The start of the 20th century saw a profound influence on the arts from a strand of spirituality that had incubated at the end of the previous century. These strands included Theosophy (Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Besant), Anthroposophy (Steiner), and the work of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Theosophy's impact on Mondrian, and the spiritual guidance of Itten at the Bauhaus are all evidence of a strong undercurrent throughout the 20th century, which also saw post second. As we look into the 21st century one is tempted to speculate that the spiritual movements of the early 20th century are now generally misunderstood, or even ridiculed, and that a new spirituality is emerging with its roots in science and not in the religious or the occult. The priests of the New Physics such as Frank Tippler and Paul Davies, however much derided by their reductionist colleagues, seem to promote a spirituality that is appropriate for the cyberspace artists of the 21st century. Tiplerake This paper looks at the teachings of Theosophy, Anthroposophy and Gurdjieff-Ouspensky and its influence on this century's art; it then examines the genesis of cyberspace in the new technologies and in the writings of science fiction writers such as Gibson and Sterling, and cultural theorists such as de Landa and the Krokers. The spirituality of the New Physics is discussed and the parallels with older forms of spirituality identified: in particular the idea of transcending the body, and the relations ip The key question surrounding the vision shared in Neuromancer and Tippler's Physics of Immortality is: are we just data? If so we can upload our personalities and become immortal. If consciousness is more than data then we cannot, and this question the brings us to the new Science of Consciousness. This infant science may be as doomed as phrenology was at the corresponding point a century ago, or it might provide us with the answers to our spiritual questions in cyberspace. Much seems to hinge on the co While it is recognised that any discussion of the spiritual is fraught with difficulties, this paper attempts to open a debate that has been difficult to externalise in the arts for much of this century. The extraordinary challenge of cyberspace for the arts, with its questioning of the very bases of our identities and relationships, means however that it is a debate we cannot avoid.
Concerning the Spiritual in Cyerspace:
Related to event: (Paper presentation) Concerning the Spiritual in Cyberspace Immortality of Artist and Artefact in the Digital Domain (Mike King)
Artefact (Book of Abstracts) ISEA96 Book of Abstracts including Final Program The Seventh International Symposium on Electronic Art