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Who is Joel Morrison?

There is no line between creation and destruction. Transformation manifests a direction from involution to evolution. Joel David Morrison is an artist who wanders this non-line, falling into and out of its non-abyss. Ogden, Utah, in 1972, Joel was born into an early and comprehensive training in the arts, with a mother who was a teacher of both visual and literary design, and an accomplished artist and author in her own right. Thus from before he could remember, Joel was led on intensive journeys of creation within the interface of the percept and the concept. At a very young age, he sampled the wide spectrum of the creative arts: diagramming, inventing, and constructing miniature spacecraft, architecture, weapons, tools and machinery with intricate, moving, sliding, and hinged parts—sculpting animals and fantastical creatures—designing visual patterns and whimsical abstractions—exploring the possibilities of the lucid dream—and engaging in the solipsistic practice of skeptical inquiry, and the open-ended self-reliance, self-discovery, and self-transformation typical of the early lives of the philosophers, always questioning the obvious, pulverizing the categories of the known, and seeking new paths into the unknown.

Following this early trajectory, Morrison later moved his explorations into the hyper-real laboratory of the digital computer, inventing the “optical fractal,” a method of generating self-similar patterns from the simulated laws of optics in perfectly reflective chambers and geometric configurations (see Nanotech Nursery and the Penetration series). In this exploratory process he independently converged on Buckminster Fuller‘s “vector equilibrium” as the most fertile generative element for many of his later works. In these works, he would layer and intermix various modes of experimental design process, such as parametric explorations in texture-engines, image-processing algorithms and optical-fractal geometries, overlayed and intermixed with the more traditional methods of drawing, painting and collage simulated and expanded upon within the computer.

In Morrison‘s most recent explorations, the concept and percept become symbiotic modes of transformation, each reaching into and evolving out of the other. As the art-as-self-transformation progressed, the artistry became layered with ever more perceptual and conceptual detail. It started with a transcoding of reality into the structures of the mind, externalizing a perceptual mirror of nature in the realism of drawing and painting from life. Then the mirror of nature began to express and mirror its own intrinsic nature, unfolding and feeding its own motions and patterns back into its structures and operations. An infinite regress then splintered the mirror into innumerable eyes of expressive representation, each watching and creating more nodes, mirroring and spawning more eyes: Nodes of everything, representing, merging, cross-breeding with everything ever captured therein.

Within the surface of the self-mirroring mirror the artist wandered, exploring and creating endless visceral progressions in the fractured and coalescing aethereal regresses. But the mirror had thickened and expanded into a pulsing, breathing, vibrating, perceptual muscle. The artist lost himself in this lucid interface of the percept—capturing, recreating and endlessly mutating as representation learned to represent and manipulate itself. The percept had reached its zenith at the surface of this node, forming the creative matrix and foundation for the concept to take new flight: the vision-logic and graphical user-interface of the imagination, primed for a new horizon.

As the artist progressed in his perceptual interface with the world of the conceptual arts—such as philosophy, science and mathematics—an overarching visual organization began to emerge. As he became more and more capable of visualizing, or internally sensing the conceptual interactions and relations, the whole of fundamental mathematics and philosophy, with its abstract and seemingly arbitrary principles and paradoxes, began to make intuitive and visceral sense. It began to speak to him; no longer in abstract riddles and conceptual knots, but in pictures and clear, sensible architectures that mirrored his view of the kosmos—holarchical, boundless, endlessly unfolding, but ultimately understandable! Man is a self-similar echo of creation, mirroring the whole in the fractal processes of his perceptual and conceptual interface. Paradox occurs only at the conflations of pre-fused distinctions (con-fusions) of un-differentiated and un-integrated aspects along the way in the transformation process. Pulverize these conflicted categories, as Nagarjuna might say, and reform them anew at a deeper, more embodied level (such as that afforded by the visceral substrate of the percept) and the paradoxes dissolve.

Ultimately, this “Philosophy as the Integrating Art of the Concept,” or Interface Philosophy, evolved through thousands of pages of notes, paintings, drawings, and computer renderings, finally making its way into two books, extensively illustrated with what the artist calls “vision-logic interfaces.” The ebooks are offered freely at www.spinbitz.net, and printed copies are available for cost at http://www.lulu.com/spinbitz.

After a two-year stint as the lead graphic and interactive designer at Integral Institute and Integral Life, Joel currently resides in his birth-town of Ogden, Utah, with his wife and two sons. He is currently taking a long awaited break from serious art and philosophy to relax and focus on the joyful art of raising a family, and to allow his thoughts to gel for SpinbitZ volume II, with several hundred pages of notes already in waiting. For further information on Joel and his work, contact him at spinbitz(at)gmail.com, and check out his websites, www.pixolutionstudios.com and www.spinbitz.net.

Joel has appeared on Integral Naked:

Art as Transformation Interface6/2/2008

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