opening up to a balanced third eye or brow chakra which governs intuition, psychic abilities, wisdom and imagination and is the center of multi-dimensional vision.  The color associated with this chakra is indigo.  

I came across another scale or perhaps it was the tail, of the unthinkable present in the article, “Abu Dhabi’s Louvre Museum ‘must redefine’ art” in The National. The curator Jean-Hubert Martin states

I am not against knowledge, but the museum should not be a place where you read. It should be a place where you look and make contact with objects and, if they have a certain strength and visual impact, then the viewer will see and interpret that.

By no means am I suggesting that words will disappear. Every stage in the evolution of consciousness, if it is to be healthy, should transcend and include the one that went before it. 

The boundless tension between words and images, text and art, is at the heart of the art of Anselm Kiefer.

“When Orhan Pamuk met Anselm Kiefer” Pamuk shares in his piece painted beautifully with words, 

In the beginning was, indeed, the word, Kiefer’s paintings seem to tell their beholder. But to look at art and the world and really understand what we see is so much more pleasurable than reading words and letters can ever be. Is it possible, then, to look at a painting and be able, ultimately, to read it? Is it possible to treat a book as a painting, and a painting as a book?

We are experiencing the dawn of the unthinkable present. 

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