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Arts and Entertainment

Your brain and its superpower: AI (artistic intelligence)

Brenda Macon

Lately, there’s been talk in the news about the perils of artificial intelligence, or AI. Such technology, if used against us, could lead to our demise. The adage of “check yourself before you wreck yourself” comes to mind. Before we go too far down the rabbit hole of technological ethics, I’d like to present what may be a salve for the worrying mind. All is not lost. We still have another AI – artistic intelligence.

What is artistic intelligence? According to the Laboratory of Artistic Intelligence, it is defined as, “a system of capacities for perception, sensing, discernment, insight, activity, choice-making and divergent synthesis that is developed by and transcends beyond human intelligence.”

All of these functions are found in the right hemisphere of the brain and are helpful for problem-solving. Meanwhile, the left hemisphere is responsible for our day-to-day survival and is our language center, our stopwatch and our linear, logical side. The right hemisphere functions in a world of spatial perception, nonverbal communication and nonlinear synthesis. An example of a right brain activity (besides the artistic ones – painting, drawing, the like) is gardening, riding your bike or doing anything where you lose track of time.

To see the way an artist sees, right brain skill sets are practiced daily. One doesn’t just paint mountains. One has to see them first. Calculate their relationships to each other, feel the distance, understand atmosphere, color, weight, balance, rhythm and then put them all together. Practice seeing and you become a better observer and you notice nonverbal cues faster in people, too. You can almost calculate the outcome of an engagement before it comes to pass. It’s not a sixth sense, really, it’s just practice of your insight, intuition and your birthright, which is your right brain superpower.

Imagine you’re shooting a game of pool. There’s a lot happening at once that you may not be aware of. You are synthesizing a lot of information, nonverbal cues, spatial relationships and predictions of chances where geometry meets skill. If asked to do that all at once, you might laugh and equate it to rubbing your belly and patting your head while running a marathon atop a unicycle balanced upon the back of a turtle. Yet you can do such tasks and maybe have done something just as complicated today. The right brain loves complexity.

If you could take a class on how to strengthen your intuition, would you sign up? Would you want to train yourself how? Some think we can. In 2010, Simon M. McCrea published “Intuition, Insight, and the Right Hemisphere: Emergence of Higher Sociocognitive Functions.” He connects intuition and insight as two important functions that are nearly opposite: Intuition he defines as the ability to quickly understand without the need for conscious reason. By contrast, insight involves a period of incubation of the problem before the recognition of a solution, that can culminate in an “a-ha!” moment. Both functions can be strengthened through practice. That practice is art. I’m not saying that if you take some art or theater classes you can predict the future, but you will probably see it coming, and you just might make something beautiful out of it. See you at the DAC.

In the theater
  • Reefer Madness, The Musical: 7:30 p.m. March 17-18, 24-25 and 31-April 1. 5 p.m. March 19, 26 and April 2. A story about clean-cut kids who fall prey to marijuana, leading them on a hysterical downward spiral filled with evil jazz music, sex and violence. Tickets: $15/$25.
  • Friday Night Improv: Student Showcase: 7 p.m. April 7. Tickets: $10/$15.
Art classes and gallery events
  • Whimsical Wonderland, a community art exhibit featuring more than 40 local artists. Closes March 17. Free.
  • Call to Young Artists for the 28th annual Creativity Festivity: Deadline for submissions, March 18. details: https://bit.ly/3mEFXeF.
  • Shop the Artisan’s Market: Open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
  • Mud Day Madness, begins March 27: 6:30-8:30 p.m. $325.
  • Figure Drawing with live model, begins March 28: 6-8 p.m., 10 classes, $225.
  • Art of Painting, begins March 29: 10 a.m.-noon, $250.
  • Magical Art & Happiness adult art classes begin April 6: 6-8 p.m., six weeks, $200.
  • Pots & Pints: Every Friday, 4:30-6 p.m., $30.
  • GOAL/BART: youth leadership intensives begin June 5/12, respectively. $275.
  • Summer camps for theater and visual arts are now open for online registration.

Questions? Email info@durangoarts.org

Donate, become a member for discounts and to be a patron of the arts, register for classes, buy tickets and keep in touch at DurangoArts.org and find things fast at https://linktr.ee/durangoartscenter.

Brenda Macon has been executive director of Durango Arts Center since 2018. Her background includes executive leadership training, business and art instruction.