Emulation, as a pseudo-nurological phenomenon has propelled learning farther than most give it credit for. I have no scientific proof, but I’m going to pontificate with a capital ‘p’ for the sake of your attention and juxtapose the word over more prescriptive words for the sake of my point —
We learn through emulation — copying the footsteps for a dance teach us to learn that dance; taking a photograph is an emulation of a past experience; swimming with flippers represents our ability to emulate fish fins after first observing fish — this is actually how I think most people learn, generally speaking. We’re visual and tactile, auditorial and lastly, conceptual.
As an aspiring comic book artist, I copied my favorite page spreads. Eventually it was time to stop copying others’ work and start creating from memory — from “scratch,” as I would say back then.
But I learned through emulation, an uninhibited ability to express myself through another person’s visual language, coping pictures in order to see what other artists saw. Eventually, I matured, developing my own visual language, refining and honing it in a way that represented my specific ability. Writers similarly read their favorite books and authors.
If I had not had the freedom to copy, to learn through emulation, I would not have developed a personal technique; skill; tacit behaviors that define my work against others’ work, creating both an identity and a perceived value.
“I quote others only in order the better to express myself”
– Michel de Montaigne
In my opinion we’ve eclipsed sagacious and empirical learning — in the past, suppressed through religion, but near impossible to remove from the arts — we’ve usurped empirical learning with simulated and emulated emotions. We’re no longer influenced and raised by “the people in our neighborhood,” if even in our own country. We’re not experiencing much of anything, face-to-face, for extended duration; quality time with each other often seems none-existent.
Our ability to reason a stranger’s body language as friendly or aggressive, has diminished. Has body-language diminished while our attentions are focused elsewhere? Our ability to recognize the look of attraction vs curiosity is blunted like dolts staring at each other. And so, our verbal skills suffer because we’ve forgotten, and in some cases, neglected to share the basics; stand straight, eyes forward, speak clearly and confidently.
Everything is entertainment and content designed to project the world in an exaggerated fashion — exciting — unreal — not ever going to happen in our lifetime — it’s unhealthy. Our memories suffer with nothing significant to mark their day — their week — our lives. Content has supplanted memory, emotion and experience for many.
More so than any other time in history, people are xeroxing each others’ knowledge and emotions. Mostly emotions/actions they’ve learned from actors. Actors paid to dramatize life. We don’t talk to each other in one-liners and expect a laugh-track with each punchline, and consequently, we’re not nearly as frenetic as actors appear onscreen.
But that’s what we’re developing — people are xeroxing un-informed emotions, learned from actors and serialized content from streaming media — for hours straight — days in a row — desensitized of empathic senses, and resolute in learning passively through confabulatory and idiosyncratic identities. We’ve become mostly irreverent, indifferent, unaware of how others’ are actually living.
And when I say others, I mean our true next-door neighbors, colleagues, friends — maybe our own partners or children. Life doesn’t have a pacing — it just happens. Everyone needs a moment to remember, or improvise their lines — we should embrace the moments that mark our daily life more significantly. Content doesn’t constitute experience. Watching life doesn’t equate to living life.
Our voices are being drown out by dramatic presentation and representation. Our imaginations stifled by 24 images per second. And our ability to shape the word around us, a distant memory illuminated by HD quality pictures.
Until — ?
To not look at another drawing and draw from memory took practice, propensity and finally, prosperity. It took a shitload of months and years. And people crapped on my portfolio ALL the time. Someone eventually gave me a desk —
I found my “face,” as they used to say when referring to a new visual “style”. Vigorous encouragement from friends who genuinely took interest in my “thing” kept me focused. Their interest taught me to respect my craft. And mentors taught me to understand it through impositions.
Technique is a perfect mistake. Failure is okay. It’s the only way to discover your technique or signature — ?
Mass exploitation and self-exploitation is not art, or an art-form. The commercial promise collapsed years ago under the moniker of “user-generated-content”. Our culture is a simulation solely through a historical lens of mother natures’ force squeezing us into individual diamonds; polished, and strong — instead now, soft clay, constantly effected by forces around us, shaped too easily by emulated emotions, too —
We have peaked media.
We prosper more through participation and emulation than by passively watching. Our lives are marked more lucidly, making our creativity more original and more informed with each demonstration.