There is an old Chinese aphorism that “we are that through which the Earth comes to know itself”. Everything we are, everything we create, everything we think and everything we copy or emulate – it is the Earth, this world, this Universe in the act of discovering itself. Even when we seek to create some abstraction of ourselves within our minds (or even – as our bodies), we are only really ever continuing this unbroken chain and flow of Cosmic self-replication.

Valeria Lukyanova aspired via surgery towards an ideal defined by an iconic abstraction of Barbie, in this becoming a self-abstracted aspiration towards an impossible entity – both peculiar and fascinating. Humanity as a whole self-replicates and reproduces itself through material culture but in some places it becomes obvious that not only do we recreate ourselves through this hyper-inflating extended-cognition of the putatively “real”, but that this materially abstract world recreates itself through us.

The key lesson in all of this: neither culture nor self occupy the central, sentient or subjective focal point – both ends of this spectrum reach into (and inflect through) each other in ways that seem slightly unsettling, compelling and strangely beautiful when they are instantiated, as in this painting “Valeria Lukyanova (white noise)” by Stefania Pinsone, an intriguing artist from Switzerland. We are the abstractions and patterns that emerge from the white noise and entropy of culture and culture is the gestalt pattern and holistic, unified abstraction that emerges from the aggregate entropy and white noise of (all of) us.

In this painting of the “human Barbie doll”, Swiss artist Stefania Pinsone reflects the self-conscious self-replication of culture, self and art itself. The painting is titled “Valeria Lukyanova (white noise)”.

One thought on “Cosmic Self-Discovery and Barbie Dolls

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