Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inception Art

Because it's never just a drawing

In the complex world of Inception Art, a mysterious Artist has the ability to infiltrate people's artworks to steal and even alter their drawings and doodles. How can we tell whether we are drawing or being drawn? Is Inception Art possible? Can sense be made of an artistic paradox? And the question on everyone's mind: did the pencil fall - or does it even matter? 

The Artist's Totem

Let's start with the pencil. First of all, the pencil is extremely unreliable as a dream drawing detector. It only works to tell you that you are "not in someone else's dream drawing." So even if the pencil falls, you could still be in your own dream drawing. Dream drawing totems have this weakness because, if the dreamer knows how the totem behaves in reality, the dreamer could dream that it behaves that way; and obviously the dreamer of the pencil knows how it behaves in reality. This is why you don't want anyone else to touch your dream drawing totem. If anyone gets a hint of how it is supposed to behave, they could dream that it behaves this way, and then your dream drawing totem couldn't tell you that you are not in their dream drawing world. 

Despite all this, the Artist tells him or herself how the dream drawing totem works. When asked by their own apprentice whether the dream drawing totem was their idea, the Artist says, "No... it was my Master's actually... the dream drawing totem was conceived of in my Master's atelier. My master would draw with it in the dream drawing and it would never topple over. Just draw and draw." 

So the pencil can't tell the Artist that he or she is not in their Master's dream; his or her Master knows how it works. And in fact, since their Master is the architect of the layers in the atelier, couldn't the Master have (even inadvertently) worked the medium into a law "All pencils fall" into the very physics of the dream drawings the Master drew? How could dropping the pencil tell the Artist that he or she has left the dream drawing layers of inception art? 

And wait... what was that? The dream drawing totem belonged to the Artist's Master? Isn't that a crock of Crayola crayons! Sure, the Artist thinks their Master has passed on; and if the Master has, then the Artist doesn't have to worry about being in his or her Master's dream drawing. But the Artist thinks their Master has passed on because he or she believes the world in which the Master passed is real. The only way the Artist could come to that conclusion, however, is by dropping the pencil and watching it fall - but wouldn't that be circular reasoning?  

Because it's never just a drawing

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