Humans are Weird – Sketchy
“It is so rare that we get to observe a human creating art,” Tstk’sk said as he eager slipped his paws into the protective coverings this planet’s brittle ground cover demanded, glass sand the humans called it.
The rolling ground was home to a wide variety of fungal growths that ranged from larger than the humans to small enough to grow between the hairs a Trisk’s mandibles. It just so happened that the species most adapted to growing on the footpaths was a silica rich strain that shattered to dangerous fragments when trodden on by the humans’ massive feet. On the positive side the humans had entire industries dedicated to specialty footwear and the light green coverings that Tstk’sk had been gifted by his father were both pleasing to the eyes and comfortable, or at least as comfortable as something that pushed in on all of your sensory hairs at once could be.
“I do not really see the novelty in this,” Grinds observed as he slid into his belly armor.
The low slung reptile boasted feet that were more than rated for the silica rich sand of the paths but they would collect the sand up in between their belly scoots if they spent too much time outside without protection. “I have a notebook full of human art, the majority of it from this human.”
“Scientific diagrams don’t count,” Tstk’sk explained. “That is just showing what something is on the outside. That isn’t real art.”
“I do not understand the difference,” Grinds insisted as he moved to the airlock and indicated a point between his shoulder blades with a flick of his tongue.
Tstk’sk scrambled over and climbed up to the offered perch. The reptile could not move nearly as fast as a human over long distances but his average walking speed was still quite a bit faster than that of a Trisk, making the riding style a better option that for Tstk’sk to try and keep up the pace. Tstk’sk secured his datapad in a carry pouch and focused on balancing.
“The sketches that Human Friend James did in your notebook are mostly of engine diagrams,” Tstk’sk explained. “They are simple and literal depictions of the visual surface of the objects in question. There is nothing transformative about them, there is no meaning that Human Friend James is trying to express. The are not art.”
“I object to the statement,” Grinds spoke up after a polite pause as they left the cleared area of the base behind and entered the swirling tunnels of the fungal forests. “The art is entirely transformative. Human Friend James went to great effort to chose colors and textures that I could understand. You know that those graphite pencils they favor scatter light terribly for anyone capable of properly differentiating the electromagnetic spectrum. Then he had to take the critical elements of the engine and translate them into a two dimensional form. He was expressing what he thought was the important element of the design.”
“There is certainly technical skill involved in the process,” Tstk’sk admitted. “But just look at this forest around us.”
He waved a gripping paw at the spirals upon spirals that made up the interior of the game tunnels of the fungal forests. Countless colors spread out from the shimmering opalescent fibers that served as the main bodies of the massive ultra-organisim that covered nearly the entire planet. Dotted at interval turgid orbs of blue and winding coils of a shade of yellow that was so distinct at least three universities had seen spectral analysis teams to attempt to record it mixed to give the impression that the forest was full of gravity defying masses.
“It is a lovey sight certainly,” Grinds confirmed. “I do not see that Human Friend James’s attempts to replicated it in his sketchbook would be anymore ‘art’ than his attempt yesterday to give me an accurate idea of where he suspected the blockage to be was.”
Tstk’sk refrained from answering as one of the lumbering native lifeforms came down the path. Grinds chose a thin place in the wall of the tunnel and used his powerful tail to thrash out a small den where they waited until the creature the humans called a caterpillar-corgi passed. Usually a human would just step over the creatures but the lower slung bodies of the reptiles didn’t have that option.
“Does the movement of that creature’s caudal end suggest anything in particular to you?” Grinds suddenly asked as they slipped out of the temporary refuge they had made.
“Do you mean to ask if I see the booty-bounce the humans like to laugh at?” Tstk’sk asked absently as he was more focused at the moment in cleaning the fast growing forest fibers off of his smart green paw-coverings. “I see the motion and can identify it, but I cannot find the fascination in it that humans do.”
“Human Friend James drew an entire series of sketches on the subject,” Grinds went on. “He was quite delighted when he showed them to me. He wanted me to judge if he had managed to capture the booty-bounce sufficiently in the series of still images.”
“Why did he ask you?” Tstk’sk asked in surprise.
“I suspect it was largely because I was nearby and off duty,” Grinds replied, “but he said that as I had a very nice tail myself, and was used to observing caudal motion aspects of language he judged me ideal to analyze his attempt at capturing the caterpillar-corgi booty-bounce.”
“What was your judgment,” Tstk’sk asked.
“Well you know how the graphite scatters light,” Grinds replied, “but I do think it was a fairly accurate representation of the movement.”
There was a moment of silence as they paused to consider the living image of the recalled sketch.
“So,” Grinds finally asked. “If sketches of the forest count as art, but sketches of engine dynamics don’t, to sketches of booty-bounce count as art?”
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