Hatch City comes alive!

My wonderful friend Roisin gave me the most generous gift for my recent birthday - she brought Hatch City to life with her artistic skills! Her drawing perfectly represents the city in my imagination: dark, drowning and dangerous ... and everything under the shadow of the looming Watchbreakers' Tower. It's really exciting for me to have somebody else make the effort to step into a world that previously only existed in my head, and to bring back proof that they really were there!

Hatch City has been very alive in my imagination lately also. I've been working hard on the book over the last few weeks, drawing up huge flowcharts of the fabula and contemplating the syuzhet. It feels both like I've come a long way and also like I'm just starting. Tiny notes from a year ago make sense all of a sudden, and I'm having plenty of "Aha!" moments. I'd better enjoy the flow while it lasts!


How much does environment affect self-expression?

I've been thinking back to the times our ancestors lived by the skin of their teeth in the wild places of the earth. Some folks still live there today in the tundras, deserts, forests and plains of our world - eking out an existence in a state of constant battle against the environment, the elements, animals, disease and each other.

In these places, interaction with the world revolves around survival. This is reflected in the crafts and modes of self-expression used: building, weapons-crafting, clothing. Self-expression occurs as a reaction to the world.

As the human race expands exponentially the methods of interaction open to us in the modern world, new art forms and modes of self-expression are born. We see evolutions of dancing, fashion, tattoos and so on up to digital memes, blogging and games. The cutting edge of technology can be used not only for increasing food and shelter but also for increasing art, entertainment and engagement (see for example, Instagram or Google's Project Glass). In many cases, these new forms are action rather than reaction.

The problem of too much choice rears its head. People uncomfortable in the vast swamps of ideas, technology, and what-to-do-nexts of the conceptual world scurry to the comfortable hearths of the past to feel secure, the reassuring touch of the tangible. Witness the resurgence of knitting, crochet, baking, home gardening.

Society/environment and art like a double helix: each inextricably bound to the other, ties back and forth, looping around each other. Where will it go? How will it grow? In 100 years, with everything exponential and computers obsolete, our lives could be controlled directly from within the brain. How will progressive artists express themselves in this pure conceptual space? Conversely, what interesting backlash regression in physical self-expression will rise?

In a future lived more in the mind than the body: How will art act and push society to react? How will society act and push art to react?