The Age of Art



The city-state of Ur, which developed in Mesopotamia from around 2700 a.C., observed in a macro-historical view represents the chronological border between history and prehistory. The first most visible aspect in this timeline is the considerable imbalance between the two shores of time, with only 5,000 years of history compared to about 50.0000 years of the prehistoric period the present human specimen. What is even more remarkable in our context relates to the fact that "written history" of civilization has its precursor in a “description” of prehistoric time transmitted by the great world heritage of works of art created by our “primitive” ancestors anywhere they lived. This is the most surprising aspect of primeval time, that its main heritage consists of objects and sites of highly artistically expression, that have lasted over thousands of years, not casually but because created manly on rocks, many protected by caves, or objects made of ivory, coming to form an immense archive of pictographic character that describes the history of prehistory. It is exactly the global documentation of this artistic heritage from which the Italian archaeologist Emmanuel Anati could draw his conclusions on Total History seen in a global prospective.  In his role as director of the Camunian Centre of Prehistory, from the headquarters in Valcamonica (Italy) he used to organize numerous international symposia among archaeologists, anthropologists and paleoanthropologists from around the world, besides his interaction with the World Archive of Rock Art on behalf of UNESCO. In this context, given by the development of technological means of communication and storage of digital documents from all over the world, where Anati was undoubted a leading central organizer, it become possible  for him to gain a global vision, finally appropriate, to trace a first approach to a Total History of the world.

Traces of becoming


The considered prehistoric time goes from Neolithic period back to the Upper Paleolithic, starting about 45,000 years ago, with the first forms of art together with the first genetic appearance of our specimen, the homo sapience-sapience. The humanity of this first age lived in communities of hunter-gatherers, adapted to the cool weather o the Ice Age, dislocated in lands at the edges of the last Würm Glaciations.  With the raise of present Sun Age, which created great climatic changes with melting of ice and biblical floods, about 10,000 years ago ended the long lasting Ice Age, giving start to the New Stone Age as an adaption to the new climatic situation. The main event of this time segment is the “Neolithic revolution” with the invention of farming and breeding, creating a new social-cultural pattern which evolved over about 4-5 thousand years, creating the base for the grow of city-states signing the end of prehistory. This evolutionary step was first local than expanded in a long lasting contrast with primal cultures, as the not written part of history. 

By over viewing the remains from prehistoric times, a first stunning fact is that over 90% of the finds show expressions of visual art. The represented images are in part figurative and in part abstract symbols and diagrams. Taken together, those artistic findings represent, better than any historic annals, the coded illustration of their cultural worlds. To the more tempered New Stone Age belongs a large production of pottery art, plus megalithic sculpting and graphite made on rocks in the open air. While the arts of the Old Stone Age have been found mainly inside natural caves, dominated by the most fascinating animal paintings and reliefs, such as in the great cave of Altamira described as the "Sistine Chapel of prehistory"; together with micro-sculptures and engravings on boons and ivory, with the most beautiful female sculptures known as "Venus". But what appears as naturalistic figurations of animals and woman body, in reality is based on symbolic structures of high complexity, like the dominating binary system discovered by the great french paleo-anthropologists André Leroi-Gourhan, or the evident use of the “golden proportions”, plus cosmological connotation of the “holly mountain” connected to shamanic trances. Many are the aspects of primeval art expressions. From the more general view of Total History the most important aspect of the Upper Paleolithic Ice Age is that the great manifestation and the expanding of visual arts during this period is synchronic with the birth and territorial diffusion of the present day’s human gender, the Cro-Magnon called also sapiens-sapiens. For the relative speed with which visual arts appeared and expanded on our planet, Anati speaks about an "explosion of art"; while the famous paleoanthropologist Richard E. Leakey, considering the cultural centrality of art in this period, defined the Upper Paleolithic as the "Age of Art". Those aspects underline at best the deep ancestral connection existing between artistic creativity and anthropological identity of mankind. This facts testify that visual arts where originally a determinant factor in cultural humanizing of our most distant ancestors. Rather, we should speak about this founding artistic culture as the first "humanism" in the world. Equally important is to realize that this primary cultural layer of our species contains not only the common root of human creativity but is also the “mother culture” of all mankind. In this context, André Leroi-Gourhan described the Paleolithic culture of art "the roots of the world." There remains only to point out the significance of promoting awareness of this common anthropological identity: since the Primal Age underlies all cultural divisions created trough history, it represents a common reference for the anthropological evolution of humanity towards a planetary society, composed of citizens of the world who feel united by a common origin, similarly to any ethic group.

Essay: Anthropology of human habitat
Per concludere si può ribadire che la Global Complexity Art si definisce neo-umanista anzitutto per il fatto di porre l'arte implicitamente in rapporto all'emancipazione umana. Non per dare una finalità all'arte che sia esterno alla sua natura, ma al contrario, per liberare la naturale creatività dell'uomo che sottende ugualmente all'arte, facendo leva su questa relazione di reciprocità. Oltre al fatto che l'immaginario creato nella dimensione globale, in quanto traduce una realtà comune ma non acquisita comunemente, mette in moto una potenziale elevazione di coscienza collettiva, insieme a quella di una nuova sensibilità caratterizzata da un più ampio raggio di empatia. Ciò che in vari ambiti si definisce "global shift", ossia una "svolta globale" per intraprendere il percorso evolutivo verso una coscienza planetaria. Parlando, invece, del più stretto legame tra umanesimo e arte,  il problema artistico a cui si vuole dare risposta -come già indicato da Beuys- è quello di creare "l'immagine dell'uomo", non il modello antropologico di una cultura in particolare, di un'epoca o di un settore sociale, ma l'icona dell'umanità intera, a sostegno, appunto, del percorso evolutivo verso una futura cultura globale. In tal senso la Global Complexity Art procede a comporre l'immagine dell'uomo inseguendo la sua metamorfosi nello spazio e nel tempo, per comporre un ologramma cronotopico che, per le sue interazioni globali, include tutto lo scibile.  Ovviamente è un'operazione complessa che richiede l'ampio spettro multidisciplinare indicato dal connubio arte-scienza. E' in questi termini, sia per l'obiettivo sia per il metodo, che la Global Complexity Art tende a riattualizzare l'antica impostazione umanistica che sottese alla fioritura rinascimentale del XV sec. 

Homo Schizophrenicus


This introduction summarizes the basic concepts of the Global Complexity Art, to which the following documents relate as a progressively more detailed illustration of what has been mentioned until now.