Shortly after graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1980, I purchased a Color Computer from Radio Shack. After teaching myself to program in Color Basic, I began creating my first abstract digital art.
I was captivated by the endless streams of digital imagery that were possible, as well as the fascinating and surreal, abstract patterns that the computer generated simply by tweaking a few parameters and formulas. I was hooked.
What began as a simple experiment and idle pastime turned into an obsession and then into a quest. What was I looking for in this infinite stream of strangely beautiful abstract images? There was a truth here and an unearthly beauty. Truth, because the
images didn’t represent anything other than themselves. Beauty, because of their purity, they were empty of anything other than themselves. They were their own truth and their own fierce beauty.
The more I contemplated the abstract forms, textures and colours, the more I found my perceptions being cleansed, becoming pure. I began to notice a timeless presence, a luminosity that lay as a background to my experience of the process.
I saw the images as the divine radiance of this primordial, luminous, unchanging awareness. The fountain of creation, as it seemed to me.
It became apparent to me that the images weren’t simply decorative, although they soon filled my walls, but rather they were objects of meditation, quiet contemplation, and even veneration.
They transformed my everyday world as well. I began to see everything as an unknowable abstraction that emerged from behind the veil of worldly concerns. The world had brightened, as if the sun had come out from behind the clouds, and the world sparkled with a wholesome freshness that I had not experienced since childhood.
The world of frozen objects melted into a fluid ocean of perceptions, dancing free and unencumbered by expectations of completion or explanation; like watching shifting, mesmerizing waves on the ocean.
The images emerging from my computer’s screen were not my own creation or invention, but rather they were gifts from some unknowable, immaculate source of mathematical perfection. It was a collaboration between man and machine. It was a dance in which the separation between myself and my cybernetic partner disappeared and there was only the dance — and joy.
Eventually, I ran out of wall space to display the art and the images just collected dust on my hard drive until I bought an Apple TV.
I began formatting the images to take up the full screen and ran them as a slide show. My TV became a shrine to the radiance and purity, clarity and warmth of this magnificent, nameless presence, the source of every good thing in my life.
There is a symbiotic relationship between visual art and music and I began meditating on the slide shows while listening to my favourite music. It was a total immersion in bliss, a dissolution into an ocean of loving kindness.