Re: 2 The Eye's Mind

IntroductionRules for Deviance

Any observer’s version of his Umwelt will be one unique model of the world, which is a system of signs made up of genetic factors plus a cocktail of experiences, including future expectations. —Thomas Sebeok

The question of the limits of complexity has often been raised. Indeed, the more complex the system is, the more numerous are the types of fluctuations that threaten its stability. —Ilya Prigogine 

Art reveals the transitory as an absolute; and as the transitory existence is perpetuated through the centuries, art too… must perpetuate this never-to-be-finished revelation. —Simone de Beauvoir

Some law of logic should fix the number of coincidences, in a given domain, after which they cease to be coincidences, and form, instead, the living organism of a new truth. —Vladimir Nabakov

Lighting off from Barnett Newman’s famous quip “Aesthetics is for the artists as ornithology is for the birds,” The Eye’s Mind assumes the perch of a bird. Authored by a bird, it is about bird doings and ruminations. It primarily addresses other birds and, inevitably, ornithologists (read: aestheticians, art historians, critics, curators and their like).

First operating premise of The Eye’s Mind: the praxis of art over the span of the past three decades—the advent of Pop Art butted up against a nervously anticipated millennial phase shift—is best characterized, in the recent present as a ceaseless granulating into so much grist for too many mills.

Part One: HCE: Artifact, Art & Agency in the fin-de-siècle

To enjoy to the fill the conquests of the daring, we must demand that it operate in a pitiless light. —Igor Stravinsky

Rules are not the source of poetry, but poetry is the source of rules, and there are as many rules as there are real poets.—Giordano Bruno

The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not nearly kill him. —John Berryman

There’s something to be said for fucking up. In fact, fucking up, if you aspire to be an artist, may be the creative principle: getting broken, broken wide open, and then delving among the shards. Moving on. —Breyten Breytenbach

Commencing with:

  1. A Kunstler in the current epoch.

  2. A critique of the “institutional aesthetic.”

  3. Development of a “value inherent” attitude of mind, or aesthetic, as counterpoint to the “institutional.” 

  4. The Art-Philosophy Connection: a mutual scrutiny.

  5. Art & The Ecology of Mind.

 

The soul that is prevented by circumstances from feeling anything of the beauty of the world, even confusedly, even through what is false, is invaded to its very center by a kind of horror. —Simon Weil

Part Two: Attitudes & Conjecture

A central characteristic of the modern period has been continued increase in the efficacy of the technology of production which poses a growing challenge to the primacy of the values they are supposed to serve. The post-modern period, the onset of which may be set at 1945, will witness either a greater threat to the status of these values by the surging technology or a reassertion of their normative priority. Which alternative prevails will determine whether society is to be the servant or the master of the instrument it creates. —Daniel Bell

The major problems in the world are a result of the difference between the way Nature works and the way man thinks. ––Gregory Bateson

For more than 99% of human history, the world was enchanted and man saw himself as an integral part of it.
The complete reversal of this perception in a mere four hundred years or so has destroyed the continuity of the human experience and the integrity of the human psyche. It has very nearly wrecked the planet as well. The only hope, it would seem, lies in the re-enchantment of the world. ––Morris Berman

Your perception, however instantaneous, consists… in an incalculable multitude of remembered elements; in truth, every perception is already memory. Practically, we perceive only the past, the pure present being the invisible progress of the past gnawing into the future. —Henri Bergson 

Memory is the great organizer of consciousness. It simplifies and composes our perceptions into units of personal knowledge. It is the real maker of history—not recorded history, but the sense of historyitself, the recognition of the pastas a completely established (though not completely known) fabric of events, continuous in space and time, and casually connected throughout. —Suzanne K. Langer 

There are three possible scales or dimensions that may seem of reliable importance, along which ambiguities may be spread out: the degree of logical or grammatical disorder, the degree to which apprehension of the ambiguity must be conscious, and the degree of psychological complexity concerned. —William Empson

It is… the reinstatement of the vague to its proper place in mental life which I am so anxious to press on the attention. —William James

Choice Points (1)

  • Here again, we begin again at the end again—in eternal return to another end again, only to begin again.

 

  • Re the qualities and value of beauty.

 

  • An axiology of Art. The assumption of privilege as to the separate and special status of art (objects, events, etc.) in contrast with all other artifacts of culture—and, in contrast with the objects, processes of nature.

 

  • Re the ancient regime. How are experiences had? Ever since Edmund Husserl concluded that consciousness has no life apart from the objects it considers, the central issue of pure consciousness has always been pure consciousnessof what?

 

  • Self-identified Homo sapiens are the toxic joker in the ecological deck. Hence, “Those who cannot take command of their own lives will be given other masters.” (Xenophon) While those masters will emerge from the non-human natural realm.
      

  • The question/issue is not about empowerment, how not to become/to submit to institutional intimidation.
     

  • Re like Lady Macbeth voicing how simply (easily, freely) she would dash out the brains of an infant sucking at her breast. Re revolutions are conjured up by Utopians, realized by fanatics, and exploited by cynical opportunists.

  • Virtual “space” and the types of observational quotients distinguishing it from actual “space.” Hence, the Actual/Virtual axis.

Choice Points (2)

“You’re getting rid of the things that people used to think were essential to art.” —Donald Judd.
 

“Art is the only aristocracy left where a man takes full responsibility.” —Clifford Still
 

  • Pulchritudo splendor veritatia (Beauty is the splendor of truth). And Simplex sigillum (the simple is the seal of the true). What has happened to this idea that truth and the beautiful and the simple are intimately aligned? It has been revitalized, and in its hyper fluid (plasmic) state of relativity, has been soaked up and opportunistically “claimed” by every granulating, niggling parochialism dwelling within the art world’s precincts. 

 

  • Re the entire issue of instinctive patterns of form, shape, configuration, silhouettes… functioning as archaic templates embedded in neurological nets filtering the causal and significant from the arbitrary and derelict. Re primal images in perpetual revision and re-presentation… such that, “novel features” peel off the old block. Originality, therefore, is a manifest expression (embodiment) of an optimum distance from the “centering” archetype, pattern, template, and ideal.

 

  • To stylize (stereotype) is to restrict instinct, feeling, wisdom, erudition, data, information, knowledge, intuition, hunch, guess, hallucination, delusion, misprision, and interpretation.

 

  • Re Art and Gnosis. The range and type of Gnostic issues are identifiable in contemporary art––the Gnostic-Shamanistic connection. Re Harold Bloom’s agonistic spirit. Such that if in Gnosis the acquired “knowledge is of oneself,” then Art’s episteme runs through the self into the world at large—if Art is, or can be, a Gnosis, then its knowledge is of the world exclusively through the filter, or conduit, of a particular self. If while trawling for what is oldest in oneself something exclusive of the world is revealed. Thus, the mundas imaginalisas the ultimate source of “objects and processes” articulated and embodied by intuition of a self. A Platonic spissitudo spiritualis, a kind of “spiritual extendedness,” infiltrating the medium embodying the self.

 

  • Re presentation, representation, re-presentation, abstraction, reporting, reminding, drawing-out, rendering, cognizant, illuminating, uncovering, matching-up-with, articulating, embodying, manifesting, imagining, conveying and concretizing… as descriptive modalities for making objets d'art.

 

  • Science has monopolized notions like rigor, precision, accuracy, proof, confirmation, etc. Hence the futility of competing with such notions on their own terms. Thus, it is one of the responsibilities of art to re-generate these notions on its own terms.  

 

  • Beauty is fury. The resuscitation of the notion of beauty is like beaching a whale––it finally depends upon the random whim of capricious tides rather than the force of exerted will… or, the intent of beauty’s re-introduction into the present remarks is a matter of engaging its temporal synchronicity. That is, with counter-forces flowing invasively against the entrenched hidebound standards of institutional (social-parochial, sociological, political) criteria.  

 

  • Intuitive/analytic grasp. Re the central distinction separating methods of knowing, the role of “facts,” and rules of evidence vs. intuitive physicality. Following the ethereality of digital data. Reduced to on/off zeros (0) and ones (1) within engulfing streams of exponential reduction. What about the surface? Is it deemed to be inessential to the so-called “information” provided independent of the surface—and its “qualities” of touch, pressure, eccentricity, etc.
    This now becomes a core issue: can digital methods and means convey the nuances of the body as it renders marks?

  • Like taking poison, upon the recently delivered news that prevailing conditions support neither one’s cherished and final position, nor any possible position which encourages a reasonable compromise. We, in the midst of miasma, assume or adduce to conclude—in a state of semi-somnambulance—that all is lost, that any exertion is useless… that rampant negligence is loose and afoot and that all and any hope, or expectation, is host to futility. Thus, we devour the said position and shift our emphasis to… conditions.

Choice Points (3)

  • The pivotal questions come down to these: how much variation, permutation, and re-interpretation is any big idea worth? How much redundancy can it sustain before falling into strictly academic status? Re the ready-made (assisted and otherwise) as a case in point. At what stage does it devolve into empty pretense?

 

  • Re ambiguity and the function of the protean shape-shifting: 1) (a) sequential and (b) simultaneous; and 2) (a) the event/interval and (b) the overlay e.g. as in a Runic script, as in a double or triple exposure, etc. Other examples abound as in “cross-talk.”
     

  • The face of imagery. Such a “face” corresponds to a grounded sub-structure… reflecting a polymorphic “set” of all practical possibilities. Permutates and interjects novelty into the problematic of any and all images. Archetype? Perhaps. The image ofimageryitself! Meta-status, archetype status against stereotype, devoted commitment to unrelenting re-visions of the thing (imagery) itselfding an sich. Re the intimacy of knowledge (e.g. of carnal “knowing,” of utilization, of application of effects, of… the knowledge of intimacy) and the awareness of the difference extent between.

  • Re the imagistic (pictorial) equivalent of a frenzied panic in the face of onrushing apocalyptic cataclysm. Contra on the flipside: seeking a neo-Merlin and the quest for the virtual Grail, i.e. the genetic mapping, decoding, and “control” of the design of life. Making art in the face of this dilemma.

 

  • Consider the cyber equivalent of the Incunabula. Thus, the advent of the codices, books, palimpsests, etc. Re Bacon’s “index”:  a) memory, b) reason, and c) imagination––the tri-partition of the mind.

 

  • Just as most narratives are an implied evolution, all descriptive evolution is an outright narrative. Preceding any significant evolutionary shift is an extreme critical test within the organism’s environment, its natural habitat, its niche wherein the structures of adaptation are outwitted by apparently random circumstances. Like a protrusion in the craw,
    a tearing at the limit of what is digestible. Re the range and relevance and magnitude of the choices/ decisions/ maneuvers in response to the random as opposed to the arbitrary.

 

  • Re neo-nominalism. In its extreme, forcing every example of an “it” and “type” and “category” and “taxonomy” into a thou…(re Martin Buber) emphasizing its unique status, difference, deviation, variation, etc. as opposed to its abstract characteristics of membership in a type, class, phylum, etc.

  • Consider the unimaginable (yet conceivable?) complexity of the overarching circumambience, the inter-subjectivity of all cultures and all individuals living in/at this very moment. Slice through the sum of all this consciousness at a given moment. How to articulate, ensign, and convey that totality, for surely it exists. How to encompass this overall state of Mind? What can be said about it (external to the precincts of an exhausted mysticism)? In light of this condition, the neo-nominalist stance is set alight.

  • Re seeking to penetrate an expanding sphere of “meaning,” of inter-subjective significance (the topical vs. the ontic). The nominalist critique reduces to this: when we make judgments, and establish opinions and dogma regarding structural concepts (categories) like “type,” “statistic,” and “taxon,” we distance ourselves from the true grit ground-zero of impacted experience. Re the experiential vs. the abstracted, the sensed vs. the extracted, and re-ensigned to separate compartments of classification.

  • Re the visual/plastic equivalent of the perennial philosophy. Contra playing loose and fast with ancient analogies and idioms: the pop-mystic (like the pop-Marxist) drains away all relevant data towards the micro-ideology governing their hypothesis. A migration of disjointed patterns sloshing back and forth between the possible “givens” and “wished for.” For all such ideologies scramble to emphasize any point that appears to endorse their premise.

 

  • As a measure of accelerating rates of historical change, or, conversely, the cognitive grasp of perceived or apparent change, can we speak in terms of late postmodernism, of the mannerist postmodern? Paraphrasing Camus: we are living at the end of the ancient world… hence, the oncoming agencies of the post-ancient.

 

  • Re the Post Ancient World and the post-modern sensibility as the final exhalation and gasp of such worlds. That, within its longer arcs, the initial event, the pivot point, indicating the beginning of the end of the phase shift from the ancient world was the initial Whole Earth photograph from space. (c. 1968)

Choice Points (4)

  • Re Epicurean philosophy as a form of thinking that was/is primarily designed to secure tranquility… manifested in Epicurus’ dictum, “above all, live so as to avoid fear,” is at the heart of any significant philosophical pursuit.

  • Re the geological homology of Earth Art. Based in the linguistic, the effort to strip away all inference, except to its self-reflective geo-presence.
     

  • When art is suborned to science, sterility is the result. In science’s ideal, no signal goes unmixed; while in art, most signals are mixed. Consider the value of efficiency governing each position.

 

  • Empson’s reference to the “pregnancy” of metaphors. The burgeoning of meaning in them, polyvalent referencing––meaning pointing to A (this) and B (that) simultaneously. Thus, metaphors are infinite;  idioms are finite.

 

  • Re the general (and generalized) belief that Logos represents progress over Mythos. The consolidation and triumph of Science is a modern assumption coinciding with the arrival of 17thcentury Europe. Thus, the role or function of visual/plastic arts is relegated to a position that is marginal at best to the central discourse addressing science’s episteme.

 

  • Re generating formal templates of such protean fecundity that infinite, unpredictable, and non-arbitrary variation (and mutation) is perpetual. The forms are the lawful spoils of whoever can wrest them away from the migrating matrix of possible combinations.

  • If asked to specifically point to the critical work issuing in the current epoch it would be the insurgent Cimabue at the Cathedral of Assisi. The governing notion of critical pictures as turning points in visual culture.

 

”The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.”—Oscar Wilde
 

  • Hence the pictorial Babel swelling with confusion and noise, passing itself off as complexity and multiple reference.
    Re the metaphor of geo-heuristics: Noah’s Ark was rudderless.

  • A dizzying array of nomadic rejects fathoming the dread of certain memories and the enchantment of others while the dream-state intermixes them without regard to our conscious preference. Like the sullen rapture of a distant melancholic recall such images emerge.

 

  • Distinguish chaos from ambiguity, dissonance from cacophony, and discord from deception. Hence, appropriationism is to the 90s as social realism was to the 30s; like a junkyard underdog snarling its way to its selected summit.

 

  • The Marxist category of commodity fetishism (and the cash nexus) and the erotic and theoretical notions of conspicuous consumption. Re authentic values contra the cynic’s view that an individual endeavoring to pursue authentic values in a world where they evaporate or have been rendered inaccessible is possessed by demons and thus lives by illusions bringing about its destruction. Authenticity can be fatal.

  • Re consideration of the difference between trophy hunting and hunting for food, thus survival––the motives of survival and trophy are opposed––thus the blunt magnitude of sterility and bareness in much of the recent installation works. They are trophy. Re the “trophy-food” analogy for the distinction between the ontic and the topical as motivations for making art, and subsequently, as the character of the work itself.

  • Stella’s indulgent dictum: “what you see is what you get” has been displaced with: what you get does not necessarily appeal to what you see… and what you get you had better accept as being good for you.

 

  • Arthur Danto, et al. questioning the grounds of a work of art’s ontic status by assaulting the epistemological position of what constitutes (of what is and what is not) a work of art. What if Picasso signed a forgery? Would it still be a genuine Picasso?

 

  • Re Nelson Goodman’s point (contra Danto) that all aesthetic differences are perceptual differences. Back to the aesthetic intention, the role of intent in generating works of art,  plus the quasi-mystical issues of originality.

 

  • Re concerning the pathways of flow, hence generating memory that activates a specific recall. This flow, in turn, generated by a compulsion to reconstruct memory in the service of arch forms, which, in turn, construct (embody) templates, finally returning to the forms themselves in their actual (if not virtual) manifestations, whether pictures, objects, or contexts.

 

  • Re the envelope of memory as considered flexible and changing in configuration while determined by an anatomy of usefulness in the present. An updated now in the present adjusted to past contingences dominating that present. Thus, the big questions vs. the irrelevant ones: what is to be retained and what is to be forgotten, or let go?

 

  • Re tthe shift of memory’s emphasis vis-à-vis the ambiguity of place, in terms of relative importance. Thus,…the viewer’s impercipience as a measure of the image’s ambiguityas as it tantalizes the memory bank; drawing out this or that reference, associating this or that reference with X or Y—which is not exactly arbitrary, but nonetheless random within such frames of reference.

 

  • Memory and revisionism. When the actual impress of events recedes in fading time, and the natural tendency to forget sets in, interpretation of the actual event is up for grabs (ideological and/or opportunistic grabs), and revisionism sets in. Re to sanitize an image of the past and fit it in with current ideological constraints. Thus, to confuse verisimilitude with reality… info-fiction (e.g. pseudo-documentaries, etc.) melding so-called facts with agendas or causes.

  • To paraphrase Flannery O’Conner: the task of art is to deepen mystery, not to rationalize it out of existence.

 

  • The Nazca plains drawings, the chalk drawings of Salisbury Plain, crop circles, standing dolmens of Malta, etc. all which precede and influence the issue of Earth Art. Specifically contra artifacts in natural settings—especially: Smithson, Hizer, deMaria, Morris, Oppenheim, et al.

 

  • Re the role of axiology. Concerning the relations and potential clashes between a given ethical code and an aesthetic one, e.g. the Parthenon was built by slave labor; and the bullfight—the defiance of the ethical code against animal cruelty driven via the institutional aesthetic code of choreographed malevolence. And by extension, the toe-to-toe confrontation between utility and rarity, and the extended plotting of intention––e.g. can a work of art be made without the conscious intention to make a work of art…  a work of art?

 

  • Re considering the origins of perspective. Toscanelli’s geometry, Alberti’s grid, Bruneleschi’s mirror. Consider the origins of the cumulative patterns of extensive views, i.e. architecture and sculpture. How many, and of what varieties of perspective, are available to the viewer? (e.g. Giovanni Canaletto)

  • Re aura in pictures as a presence… is-ness… factura… quiddity. The eerie concordance between a mental image “X” and the subsequent articulated image “X,” and the interpenetration of explicit materials, and Emerson’s “luster” (aura/presence).

  • Materialism and (vs.) Mentalism in the plastic arts. Re Sartre’s L’Imaginaire, “The great ontological law of consciousness is this: the only way in which consciousness can exist is for it to be conscious in its own existence.” The connection between imagination and memory, between interpretation and description, between fiction and fact––contingent and secure.
     

  • Dying institutions build monuments to themselves and nothing antiquates so quickly and so thoroughly as “visions” of the future and the politically correct issue of “victim art.” As an example: Arlene Croce’s “Discussing the Undiscussable” in The New Yorker, December 26, 1994, and Joyce Carol Oates’ response in The New York Times, Feb 19, 1995. 

 

  • Re how social scientism creeps into the practice of the plastic arts after collapse (an exhaustion) of ing in to a formal dogma. The issue is a justification––a Hobbesian “war of all against all,” and presumed on the subcultural scale.
    And “art” making’s purpose is presumed to enjoin this “war.” Or pluck choice shards from modernism’s rubble to be reassembled and represented in Post-Modernist terms––just as the new ostentation consists of repackaged detritus and funk… in the quickening assent of moral anorexics.

     

  • Re trading in (exchanging) an arid formalism for an avid politics (an “art-world” defined political commitment).
    This appears to be the self-justification, a critical ground for much if not all of the scientistic regurgitation passing for devolving conceptual works of art.

Choice Points (5)

  • Napoleon, upon receiving the manuscript of Marquis de Laplace’s magnum opus, declared, “You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.”  Laplace replied, : “I have no need for that hypothesis.”

  • Re an artist is therefore perforce compelled to learn to be absurd, to cast her/himself into impossible, ridiculous,or capricious circumstances in order to comprehend afresh, to strike the lyre without breaking its strings.

  • Re how the function/nature of art making is reshaped by the responsibility of engaging technology. This is most obviously the central issue, since the current ethos is overwhelmed by the rapid,  and consistent, and asymptotic evolution of such hyper-technologies.
     

  • Re the belief this or that is so, to be true vs. I am certain that this is true (or so). The relation between belief and certainty in art and science.

 

  • Re analogical parallels with PM in art—e.g. genetic engineering as postmodern science. Bio-tech = organism(s) that natural evolution did not create. The equivalence in art making: art that is external to the evolution of formal co-evolution.

  • Re the equation: Of PM science with PM art––as that which extends the rules and contingences of engagement––that which determines past from present significance.
     

  • Re the changing and contingent regarding to the necessary and eternal (or unchanging) vs. art and science; e.g. the role of trial and error in art and science and the subsequent consequences of being wrong: the topical vs. the ontic.

  • As the blind appetite for “appropriation” feeds off (on?) Modernism’s cadaver… while its political culture rules over a domestication of the perverse and the centralization of the marginal, …under the guise of rectifying historically sanctioned abuse and deliberate neglect. This now becomes the justification for its topicality and subsequent tactics.

 

  • Re Noel Carroll’s Genealogy of Art Theory: Re:the Sophists introduced the first definition of beauty as “that which is pleasant to sight or hearing.” Re Francis Hutchinson’s idea of beauty as uniformity amidst variety… thus the compound ratio of uniformity and variety. Kant’s distinction between “free beauty” (Nature) and “dependent beauty” (Art).

 

  • Re Bergson: time, abstract time, space/time, duration, measurable duration, succession, memory, recollection, change, permanence, and divisions of existence, which include intuited anticipations and premonitions of the future.

 

  • Re time as a priori. In accord with Kant’s distinction between knowledge and its variety of forms. Kant regarded intelligence as preeminently a faculty of mind establishing interconnections, …and that our knowledge is inseparable from its particular forms…. Despite the elusiveness of the Kantian pre-categories, …in relation to visual forms, theysupports a matrix for the allocation of types.

 

  • The shift from the cannon to the madrigal in music; from the epic to the rhapsodic in poetry, as in the Paleolithic’s virtual-homologous representation to the symbolic with the arrival of the Neolithic.
     

  • Re the root of technology. Technikos/techne for the Greeks, was one with art. The Greeks did not separate art from manufacture. Re the relationship to the mass-produced. What distinguishes the unique object from its assembly line counterpart?
     

  • The vulgar have always possessed an essential advantage over the learned: their minds wereare infinitely less capable of forging their own shackles, moral and otherwise. Re the binds and restraints intrinsic to moral and/or ethical superiority. Does the same apply to the aesthetic?

 

  • World Global ecology is experiencing an extinction spasm. What is Art’s role in identifying it?

 

  • Re free-floating comparisons. Rousseau’s passionate conviction that scientific advance has depraved morals.
    Re Heidegger’s interpretation of Nietzsche’s “God is dead” means that the supra-sensible world is without effective force. Re the notion of cultural/social solipsism with involuntary solipsism as a definition of madness. Re Nature is/as personified Romanticism. Re logical positivism as the equal to Minimalism in the arts.

 

  • Re the non-recuperative aspect of a memory and the degrees of longing, regret, and even resentment associated with it and the eternal return: the memory returns as well as the events similar to it and are reenacted in the intensity of the present instant. Eternal return is never an exact replica of the previous return. Ergo the ambiguity of bringing it back. Re memory and the intensity of the moment––the accumulated intervals/interstices of the moment. Separating the present from the moment of intensity associated with the specific memory. Re Nietzsche’s “highest thought”—the eternal recurrence and its role or effect upon memory. Also: its role and effect upon the ambiguous, i.e. here we go again, only its different, yet intrinsic, with the cycle of recurrence. This is inescapable.

 

  • Re the quagmire of crisscross associations given the recasting of a specific memory in an external/separate image.
    Re return to the templatic match-up, the specific (in terms of eternal return), and the frozen image invoking its presence. It is there (the image) and you are there confronting such an image. Presence is that which the two (the image and the viewer) interactively share in common.

Choice Points (6)

  • Under a cover of insurrectionary tactics, multiculturalism, and its accompanying protocols have become the new “academy.”
     

  • A canonical version. PM’s platitudes and bromides settling the boundaries as to what is permissible, what is taboo, and what is outright catechistic. What is not compulsory is prohibited… as the operating meta-rule. Sniveling attitudes in service of the dictum: strong with the weak; weak with the strong.
     

  • In 1937, Edmund Wilson wrote to Louise Bogan, urging her to recover from nervous collapse by getting back to work, “We have to take life—society and human relations—more or less as we find them. The only thing that we can really make is our work. And deliberate work of the mind, imagination and hand, done, as Nietzche said ‘notwithstanding,’ is the long run that remakes the world."

 

  • Re the nourishment of contrasting views. The accumulation of apparently insignificant observations (or observations of the apparently insignificant) which, when set in compositional patterns (which connect), reveal fresh significance (or meaning), unavailable by other means, that will not be experienced otherwise.
     

  • Solipsistic narcissism provokes a chauvinism of the moment, of the immediate self-absorbed surround, of the stylish “now,” accompanied by a willful, historical amnesia.

  • A brooding influx of the bewildering milieu of hagiographic vignettes, slurred ad hominem insults, prejudicial word salads, and defensive ideological fervor defining and haunting the present time. (1994)

 

  • The Platonic thus Greek distinction between Eikasia (the state of perceiving mere images and reflections) and Ekstasis (agnostos, standing separate, standing out from, mystical union, ecstasy) redeployed to distinguish between pseudo or failed art and the genuine article. Akin to the distinction between Doxa and Episteme.

 

  • At best, I eagerly concur with “art, like science, provides a grasp of new affinities and contrasts, cuts across worn categories to yield new organizations, new visions of the worlds we live in.” —Goodman. Yes, if such science and art is of the abnormal type, as emphatically defined in Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
     

  • Let’s dig a bit. Say, the distinction separating cognition from feeling (re Goodman) appears to be the linchpin of difference. How much of the difference is semantic?  Perhaps the analyticvs. the emotive serves the difference more efficiently.

  

  • From tempestuous romanticism to cynical calculation, in the past 35 or so years––the trajectory of intent, focus, sense of community, and expectations––from the closing years (1958-60) of the 10th Street scene (best exemplified by the Taninger Gallery), which are virtually congruent with the decline of Abstract Expressionism and the initial signs of on-rushing Pop.

  • Re to provide a sharp rebuttal to the reigning impulses, beliefs, and political posturing of the institutional aesthetic and its subsequent acts of hubristic calculation. Evolving from a relatively small tribal-like community to a social circuitry of contingent alliances and recursive frequencies.

 

  • The fallacy of progressive displacement. That the ideational formulations of the moment have an automatic cache over the line and counter-lines preceding them. This falls under the rubric of fashion, the chauvinism of the now, and the requisite selective amnesia to pull it off.

 

  • Re consequences of viewing works of art as fungible goods where any example or instance is deemed as effective or as relevant as any other. This is a further example of Gresham’s law inexorably at work, the bad driving out the good.

 

  • Re the above. On the face of it, this appears to be unassailable. However, we could also argue that we intuit a single grounded actual world with the accompanying intuition that it is ultimately unknowable—and thus, there are many equally right descriptions, picturing and perceptions which, prism-like, reflect multiple aspects and attributes of the actual world, though never in its totality.

 

“There is no one correct way of describing or picturing or perceiving the world, but rather that there are many equally right but conflicting ways—and thus, in effect, many actual worlds.” —Nelson Goodman

  • The ubiquitous employment of irony, or ironic tactics, in-jokes, snide disposals, special pleading, etc., has drastically diluted the force of irony. Irony has succumbed to overuse.

 

  • The range of description. Art as fugitive activity: covert, ruled by stealth, even deception, picturing, picture-making. Contra objects, as opposed to pictures, share a dimension with ourselves. Or, pictures possess a dimension not shared with ourselves and objects.

 

“To take, with Descartes, the thinking self as the basis of everything, and thus to face the universe alone, is to adopt an attitude that Hegel was right to call heroic. To take, with Cervantes, the world as ambiguity, to be obliged to face not a single absolute truth but a welter of contradictory truths (truths embodied in imaginary selves called characters), to have as one’s only certainty the wisdom of uncertainty, requires no less courage.” —Milan Kundera 

  • Re digitalized intelligence no matter how evolved or sophisticated is not consciousness. This is a premise that supports the exclusivity of Art. It is the result of evolved consciousness, not mere sophisticated intelligence. Although conscious-ness, in the sense applied here, is associated with advanced intelligence. 

 

  • The tough-minded vs. the tender-minded in descriptive nomenclature in art talk: the tough vs. the precious. All of this appears parallel with Suzanne Langer’s symbolic logic: two types of knowledge respectively: knowledge ofthings and knowledge about them.

 

  • The Mummenschanz of the 80s. Wherein a sort of mimicry of the “court” prevails… with its flagrant display, masques, pageantry, and masquerades. Describing its own arc, its own trajectory, e.g. Neo-Expressionism’s exchanging a secular/ascetic regime for commonplace materialism. Cashing in on the return of the object with a vengeance. Overturning the late highfalutin’ domains of Conceptualism and Minimalism and replacing them with the returned object (with a newfound respect for object-hood to boot). Further, (in the early 90s) the return to installation work which apotheosizes detritus from the backroom, the yard sale’s disregards, and the bricoleurity of the junk pile.

 

  • Re Wordsworth’s take on the aesthetic: “[it]… produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communications of intelligence hourly gratifies.” As in, for egregious example, the savage stupor inflicted by tabloid “talk” shows, while returning to the issue of media-based art in light of these conditions.
     

  • Re the notion of “present-ness.” The dichotomy of the “now” of digitalized media in opposition to the Zen “now” of dwelling-in-the-moment (and present). Re art as the current agency with which to resist the amnesia of digitalized culture. Thus, the maintenance of memory (collective or otherwise). Plus, the agency that embodies and demonstrates the significant role of ambiguity in visual culture.

  • Re visual/plastic arts as a significant force imposing unity upon a disparate manifold of sensations… and the evaluation of the simple, private, or subjectively derived motif into an icon of near-universal acceptance.


“We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course, there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer. The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem.”  (Wittgenstein’s Tractatus)

  • The distinction between the institutional (or relativistic) aesthetic with the ontological; thereby, for example, contrasting the rudiments of Platonism with formalism. Re Kurt Gödel and his Incompleteness Theorem.

  • Like believing six impossible things before breakfast. How does it feel to believe something that by virtual absolute consensus is dismissed as “impossible?”

 

  • Re the shared distinction more or less comes down to this: that systems of judgment are merely the manipulation of selected symbols and procedures––such that all truths or values of qualities are invented vs. the view that truths are independent of human inquiry and are discovered (as well as invented).

 

  • Is one perennial function of the visual arts to provide chips off the old block of timelessness? If so, is this function flexible enough to encompass the perpetual structural changes in the visual arts? Or, is it restricted to a specific non-changing format––one persisting in ignorance of such structural changes driven by the shockwaves of historicity.

 

  • Does the central and vital issue come down to a contest between the topical and the ontic? Timeless vs. Timely? 
    Are assertions to each one’s centrality in the debate a matter of political ideology or opportunistic persuasion? 

 

  • If art history is nothing less (or more) than the account of the evolution of forms, styles, and procedures, as compiled by ideologues for one or another politic, one or another stance vis-à-vis historical determinism, then, what is to be made of positions that assert an independence from any and all such camps? This is the current dilemma for any who aspire to retreat from an extra-aesthetic motive in assessments of value and their subsequent judgments in the course of art history. This includes any in the present debate as to the role of influential cache invested in, and maintained by, such assessments. Clearly, this is the ur debate between the topical and the ontic.

  • The fundamental argument and dispute contrasts the position supporting aesthetic “independence” with that which argues for its necessary submission to “values” separate from, and prior to, aesthetic agencies.

  • However, the apparent “aloofness” of this position does not oppose the contingent position that ultimately (or finally) all is one. That in the discourses commanding the interests of meta-observers (those tracking the meaning of meanings) the issue is not an attack on “all is one” or all intricately interconnected. It is, instead, an assertion that aesthetic values, qualities, and motives command a history of interests, which (going back some 100,000 years) displace or override the exigent concerns of the moment.

 

  • This is not to argue that topical concerns (defined by the politics of the moment) by their nature cannot enter into the stream of ontic forms. It is to argue that those topical concerns are subject to the same “formal” criteria that determine the value or quality or any other submission into the stream of such images, objects, and occasions.
     

  • This is to say that we are arguing for a unifying theory for all art for any time or historical epoch. That a trans-local and trans-topical criterion exists (in the Neo-Platonic sense), which determines the validity of all and any candidates.
    Thus, the authentic question: what in Hell’s name are these criteria? And, is it malleable within the cross currents of numerous specific cultures and epochs? If it is malleable, what factors or details render the significant differences? George Kubler’s Shape of Time demonstrates the rise and fall of particular and parallel visual cultures.

     

  • Contra the topical position must necessarily hold that all aesthetic values are disposable, as the specific conditions that brought them into a place dissolve in favor of new political pressures. Pressures that perforce command the attention of image and object makers.

 

  • Thus, the topical = the institutional = the relativistic.
     

  • Thus, the ontic = the transcendental = the universal.
     

  • Re the contextually determined “installations” of the neo-Duchampians, neo-Fluxites, as examples of our current topicality. The “meaning” of such examples is directly derived from a “quotation” or some original significance or source. This “meaning” is reliant upon the residual sense lingering in the viewer of the original’s “meaning.” In a return to the origin: e.g. Marcel Duchamp’s In Advance of a Broken Arm wherein a snow shovel is removed from its intended function and purpose, removed from the context of utility, taken out of production, so to speak, and isolated––redirected into aesthetic consideration. Can the tactical and philosophic value of Duchamp’s gesture be compared with the current plethora of similarly appropriated appropriations?  Are they of the same rank, purpose, and value?
    The answer to this question is also contextual.

  • As is commonly known, the effects of Duchamp’s tactical gestures were radically disruptive. They represented disfluency, an abrupt discontinuity with the retinal art contemporaneous with their time.  

 

  • Linking-up with the “Evolutionary Imperative.” Was Merleau-Ponty incorrect when he said humanity was condemned to prejudge an a priori world (realm, domain, and universe), or non-priori one?  However, is prejudgment a corrupted form of a priori? The entire range of “mystical” issues swirling around this point: time/memory/dreaming… and its relation to images; e.g. the Ourboros, ever circling back upon and incessantly consuming itself; e.g. the labyrinth, with the minotaur as the catch (meta: memory via dreaming as the catch which codifies time present); e.g. the spiral, as the symbol of time/space itself.

  • Re the artist’s failure to evolve and mature after an initial (usually youthful) commitment to some or another set of techniques or motifs or influences. Ironically, this is often the result of a desire to stay in fashion because the fashionable has caught up with, and embraced, what the artist accomplished previously. Hence the phenomenon of climbing on to the rear of your own bandwagon. Contrast this attitude with the tactical spirit of Agon.

 

  • Re appropriated appropriation: exemplified by Sherrie Levine’s “MD” urinals, in the explicit instance; and the entire panoply of implicit instances; i.e. the “ready-made” as a mineable asset––digging into the mother lode of virtually infinite sources: day-by-day journalistic images, advertising, other recent art, art history reproductions, pedestrian offal, kitsch, dreck, TV, etc.

Analogies & Metaphors 

  • Resurrecting and resituating Clive Bell’s “significant form” as the corralling “program” for James’ “blooming, buzzing confusion” of sense perception. Thus, significant form as an a priori—as a preexisting template.

 

  • How very ironic that Post Modernism has become the new and present academy. As in the striking ascendancy of post-structuralism’s discourse and its terms-for-description with the arch discourse churning within the visual arts. Within the “frame” of this (self-recursively) driven line of current argument, P.M. functions as a backdrop condition. (re Lyotard) 

 

  • Returning to Kubler’s sense of time, repetition, and mutation: e.g. blind repetition leading to decay, or debasement of first-order forms, and/or arch forms.

 

  • The conviction to addressing dual skill and balance. No matter how passionately held, conviction alone, unaccompanied by a concomitant skill, is a debasement (as if the conviction’s apparent self-sufficiency eschewed any association with skill, in order to puff up its status—as an image, as an object). Skill is considered beneath it. It is also an abject variant on the principle and behaviors of such convictions themselves.
     

  • Re to Heidegger’s distinction between calculative and poetic. How the calculative drives out the poetic, as an example of Gresham’s law played out in the domain of language itself. This accompanied by, ontologically speaking, severe and immutable headaches. Over-calculation rots out the value of poetic utterances by assuming them to be merely bad or failed calculations.

 

  • Re the explicit re-introduction of Art and the Gaia hypothesis, and subsequent Biophelia.

Choice Points (6) [From Biophelia to patterns which connect]

  • Converting Gregory Bateson’s “patterns which connect” into essentialist aesthetic criteria––ergo the role of novel information generated by difference-in-pattern and pattern homology.

 

  • In an amusing aside: the invention of photography and the bicycle share the same year: 1839.
     

  • Re the palimpsest’s overlay techniques exemplified by impulsive and intrusive marks rendered over a pre-set image or matrix or discarded set of images or matrices.
     

  • Just as every self-conscious solipsist is isometric with a guiding formula set in peculiar marks establishing a signature style as a reflection of the discrete self’s identity.

  • Re returning to the forms of things unknown: re-roasting some very old chestnuts: e.g. in science, knowledge is an instrument of prediction. In art?  E.g. verifiability as the scientific ideal has no place in art’s vision of accessible truth(s). The view that art is a mere pretention to a knowledge that cannot be verified is at the center of this argument.
    The capitulation to this notion in current art-think equals its desire to be politically relevant (in the sense of political fashion). Any comparisons between art and science are analogous, occasionally homologous, but never identical. 
    This is at the core of their differences.

 

  • In a most profound confrontational sense, art and science, as epistemologically contrary methods, have virtually no common ground, except that they are, necessarily, human endeavors that are encompassed by meta-domains––i.e. domains that include all and every and any such expression of human interest (and subsequent inquiries) that is expected to be had.

  • This is the nexus classicus. As a human endeavor, art proceeds to define consciousness as specified and selected awareness, while science, with its emphasis upon verification, definition, and categorization, fails to adhere.

  • Re purpose. Taking off from Jacques Monod’s question on teleonomy. Art’s autonomy resides in its teleonomic program(s). Its functional purpose is not imposed from without. Purpose is, instead, self-generating and self-reflexive. Although this is not to argue that extra-aesthetic influence does not enter into the equation. It is to argue that, external influences are subordinated to art’s autonomous purpose and never the reverse. Art is thus not an appendage to the social contract.
     

  • Re the ontic vs. the topical and the function of purpose. The strategic positioning of “transcendence” in the equation.
    Re topical works are necessarily embedded in specific temporal and partisan conditions; and the ontic is a status which although embedded in its own time or epoch, nevertheless contains and redefines a context transcendent of those particulars, formal and otherwise, of the specific time.

     

  • If one is (I am) intrigued by and inducted into the worldview that all and every form of life is sentient—and to the extent, we are, all other sentient forms of life are also sacred. (re Hans-Georg Gadamer) Thus the evanescence of things in general (the sacred) vs. the practical (profane) significance of particularized things with strict regard to their specific utility and function. What is Art’s role in determining these distinctions?
     

  • Re to advance the position that the perpetual pressure of, exposure to, and incorporation into, pop-media has eviscerated the natural kinesics (as well as speech patterns) of individuals is perhaps to state an obvious and banal truth.

Analogies and Metaphors

  • The notion of “logical types.” The distinct risk of providing a “muddle.” Summoning Gregory Bateson’s metalogues: “mistaking the menu for dinner,” etc.

 

  • Eidetic memory\imagery and the making of images. The mutual reinforcement of eidetic images for evocation of memory; and eidetic memory as the source of images.
     

  • Zen and knowing. To paraphrase (from D.T. Suzuki’s The Meaning of Satori in The Field of Zen). Suzuki distinguishes two ways or methods by which the world is known, or rendered knowable. The first, PRAJNA, defined as intuitive and immediate knowledge of the world and its unity. PRAJNA is characterized as knowledge that is sudden, unified and whole––that avoids distinguishing between knower and the known; or, the subject and the object. The second, VIJNANA,  which is analytical and discursive knowledge of the world; or, what can be described as rational thought. VIJNANA, unlike PRAJNA, can be formulated.

  • Metaphoric and heuristic speculation in general as one model illuminating Michael Polanyi’s tacit knowledge.
    The concept of “tacit knowledge” or “tacit knowing” or “intrinsic expertise” or “tacit interference” providing an interconnection with “fuzzy logic” and “fuzzy sets” regarding the notion of irrelevant assertions that are true–– i.e. to be true is not necessarily to be relevant. Ditto to conform to “iconic fidelity” (the be-all of hyperrealism) does not necessarily provide aesthetic significance.

 

  • Now, consider E.O. Wilson’s Biopheliahypothesis and its relevance to chthonic imagery, the indexical landscape, etc.

 

  • Re the modernist credo, “to defamiliarize the familiar” (Frederick Karl); as counter-statement to Biophelia, is somewhat akin to the burden of Buridan’s ass in a kangaroo court.
     

  • Re the stretch between Animism (at one extreme) and Kitsch (at the other).
     

  • Re the analog of art.  Evolution as in nature as well as art does not mean change for the better; it means adaptive response to changed context. 
     

  • Re the entire range of issues pivoting around the competing conjectures on and theories of artifact, agency, agent, and art itself. Also, in the mix: immanence, transcendence, opacity, transparency, fidelity, interpretive distortion, agonistic misreading, the impetus to novelty, quiddity, and presence. “Every force evolves a form.” The Shaker dictum that form should be “the best response to the forces calling it into being” (which is a variation on Occam’s Razor). Thus, securing a sense of force/energy, re Cicero’s Primus Impetus, Bergson’s Elan Vital, Freud’s Libido, etc. Also, the equation of fury and beauty. The fusion of the sensual (seductive) and the repulsive (repugnant) extended into the dark side. Re the notions of counterfeit, copy, duplication, forgery, influence, appropriation, theft, substitution, imitation, reproduction, transcription, emulation, rescoring, stupration, artifice, fakes, violation, sink of iniquity, and confiscation.

  • If Rupert Sheldrake is anywhere near correct with his “morphic fields” hypothesis, then its implications for originality in art making are central to the issue of influence. Concepts such as “morphic resonance,” “causative formation,” “collective memory,” and the “morphogenetic field” are applicable to a priori conditions embracing aesthetic forms.
     

  • Gadamer’s notion of “vividness” as it relates to the range of “ambiguity” issues: his quote from Hegel’s Eleusis: “Sense loses itself in intuition.” And again in Gadamer’s own words: “art is present whenever a work succeeds in elevating what it is or represents to a new configuration, a new world of its own in miniature, a new order of unity in tension.”
    Again, “We can define the symbol as that through which someone or something is known and recognized.”

  • From astronomical morphology to subatomic architecture, the scale/range of images theoretically imagined, then verified. The rules of verification and evidence. The shared role of intuition in art and science (re Gadamer): logos, real, virtual, actual, simulated, imagined, hallucinated, dreamed, conjured, Esse est percipi, deception, transparency, projection, lying, distorting, prevaricating, and confabulation. Allegory and narratives of light: lux intelligibilis (the intangible sphere of purity) vs. the impurity of mere matter. Re the Empyrean, lux coelestis, visio beata, the celestial. Transcendence = light, immanence = the body, time = the body, space = transcendence. Grammars of perception = embodiment, bodies = mutation, mutation = variation, variation = novelty, novelty = risk, risk = putting oneself in harm’s way. The void is eventful. The heart of the matter, its quinta essential, is equivalent to the correspondence between thingsand their representations. Thus, the domain of signs.

 

  • The example of the chess metaphor. The false analogy with life––i.e. life is an infinite field with finite variations; chess is a finite field with infinite (practical) variations. Re the notion of a repertoire of tactics to generate specific configurations. Likewise, image-making as a repertoire of tactics to generate configurations from a similar (though distinctly assigned with separate hierarchal values) parts, or components. 

 

  • Re Art and the “canary” analogy. The canary in the mineshaft; with the updated actual measure of the disappearance of frogs and toads throughout the entire world. The frogs are now the canaries.

  • Re the “science” of perspective. From the geometry of Toscanelli to Alberti’s “grid” to Brunelschi’s mirror vs. the error of misplaced concretion––e.g. the loony conviction that ground rhino horn will reinvigorate a flaccid member because the rhino’s horn is perpetually stiff and upright.

 

  • Re ambiguity. Cognitive dissonance as the anxiety that results from holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. Hence: paradox, contradiction, conflict, disputation, antagonism, and inversion.“Gehen sie nur vor.  Deuten Sie.” (Just go ahead, interpret) –Freud. Art appreciated as search for the somatic core of consciousness, i.e. a haptic exploration for the feel of being (in Heidegger’s sense). Once the “feel” is achieved, the problem evolves into mutation and variation of possible (if not actual) states of being: defined through signature, i.e. individuated, but inter-subjectively available to all comers.

  • A short, sharp shock!  Again, nesting enfoldment, involuting interiority engulfing itself, self-reflexivity gone awry. Interpolation amiss, an identity eating its own tail, and assuming a supply of endless nutrients.

 

  • If the belief that the experience of genuine art elevates the viewer out of the mundane world of appearances and reveals to them a transcendental realm of invented context, of invented truth, then how does this, with illusion and/or appearance, become the issue for transcendence? Thus, appearance is in and of the world––re immanence and transcendence.

  • Re the majestic agony of earthly views. The dry sensuality and the psychic-space defining the conditions of alarm.
    It’s either/or: invent a new indexical pictorial/psychic space or embrace the Pop ethos.  Re Yeats: a rotted word equals a rotted view (or picture). Representation vs. re-representation.  Stochastic cooling. Thus, there are few absolutes, only apt contexts.

 

  • The boundaries separating the arbitrary and the unpredictable. This stochastic cooling directed by the hand-eye axis. The muscular, kinesic function of generating non-arbitrary yet unpredictable forms.

 

  • Re Gödel demonstrated that even such a relatively simple system as elementary arithmetic is far too rich to be encompassed by any set of axioms. It will always contain more truths than the axioms can possibly yield. Thus, one cannot prove arithmetic to be consistent without presupposing means that are more fecund and therefore less certain than arithmetic itself. Thus, the analog for works of art: again between the non-arbitrary and the unpredictable (e.g. the quality of an indexical space). The forms of manifested pathways––art (as agency) as an example of such. That is: works of art never provide cloture on the possibilities of works of art. Art is always and forever a garden of forking paths. Art is thus an elusiveness of forms defining infrastructural pathways––neural nets, in the neurological sense.

  • The role of the axiomatic and the condition of freedom, beyond the axiomatic. Re Gödel and “containment,” i.e. no grouping of axioms can encompass the range of art and its processes. Again, there are no absolutes (or limits), only correct contexts. Thus, the existential responsibility to form (shape, contain)––an apple, for example, whether depicted as realist, cubist, impressionist, or any other genre; rendered within the visual language of that specific mode of representation. In a musical analogy, the freedom of improvisation within the constraint(s) of a particular key or scale. It’s a matter of the intensity of mind, brought to bear on specific problems—a complex of problematics, selected in the spirit of Agon.

 

  • Within the circumference of these probes there is very little margin for error. What is untried is preferred because anything whatsoever can be projected onto it. Reiteration and confirmation are of no avail if the projected is novel.
    In the absence of criteria for confirmation, or dismissal, this is yet another instance of ambiguity in the arts.

  • Joyce writes of the “luminous silent stasis of aesthetic pleasure,” when the clear radiance of the aesthetic image is apprehended by the mind, which has been arrested by its wholeness and transfixed by its harmony (self-defined and self-declared).  Joyce: “The mind in that mysterious instant Shelly likened beautifully to a fading coal,” thereby, succumbing to the unaccountable promptings of the unconscious.

 

  • Leonardo’s notes on the power of “confused shapes” observed in clouds or muddy flowing water, etc. Thus, observed in biomorphic ambiguity: the swan in the clouds, the snake in the branch, and the face in the coffee grinds.

 

  • Art as instrument (agency) of adaptation. One purpose (the purpose?) which is to narrow and intensify, to push nearer to the core of the world, both aesthetic and cognitive––latent with many possible outcomes; the manifold varieties of things inherent in images driven by these ambiguities––in the coil and moil. And art as license of sensibility as well––a signature of consciousness. The aesthetic analog for kingdom, phylum, class, order, and species––and, ultimately, the individual.
     

  • Re as parallel with the visual arts. Heidegger’s notion of words as “resonances” rather than words as “instruments.” He calls this Andenkendes Denken (a thinking that recalls); moves to aesthetic objects that instill or draw out such resonances, such “thinking” or “feeling.” To transform private idiosyncratic meaning into formal communication that achieves consensus determining its aesthetic value.

 

  • However, Dewey’s warnings concerning the confusion between eventual function and antecedent existence––i.e. implicitly steering the viewer’s attention to the form’s present tense experience itself, and not a pre-existent content.
    The work should, if successful, recapitulate its own “history,” its influences, its processes, defining the immediate presence.

 

  • All codified mystery is based in issues of etiology: the source of origins, the origin of sources, the nature of beginnings. Ergo the narrative function of the visual arts. The whole issue of narration and the maintenance of knowledge. How this changes in its essentials with the advent of digitalized time-based media. Collective memory is now software, programming, and thus accessible only though the techno-system’s infrastructure. If the hardware goes, so goes the collective memory.

  • On the ontic distribution of value. The defining image derived from the unintended juxtaposition. Re the live broadcast of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas burning to a crisp while the day’s stock and bond quotations flow from right to left, in blue and white stripes, in the chyron at the bottom of the screen.  

“Experience is the uniform of continuous multiplicity of knowledge.” —Walter Benjamin

 

“I conquer freedom, I save independence of art.” —Gustave Courbet  

 

East Hampton/Berlin/New York City 

1992 – ‘94