Tigers With Wings

My brother told me to do it.

Category: 82 Dreamscapes

Why ethics matters to modern lovers

What is ethics or morals, and how does what matters in life depend on it?

At the most straightforward level ethics is values. Ethics say what is of value and how to value it.
The values we hold are what ascribe meaning to our existence; ethics provide a framework for purpose and meaning.

Valuing cannot be neutral. There is no way to appreciate the value of anything without implicit judgment.

As soon as there is value, there is a hierarchy. There are many object-gradations between: trash and treasure; friendship and loneliness; wisdom and ignorance. There are also subject-gradations, for example between: like and unlike; need and indifference. These gradations of value and valuing are dependent on evaluations and judgments.

Therefore, to care about anything is to be moral.
This is why many argue that love is the highest moral value, and it makes sense because love is our ultimate expression of valuing.

Even though love is hard to define, and it seems to mean different things to different people, what cuts through its ambiguity is that it stands for our highest form of valuing. What I love, is what I value above all else.

The problem with placing love itself at the top of the moral hierarchy of values is that love is subjective. Everyone loves differently. As the cliche goes “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Giving the moral throne to love as the summit of all values is the cause for the avalanche of reasoning that buries many well-intentioned lovers in the nihilistic rubble of moral relativism.

Why do I argue that valuing life is more valuable than valuing love? Actually, I would prefer to say, “valuing life is more purposeful than valuing love,” or to put it another way: to love life is more ethical than to love love. Because life is objective.

I must be alive to… anything: to think, to feel and even to be and especially to love. To be alive is the pre-prerequisite for any value. Anchoring value to anything but life is at the root of all moral confusion.
Why is it so hard to see that the love of life is the ground of all value? Even love is just a boat without a sail on a sea without land if it is the love of love itself. To love, or to value greatly, is meaningless without Being.

Why ehics matters to modern lovers

To value life above all else is the ultimate expression of love. To love life is the essential purpose of all beings. The love of life is a simple and universal moral code that applies equally to aliens, dogs, intelligent A.I.s, mothers and modern lovers because the “ing” of all beings is life.


Stars and Swipes

Swipe - from "82 Dreamscapes" by Misha Bittleston

Swipe – from “82 Dreamscapes”

This is a commentary on how the political landscape is shaped by our choices as consumers – swipe to vote.

A purchase has become as politicized as a trip to the voting booth. Are the market forces of our buying decisions capable of supplanting the powers of democracy?
As paid lobby’s influence over politics becomes systemic, and corporations, brands and products become blatantly political, is voting already obsolete, and the swipe of a credit card is how we actually cast our vote?

In a political climate as polarized as it has ever been, how far are we from a time when everything we purchase is politically labeled? How long before product labeling and packaging indicates party affiliation? Next to the graphic for Kosher, Organic or Fair Trade there is a symbol designating a product’s political affiliation. How long before consumers demand to know if a purchasing decision is going to support or oppose the issues they stand for? We have pink products for breast cancer awareness. Is it just a matter of time before red and blue packaged products designate party affiliation?

Would companies change their politics to court consumers?
Are consumers politics influenced by what they want to buy?

Does the the political process no longer turn us on because political power is a tool wielded by wealth first and democracy gets the sloppy seconds?

In this dot drawing, Uncle Sam is reduced to a fun promotional character, overshadowed by the venerable credit card, which appears to have become the new American flag. The success of the little mascot seems to have resulted in so much swiping that it has dislodged the stars, leaving small craters. The once bold stripes have trickled down into a single magnetic strip, with the call of our patriotic duty from, die for your country, to buy for your country.

A Loud Letter

Distorted Letter

Loud Letter from “82 Dreamscapes” by Misha Bittleston

Hi, that’s me skateboarding at the top, it probably doesn’t need explaining but here’s what I’m saying: “This is a drawing of a letter, with words that can’t be spoken. Every word we use hides its meaning outside itself.  We define things in things we don’t seek to define.
Unlike definable words that hide in what they are not, the words in my drawing hide their meaning in what they are, but sadly lose it because they hide it inside themselves. For intelligence to exist we must hide it outside ourselves, for information to exist it must be entrusted to others, otherwise it is like a child who first learns to speak and assumes everyone else is speaking their own made up language too.
Before you could write did you put drawings in the mailbox and wonder where they went? If you drew a castle on the envelope, would it end up at a castle? What is meaning? Does it exist without words to hold it?
Before we learn to read: writings are drawings, text is texture, punctuation is dots, an invitation is a piece of paper, information is emotion.
Pictures are stored in minds and retrieved with combinations of letters (words), but words themselves are interdependent pictures (symbols), they have become transparent so the world can be seen through them, they give up their independence and rely on one another to hold meaning! Sound is distorted by emotion into meaning. Written so words resonate against each other to form new chords of meaning, in my drawing they have become too loud to be read  – between message and emotion. Intensity produces distortion. In this letter my words are amplified beyond recognition, so their meaning is overwhelmed.”

Empty Word City – talking about words without words

Empty Word City from "82 Dreamscapes" by Misha Bittleston

Empty Word City from “82 Dreamscapes”

Setting words free from their meanings:
voices are warm stretched air textures,
text a tedium of loop lines repositioned.

Like a city where, for a day
everyone spoke and wrote
spontaneous nonsense,
they all just woke up that way
as if nothing had changed.

In the city by late morning
the president is drawing,
without the words of their party,
party lines are line drawings,
with the debate come undone they’re stuck getting stuff done.

By mid afternoon all the lost meaning
that had spilled from all the empty words in the city,
and rinsed the fun out of freedom-
was being replenished,Empty Word City - detail
in scats replied to with scribbles
in faces meeting with motions.

Until someone, overcome
with triumphant realizations
started talking.

Dot Moment Interference – a dot is a moment.

Squished bug on drawing: Dot Moment Interference

this squished bug can be found in the top left corner of the “Dot Moment Interference” drawing it inspired.

In this drawing the dots are dissolving the text. The texture is becoming the words and their meanings which were held by abstract characters, confound the left brain and become visual artifacts, just as I have forgotten what I was writing, the dots overlay the words like moments in time, which is relevant because even though each dot only takes an instant, lots of dots take lots of time.

Each dot is a moment. Like a moment in time each dot is crisp and distinct, but like combined moments the dots together form interference, between waking and sleeping, day and night, attention and distraction we build up textures of time. This interference texture is my visual metaphor for time. What is preserved within the obfuscating mass of sharp points in time is vague images, here or there a late night dance party, summers on the pier, windy adventures along the cliffs, a friendly whale, but can you see the dancing feet, what socks we wore that day, what was on your mind, etc. However sharp each moment is, when combined they seem to cancel one another out, one sharp dot becomes a blur beside all the others. The squished bug is just another dot on the page.

Dot Moment Interference from "82 Dreamscapes" by Misha Bittleston

Dot Moment Interference from “82 Dreamscapes” by Misha Bittleston

When I am drawing on the train, trying to work with lines is limiting, but with dots I can use the movement of the train to build up textures and also use the jolting and rattling of the train to prevent me getting too caught up in fine details and keep my hand moving around the drawing.

The eternal adventures of the patient little robot

The Patient Little Robot from "82 Dreamscapes" by Misha Bittleston

The Patient Little Robot from “82 Dreamscapes” by Misha Bittleston

From star to star, rock to rock, volcano of molten gold to ocean of glistening mercury, and each granule of every sun, a tiny robot traveled all corners of every galaxy in the universe, in search of the most valuable stuff of all. However long it took and however far, to find the one substance that holds the greatest greatness, throughout all space and time is what eventually brought the patient little robot here to our planet earth, in a year not long from now. Frozen deep beneath the ice coating our silent planet the little robot senses the afterglow of the most amazing substance in the all the universe. The little robot leans over as if to kiss a the top of a tree jutting from the melting ice and for the first time, ever so slightly, smiles.

This drawing was started in 2008, it is part of a group of “82 Dreamscapes” that I drew in various busy places around NYC but mostly at the MoMA and the Whitney between 2008 and 2010. Some of them make up “the eternal adventures of the patient little robot (and a quest for a smile).” This is the first of the 82 drawings and the first time I have shared any of them.

One day while I was drawing in a crowded subway a woman who had been sitting near me and watching me, came over when the train stopped and said “those are dreamscapes you are makin’ ain’t they!” the doors closed behind her.