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Spirit of the Wind
Art and Music in Acitan Culture
Acitan art and music have, at their heart, biotechnology and the innate tendencies of the acitan to be aesthetically attracted to certain themes. They also show the acitan’s struggle with their emotional emptiness and their drive to feel full emotional depth. While the acitan’s chaotic bent means that one can find a great variety, overall trends can still be observed.
Acitan art is not separated from ‘lower crafts’. The most commonly seen acitan art is actually their biotechnology, which is designed not only to work but to be beautiful as well—it is as much art as textiles or pottery is. Clothes, for instance, are usually colorful and incorporate jewelry (this extinct subspecies of acitan is an example of typical garb; while a modern acitan is highly unlikely to carry around a spear and shield (at least, not one like that), the garb is for the most part accurate (an acitan is as likely to wear green or blue) even in the modern day). This is opposed to ‘fine art’ which is art intended solely for aesthetic purposes. For the purposes of this writing, however, I’ll appreviate ‘fine art’ to ‘art’.
Most acitan art that isn’t calligraphy works with light. The acitan find light, especially that produced by bioluminescence, to be one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and almost all acitan art is bioluminescent and meant to be viewed at night. Often this takes the form of sculptures, which are not only meant to be looked at but felt and interacted with. With the aid of the silvanshee, acitan have been known to sculpt light into displays of flowing ribbons that are independent of any physical structure. Sculpture that doesn’t work with light is usually either meant to be interacted with or is dynamic, constantly in motion.
Poi is also used for the art of sculpting light. The acitan are lovers of light poi, which are basically like fire poi except emit light rather than fire. This light can be of any color the user chooses, and it’s not unknown for the color to change slowly throughout the performance. The dance itself is usually a graceful affair that manages to convey both inner peace and a feral mindset. A good poi dancer is <i>almost</i> as appreciated as a good biomancer. The tradition of poi dancing dates back to the tribalistic past of the acitan, when it was also used to send signals over a long distance at night, similar to sephamore code.
Currently, there is a growing movement among acitan artists that an ecosystem can itself serve as art. To some extent that belief has always been present; the acitan have a long tradition of bonsai forests with small animals introduced, but the members of the new movement take that practice even farther. They deliberately change a small part of the ecosystem, often like the more permanent and massive works of artists like Andy Goldsworthy but with more living parts, to evoke specific emotions in the viewer. This sort of art is meant to become part of the landscape and the ecosystem, adding to it. Many older acitan find this idea foolish. The consequences of the acitan meddling with entire ecosystems for their own purposes is too fresh in their minds, and while they recognize that the members of the new movement are generally careful, there is still the concern of them slipping up.
Painting and drawing are respected arts among the acitan. Most of their ‘painting’ is really coding leaves with incredible detail to show a multicolored picture, but watercolor and oils are used by acitan painters to create truly beautiful images. Subject matter varies, but is usually either abstract (often using luminescent pigments) or of a living organism. Landscapes aren’t unknown but are fairly rare, and one almost never sees anything like the Hudson River School’s landscapes. Drawing utilizes thin, hard stems that work like pens, and when used for the arts typically has the same subject matters as painting. Of late the acitan have developed a biotechnology that creates spark graps between drawn lines, and this biotechnology is quickly finding its way into the arts.
Photography exists among the acitan, but is more regarded as a tool for the sciences than any real art. This attitude is changing, but only slowly.
Acitan music can best be described as similar to ‘New Age’ ethnoambient or space music, produced using modified plants. Besides pleasure, the acitan use this music for inducing specific varieties of trances, which generally improve focus. The Order of Transcendence often uses this form of music to attempt to assist their journey into transcendence.
Musicians have to travel to earn money in the Southern Basin. The biotechnology required for producing sound is complicated to code and difficult to maintain, and most acitan don’t have access to it. Furthermore, most acitan musicians have visual displays of some sort to go along with their music.
With the introduction of the FungusNet, acitan literature is rapidly mutating. In contrast to our world, where the emphasis online is often how short someone can be, the acitan’s thought processes have become more slow and methodical using the FungusNet, and the new literature reflects that. Formerly, acitan were not inclined to write long works, or ones that were overly complicated and layered with subtle meanings. Currently, the increasing trend is to write novels hundreds of pages long that touch on scientific, philosophical, sociological, and political issues. And the FungusNet has given these writers a very receptive audience, one frequently willing to exchange favors in return for the writing (and the acitan do have books still; the FungusNet isn’t ever going to replace papyrus). Acitan poetry is free verse and designed to either explore a concept or induce a specific emotional state in the reader. It hasn’t changed at all since the introduction of the FungusNet.
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