Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tim Minchin - The Other End

So a couple of posts ago I threw up a terribly offensive video of a Tim Minchin song about the pope. I've looked into him a bit more and he's a little bit brilliant.

I wanted to put up what I think is his best skeptical piece. It's a poem and it's sort of on the opposite end of the pope song. Have a listen.

Why do I think this is brilliant? Well it does a couple of things really well. It draws you into the story before you even know that you might be offended. As general Akbar might say, it's a trap. Next it's clear that Tim is the asshole in this story. He's explaining his internal struggle to be polite before the dam bursts. Finally, the arguments he puts forward are both funny and cogent. I think that those two things together will make people happy enough with them to consider them jovially.

What does it mean to consider something jovially? Well I just made it up. We know what it is to consider something seriously. It involves a furrowed brow, pacing and a lot of thought. In general most people try to avoid that sort of hard work and just go with their gut instead and justify it later.

Considering something jovially is what you do when someone throws something clever at you. It's a quick process where you try to come up with a clever retort to keep the witty repartee going. More often than not you'll think of the clever thing hours later but to me that means the happy thought has been rolling around in your head without making any enemies for a while. If I'm right, that means these sorts of thoughts have the capacity to make you question your beliefs and reorganize your thinking because they sneak in under the guise of being funny.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Manga Artist on Skepticism

Tired of hearing my opinion? How about another artist?

Many thanks to Skepchick for pointing me to this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Origins of an Icon

I've been trying to do this post since I started this blog but there is a problem with an iconic image and the internet: There are thousands of versions of it and it's bloody challenging to find the original. I'm finally reasonably confident that I have found it, though.
The image is of course the March of Progress. It's that ubiquitous parade of apes from a chimp like creature up to modern man. So pervasive is this image that I found a half dozen purported to be the original under the names Ascent of Man, Descent of Man, and Evolution of Man. It was most commonly credited to Charles Darwin himself.
After much searching I have come to believe the the original was titled March of Progress and was a fold out created by Rudolph Zallinger in 1965 for a Time-Life book called Early Man. It is shown in full below.
Does that look a little odd? Well I said it was a fold out. This is what it looks like folded in.

Is that more familiar now? How about a more carefully selected verion?
Hey that looks familiar... what if we got rid of that detail and made it a two tone graphic?
Almost there. Now all we need is a short witticism and we have one of a hundred T-shirts or a thousand comics. So stunningly effective was this image in describing the ancestry of the human species that despite its inaccuracies*, it has become synonymous with evolution. Visually, it quite literally means evolution and anyone can use it to jump past any written discourse on the concept of heredity or speciation and jump straight to their message or, more often, their punch line.

*I'm wallowing in my own personal little hell for citing Wikipedia as an authority on something.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yay for viral videos - NSFW

A friend posted this on Facebook. It is not at all safe for work, children, the elderly, or anyone really.

This is what I'd call the extreme end of a spectrum. I thought Greydon was heading that way but he retains dignity and restraint at least as far as name calling goes. So what is the purpose of a song like this one? I think it's pretty obvious: Cheap laughs.

It's a fart joke. It will seem distasteful and offensive to some; it will elicit furtive giggles from those on the fence; it will bring hearty guffahs to those in general agreement of both the message and the sensibilities which allow a song to be made primarily of curse words.

Now how is this toilet humor skeptical artwork? Well, it's a musically arranged poem about the apparent disconnect between the tenets of the catholic church and their reactions to reports of child abuse committed by come members of that institution. Hidden within all of the profanity is a desperate plea for people to think about this issue and question the moral authority the pope is supposed to wield.

I personally don't think it's a very effective message for one pretty simple reason: Anyone who stands on the side of the church on this issue was too offended to listen before the first verse started. Those who really needed to think stopped thinking the second Tim said "pope".

The only people that this will appeal to are already onside. He's preaching to the choir and making them all smug and assuring them that they're completely right in their mindset.


You laughed too didn't you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Greydon Square

I have something that on the surface is something of a walking paradox. When you think of hip-hop what pops to mind? Pimps, hos, benjamins and rollin' in ya escalade? Yeah, me too. Isn't it nice to have a stereotype smashed up sometimes?

Greydon Square is a black American army veteran hip-hop artist. Get that image in your head. Now read the following exerpt from his song "A Rational Rap"

To battle me you need to reason clearly
Now I'm not sayin fear me
But at least be versed in punctuated equilibrium theory
Grand unified fields, quantum mechanics and dark planets
With logic that's sharper than a blade of d'Artagnan's
To destroy arguments of creationists who cant stand it
Then they try and hit me with the wager
Who? Pascal's wager. Who? Pascal's wager.
Now that's a fool's bet
And against the intelligent it's used less

How's your worldview doing? He's a graduate student in physics and an extremely outspoken atheist and skeptic. Now I'm not a hip-hop fan but I can appreciate this guy for what he's creating. It's clearly his preferred art form and he's wielding it with both graceful skill and brutal clarity. He's as blunt and forceful as the old school rappers speaking out against oppression and poverty but he's dangerously intelligent and his message is that science, skepticism and atheism are important.

I don't know how I feel about the atheism bit. I'm still a bit of an agnostic which he's clearly not thrilled with:
"I been sayin it since agnostics people been playin the fence"

But overall it's interesting, intelligent and I have to thank him for breaking a bias for me.

Thanks Greydon. Good luck with your music, your message, and your studies. If you really want to screw people up, get a Nobel prize and rap your acceptance speech ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

George Hrab.... difficult to critique

So in my perusing of the internet I've come across a skeptic/podcaster/musician by the name of George Hrab. His podcast, Geologic is bizarre and entertaining and has little or nothing to do with geology.

George has recently released an album called Trebuchet which is available on Itunes, at CDbaby and very conveniently as one of his podcast episodes. I encourage you to give it a listen.

The album definitely has a skeptical bent and a comedic feel to it but I have run into a terrible block as I try to critique it and discuss it here: I don't like it. I don't have a good reason for my distaste for it. I can't even put into words why I would have Johnathan Coulton's babies and Hrab doesn't even raise my blood pressure. I don't know enough about music to comment meaningfully on the skill of the artist in that regard. The lyrics seem fine enough but they don't catch me so I'm unwilling to invest the time to really analyze them so I find myself with a problem. I can't give meaningful critique to something I don't personally like. So instead, I'll criticise criticism.

In my opinion, good criticism requires good skepticism. A critique should be able to isolate variables and take the piece being examined on using clearly defined criteria and to eliminate bias as much as possible. In my experience, this is not at all how art is critiqued.

Most movie review, musical opinions and artistic critiques that I've encountered are based on post hoc rationalizations. That is, the critic feels something about what they are seeing or hearing and then comes up with reasons for their feelings after the fact.

I point you to two very disparate movie reviewers for evidence: The famed Roger Ebert has a ton of short reviews on the Chicago Sun-Times; Next there is Movie Bob who has some more comedic ones on The Escapist. I'd like you to pay attention to their respective A-team reviews. It's a pretty successful summer action flick and from the reviews, it's like there are two different movies. Ebert clearly hated it and Bob clearly loved it. What comes after that is their justification of their feelings. Both have compelling arguments for why they think the movie is good/bad but they can't both be right can they?

Obviously human opinion varies and people are going to have their own ideas about what makes something good or bad. My argument is that if you're going to critique something (especially professionally) you should be honest about it. State clearly what is based on your personal feelings and what is objective analysis. Realize that your feelings are influencing your reasoning and account for that.

I want to see Ebert to a review that goes something like this:

The cinematography was well done, though fairly typical for a film of this genre. The score was well composed and fit the piece extremely well. There were some extremely creative uses of prostheses and make up which could inform the practices of the rest of the industry. The story was well composed and was carried well by the script. The performances by all of the actors was exemplary, conveying believable emotion and giving character to each role. I hated every minute of it and would have rather have spent that ninety minutes doing differential calculus while salt was being poured on my open wounds.

Why do I think this is better that what we get? Because it clearly admits the feelings of the critic and reviews the movie based on its merits anyway. Can this be done fairly and regularly by humans? Probably not. Would the reviews be more entertaining and marketable if they did? Almost deffinitely not.

Oh well.

Good luck with your album George. Hopefully I'm in the minority.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Art of Hoaxes

Sorry for the long delay between posts. It's gotten harder to find new stuff. Suggestions and discoveries from my VAST audience is always welcome.

Today I want to point you to HOAXART. It's a small collection of hoax videos. I think ///nightview is the most compelling hoax since they use the lack of video quality to hide the digital manipulation making it much more believable.

So is this art? I certainly think so. It's a definitely a creative endeavor for the creator. They have designed and crafted their conception of what an alien craft could be and furthermore presented it in a compelling way.

Is it skeptical? Totally. Hoaxing is something of a mainstay of skeptical thinkers. It's a wonderful way to show people how fallable they are and how easily they can be beguiled. The most famous photo of nessie, and the origin of crop circles are both famous hoaxes that their creators revealed years later.

More recently Penn and Teller did a Bigfoot hoax for their show Bullshit.

They purposely made it extremely poorly and still it garnered attention from the cryptozoological community. (Yes, that is a real word.)

So my conclusion: Well constructed hoaxes are a way to express a person's ideas of what could be while demonstrating to others how their own sense of reason can be manipulated.

I kind of want to make one now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Hoaxes of Art

Is there anything more beautiful that a masterfully executed hoax? Is there a more cunning way to force a people to admit that they can be fooled? I think not.

There have been some wonderful hoaxes throughout history, though it would seem that the 20th century saw the creation of a new kind of hoax: one that is meant to be found out. There have been snake oil salesmen, artifact and art forgers and liars of all sorts as long as there has been a market. The normal theme, though, is to profit and get out before anyone suspects anything. Or better yet, to keep the hoax going and gain a following of believers.

An apparently modern twist is to purposely expose the hoax as a fraud after it has been successfully executed. The purposes of this are varied but normally involve some level of making the hoaxed look foolish and making the hoaxers feel brilliant.

What does this have to do with art? Well there is of course an art to creating a good hoax, but that's for another post. Today I want to look at some hoaxes perpetrated with fine art.

The Museum of Hoaxes has a rather nice repository of good art hoaxes and I want to talk about a couple. The first is the incident of Pierre Brussau. Pierre was a modern artist working in the early 1960s in a non-representational or abstract, modern style. He was also a chimpanzee. His work was shown in an art show in sweden to rave reviews. The whole endeavour was to expose the fact that the abstract style couldn't be analyzed meaningfully by art critics. It showed that it was basically arbitrary whether or not the critics liked the work or not.

Another similar hoax was perpetrated by Naromji in 1946. Naromji was another modernist artist and was actually a man by the name of Jim Moran pranking the critics. He created the most meaningless colage he could think of and submitted it to an art show where it hung amongst other famous artists of the time. The interesting twist on this is that the value of the painting bounced around as different people claimed authorship. When Antheil delivered it, the association took it as a powerful work. When Moran exposed the Hoax, the painting was garbage. When an artist by the name of Kester later claimed it was his, the value was restored. As far as I'm concerned that made this hoax even more powerful. It exposed a painful truth in the art community that the name on a work is more highly valued than the work itself and the criticism that a work receives is heavily biased by the critic's view of the artist.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The language of truth

This is actually what started me on the whole skeptical art idea, the visual language used by museums.

When I was a kid I went to the Royal Ontario Museum and was fascinated by all of their impressive displays about the evolution of dinosaurs and how evolved into lizards. When I went back years later the same dinosaurs were there, but they were evolving into birds.

Now that I'm an adult I can visit a museum and read the signs deeply enough to catch the caveats and disclaimers about this being what "evidence suggests" and "the scientific consensus" scattered here and there in the longer blocks of text that everyone skips over to look at the compelling and scientific looking graphic beside the awe inspiring sculpture.

That brings me to my jump off point to all of this inquiry: What is a scientific looking? Why do we believe what we see in a museum with credulity? I have lots of hypotheses. I'm going to start with this.

We believe what we see in a museum because that's what the word "museum" means. A museum is where we keep history so that the public can see it. Scientists and learned people put those things there so they must be true. When we enter a museum, we leave our skepticism at the door and absorb everything we see as fact. Museums, at least those that I have visited, have a certain structure to their exhibits that tell us that what we're seeing is a museum piece. The cases, the labels the lighting and the poses of the sculptures all contribute. Also, the complimentary graphics that tend to emphasize form and detail over movements and composition tell us that the truth is more important than entertainment.

This visual language seems to have become so well understood that it can be abused. Enter the Museum of Creation. I shit you not. This is a real place. Their agenda is to present an interpretation of history that is coherent with a literal interpretation of the bible. How do they do it? By creating the same environment as a genuine natural history museum. Take their virtual tour. This is the same place as I visited as a kid but with different labels. If I wasn't versed in the sciences I would be entirely unable to discern between the facts being presented at each.

So my conclusion? We have, as a society, created and conformed to a visual language that lends credibility to its subject. That language can now be exploited by anyone with the resources to do so.

My solution? Introduce paradox. Create and present items using the visual language of the museum that can't possibly be true. Force the viewer to think critically about what they're seeing and hope that they can then apply that to future exhibits. My dream is to make a whole museum style exhibit full of visually compelling nonsense. Here's my prototype:

(I did say in my first post that at some point I would stroke my own ego)

In my mind I have an exhibit with interactive displays and fake fossils and some bigger skeletons and a whole evolutionary history based entirely on lies. I'm convinced that it will work because two strangers have already asked me if this guy is real.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The borderline case.

As with so much else, skeptical art is on a continuum. On one end there is pure skeptical discussion such as one might find in the skeptical enquirer or, one might argue, scientific publications. On the far other end is art which happens to also encourage critical thinking but doesn't have an agenda. Somewhere between there we transition between art and discourse.

I think I have found a borderline case: the comic Cectic is very much a skeptical comic, but I find that it specifically engages in discourse rather than being ant artful endeavor. However it does use art, it does engage in skeptical activism and one could argue that there is some artistic satire.

Overall I see it as a borderline case, it doesn't clearly fall on either side of the line it sort of sits in the foggy middle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I want to be when I grow up

I stumbled across this little gem yesterday. It's a creation of Clifton Burt based on a haiku by John Maeda. I found that it spoke to me on several levels.

Personally, this is what I am and what I enjoy being. I throw myself at projects and think about their implications and applications afterward.

What I love about this sign is how concisely it engages the viewer in a debate about order of operations and simultaneously extols active thought and reflection as a noble virtue. In science, the question is often raised about the value judgments and whether or not scientists adequately contemplate the implications of their work ahead of time. By specifically reversing the order and making it an ideal for which to strive, it makes us question its validity.

What I don't love about this is that it's not really a haiku. This has nothing to do with skepticism or art or anything like that. It's just a rant about the misinterpretation of an intricate art form upon appropriation. A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry with its roots in Zen Buddhism which focuses primarily on the contemplation and reverence of nature. Upon appropriation, western culture retained only the syllabic structure which is not only less important than the conceptual structure but also loses meaning when you change languages. I guess this does have some relations to skepticism. Every time I (and now you) see something someone calls a haiku, I think about how much can be lost in translation between language and culture and I think more critically about our imported culture.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Best optical illusions of 2010

Yes, there are awards for this. I, for one, am happy that there are. I was introduced to the awards last year and they're all fascinating, but not all art.

This year's winner managed to do both. They created a simple sculpture and made a wonderful little video to mess with your head.

I highly recommend taking a trip to the awards site to see the other finalists.

Escher Round 2: The chicken and the egg

I have been a fan of Escher's "Drawing Hands" since before I could pronounce skepticism. It's a paradox on paper in a very different way than optical illusions. It plays with reason rather than perception calling back to the problem of the chicken and the egg.

In most optical illusions our brains extrapolate and fill in gaps to make functional objects. In Drawing Hands, our brains very quickly see two hands with pens and then notice the logical impossibility of the hands drawing themselves. I love how this seems to have the same emotional effect as an optical illusion even though it's not our visual senses being confused, but our sense of reason.

This is, in my opinion, an excellent example of visual art that forces the viewer to question their own reasoning.

Summary: Awesome.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's All Natural

Pandamonium from the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe forum created this to put on a T-shirt.

It's the molecular structure of ethyl formate which is of course an organic compound.

Why? It's pointing out the rather frivolous contemporary use of the term "organic". Organic used to have two basic meanings: a form of matter that is or once was part of a living thing, and chemical compounds based around carbon. By these definitions, both cyanide and propane are organic.

This is a cute little reminder that definitions can vary and just because something says "organic" it doesn't mean its healthy. By placing a rather unpleasant chemical with the comforting term, attention is drawn to their relationship and (hopefully) generates a conflict within the viewer that needs to be internally resolved.

Thanks for making us think Panda.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Historically, artists have been commissioned to create portraits of living people for the purpose of glorifying that individual. They were rarely accurate and always carefully considered to present the subject in the light that was hoped for.

That being the case, let's have a look at some portraits of the icons of skepticism.

Darwin, the most touted poster boy of skepticism, has a couple of portraits but this is by far the most common seen. What does it say to you?

To me, I see thoughtful, humble, careful and conflicted. This man and his photographer chose to make him a thinking man. An intellectual, but not a rich man.

Let's move on to a contemporary artist. Eric Wall is an artist that I encountered on the SGU forums. He's a self proclaimed skeptic and has a gallery of portraits, many of which are of skeptical icons.
So what does this portrait of Kurt Vonnegut say? Same things. Thoughtful, Contemplative, humble, alone. Again I'm seeing an image of the lone wizened thinker.

How about a self proclaimed skeptic presenting himself? James Randy is a magician and very outspoken skeptic. I you haven't heard of him or his million dollar challenge check out the James Randy Educational Foundation

Here's the portrait that comes up most often for him.

This Is a little different than the previous two, but it shares elements. Again he looks thoughtful; He's well dressed but not ostentatious; no elegant decoration. The big difference in this one is that he's looking out and engaging the viewer. He looks like he's challenging you which seems to suit his purposes well.

So what's the moral? Skeptical portraits make their subjects look like thinkers. Shoking. :P

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spoken Word and Conspiracies

There are two spoken word performances that I'd like to bring to your attention. They are both excellently crafted works of the English language, designed to illustrate how the human mind can create superstitions and conspiracies and presented at the prestigious Ted Talks.

I encourage you to watch both. They're subtly brilliant.

Friday, May 7, 2010

XKCD... apparently not an acronym

XKCD is a relatively well known and well loved webcomic in nerd circles. It's drawn and written by Randall Munroe. For the most part, the comic follows the antics of some very simple stick figures as they interact with technology and the modern world. Doesn't sound very funny but I highly recommend it.

Randal has a way of pointing out flaws in human perception and how we compartmentalize information. It's hard to explain without examples, so here are a couple.

Randall also comments extensively on the nature of science and some of its painful realities. I found the following comic to be an impressive discussion of what makes a good scientist in four panels and three colours.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Online Comics 1

So I'm going to talk a bit about skepticism in comics. I have two online comics in particular which cater somewhat to the intellectual crowd and also have a fairly skeptical outlook.

The first will be Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It's been running since 2002 and for the most part its writer, Zach Werner, uses juxtaposition and irony to generate absurdist humor. Sometimes, though, he comes out with gems like these...

The artwork is simple but it effectively conveys his messages. The expressions, postures and gestures of his simplified characters are familiar and are easily recognized. In general, the artist puts familiar ideas into unusual context. The juxtaposition tends to result in a humorously absurd situation, but it also very effectively dismisses the argument being parodied.

Sure it's a straw man, but it's funny.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flying Spaghetti Monsters

For those not versed in the religious fervor surrounding the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (also known as Pastafarianism) please visit their homepage and be sure to read the letter that started it all.

They are not at all a religion, though. They're a loose group of skeptics actively opposed to the teaching of intelligent design in the classroom in the USA. Much of their work is done through parody of the christian establishment.

My favourite works are their self-labeled propaganda using appropriated and altered imagery.

This has been so successful that they have a following of people sending in sightings and miracles
of the FSM.

I think that the basis of the success is by combining humor and satire to make the opposition look foolish. This has had great success in the past with the works of feminist artists juxtaposing the institution against their own actions and beliefs.

On a personal note, I witnessed my own pastavian miracle at an airshow where several jet trails crossed in His image. Unsurprisingly, there was someone in pirate garb nearby... running a carnival game.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The North American House Hippo

This was a PSA that was on TV when I was a kid. I thought it was awesome then and a friend reminded me of it recently. It very effectively uses documentary style cinematography and authoritative voice to create a believable scenario and then to break the illusion to get its message across.

Have a watch. Show your kids.

Encouraging children to think...What a novel concept.

Maybe it worked on me because I've become a hopeless skeptic.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Elephant painting

There's a phenomenon going on here and there where elephants are being allowed to paint.

Here are a few examples from the adult female Kamala at the Calgary Zoo in Canada.

Now the elephants themselves aren't known for being especially outspoken skeptics, but the art they create makes me think. It makes me question what art is and whether we have fooled ourselves into believing that is what the elephants are making.

I've seen the show and the Kamala seems really happy to paint, however I also noticed all the praise she got for doing so. So is she painting because she wants to or because she's been trained to?

Is an elephant capable of making art? Does the art mean anything to her? Is there emotional expression? Is it actually art? If this is art, what does that imply about our development as a species?

I'm curious if the painting is a consequence of the elephant psyche combined with opportunity or a concequence of human influence and training. I'd really like to believe that the elephant wants to paint and this is evidence of rudimentary desire to create and express. It seems considerably more likely that the elephant is just reproducing trained behaviour.

Those treacherous paintings.

The 1929 painting "La trahison des images" by surrealist artist Rene Magritte is a famous example of fine art demanding its viewer to think about what they are seeing.

(for those not at all fluent in french, this translates to "this is not a pipe")

At first the subtitle is absurd. Of course it's a pipe. It looks just like a pipe. The fact is that this isn't a pipe at all, it is oil paint on canvas (I think) The caption demands that the viewer think about the painting, and then all other paintings or images with the same critical lens.

This painting does a dance with surrealism (dreamlike imagery with heavy freudian influence) early post modernism (art that is self aware of its medium and message) and skeptical thinking (demanding higher levels of questioning and inquiry).

Back to work.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Engaging in debate through rap in the popular media.

So apparently the Insane Clown Posse is a hardcore Christian rap group with enough of a following to get noticed when they create something like this:

It basically claims that everything from heredity to fog is a miracle. I can't define a miracle myself and I suppose you can call whatever you want a miracle. I'm pretty sure that these guys are anti science, though(mostly because they say so in the video). And that has a few people rebutting the song and using the same art form to do it.

The Escapist, a site devoted mostly to nerd humor and gaming news, presented a remarkably cogent rebuttal/parody.

And a slightly higher profile spot on SNL which is straight up satire.

So here we have a raging debate through the medium of song. Artistic expression as argument.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I feel fantastic!

So for my first musical number....

Johnathan Coulton is a comedic musician with a bit of a science geek hiding inside. His music hits on a bunch of exciting themes from fractal geometry to exhibitionist fetishes. The song I want to talk about today is called "I Feel Fantastic".

It's a perky number as the name suggests but it is also a well constructed satire of our over medicated responsibility shirking technology swamped society.

What does this have to do with skepticism? I think that it does a fine job of pointing out questions that should be being asked. What is good and what is necessary about modern life? Where are current lifestyle trends heading? Can steak actually taste better with medication? Asking questions is the basis of skeptical inquiry and I think questioning the status quo is of particular importance.

Here's a fan video on youtube with the song in question.

Here's a link to his website.
Visit it. Listen, laugh, buy songs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Teaching the Controversy has some brilliantly designed t-shirts which hijack the "teach the controversy" phrase used by creationists in the united states.

I'm particularly impressed with the two dinosaur designs. They were the first that I saw and I was actually unsure what side of the debate had produced the designs. I would be unsurprised to find the triceratops pulling the plow at the creation museum gift shop.

I would have posted them even if the designs had been produced by the political right. They made me think long enough about what they were trying to say that I am duly impressed no matter who made them.

On a side note, does it bug anyone else that extreme conservatives get associated with the word "right" which can also mean correct?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Can art be skeptical?

What is skepticism?

In my mind skepticism is rigorous and conscious questioning of information and the world around you. It is the act of investigation and thinking critically about what you perceive and consciously reviewing your own beliefs.

What is art?

Well this is a very difficult question. For the sake of this blog, art is a creative endeavor meant to inform or entertain.

What is skeptical art?

Skeptical art is a creative creation that intentionally encourages the audience to think, to question themselves, and to look again to really believe.

Why am I creating this blog?

I am an artist and a skeptic. I would like a forum to collect to stunning examples of skeptical art that I find and to share it with others. I'm hoping that someday others will start to submit examples to me themselves of skeptical art and perhaps a small community will form.

Being an artist myself, I will be presenting some of my own work as well. I apologize in advance for the apparent arrogance of putting my own work beside the works of great artists. But hey, it's the internet. If I can't stroke my own ego here, then where?

To start, I will put up some work from one of the most famous artists that I am aware of creating skeptical art. I give you M.C. Escher.

Belvedere - 1958
M.C. Escher (1989-1972)