Crisis of transcendence : a theology of digital art and by J. Sage Elwell

By J. Sage Elwell

From the net to the iPhone, electronic know-how is not any mere cultural artifact. It impacts how we adventure and comprehend our global and ourselves on the private levels-it is a primary of residing. The digitization of recent lifestyles constitutes an important box of non secular crisis since it affects our person and cultural sensibilities so profoundly. regardless of this, it has but to be thematized because the topic of non secular or theological mirrored image. The drawback of Transcendence treatments this through asking a unmarried major query: How is electronic know-how impacting the ethical and non secular intensity of tradition?

How can anything as ineffable and nebulous because the intensity of tradition be recognized and articulated, not to mention critiqued? writer J. Sage Elwell means that a solution lies within the arts. the humanities have traditionally acted as a barometer of the intensity of tradition, reflecting the non secular impulses and tendencies on the middle of society. He argues that if the humanities subject in any respect, they are going to remove darkness from greater than themselves. via an experimental interpretation of electronic paintings, Elwell deals a severe mirrored image on how electronic know-how is altering us and the area we are living in at a degree of spiritual value. utilizing a theological aesthetic of electronic paintings, this ebook indicates how the appearance of electronic know-how as a progressive cultural medium is reworking the methods we predict approximately God, the soul, and morality

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Ostensibly, it is indicative of the literal transformation of the world to code. Here the very building blocks of organic life are reduced to code and code itself becomes an agent of creation. At a deeper level, however, it points to a transformation in consciousness that makes this surface level transformation of the natural world to code possible at all. MEART presents life at its most basic cellular level as reducible to code by making its identity and operations interchangeable with digital information.

For example, the anthropological fetish differs from an idol that represents a spirit or divinity existing beyond its own form, in that the potency of the fetish is infused with its form such that its form is its force. Once fixed, the power of the fetish cannot exist independent of its form. When a thing manifests its own active potency it becomes proportionally independent. Thus, inasmuch as the fetish embodies and expresses its own power, it likewise instantiates its own agency. Because the fetish instantiates its own agency, it can only be partially controlled.

And most importantly, the only way to become part of a digital system is to be digitized; that is, to become code. This is code as power. The source of code’s power lies in its nature as numerical representation. Everything that code encounters it converts into a binary sequence of ones and zeros. This process of digitization dissolves otherwise contiguous particularities into discrete mathematical units. As a result, once something is digitized it can be manipulated at the most minute level. As previously discussed, this is the difference between painting a picture of a rabbit and creating that same rabbit from the ground up by first converting its very essence into the programming equivalent of source-code.

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