The Propositional World

A broad philosophical term, propositional, can be used (with caution) to describe our reality. By this I mean the objects and events which convey a truth-value or falsity, and thus determine the trajectory of beliefs and attitudes within society. Propositions might be an image, an object or event: concrete entities which presumably cannot be contested because they represent living pictures of reality, or atomic facts, as Ludwig Wittgenstein once called them.

 

Whether propositions are uttered, signaled, transmitted, or perceived is inconsequential to their truth-value; all methods rely on a combination of facts and non-facts whose least common denominator, or message, must be simplified by its user or receiver. Propositional Art shows the architecture, symbols and belief systems which form a scaffolding, or model, of the world.

 

Computer simulation allows us to forecast, predict, and speculate on the physical and environmental features of an object or event, before it is manifested in reality. Architectural renderings are judged based on their fidelity; whether the object or spline generates a recognizable aesthetic paradigm, if its specular illumination mimics sunlight and correct exposure, and whether its rendering output can compete with—and even supersede—computer graphical representations of the world, a better illusion of reality.

 

Once constructed, these soaring skyscrapers rarely live up to their rendered image. The propositional world no longer cares about who can portray our conditions in an objective manner. Billions of dollars can be acquired through a single CGI (take, for example, Burj Dubai, whose feasibility was not known until after its commission had been won).  In that sense, propositions have an affinity with “art,” in which a subjective, speculative, or imagined understanding of an object, event, or image can become an alternate reality: a new fact.

 

The year is 2K1. A nocturnal and visceral image of a Boeing 767 banking to the left, so narrowly that it manages to squeeze through the Twin Towers in New York. Months later, I purchase a 767 model for US$5 from an online repository, TurboSquid.com, and I load it into a software program. I extrude two cubes, the exact dimensions of the original skyscrapers. I rotate the aircraft so that it can maneuver between the buildings—systems unscathed—continuing its course to its original destination. Somewhere in California. I set the lighting to low-oblique sunrise: the fallout and photometric intensity from the epochal event. A vivid and recurring dream is transformed into a post-corrective model: freed from the consequences of history’s own demise.

 

2K1 (Postcorrective Fantasy) is a technical expression of a dream in which a commercial aircraft banks left to avoid two obstructive towers in its path. It was conjured purely by memory and is fictional. Here, the pretense of the banking aircraft does not paint or model the truth of an event, but rather serves as a vehicle to show the complication of facts surrounding causal events.

 

Propositional art views every image and reading of reality with skepticism, since it recognizes that every proposition contains both the existence and non-existence of facts. The propositional world abandons given representations of an event or object (assuming that knowledge is not stable or certain), using propositions, or abstract objects, to determine shifting waves of thought.