NOVA NOTES pretentious cosmic picture

~IT'S PRETTY, BUT IS IT ART? (part two)~

 Of course, Tam got his way. He had gotten to a point in his life where he was used to success in what he did. Yet it was strange to have that disturbingly human-like alien in the vehicle with him. His eyes would have flakes that seemed to be distributed randomly, but when Misltu concentrated on something, they would move together, concentrating like a whirlpool. He saw dozens of small differences...the long nose with the wide, almost horselike nostrils. The lateral line that ran across the side of his body. Six fingers on each hand. Yet the effect was still startlingly humanlike, when you are used to dealing with say, Ganeshans, who resembled small pink elephants with tentacular hands.

 "I don't suppose you can tell me about Lokiite aesthetics and art. don't have any art?"

 "No, we have art. But I think I would do better to look at yours, first. I was trained as an exobiologist and an exosociologist, but that was mainly to study your race with an eye for conquering it. Niceties like art was not a strong priority. I think...given the other differences between our species...that I would do better to see what your race thinks of as art before I describe the differences."

 "As you wish." Despite the Cardinal's paranoia, I do need to be careful. The Lokiites have no altruistic impulse, at all. Everything is done for their own enlightened self-interest, he thought.

 At Tam's estate, Misltu looked at Tam's painting on display. "Hmmm. Well, I'll be honest with you. I mostly just see globs of color. I know my eyes see a slightly different part of the spectrum from you. Doubtless that accounts for it..."

 "That and the fact that my art tends to be somewhat abstract. Let me run you a look at Earth's art of the past."

 Taking Misltu to a computer terminal, he found a site which was a virtual museum. There he showed him some of the paintings of humanity's past. Most of them seemed to affect him not at all. Yet sometimes he would see the flecks in Misltu's eyes coelesce into a whirlpool, a sure sign he was interested.

 It happened a lot on religious art, but not all, and he found pictures of the Crucifixion to be of especial interest to Misltu, and THE RAPE OF THE SABINE WOMEN, and much of Goya. Hieromonous Bosch he looked at, and then went, "Whoa. Back up. I want to see this one more slowly." He lingered on Bosch quite a bit.

 "Is this like your art?"

 "No," answered Misltu. "Nothing like. But the spirit...the soul in agony, the destruction of the mind...that is similar to the outlook of the Lokiite artist. But placed in creative terms, rather than..."

 "Rather than what?" Tam asked, puzzled."How can art be anything but creative?"

 Misltu smiled one of his wide, sharklike smiles. "Your art is aimed wholly at creation. Ours is creative about...well...destruction. Both destructive and creative, as it were."


Those interested with comments, suggestions, things I have forgotten, things I messed up, contact me at...



Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder