Geneva Diaries #74*

Music & Memories Fur Elise, EIC and The Alphabet, Art, Love and Logic 


Dear Roger,

You are probably going to see a series of frantic emails and messages from me asking if you are back in California, well here goes another!

I leave tonight, in a few hours for LA, and will be staying in Anaheim (at the Mariott) Oct 7-11. I couldn’t be closer, so if I miss you on this trip to California, it will be a real pity. Are you back, when are you back? I really hope to see you and catch up over lunch, dinner or even a coffee! I fly out from LAX to SFO at 1:30pm Oct 11th.

As my writing to you is often a journey into my “dear diary” I’m going to leave you with this haunting melody which encapsulates my childhood and all the wonderful memories within. As I journeyed through the last rocky decade, my magical childhood somehow seemed to appear an illusion, something I had conceived, and life had contaminated. I struggled to revisit the fragments of my past, those blissful memories of my childhood, my parents and our very regular and very happy family. But whenever I caught a piece, it seemed to evaporate, or rather disintegrate due to the last few traumatic years. I found that I was unable to hold or retain a single pure uncontaminated memory, and that truly broke me. 

See below a surrealist art work titled Magnetic Mountain by Kurt Seligmann at The Art Institute, Chicago evoking the shards of memories of a house atop a mountain, my childhood home, with the mighty Brahmaputra flowing by:

And then…as magic happens..when one falls to the bottom with no where to go… in the dark depths I heard… music…pure, clear, unadulterated sound bringing back a rush of beautiful pure unadulterated memories. It was in this musical piece (Fur Elise by Beethoven) that my entire childhood in all its giddy laughter, happiness and bliss was retained in its essence. 

See below a video of music box playing Beethoven’s Fur Elise:

Fur Elise Music Box – For Purnima

As my mother adorned, anointed and wrapped herself in her saree, I often played with her jewels dancing around her dressing room. There, in the depths of that special cupboard used to lie a silver music box with two dancing figures, it was magic to open it for out streamed Beethoven’s Fur Elise as the two exquisite dolls, one male and one female, twirled around each other as elegant dancers at a great ball. It’s for you Purnima, my mother used to say, and now I know “Fur Elise” was really “For Purnima”, for in the music was retained an entire idyllic childhood, untampered, and uncontaminated. For music is memory. See attached a picture of Mom and me.

Do see below Fur Elise by Ludwig Van Beethoven:

See pasted below Mom and Me:

Mom and Me – Veena Viswanathan holding Baby Purnima

And Roger, since I have two full hours before my flight I’m going to share a blurb I had written just the other day about …The Alphabet, Googol, EIC, Art, Love, Logic and Ode to Joy…all inspired after reading an article posted by a friend on The East India Company (EIC) by William Dalrymple. See The Guardian article below:

The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders

So Roger Here goes my take on the modern day equivalent of The East India Company and its implications, can’t wait to hear what you think.

Let me take you for a ride on The Magic School Bus and let your imagination fly free: Imagine all the possible permutations and combinations  of all the letters of the alphabet, artworks or the musical notes containing within it all the art, history, literature, philosophy and creative expression of mankind. What if someone claimed The Alphabet, Would we be relinquishing all the past present and future of humanity’s expressions to that entity?

See below Jasper Johns Alphabet from The Art Institute, Chicago

Jasper JohnsAlphabet

Jasper Johns Numbers 0-9 At The Tate:

Could an “all expansive” corporate entity, in the sense that it has no defining (limiting) corporate goal (charter of world domination), indeed claim the Alphabet? It’s as ridiculous as a foreign company from a distant and diminutive island traveling across the seven seas aspiring to trade, control and eventually posses all of Hindustan, India, the much coveted dream and destination of a large part of humanity since ancient times. Well, the East India Company did exactly that, and finally had to be absorbed by the Crown, are we seeing another EIC in the form of the omnipresent, omnipotent Googol or (heh heh) should we portentously call it The Alphabet aspiring to conquer the realm of our dreams, physical and virtual destinations!?!

What are the ramifications for humanity? Are we, humankind, due to progress in technology, (over which we seem to have limited control) coming closer to relinquishing our core humanity: human speech, expression and core freedoms that makes us man? Who safeguards these freedoms for mankind as a whole, is it a particular nation (unlikely as each will strive to claim fire for themselves), a group of nations ( as we have seen they will act primarily in their own interests, ie,  the interests of the economically dominant nations over the others claiming higher moral authority just on the basis of economic prowess), or then The Unite Nations (God help us all)!

In my opinion, the fate of humanity has to be secured by its humans. No nation, state, organized group or forum, but the individuals who stand jeopardized as their humanity is being wrestled from under their noses under various pretexts. No one speaks for me for one, I speak for myself and that is the speech I wish to be heard and registered as I’m arm twisted in giving it all up. How can we make this happen? How can we express ourselves freely, unconfined by the nation state, religious, ethnic and educational or vocational or gender distinctions? I strive to ensure that my voice is crisp clear and unadulterated as I fight for my right to retain my humanity not having this wrestled out of me by persuasive and influential voices that purport to represent my interests.

More… Much more to follow…For in the world of tomorrow, the world from which I edit, the cauldron is brewing over with images of AI Art…a note for another time… for in this letter I hope to showcase The Art Institute (AI) Art

See images of Purnima at the Art Institute of Chicago below:

Philosophical dilemmas:

Is Art/ creativity really bound by its medium (language, music, numbers) or is the medium merely an expression, one of numerous avenues or dimensions to express the idea. The idea being in a nebulous effervescent form in an undefined space until it is realized and expressed by man in any of the numerous avenues open to him to express the same. By enumerating every permutation and combination of letters, numbers and musical notes, and scanning the corpus of literary and artistic works can we conceivably say that we have listed/ defined every past present and future expression of Art or creativity of humankind?

In a universe where man is not only looking to simulate but create a virtual existence starting from digital copies of viruses to worms, can we similarly attempt merely by listing all the possible permutations of the Alphabet (etc) to state that we now have (have been able to simulate or express in a digitized form) all of mankind’s Art/Creativity?

Can you really conceive of an algos to represent creative expression?

I think…not!

In attempting to represent this human realm, man through his gargantuan omnipresent omnipotent corporate entities, will wrestle as much knowledge/data as he can in order to accurately simulate this world. The danger of course lies when man is unable to wrestle (for example) the Alphabet and all its permutation combinations back out of the hands of the corporation. When due to IP restrictions or other laws bestowing possession to the corporate entity excluding the rest of humanity we are not somehow deprived of all that we believe makes us human to list a few: our physical image, our movements and facial expressions, our texture, color and all physical attributes, our unique verbal and physical expressions, our distinctive mode of communication, all our financial relationship and professional history both in pictures and text including search data covering  relationships, emotions, desires and passions all neatly contained in a data packet tucked into the  pocket of the corporation. Can you conceive of a time where the corporate will claim pre eminence over our data, where we will have to line up and pay the corporate entity, commit to eternal enslavement, to reclaim ourselves our information our image and our data back from the corporate? And how and why we will ask did we get here…ALL because the nation state, whether individually or through the agglomeration of nations failed  us, all because the organizations designed to protect were compromised! This is not an event in the misty realms of tomorrow, this is the reality of today.

However … fortunately… I believe there is a land of rainbows and unicorns beyond this cloud of gloom as I believe that completely erasing or enslaving humanity will just not be possible AND this is despite ourselves…because I believe art is the expression of that elusive spirit that refuses to be confined by the devices of Man or the Algos(AI gods).

As these virtual realms get built with all our data packets, attempting to find a formulaic representation of creative expression is where the simulation of the universe will hit a roadblock so it will attempt the next best thing, it will list all potential permutations and combinations of the ( for example) Alphabet to represent all of humanity’s creativity past present and future, in the belief that creativity is somehow embedded in the forum or the channel of expression, and a catalogue of every potential expression through all known channels would encapsulate all of mankind’s creativity. And with this final flourish this future entity will declare it has replaced human experience and existence in a virtual form. Fortunately life and Art are not so simple to replicate, and humanity will eventually prevail with a new Ode to Joy that will blow everyone s brains off!

Do check out the MIT Tech article below:


This above pasted MIT Tech article gives humanity a thread to hang on, for it shows how despite producing an algos for every musical notation and it’s combination, AI wouldn’t necessarily be able to produce pathbreaking creative work/music as (giving the example of Schoenberg below) novelty and creativity may lie outside the form and format of music which might mean redefining music and it’s notations, and similarly all of artistic expression.  AI could only work from the subset provided and would not be in a position to redefine it (music or art).

We count Schoenberg as a creative innovator not just because he managed to create a new way of composing music but because people could see in it a vision of what the world should be. Schoenberg’s vision involved the spare, clean, efficient minimalism of modernity. His innovation was not just to find a new algorithm for composing music; it was to find a way of thinking about what music is that allows it to speak to what is needed now.

And I wrap up this missive with these final words:

The universe is a balance between Love and Logic, disorder and order,  with Art as its expression. We may be able to duplicate artistic expression with permutation of historical creative expression but in my belief never replicate it. For in order to meet the next Picasso, the one that turns the world upside down, challenges norms and changes human perception, we will have to live in the realm of man and not in the realm of AI gods, for  Picasso can only exist in the “real” human world.

See below images from The Art Institute of Chicago that showed us new ways to dream…


As I explore the above pasted collection from the Art Institute Chicago, I realize how my life experience is enriched and taken to another threshold, an experience that a literal translation of the title into an art form would not produce: Viewing Picasso’s Man With A Pipe, we can barely count the varied textures, dimensions and sensations we are exposed to as we journey into the man’s half shut eyes and inhale; In the Nude under a Pine Tree, Picasso once again deconstructs and reconstructs our perception of the human form, using perspective to telescope us on to another realm; Fernand Leger’s Still Life feels eerily un-still, the painting as I see it are the accoutrements of a man of those times (1928) a top hat, a cane and a pipe all of which appear in a hurry; Rene Magritte’s The Banquet leads me to a familiar place, dinner at sundown on the patio, but with the seemingly familiar is surrealistically unfamiliar as the incandescent setting sun presents itself like a glowing orb in front of the trees instead of silently setting in the horizon behind them; Personages With Star-Joan Miro…c’est quoi…what? Oh now I see it…the glamor, the glitter, the hallucination, fabuleux! And finally, Angel Planells – Midday Sorrow, this masterful work of languid oozing grief and procrastinated sorrow in multiple dimensions says it all, for it talks to the soul.

I now wrap this up with a bunch of videos from my trip to The Art Institute of Chicago where I query the magnificent lions that guard the facade, Sher Khan and Simba, “Do you know where the Jabberwocky is?” 😂 A Must Watch!

The Art Institute Chicago- Sher Khan-Video 1

Video 1:

The Art Institute Chicago-Do You Know Where The Jabberwocky Is? -Video 2

Video 2:

The Art Institute Chicago – Sher Khan Points To Simba- Video 3

Video 3:

The Art Institute Chicago-Hello Simba- Video 4

Video 4:

The Art Institute Chicago-Simba Do You Know Where The Jabberwocky Is? – Video 5

Video 5:

Lots of love to everyone, can’t wait to see you all and hear about your recent adventures in Paris!


Purnima Viswanathan

Disclaimer 😛

All persons, places, events are fictitious; all imputed relationships purely aspirational. There were no men harmed during the penning of the Feminist Manifesto

Published by Purrnima

Travel Writer - Art Blogger - CyberSmurf

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