Re; Thinking Pauses.
I think of the pauses in this vid as "confusion" pauses, but I guess confusion is a particular kind of thinking. The "flow" thinking happens when the pen is almost moving by itself, and the thinking is intuitive, almost subconscious, meditative, and pleasurably mindless. As you can see in the vid, this movement has a kind of confident, seamless, dancelike quality to it.
The "confusion" thinking is conscious, deliberative, and kinda agonizing. I'm trying to weave things together that incorporate geometric and spatial dynamics or quantitative reasoning that taxes my short term memory system, and making decisions between alternative strategies. This is when the pen hovers above the page, tracing implicit relationships and potential forms, and my finger movements resemble delirium tremens or stimming. This kind of thinking can lead to "mistakes" such as incorrect proportions, mismatched curves, misalignment, and bad counting. The "mistakes" are not thinking at all, and, in this, have unconsciousness in common with "flow" thinking. The mistakes and the "flow" pen marks both have a certain "suchness" that the "confusion" thinking does not.
As the page fills up, the tabula rasa becomes an increasingly dense decision-making space, and the opportunity for flow decreases. You can see this happening in the video as the drawing style becomes jumpy, jittery, and decelerated. When "confusion" thinking becomes dominant and "flow" thinking is no longer possible I know the drawing is complete. It usually takes several consecutive "mistakes" for me to notice and make the decision to stop, which in itself is a kind of metacognitive act.
This explanation may not address my compositional strategy, or what, at all, the drawing "represents". But I hope it provides some window into the creative process and the fact that my real interest isn't the drawing per se, but cognition itself. The pen and page are what Alva Noe would call "strange tools" to enable an investigation into the nature of consciousness. The marks delimit the ability of sentience to self-organize in the face of entropy. Furthermore, the fact that viewers report seeing eyes and faces and landscapes and sexualized bodies in these marks is evidence of our unconscious cognitive modules working in parallel, not any intention. These modules are a product of eons of selective pressures, they are engaged in "flow" thinking and passive, uncritical viewing because they are effortless for our brain - laborious and awkward general cognition is not required.
When I saw the "Google Dream" images for the first time I was pretty upset. This process has perfect "flow" - several orders of magnitude faster and more powerful than I could ever hope to attain. Perfect flow, but also perfectly unconscious. No struggle. No mistakes. No evidence of a natural ebbing of attention. No thought. Not art (unless it were presented in the context of the efforts of the programmers to create the algorithms, in which case I could be convinced).
When I shared my last drawing timelapse my old friend David Serotkin quoted Obi Wan's observation about Darth Vader - "He's more machine than man now." That got me thinking - what can humans do that machines can't? A pressing question. My realization is that these drawings are my answer. The metaphor completes itself too, because (spoiler alert) doesn't Darth Vader end up being human after all?