An art theory, memeplex, and form generated by theories in cognitive neuroscience regarding the fundamental nature of aesthetics to organize information

Image from Steve Bowers
Dataprocessed aggregate image combining several divergent artworks into a unified whole, one form of datastructuralist art

Deep and fundamental inquiry in neuroscience during the Information Age and onward bolstered previously existing aesthetic theories that art itself was in fact a compilation of the recognition of patterns that mediated themselves to be within the correct values and visual memetics. Art, according to these theories, was "objectively" aesthetically pleasing structures of data, such as symmetry, efficiency, and self-similarity. This information, whether visual, acoustic, textural, or literary, is experienced through the senses by the recipient in a way that gives em pleasure as they recognize the patterns and structures in the data. A detailed neurological analysis revealed that these Datastructures were pleasing for various reasons, among which were familiarity, intuitive and unconscious understanding that the information possessed harmony or mediated discordant elements/ colors/ sounds, or intuitive understanding of the structure's utility. According to Datastructural theory, art is not aesthetically pleasing, beautiful, or meaningful without a viewer and is therefore not art; rather, it is entirely an object that sophonts experience to mirror and apply efficient natural structures in order to give it the perceived quality of beauty.

This possible validation of previously existing aesthetic theories coincided with the emergence of the first uploaded and sentient virtual citizens, who seized upon these ideas to begin creating clade-specific artwork both as a memetic weapon and as a means of asserting and solidifying cultural identity. What began as experiments in ways to organize and view data became an aesthetic and design movement useful to DNI and Known Net users, aioids, and fellow virtual entities as a process of user interfacing, as well as a method of emotional and cultural self-expression.

Datastructural works range from arrangements of epic poems, virchplots, and info-hierarchies into either abstract or "naturalistic" Datastructures to humorous manipulations of code strings into puns and stories that resemble, in organization only, the structures of their subject matter (similar to Information Age scientists making smiley faces with atoms). Datastrucures advanced the plot organizations of narrative, the compositions of paintings and virches, and the patterns within music to an unprecedented level or higher-level organization and complexity. In an era where an entire organism can be reproduced from the molecular level up, or an entire alife organism can be coded from the software up, naturalism in Datastructures has become much easier than it was on ancient Old Earth prior to the Information Age. It is quite common for SI >1 transapients with stated artistic dispositions to design entire epic poems in a netspace shape similar to alife or biological organisms. These poems are self-editing, often sentient in their own right, and provide a multi-sensory experience to either virtual, non-virtual (was RL), or both types of citizens. Some, like Mand'ell of Brot's 3094-6 AT poem "Spatial Saga of a Sessile Alife Solarian Datavore" describes, in detail to the molecular level, the processes and structures of the alife itself, while also allowing for interactive explorations of cartooned or exaggerated elements of each infolevel. Each different view possesses different levels of description, becoming more mathematical as the simulation reaches smaller levels.

Sometimes, the Datastructure poems or artworks can be directly incorporated into the code of the virtual netizen in an aesthetic process of an experience equivalent to eating, body modification, self-development, or beneficial memetic reprogramming. This particular type of Datastructural art has been used most frequently as a computer virus agent or Stendhal-bomb by transapients and archai inhabiting the known net, prompting most consumers of the work to futilely check for "poisonous" artwork before consuming it if it is declared "safe".

Many Datastructure artworks, especially those designed specifically for virtual citizens and alife, are undetectable, incomprehensible, baffling, or simply not aesthetically pleasing to non-virtuals because of the different senses and experiences possessed by some virtual clades. This can be partially or entirely remedied with cognitive, physical, sensory, hardware, software, or memetic augmentations or updates.

The broad cultural concepts of Datastructuralism have been discovered independently multiple times throughout Terragen history and space. In thousands of virchworlds, especially within the Negentropy Alliance, the memeplex of beauty as a direct function of order is an innate property of the virtual cultures, particularly those most in touch with and in control of the code that composes them. Diplomat Avatars or immigrants from Keter and the Technorapture Hypernation report their entire Sephirotic societies in the virtual realm to possess this innate quality within their cognitive structure, though it is apparently only evident to those of an SI>1 toposophic who have transcended to the point where intuitive/holistic/spatial perception and analytical/sequential/ linguistic modes of thought have totally merged. Explicitly artistic works, as products of transapient ideogenesis or of cultural phenomena inspired by their manipulations have appeared most prominently in flowerings on Alexandria (Tichy 44-III) and surrounding worlds of the Negentropy Alliance in the first centuries of the third and fifth millennium, on The Seat of Judgment during the late parts of the fourth millennium, the worlds of the Fractal Brotherhood and Ararat through the entirety of the third millennium, and the Artists of Gleia on Outpost 5478 of the Technorapture Hypernation in the 6200's. Prominent artists of the movement include The Lumerian collective of the Yudkowsky orbitals, The glass flower hegemony of Gurth Hexanode, and the Fractal Starmakers of Kell.

Several smaller movements within the Datastructuralism memeplex include Graphism, Concrete Poetry (a revived but rare variety of Terragen poetry), several branches of Infovore Cuisine, DNA Zen Arrangements, User Interface Design, Sentient Poetry, Bliss Glyph patterns, certain types of Buddha Fractals, and even, some art theorists have argued, every artwork or aesthetically pleasing object ever created, or even more broadly, all of existence.

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Text by Arik
Initially published on 04 August 2010.