Thurn Taxis begins with the speculation that a special energy, with unknown value, lies latent in objects that populate our (material) culture, and that requisite for the discovery of these veiled energies is an exploration of our ways of seeing and communicating them. Its central hypothesis is that the notion of value is more malleable, and therefore more effective, when experienced apart from abstract and universal denominations such as monetary currency. Thurn Taxis' strategy for testing this hypothesis is the suspension of any consideration of value as an exogenously contrived, abstract numerical codification, in favor of an experimental play with the performance of value as a communicative act, as an arbitration of place, as a liminality between subject and object, and generally, as an event.
Thurn Taxis does not ask how much value is there?, but how and in what dimensions does value happen? Thurn Taxis articulates a logic of happening with (from?) the assumption that the act of evaluation is the zero-degree of value. Of primary import for the understanding, rehearsal, and effective implementation of this evaluative act is the strategy employed for locating its spatio-temporal volume. To be sure, value does not arise instantaneously, or singularly, from without - but continuously and contextually. Value is amorphous and enriched by an extraordinary contingency. It is its imbrication within a dense thicket of cultural and material forces (resistant to totalizing or reductive definition) that lends value its unique dimensionality: a dynamic composition of the potentialities embedded in the strategic indeterminacy of objects, subjects, and their sites. Thurn Taxis is a metric for the thick duration of value as an event, in contraction and protraction along its various trajectories.
The location of the value is necessarily obfuscated, emerging only in its dislocation from the rigidity of traditional institutional frames. Once value is liberated from familiar regulatory structures designed to facilitate large-scale exchange, inter-subjective action can be effectively problematized. This work depends on an intimate awareness of the subjective - but also the liabilities of unproductive relativism. To say that value is purely phenomenal is occasionally precise, but always insufficient. While the fidelity of perception is conditional on its remaining strictly internal, when rendered in communicative media or otherwise externalized, it is informed by resistances (ethical, mechanical, etc.) that, at the risk of compromising essence, afford it the enormously generative potential of apprehension by others.
Thurn Taxis is designed to savor this exegetic and expressive process of transcription, as an elongation of the moment of the value-act. Accordingly, in avoidance of stagnant withdrawal into the self ('only my value judgments are relevant to me'), Thurn Taxis provides an armature for object evaluation predicated on protocols of communication, assuring the location of value never rests at a given point - but moves through constant reformulation between subjects. Thurn Taxis is constituted by a multilateral dynamic of participation. In alternating moments of projection and assimilation, the subjects re-articulate the situation of both the object and its associative fields, thereby affirming their awareness of the social quality of their engagement with objects.
The Thurn Taxis system of objects thus becomes legible as an analoge of contemporary society; myriad modalities of representation, mediation, and transference come forth between and throughout objects and occupy difficult interstices at the limit conditions of objecthood and event. The resulting complex of interlacing perspectives and overlaying projections form the soft territories of Thurn Taxis, which appear as effects of syncopation, interference, harmony, and dissonance. Value emerges as a synergetic resonance between objects, subjects, and sites.
Thurn Taxis is thus, on one level, the activity or set of actions of an association of individuals; on another, the system of protocols or network of infrastructures supporting their actions and associations; and ultimately, a materially apprehended discourse and an objectual rendering of community. In this way, Thurn Taxis is conceptually divisible into a triplicate operation. The first can be called actual, and involves participating subjects and their behaviors. Next is the systemic, which conditions and patterns (structures?) the active relationships of the first level. The largest territory, but also the least accessible, is essential, a sort of ideological core or form from which are derived the systemic and actual.
As such, Thurn Taxis is an experiment: a primitive, but working, model of social relations. The basic unit of this experiment - the mediator and catalyst of the relationships it models - is 'the object', cast as a character in the play of material culture. The agenda of Thurn Taxis' experimental play is to identify those slippages in contemporary culture that can be engaged as lines of flight from prevalent economies; to engender cycles of exchange independent of ownership and consumption; to cultivate alternative modes of valuation, and thus to excavate or liberate latent, perhaps more nuanced and subtle, values; finally, to experience, inhabit, and manifest discursively those potentialities.