Art History in “The Song of the Silencer” by Brian Aldiss

You can click on the (currently unavailable) story here

In a story about a controversial global computer floating in space, the author describes the art found in the construct copies originally made by Rembrandt and some Chinese calligraphy renderings. I wonder if the author meant the portraits of old men done by Rembrandt. If so, were they meant to parallel the philosophers who protested the giant computer’s existence? Regarding the calligraphy, this link briefly mentions Chinese writing getting streamlined in 221 BCE, a vague parallel to the fictional supercomputer’s raison d’être. For the longest time, I didn’t either understand or think anything of the Chinese reference until I looked it up and read the article.
Another reference also initially threw me. Weirdly, the story mentions a ship (the computer satellite or just another ship, I don’t remember) that had a rendering of Eva Peron. Beyond a ship possibly representing Argentina, I first didn’t know what kind of point the story made referencing such a political figure. Then I looked up a biography on her life as a radio actress, and suddenly her mention in a story about a powerful communications device did not seem so out there.

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