the sublime:

“The Sublime,” they tell us, “is born in a man, and not to be acquired by instruction; genius is the only master who can teach it.” – Longinus, On the sublime, 1554.

A lecture was given on representation, which quickly evolved into the example of sublime; which I further explored as a possible topid to include with the title of Identity for my project. I decided against it, as it is already so well explored;  although the compilation of data about a human being as an individual rather than as a whole group, led to the idea of computers.

The idea of sublime, as I can understand is that it is huge, the mathematical equivalent would be infinity. It is the experience that dwarfs you, like when you see a cathedral or a mountain, where you are physically dwarfed, although this can apply to a concept as well; the fact that the universe is infinite, or that the centre of the universe smells like raspberries, something we can prove but can’t grasp with our human conciousness.It over exceeds our ability to understand.

The way sublime was explained was through data, the fact that we are practically living in a virtual reality has inspired some artists; J K Keller and Boris Muller, into creating images and diagrams from compiled data. Some order and compress the information into separate charts depending on subject; others stream it as a chaotic mess of connecting links and overlapping areas which are individual in every possibility.

In trying to capture the data in a complete form the information is often simplified, that is it is reduced to an abstract form with little to no detail. Although to authentically capture the representation properly, you would need to compile the entirety of the information and enclose it into a single chart as you link and connect strands into their appropriate place; which would leave the diagram a mass of chords and strings of relationships.

However when we are presented with the aesthetic dimensions of the data in this proper form, our reaction is to compress it into an order, just to avoid being dwarfed by it.

The idea of the Hacker as a method of abstraction; as it is a mathematical mode to harvest data; through internet, cards or cameras, as a way to corner one area of data and force it to relent all knowledge to be processed.

However, even by claiming that the reality of the world is chaos, is also a method of simplification as it is subjective to individuals just as a chart compiling all the data of one person would never be able to be compared to another

The concept to represent is not the thing that fails; our response to capture it is.

( Longinus: on the sublime; Edmund Burke: Philosophical enquiry into the sublime and beautiful.)

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