By William Markiewicz
I'm not particularly fond of games. Maybe that's why my first reaction was skeptical when a friend who enjoys travels of the mind showed me a series of colored drawings by various people who tried to illustrate feelings with graphic expressions of love, hate, etc. I don't remember details, perhaps because I wasn't attracted by the idea. Was the topic imposed in advance to compare individual graphic expressions of love, hate etc., or did everybody try to draw his/her own feelings and the other had to guess? Anyway, for me it was an attempt to create an intuitive communication through another channel besides art. No esthetic reward usually attached to art but the opportunity for non artists to express themselves was offered.
Feelings, standing alone, are potentially non-representative. It's as if somebody attempted to paint negative space without the object which engenders it. 'Negative space' is an impression created by the object and, similarly, feelings are in response to the situation which engenders them. They don't have an existence by themselves. Still, abstract artists have their ways to express feelings without a 'topic' just as musicians express feelings through sound. But that's why they're artists; they 'conquer' the topic instead of being passively submitted to it as the game players I mentioned hoped to do. That's why those players take shortcuts, they 'cheat' without knowing it, because they employ cliché archetypes: waves as movement, circle as enclosure, square as blocking, zigzag as obstacle... The gameplayer is non creative, recapitulative, he tries an intellectual operation on something non-intellectual.
Feelings are the 'negative space' not only of what comes to us from outside but they also inhabit our souls though we may be not aware of them, that's what the subconscious is about. To identify them you have to project them onto some identifiable objective topic. So, when two painters paint the same landscape, under one's brush this landscape will be melancholic, and under the other, cheerful. The subject remains the same. Those permanent interior feelings are the fruit of our lives and/or our genes.
The Rorschach test proves that non-artistic feelings have to be extirpated, not expressed. The subject does not have to draw, but to guess what he sees -- not what he feels. It's up to the analyst to draw the conclusions.
In conclusion, all the attempts to find formulas tracking the mind's activities of feeling and intellect only lead toward a substitute for the real thing. No tests lead to the discovery of Beethoven, Einstein or Shakespeare. So, if you want to express emotion -- be emotive and create! If you want to operate intellectually -- be 'smart' and create! There is no formula for creativity because the real purpose of the quest remains hidden until its ultimate unveiling when the work is done.Back to the index of the Vagabond