Flow in the Zone:
A global perspective on the inner experience
of the traditional artist

Tonietta Walters

Flow – a smooth uninterrupted movement or progress Zone – a temporary state of heightened concentration that enables peak performance ‘Flow’ in addition to the Merriam-Webster definition above is widely referenced as a concept proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: a mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. The Zone usually refers to a similar state in athletes. The terms seem interchangeable; most artists are intimately familiar with this highly subjective experience. The Flow exhibition series is a program of Art+Science France that gives platform to art and artists using traditional media in the investigation or simple expression of inner experience within the creative process. Art+Science France is a non-for-profit organization that aims to facilitate dialogue between artists, scientists and educators who are interested in the connections between art and cognitive science. Dialogue based on combining the objectivity of scientific methodology and artistic expertise in experiences involving a deep subjectivity opens additional possibility for fruitful inter-subjective and/or experimental approaches to certain areas of philosophy of mind, especially inner experience. Current cutting–edge technology would to be an essential component of the exhibition in order to accomplish a multicultural or global perspective on the Flow Experience or other portions of inner experience within the creative process using “low-tech” traditional media. A virtual exhibition would allow for a more diverse participation; specifically a 3D walkthrough within an immersive virtual environment, including both 2-dimensonal and 3-dimensional traditional artworks, that could adequately enrich sensory perceptions and phenomenological aspects of digital display. The “viewer” would experience an immersive environment and a sense of spatial interactivity with the artworks as in a virtual reality game. The exhibition is currently visualized as being in the Second Life virtual world but can conceivably be modeled in any immersive virtual environment. With this framework of a virtual exhibition, an international call to artists would be sent out to invite participation. Images of the artwork would be overlain textures on rectangular primitives for 2-dimensional work, i.e. paintings, drawings, textiles and on full 3D models of sculptures or installations. Access to the virtual exhibition would then be through a media center or set of computers at the real world location as part of the Exploring Consciousness through Art, Technology, Media and Design Exhibition.




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