This painting has the tension field between individuality and cultural assimilation for subject. While it´s a generally accepted fact that progress of civilization is a process of assimilation, one must conclude that inevitably there is going to exist a tension field between progress and multiculturalism.
The best example that comes to mind to illustrate this comes from the Star Trek series and is called The Borg. The Borg are cybernetic organisms (cyborgs) linked in a hive mind called “the Collective”. The Borg co-opt the technology and knowledge of other alien species to the Collective through the process of “assimilation”: forcibly transforming individual beings into “drones” by injecting nanoprobes into their bodies and surgically augmenting them with cybernetic components. The Borg’s ultimate goal is “achieving perfection”.
When it comes to the progress of civilization, “achieving perfection” would probably be on top of the list. Lots of social projects exist where people have been experimenting with utopian ideas to create a perfect community. There are socialist, capitalist, monarchical, democratic, anarchist, ecological, feminist, patriarchal, egalitarian, hierarchical, racist, left-wing, right-wing, reformist, free love, nuclear family, extended family, gay, lesbian and many more utopias [ Naturism, Nude Christians, …] Utopianism, some argue, is essential for the improvement of the human condition. But if used wrongly, it becomes dangerous. Utopia has an inherent contradictory nature here.
After assimilation by The Borg, a drone’s race and gender become “irrelevant”. Does that ring a bell with someone? The strange thing is most liberal thinking people also promote cultural diversity, but simultaneously want to reject from these cultures all aspects that conflict with race or gender equality.
It is a puzzle that is difficult to resolve. It´s clear that the Western culture is at this instance the dominating civilization model and that other cultures have absorbed enormous portions of its realizations, but sadly enough also a big amount of the flaws that are inherent to this worldview.
The fast food, the secondary orality through TV addiction, the waste of natural resources, an economic system that dangerously depends upon continuous growth, a democratic political system that is dominated by a couple of self-serving clans, … just to name a couple of them.
Civilization is a circular process and at this instance it moves towards a recalibration where different cultures start to question openly the superiority of the Western cultural model over their own (upgraded) traditional values.
These issues lay at the foundation of the painting “Assimilation” (acrylic on canvas 30′ x 30′). At the center of the painting you find a cube, which is my version of The Borg, a metaphysical mechanism that assimilates the different cultures towards “perfection”. This cube is surrounded by a circle dominated by Lord Yama, the Hindu god of Death and Justice, the ultimate assimilator. The next ring represents the wheel of change that symbolizes the circular and multicultural aspect of the civilization process. At the fringes of the painting I’ve depicted some aspects of the current evolution of civilization. I´ve also used the metaphor of the cyclotron to put forward how technology is one of the driving forces of assimilation, together with the spreading of the fast food concept and the expansion of the internet.