Fine Arts

Fine Art
Image from Anders Sandberg

All of them appeared at once both human and inhuman, even the most monstrous of forms. A serpentine beast, as long as a sea freighter and as thick as a man is tall, coiled and curved within the confines of the passageway's northern wall. Facing it from the other were numerous specimens of similarly unholy creation: a thing like a giant squid, a yeti, something with the face of a man, but with a body wholly indescribable by any human tongue. Standing free about the place, cast in glass cubes, stood smaller creatures. Some as large as a dog, some as small as a mouse. Each exhibited a chilling, beautiful strangeness. Each marked a place on that narrow boundary between the living and the bizarre. Only a scarce few embodied anything like the quality of beauty we humans might look for in a thing ... but all were beautiful in some sense. Even if only made beautiful by the purity of the horror their deathless stares engendered. As had been told in stories handed down through generations, it was the wont of the Flesh Sculptors to pursue expression of their artistry in a variety of emotional mediums -- from admiration through apprehension, hatred to pity, simmering lust to stark terror, and the strange sense of preternatural unease that gripped me now. The things I saw on that short walk evoked all these emotions in me, along with others I could never hope to attach names to if I lived a thousand years longer...

From "In the Hall of the Flesh Sculptors"
A term coined on pre-industrial age Earth as an attempt to break the hold on art by the elitists of that time. The term 'fine' has little to do with the quality of the work but refers more to the purity of its discipline. The title of 'fine art' originally referred to certain visual arts, specifically those categories concerned with aesthetics or beauty. In that earlier time it was strictly used to refer to sculpture, painting and printmaking. Later in the post industrial age, as culture and technology changed, it came to include such things as architecture, the performing arts (dance, theater and opera) and certain types of photography, film, music, multimedia and poetry. Still today we are seeing changes as further additions have made their way into the fine art category including perfect art and the virtual gardens.

After the first singularity the fine arts truly began to flourish. Since that time transapient minds have brought us works, movements and techniques literally beyond the imaginings of modosophont artists, as often testified to by those who have seen the Lightstorm or have been fortunate enough to visit worlds such as Bayanty.

It should be said that the 'categories' of fine art should not be confused with art movements, referred to by some as fad movements. These movements are defined by a tendency or common philosophy and while vital to the arts, come and go with cultural trends often affecting the look and feel of many categories while they last. Examples of this would be Bauhaus and Maximalism.

Although, among laymen, the terms and categories are often intermingled fine art is a specific term distinct and different from 'craft art' or the arts making use of a specific craft or discipline. Examples of craft art are the applied arts, ceramics, gardening, certain metalworking arts (blacksmithing and jewelry for example), design, fashion and textiles. This distinction is not a label to limit the artistic nature of the work or the skill involved. Craft arts, although not exclusively and simply put, tend to deal with utilitarian objects while the fine arts tend to deal with non-utilitarian objects.

Fine Arts encompass Literature, Music, Sculpture, Living Art, Fabulism, and more, representing (at least for baseline hu) the holistic-intuitive that balances the rational-linear. With higher toposophics these dichotomies merge. Some of the results, such as Pozen Neogenics and Perfect Art can appear very strange indeed, at least to a normal sapient.

  • Bertrand Media Categories  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A set of categories, used to group various kinds of media as diverse as holovision, virch, smellscapes and artistic massage.
  • Datastructuralism   - Text by Arik
    An art theory, memeplex, and form generated by theories in cognitive neuroscience regarding the fundamental nature of aesthetics to organize information.
  • Early Superior Art  - Text by Jay Dugger
    Superior art in Solsys from the advent of the first Superiors to the close of the Dark Ages.
  • Ideogenesis  - Text by Todd Drashner and John B
    Colloquial, semi-formal term for what is often referred to as transapient hyper-creativity.
  • Lesser Machtet  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    MPA techno-religious artistic style.
  • Magscapes  - Text by Alphadon
    Artworks perceived using magnetic senses
  • Maximalism  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    An artistic movement, the successor to Modernism, that arose in the middle Information Age and remained widespread through to the dawn of the First Federation. Characterized by the use of complexity and detail.
  • Renaissance Event  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A flowering of artistic creativity, scientific discovery, technology and trade, together with some significant changes in the operation of personal culture, and a political ferment. There is typically a "rediscovery" of some older cultural models and information or an influx of new foreign ideas, or both, and usually an upsurge in local population. A renaissance event often sets the pattern for future cultural development in ages to follow.
  • Rising In Light  - Text by Bill Ernoehazy
    An eccentric SI:2 collector of the arts,
  • Stendhal-Bomb  - Text by Graham Hopgood
    A memetic instrument most often utilized against baseline and nearbaseline human populations, consisting of art that is precisely tuned to the individual target or target group to elicit strong emotions.
  • Summer Debacle, The  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A scandal and mystery related to the Summer civilization of Raman's World. This virtual civilization's exported artwork had unexpected side effects. Subsequently the entire civilization vanished without a trace.
  • Supermundane  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Modocentric sculptor responsible for the iconic Hands of God megasculpture 6862.
  • Synesthetist - Text by Keith Halperin
    Creates cross-sensate and trans-sensate art.
  • Teratonics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The art and science of creating monsters, whether for shock value, life-style choice, scientific research, the entertainment industry, or security and defense purposes.
  • Virtual Gardens  - Text by James Ramsey
    A class of virtual worlds and universes created by artists and hobbyists.
  • World Garden, The  - Text by Dangerous Safety (2020)
    A collection of hundreds of artificial planets with exotic environments
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Chris Shaeffer

Initially published on 22 April 2003.

Additional Information
OA Glossary of Terms

Snapshot From OA Fiction "in the hall of the flesh sculptors" by David Jackson
(Available in After Tranquility:Tales from Orion's Arm volume II)