Project / Polymathic Aestheticism

Tagline/Mantra / Freedom is the medium / Live in beauty with respect to all aspects of life

Process / Concepts are initially worked out or designed on scrap paper, graphing paper, blackboards or whiteboards. The designs focus on communicating in an efficient and elegant manner usually resulting in simple, minimal designs in which every aspect from color to shape, carries significant meaning. In most cases the initial sketches or concept maps are then handed over to a graphic designer to create a digital version of the final images to be printed. Sculptures and signs are constructed by the artist.

Intention/Concept / The general task at hand with this project is to actively construct a robust, comprehensive meta-ideology which is to be expressed both implicitly, through image and symbol, and also explicitly through arguments presented in the Dahnke Blog. The challenge is to comprehensively address all foundational aspects of a complete ideology including: metaphysics/creation story, epistemology/lineage, a code of ethics, social political theory, practical applications and future predictions/prophecy.

Meaning / Polymathic Aestheticism is designed to be a fully integrated belief system that offers faith, meaning and purpose in a day and age where ideological consistency, and therefore meaning, is lacking. The information age has enabled us to be exposed to many different ideas and cultures—many of which are in direct opposition or even contradictory to our own cultural conditioning. This in turn has left a whole generation in doubt—scrambling to piece together their beliefs in a cut and paste haste of spiritual confusion.

The Polymathic Aestheticism project recognizes that the current state of affairs has left us free from any one particular authoritative ideology whether religious, scientific, or governmental. In the wake of the domination of these authoritative systems, our freedom has left us in angst from lack of a clear direction or purpose. The fact is, we are free to create our own purpose and meaning in life. It is therefore imagination, innovation and creativity that Polymathic Aestheticism preaches. The project elucidates how one is to go about the process of using their creative powers to construct a complete and consistent belief system.

In Modern art the trend has been to reduce and abstract to more basic properties necessary to art making. Modern art has progressed from detailed perspectival to simple flattened out images and from literal to symbolic meaning. It seemed like the end result of this progression was minimalism. But just when we thought their was nothing left to reduce to, it was thought itself that became the object of art, thus Conceptual art was born. If Conceptual art is to continue with its progress, it must address the mother of all concepts—the grand-narrative ideology. Polymathic Aestheticism then is Conceptual art taken to its ultimate extreme.

Favorite Aspects / What I appreciate most about this project is how it has deconstructed my own personal beliefs. For most, their core beliefs remain unquestioned unless challenged by new perspectives or environments. We assume our intuitions about what's right and wrong to be universally true. Questioning everything I thought I knew to be true has been a liberating experience in many ways.