II. The Equation and the World
III. Art off the Wall
III. Introduction to the Critique of the Wall
IV. Critique of the Wall
V. Quantity and the Wall
VI. Drawing the Line
VII. Crisis of Sense and Its Reason
IX. Bearing on Capital
X. Bearing on Art
XI. Bearing and the Event
XII. Introduction to Sense, Sensors, and Sensation
XIII. Sensors, Sense, and Sensation
XIV. Adding the Subject
XV. Subtracting the Subject
XVI. Virtual and Real as a Negotiation of Production and Reproduction
XVII. Aesthetics and Politics Integrated via Presentation and Re-Presentation of the Image
XVIII. Dis-Enclosure Reconsidered
IX. From the Work of Art to the Art of Work
XX. Equations In-Between
XXI. Passing Exception
XXII. Coordinating Organizations
XXIV. Organizing Codes
XXV. Bibliography by Section
The following work investigates the moment when an object is encountered by a person and how and why this person might consider what they encounter to be “art.” The purpose of this work is not only to understand why some things are considered art while others are not, but to understand how this encounter with art has evolved over history. Moreover, it is to build on this understanding of the historical variations in how the concept of art as well as the art object equates with the world and is constructed through chains of interactions and relations in order to see how the various components affect the world, art, and society in different manners. It is to attempt to understand how are is differentiated and creates difference – often with a profound affect on how people live. In doing so, we might come to understand a broader trend of how art operates and how people operate art towards one end or another.
The purpose of understanding an evolutionary trend of art is not so much to provide grounds on which predictions for the future or criticism of the current field of production might rest. Instead, this search is undertaken in order to attain a better sense of how different modes and periods of art making are related to each other. Through comparing motivations and strategies for dealing with the situation in which an artist and art operates, it is possible to discover a deeper level of meaning. By uncovering a frame for such activities of the artist, art, and historical method of understanding it that stretch beyond any period, it is possible to make sense of actions and entities that appear to lack meaning or context. By understanding a frame that operates in a similar manner to how it operates within the context of art history, it is possible to understand how art relates to the world in a similar manner over time, across space, and between discourses.
If I were to offer such a frame, it would be a well-balanced equation describing the economy of art on both quantitative and qualitative terms. It would be foolish, however, to attempt such a task without more time and broader support. In advance of this condition, I have chosen to borrow the concept of “dis-enclosure” as developed by Jean-Luc Nancy as a closely related frame and necessary insight for the work that I might do in the future. In this sense, what follows extends Nancy’s work beyond the realm of Christianity, and into the realm of art. It traces how the forces that led to and resulted from what Nancy calls “the dis-enclosure of Christianity” affected art. Moreover, it looks at moments when the forces of art affected the dis-enclosure of Christianity. The consequence is to understand a trend of dis-enclosure in the realm of art and how this occurrence affects art, its creator, and the world at large. By understanding this relationship, those related to art might be better equipped to offer freedom and liberation from suffering.
In coming to deal with an equation that delaminates the things that go into making something art and that simultaneously offers an integrated whole, it should be clear that in the time that it has taken for such considerations, the operation could have taken place several thousand times over. This incongruence between the time that it takes to understand something and the time in which it occurs is in large part duplicated in practices today. It is not uncommon for an artist to labor for an entire life in order to achieve an affect that can be perceived in a second. The condensation of space and time to a single point or series of points is a primary focus of our investigation. This investigation occurs in light of a general public whose attention span is diminishing. This is in no small part to suggest that we are concerned with delaminating what occurs rapidly during the limited amount of time that attention might be held.
Taking time in order to mediate between the slowness of a given practice and the speed of the world is intended to open art to a group of men and women who are generally at a distance from galleries and far from the world of art in general. They do not live near centers of culture and find entertainment and pleasure beyond utility in sources other than art. Contact between art and such men and women should be attempted. It should be attempted due in some ways to a desire that art projects onto this public. Beneath the sensuous projects of dance, poetry, architecture, etc… is a desire not to connect with the community that understands the various forces that are operating and instead a community that might change through art.
Art desires through its practitioners to come into contact with attractive men and women who seem more concerned with images and parties than with art. There have been points when artists have succeeded in drawing such beauty close, but recently it seems that only a few neighborhoods around the country are capable of expressing sufficient charisma. This is due in large part to rising property values that make it difficult for hot young bodies to loaf around and do little more than listen and see while doing drugs and having sex. Nevertheless, these bodies are there and they are ready to turn their focus away from their state of disaffection defined by their need to support the rising cost of living in America and to various situations that address their own charged bodies in a way that does not leave them confused regarding the extent to which they must conform to an image supported by a dominant media ideology.
In putting an equation together that might allow us to better understood why there is such a distance between the beautiful bodies that define an increasingly empty consumer culture and art that tends to present increasingly complex notions of genesis and existence, we should situate our considerations directly before “aesthetics.” The coming pages confront the dis-enclosure of art in order to construct a route leading towards a future defined by a greater depth of understanding and productiveness. In order to do so, we locate medium, interface, and sense before the world and before aesthetics. In the wake of the collapse of medium-specificity and in a situation where the invisible has increasingly sway, the medium has come to be concerned and even defined largely as style. Style is derived from ornament and supports an affective state if situated in an affective manner to the interface. The importance of the interface for art as opposed to consuming and modulating the world of utility has been largely diminished and has come to primarily exist as idea, structure, or geometry. Such a substrate supports the medium in such a way that it disappears as quickly as possible so that style and affect exist without a distinction being made between them and the ground on which they occur. Sense comes to be concerned primarily with distinguishing between whether something is art or not and in accordance with this judgment opens the mind to a set of possible sensations correlated with art or not-art. This equation always occurs within the parameters of a given world. The makers of art and the receivers of art have a responsibility to adapt and adopt this equation to a particular situation. Ad(o / a)pting this equation asks what return we might receive from the dis-enclosure of art.
If a desire for or to “return” is to be relevant and affective, it would have to look beyond Romantic notions and to an economic understanding. In doing so, “return” might result from something “invested” through “interest” accrued along the way. In what follows, a trend from the receiver of the work of art as “subject” to the receiver as “operator” will be un-packed. Does this operator engages and unifies the various forces that are at play between the interface, medium, and sensation? If this were to be the case, their opticality allows light to enter art and a play to begin where illumination and icons can be understood beyond the church and beyond ideologies. The operator is able to learn how to operate the equation with such skill that art is capable of revealing the communal base on which illumination rests. In this sense, the operation takes art as exemplary. They begin under the sway of art’s style and come to find themselves in a state where they cannot continue before the art unless they engage in a process that renders the equation both for themselves and for the world.
Such rendering is an essential moment where all the various equations governing design, fabrications, images, media, etc… are brought into a conceptual line and the technology of illumination offered by a given field of art coupled with sense in the receiver is used to render art from its virtuality and reality and bring it into a state of actuality. In this way art is situated along a path that already occurs – aligning with another economy in order to share efficiency and open the possibility of bridging between worlds. Subjects that are cut off from an ability to dwell effectively in the world in which they live can practice experiencing another world while still in the world which they currently dwell in. They share a latent hope that collective practice will break the order that keeps them as subjects such that they can become operators of another state. This is to suggest that art is localized with the receiver, with the notion of operation in general, and drives an economy that moves based on the possibility of freedom and liberation. The preparation undertaken by the artist – once known as creation – guides an education towards this potential for freedom.
In fully considering the medium in which art operates, it should be clear that it no longer is wed to a fixed substrate that has historically been confined to the wall. For this to occur, art finds its medium as style. Art whose medium is style intersects with bodies and becomes indistinguishable form those bodies. It is difficult to understand what is and is not art. This shift does not occur all at once. The screen as a mobile wall makes it possible. As a wall that has come under attack, the screen allows signs and symbols that constitute a style through design to come off the wall and pass from the image screen that dominated in the 1980s to the object gaze that dominated in the 1990s. The crisis of the wall as a crisis of interiority and exteriority extends to the body. It occurs in unison with the gaze, the screen, and general mobility in a common world. The passage from wall to space brings an imperative of common and un-common sense. Having been thrown off the wall, temptation occurs to hide behind it within a realm of poche. We hide in the fold along with all the organs it contains. Following the collapse of the wall, everything that used to be hidden is abjected. With all out in the open, style comes to play a role in a culture of redemption that seeks to compensate for a world damaged by desire.
This is an event of abjection. Art is thrown out as the field of painting is evacuated – first of shadows and then of language. Art becomes experience and allows for the birth of design as such. Forms that once were flows and that traced human movement and spirit are now shapes. They are to be calculated. Nevertheless, the surface of the canvas is a place where hiding occurs. It is a place where other ways of being can be marked. These “ways of being” were not authorized and resist institutionalization. They might lead beyond the evacuation that occurred. This situation does not necessarily cause trauma, but is in some ways a result of trauma. The real passes from being understood as an effect of representation to the real understood as an event. As a result, representation is a reflection of the presentation of nature as the becoming present to a subject of the trauma of nature – understanding various catastrophes that created it in the process.
Representation traces trauma. It is why the event infects art. Tracing this event occurs via allegory as the event of installation. Such allegory collapses the figure and the ground. Representation no longer protects us from nature. We are right there. When this occurs, we don’t find an idyllic nature but one that has been re-made as industrialized or Capitalized Nature. We try and pass through the mirror, but find that it holds our after-image as wed with nature. It implies Nature. Embracing the abject marks a sense of having been misled – our “shit” does not disappear. We cannot hide in plumbing and poche, sewers, transgressions, favellas, and the dark side of modernism. We cannot resign ourselves to a theatre of the abject. The abject is not a totality and this state is not complete in its appearance. It has its own rhythm and logic. It is a world that lies alongside a variety of other worlds. It has both a reality and a virtuality.
In many ways it is a desperate attempt to find a medium that is capable of holding trauma that must be expressed before it leads to destruction of a body in the world beyond art. As merely marking that which cannot be contained and in keeping with a history of attempts at containment, it attempts to mark what lies within and beyond the interior. It is an infinity of lists that allow us to imagine a variety of states of having been thrown out. The interior forces the inhabitant to adopt the greatest possible number of habits just as the glass wall forces the obliteration of traces of these habits. It leads to an exhaustion of sense and a desire to retreat into indifference. Abjection demands that we look for an alternate mode of exchange. Such a mode of exchange would restore sense and lead beyond indifference. This exchange is forming via design at the fringes of the capitalist economy – becoming an image economy.
It is unclear whether a sufficient interface exists as substrate for such a new exchange and newly configured medium. Does this lack of interface cause the work to remain largely artificial such that it cannot come into its own? Is this a result of an inability of museums to provide room for a true space of abjection rather than a representation of the state of abjection as a conflict of states of control? Abjection is allegory that serves as a bridge to a new world through re-understanding difference and repetition. It marks a crisis of the present as pawning human heritage for the contemporary at a fraction of its true value. It describes art that performs a mimetic regression to the anal universe where all differences are transformed. This is a fictive space that artists set up for critical play. It is a space where symbols are not yet stable. A symbolic interchange is pushed toward a-formal in-distinction leading beyond the form-drive and the sense-drive and to new depth beyond the wall.
Art that comes off the wall in such a manner allows for a transition between one world and another. When art gets off the wall, a transitional element exists that calls into question whether the wall will retain the signs of itself as wall and whether art will retain signs of itself as art. Dis-enclosure exposes the impossibility of ontology for art. The wall becomes an ethereal screen or icon that traces the authority of one order of wall as it is used to subvert the authority of another sort of wall. When art gets off the wall it can either seek to preserve the wall beyond the order or it can seek another solution. The result is not to negate illusionism, but extends it by extruding it into space. Space becomes an element of composition. Painting becomes spatial and sculpture becomes optical. Space is no longer where verification of art occurs but the realm of illusion. It presses downwards towards no art or towards a zero-degree of art. It insists that it is not durational by synthesizing past, present, and future. Each work comes to be understood as implicit in others. In this passage and particularly in the collapsing of depth towards flatness that reveals a new sort of depth, the relationship between art and revolution is fashioned. Banishing language and shadow of the arch and the figure tells a story of the unification of base and superstructure on artistic terms. Such a story can only be told following the collapse of the frame that burst experience. It stretches beyond the capacity to locate revolution. It is frame and framed at once. It is overwhelmed by the force of the event. It is the political manipulation of sublime.
Without parergon, without frame, there is no labor to do the work of art. Art attempts to present an equipment free aspect of reality, but can only do so by making use of equipment. This equipment that frames will continue to drop away as art is understood as a matter of rendering an equation through sensations and a phenomenology of perception. Through such rendering, style will open to information. Where once the interface framed the medium, the medium now frames the interface. It informs, frames history, and sets. Such an informe is an operation that marks an event when movements that once were trapped behind the surface of the painting come into the light. Painting is no longer made out of paint. The informe implies an iterability of form bound up with value. It is not a matter of how something is drawn such that it conforms to the conditions of a broader order, but how the drawing evolves from an origin. The evolution pushes beyond indifference as a process of coming to the surface under the sign of a collapsing depth of field. It comes to be what organizes style as an operation of a geometry. It causes geometry to become something other. It shows an image of a world where geometry is no longer Platonic. It is a choric geometry of en-gendering and describes an inability to mark how an internal force is registered on the city, the unwillingness of the screen to do so, and the beginning of change.
"The coordination of the vertical and horizontal sections of buildings reveals that light and shadow constituted the architecture’s symbolic order, very much in the spirit of Vitruvius, who had introduced gnomons–together with machinae and buildings–as one of the three artifacts within the province of architecture. Measuring time and space through poetic mimesis was the original task of the architects. The obsession with revealing the inside of bodies–dissecting and magnifying as roads to knowledge–took hold of European epistemology only after the mechanization of physiology in the seventeenth century." (Perez-Gomez, 40)
"Michelangelo’s entire work emphasized life and movement–qualities that were often excluded from architectural theory in the Renaissance. Michelangelo’s anatomy always focused on the live body, associating beauty with health. He acknowledged the life of the whole through the articulation (the hinge) of fragments of the human body. Consequently, Michelangelo rarely expressed depth through geometric perspective. Rather, he understood depth as the primary dimension and disclosed it by capturing the movement of a figure. This movement in Michelangelo’s drawings must still be called foreshortening, but here it implies the definition of forms in movement, in length, breadth, and depth in which their mutual interrelationships are not fixed. The artifact, painting, sculpture, or building captured the motion of purposeful life in a single instant. Profoundly influenced by his belief in the reality of Christ as God incarnated in a mortal body, Michelangelo’s work seems intent on dissolved the opposition between life and death; it thus reveal the “flesh” of the world, the primordial substance of a live universe." (Perez-Gomez, 41)
Most take it for granted that art exists as autonomous from the socio-economic and political conditions that surround it. It is separate from other disciplines in the academy and distinct from the natural world. When, however, one asks the extent to which art can exists beyond the walls of a museum, beyond a privileged location in a home, and outside of exhibition catalogues, it becomes less clear the extent to which it is autonomous. While the size of public sculptures and the activities of archivists allow objects in exceptional circumstances to be understood as autonomous art, the broader reality of the situation is that art remains deeply wed to the institutions that support it. In part because many of these institutions are the very entities that support a critique of authority as well as a critique of institutional frameworks and because they preserve an impression of art as autonomous, we must look beneath the surface.
Words of various institutions paint a picture of progress that has been proven false. We must examine the cause of this hypocrisy. The force that ensures that the museum remains a mausoleum in spite of its leader’s attempts to re-imagine its purpose is a result of having dis-enclosed art spiritually and ideologically, but having failed to dis-enclose art spatially and materially. There is more room now than ever in which art might exist. It is no longer confined to the surfaces of the church, the chambers of the palace, or the walls of a comparatively small aristocracy. It finds a place in resurgent regional galleries and glamorous expansions to museums that have come to characterize elite cultural institutions in large cities. This expansion makes room for a diversity of voices that might not otherwise have been heard. This process has been taking place for centuries and currently is coming sharply into focus. It remains our task to understand the characteristics of this process, the risk of art being diffused and lost in the extraordinarily large material and spatial dimensions of the world, and the extent to which it risks decay as it travels over great distances.
The opening of zones in museums once charged with the preservation of heritage to art that is critical of such desires to promote departments and periods defines the rich moment of creativity that characterizes a shared cultural space. Such a cultural realm is present in varying degrees in the largest and the smallest cities around the world. This culture is one of resistance. It is an emergent culture that has yet to and likely never will be grasped as a totality. It is defined by agents who attempt to find small openings that might challenge cultural hegemony and by receivers of these attempts who take time from the expected flow of their day to consider the alternative that is presented in the art. Whether this occurs unexpectedly when art is encountered on the street or in a darkened corner of a polished gallery, there is potential in the act and the possibility of a communal bond defined by shared interest in the condition against which art leans.
Just as a growing number of cultural institutions come online, the possibility that these institutions will make sufficient room for art is threatened by an accelerated growth of all those entities that historically would have been taken as “not-art.” On one hand these other entities that threaten to obscure the efforts of artists to create art that engages the receiver and the world, are very close to art. They are the myriad images that fill a given life. The world as an image has come to be rendered with precision and the inhabitants of this world have evolved to appreciate this image in much the same way they once might have appreciated art. Seeing the Grand Canyon or skiing in the Alps is far more sensuous than contemplating nature in a landscape painting with disinterest. The high fashion that cloaks the model and the feast painted on the table pale in comparison to shopping at Prada or dining at Per Se. The world of affects and sensations where violence is always at a distance and pleasure is always at hand has come to threaten the time that one might take engaging in an experience that may not leave one feeling self-satisfied.
Tempting images are not the only distraction from engaging with art. The materiality to which these images correspond presents a wide variety of options that might provide entertainment and pleasure. They define a material condition of extreme horror that gives every viewer pause as they sit in their living room or read news on a mobile device. The intersection of material and its image in photographs, news articles, and videos allows men and women from a variety of worlds to experience the clash between nature and culture, chaos and order, first hand. Many have little need to experience the situation through the lens of an artist who may be suspected in advance. The tools are increasingly present for understanding and finding pleasure in the world through concentration on local conditions and interest in improving global conditions. In such a situation where urgency is found with every image and material that comes into focus, art might be dismissed as operating in an alien language, wasting material and technological resources, and taken as a diversion from violence.
The contrasting situation between a world that has increasing room for art and one that attains pleasures and understanding from other interfaces and different resources highlights two thrusts that drive the world in which art might exist. The first defines a communal experience under the auspices of various institutions or urban structures. The second defines an anti-communal experience that encourages the acquisition of images and information at discrete and isolated points such as the newspaper, the television, computer, telephone, and screen. The fear in this division is that resistance to an order that may leave many locked in a chaotic state behind the representations streaming across the media is impossible when connection between people is defined strictly through a virtual network that makes common viewing possible. The lack of face-to-face contact denies the possibility of confronting the issues that actually effect the constitution of culture and allows for many to hide behind solutions that only make sense within the logic of the media and the state apparatus.
If understood in a certain light, art can resist such dissolution of the community. It will increasingly become apparent that for some time the makers of art and the culture that preserves art and its reception are aware of the potential of art to aid in the dis-enclosure of communities and the possible isolation and alienation that might result when an individual is thrown into a new state defined by a new enclosure. The most successful art pulls people together just as it breaks down boundaries that insure the homogeneity of a group. Such forces that may exist in close proximity to art and to creativity are not, however, in any sense given. They are constructed by the particular interaction of art with its placement in the world. Together, they construct a ground and set-up a condition of mediation. The setting, construction, and deconstruction will be a primary focus of the critique of the wall.
"Albrecht Dürer’s famous machine (1525) for example, consisting of an eyepiece and a glass panel, was mainly intended to demonstrate a rigid method for copying nature by cutting a section literally through the cone of vision. Significantly, Dürer’s machine is still an appropriate metaphor for the scientific objectification of reality. It shows man placing the world in his cone of vision, making it difficult to acknowledge the reciprocity of perception by the Other (originally God), the intersubjective (erotic) reality that makes us possible as embodied consciousness in the first place. Philosophically, this coincides with the growing occultation of Being in what Heidegger calls “the age of world picture,” the substitution of the world as presence for a fragmentary world of decontextualized objects awaiting our exploitation, a mere re-presented reality that necessarily conceals its ground of truth: that is, the horizon of things, now excluded by the frame. In retrospect we can recognize this as a precedent of our technological vision, the public reality in and through which the architect’s work must “speak.”"(Perez-Gomez, 34)
"Sciagraphy (also written “sciography,” meaning etymologically the inscription or description of shadows) was generally understood until the seventeenth century as “the art of drawing shadows.” Between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century, it also referred to a cut or section of a building." (Perez-Gomez, 46)
"Humanity’s participation in the symbolic (and divine) order of the world was starting to become a matter of self-conscious faith rather than self-evident embodied in knowledge, despite the pervasive (an unquestionably influential) deistic and Masonic affirmation of the coincidence between revealed and scientific truths. The corresponding chasm between the autonomous art object and a passive observer–that is, the potential non-sense of “art for art’s sake”–was also first articulated at this time in early discussion on aesthetics (by Alexander Baumgarten), to become a crucial problem for architects and artists ever since. The concept of theatrical space as the space of architecture coincided with architects’ growing realization that meaning itself might be a matter of convention, rather than being guaranteed by nature." (Perez-Gomez, 76)
"But this was the least of the good Effects which they produced; and it was of much more Importance that they conduced not a little the Preservation of the Commonwealth, and of the Fortunes of the private Persons. One of the chief Causes why the Rich rejected the Agrarian Law, as we are informed by the Historian Appian, was because they looked upon it to be an Impiety to suffer the Property of the Tombs of their Forefathers to be transferred to others. How many great Inheritance may we therefore suppose them to have left untouched to their Posterity merely upon this Principle of Duty, Piety or Religion, which else would have been prodigally wasted in Riot and Gaming?" (Alberti, 163)
The relationship between the wall and something called ‘art’ extends to the earliest moments of representation encountered in the history of our species. Cave painting, decoration of funerary chambers, and elaboration of patterns found in temples all point to an early alignment between representations of how man inhabits the world and an enclosure or wall that acts as a support system. As a result of an inability of ‘early man’ to conceive of representation as somehow floating off the wall and inhabiting the ether around the body and in the world, we can consider such an allegiance to be natural. While totemic objects existed as distinct from the wall and without the need for physical support beyond the spiritual body that operated them, they did so as a “thing in itself” rather than as a representation of something in the world inhabited by its maker. Such objects represented a world entirely other from that of their maker. It was a world from which ‘early man’ had been cut off and which access could be granted only in death or through elaborate ritual that opened a portal between realms.
This distinction between the object and the surface harboring a picture that may have been equally involved in describing an “other” realm as the beginning of the critique of the wall. The wall in all of its solidity could be transformed by the operation of an object that allows one part of a wall that is framed as a solid door to become a gateway to the next life. Had the wall and the object not continued to evolve, this may have been the end of the story. However, such early walls are a far cry from curtain walls and balloon frames that define the present. Objects were fabricated by hand via primitive tools instead of via an elaborate calculus driving machines working to a precision of a thousandth of an inch. In traveling from then to now, we encounter an increasing tendency of both the object and the wall to support mimetic representation. As a flat surface began to be viewed as appropriate for conveying a set of information – stories and styles – and a three-dimensional object for another set of information – the people in said stories and that support said styles – it was no longer the case that magic was allowed to link and balance the two forms that art might take.
For a critique of the wall to continue operating, it would have to do so explicitly on the terms of the wall itself rather than via an external device that is its other. In this context, it is possible to understand temple construction that made use of a dynamic relationship between columns and walls and church architecture that made use of a relationship between glass and stone as enacting such a critique. While this may be the case, both would suggest that art, although still present throughout the temple and church, ceases to drive the critique. This, however, I believe not to be the case. In the example of the temple and church we encounter an attempt by builders to adapt to the critique that the makers of art engage in. The critique of the wall that art engages should as a consequence be traced to Pythagoras’ voice hidden from his students behind the curtain and Plato’s musings on shadows projected on the wall of the cave. Together they allow us to imagine how a critique of the wall could culminate in the sounds and images of cinema. They lay the ground for the evolution that occurs in-between then and now.
The wall becomes a site for projecting the occurrences of events and things in the world. From the tale of Zeuxis and Parrhasios to Byzantine icons that begin to be painted on panels so as to allow them to become mobile, the wall finds itself under critique on its own terms as a flat surface. The depth of sculptural reliefs grows, every surface of the interior of the cathedral is claimed for narrative purposes, and the illusionism that artists are capable of evolves with Fra Angelico’s Annunciation to the point where no ritual is needed to open a portal to another realm and instead the art in itself is capable of transforming plaster – albeit with the aid of light which in its physicality takes over the operation of a critique of the wall from that of spirituality – into something entirely other. It was in this context that Leonardo and Alberti set out to create a science of the wall. Interest in antiquity and in particular the work of Vitruvius allowed for a reconsideration of how the wall worked both militarily and artistically.
At the same time, paint suspended in oil rather than in plaster as a part of the wall transformed art – making room for traditions to evolve beyond iconic screen painting. This shift reflected patronage that was increasingly driven by a merchant rather than priestly class and a rate of urban change that made it desirable for art to be free from a specific structure. While the tradition of fresco painting continued in sites seen as stable, painting on canvas began to dominate as a result of the new richness of color and the extended duration during which a painting could be made. Art and wall might have been forever confined to a stable relationship of supporting and presenting. The art being made, however, presents a different situation. Artists working with paint created images of a world made of light rather than walls – from Caravaggio to Rembrandt – and architects working with walls began making art that called orthodoxies of rectilinearity and functionality into question via space constructed through anamorphic projection. The space of art and architecture merged through the work of Bernini, Boromini, Colona, and Peranesi in particular.
City walls were no longer the dominant force by which a political domain was enclosed. Administrative and ideological walls began to be erected. Still, armories, palaces, and museums continued to be protected behind thick walls. It was with the epoch of Revolution that the wall was finally rested from the church and divine monarchies. It was given to the people. With this turn, administrative and ideological walls grew ever stronger as it became clear that the challenges facing man had not been solved by revolution, but had only just begun. Asylums, libraries, prisons, museums, hospitals, internment and labor camps, universities, corporate towers, and apartment blocks came into existence. While for thousands of years the wall had remained relatively homogenous, as they did so, each defined a new type of wall via new technologies such as reinforced concrete, modern masonry construction, balloon frame construction, and curtain wall construction. Art, having been separated from the wall during the Renaissance, found itself far removed as the wall reasserted its authority.
It was in the best interest of the men and women who supported this authority to keep the critical eye of the artist at a distance through a strict code of taste that made an actual critique impossible. Landscape, decorative, and portrait painting were indicative of this suppression by a ruling elite. Artists beginning in the mid-19th century began to find room for such a critique as taste began to diversify and the independent studio practice flourished. The line of thought that evolved was essentially one that suggested that art must have a relationship of respect with the wall that supports it and that given a dissatisfaction with how walls have come to operate, there is no other choice but for art to reflect its absence of support by evacuating its surface and opening a void. Some artists such as Le Corbusier saw a utopia wherein both art and wall could be re-made in a Renaissance fashion in order to begin anew. Others such as Robert Ryman and Gordon Matta-Clark believed they could be merged. A number, however, saw the severity of how the wall and more generally enclosure was used during the Nazi regime, Communist Regimes, and Empires during the period of de-colonization as extreme to the point where the critique could no longer operate via old terms. Art moved off the page, off the wall, out of the gallery, beyond the museum and into the concept or idea. With this move, the question of what form art takes and how it is experienced come to the forefront. At the same time, the question of how concept or idea and its manifestation continues the critique of the wall, enclosure, and inequality remains. While this excerpt does not intend to uncover the exact nature of how such contemporary art should be situated, analyzed, and made to function with greater efficiency in a broader economy so as to continue to enact a protest against the dominance of capital, the branch devoted to sense, sensors, and sensation lays a ground on which such an understanding rests.
"Nineteenth century man (and not the baroque prince) finally could assume a dominating gaze capable of controlling the social and natural world through the pure light of reason, supposedly devoid of shadows. We can perceive here (and not in baroque perspective representation) the possibility of truly reductive forms of representation leading to the universe of prosaic forms of simulation (such as journalistic photography, realistic films, and television) that proliferate in our world. Through this consummated synthesis of optics and geometrical perspective, light risked losing its traditional status as the mysterious horizon of things. We may recall how, in Martin Heidegger’s diagnosis, the possibility of overcoming technological enframing–the reduction of the world of our experience to a “picture,” and of live nature to an inventory of exploitable natural resources supposedly capable of sustaining an ever-growing economy–is related to a potential awareness of the mystery of light." (Perez-Gomez, 82-83)
"Not just a wall, but a wall suspended from the earth: this first element of construction at once exposes and dissembles. As caesura, impassable limit, it annuls or pushes to the margins as superfluous the articulations of the organism. To the extent that this wall is a mass floating in the air, in its turn shattered–with perverse neatness–by a cut that permits the “surprise” outward thrust of Mussolini’s platform, it declares itself “mask.” The essentiatlity of this primary structure, with its chorus of tones, yields an awareness that its apodictic security hides something. Although undisputed protagonist, it is a character in search of an author." (Eisenman, 274)
"And here it will be proper to call to Mind what has been said elsewhere, that of Ways some are properly Highways, others in a manner but private ones; as also, that there must be Difference between the Ways within the City, and those in the Country." (Alberti, 162)
The critique of the wall that art enacts occurs before the extraordinary number of walls and enclosure that have come to define our world. While the growing number of walls is in some ways a simple function of the growing number of people that inhabit the earth, it is equally a consequence of our tendency to embrace fixed structures that resist the entropy of time rather than adopt fluid and mobile structures suited to the increasingly nomadic nature of man. Not all of these walls, however, are suited for art. The extent to which a wall is capable of supporting art and whether the art that it supports is recognized as art by international taste makers is a function of the extent to which the owner of the wall belongs to a class that comprises less than 1% of the world’s population. In this sense, the wall as site for art has come to denote a particular standing in the world. The fact that art is placed on the wall of the wealthy, however, does not imply that the artist is complicit in supporting such a condition. While artists working today are now more than ever inclined to revel in selling their work to collectors, they need not sign on to the ideology of said collectors. In fact, the reunion of wall and art in large part comes at the hands of those who favor the wall over art. In this sense, art is a trophy or a spoil of war. The power of the work is repressed as it comes to find a place within a realm of value that the artist may have hoped to critique.
In addition to private walls, public walls in corporate headquarters, indoor and outdoor public plazas, galleries, and museums offer an opportunity for art to engage the wall on more critical terms. Through the democratization of public support for the arts, artists are given leeway to consider the relationship between art and what supports it. Such spaces are directed towards an elite either via the politicians that ultimately control public spaces or gallerists that must pander to the wealthy in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market. It is for this reason that artists have begun to turn to media such as performance, video, and dance that cannot be co-opted by the wall. In this sense, the promise of neutrality that modern museums offered was a Trojan horse. The architecture of these spaces was from the beginning incapable of engaging in any sort of authentic dialogue with what would come to be housed within. As a result, the growing number of walls owned by those incapable and unable to gain access to elite art is a testament to this condition. These walls that define the majority of constructed space in the world and that exist in every stage of economic development, are beginning to come into greater focus, both for the art world, and for a broader society. They point to the fact that little progress has been made in addressing the negative aspects of enclosure that limit the freedom of markets and segregate individuals based on class and race. They point to the unsustainable nature of various building practices. In this sense, the quantity of walls that exist in the world and our inability to ignore them in favor of glorifying some grand cultural zone that exists at the center, has come to define the horizon before which we stand and that artists, with their ability to see through the opacity of convention, hope to move beyond.
When considering walls, quantity, and art, the extreme numbers to which each has become subject reframes the context in which any discourse on art might exist. No longer able to consider art on strictly objective or subject terms, absolute or relative terms, we find that art is related to the world through a wide range of parameters – from the price per square foot that a gallery must pay to rent space and a resulting profit margin that comes to be required to the shear numbers of people that are either included or excluded as patrons. In this context, art opens both to a wide range of sites in which it can exist and to a wide range of methods by which it can be produced. The result is a huge quantity of art and an ever-increasing need to control the discourse of art in order to ensure that the market is not diluted to the point where all value collapses. As a result, art indexes are created and an economy of the image forms.
A reliable manner by which quantity and quality can be related has yet to be discovered. A rating cannot be assigned to an artist that accurately defines the risk that one might take in purchasing his or her work. However, as art begins to re-imagine the system that might form its support through a critique of the existing, a possibility is born for engaging quantity strategically such that producers and consumers can be more closely aligned in order to support a more egalitarian economy. While the result might not be exactly one piece of art for every wall in the world, a more fluid field of art might come to exists such that art does not have to be installed as a discrete entity. Such fields would be subject to complex equations that form a relationship between media, producer, site, culture, tradition, consumer, and material.
We understand that the wall is neither a sufficient site for art nor is it a particularly efficient tool that might be used to organize the current state of global society. Such a state of the wall has come to pass as a result of centuries of revolution and inability to register the differences that revolution has resulted in. In order to understand a critique of the wall, the revolt against the wall should be considered through its repetitive nature. By following the repetition to which the wall has been subjected, an understanding of a flaw lying at the root of its structure might come to the surface. This crisis is the seed of what imagines a broader crisis through the expanded field of vision that it describes the science of and that it makes room for through the communities that grow around it. The critique of the wall is the foundation of that which the wall supports, namely, art. Before the quantity of walls that define the world, art finds the seeds of being delivered from marginalization by those who wish to support their continued wealth and power. The question, however, remains, what it is that will come as walls dividing cities and separating states fall, as housing projects come to the ground, and as the suburbs that were sustained by oil and the ideological walls put in place to secure access are no longer viable.
"More important is that, having revealed the hidden composition of the forces internal to the structure and having reduced them to arabesque, to design, the lines further divides connections between the multiple “sounds” emitted by what seemed to constitute an apodictic word." (Eisenman, 274)
"There is thus an oscillation between the knowledge offered by the drawing and that available through experience. Both conditions of interpretation are partial, and while they could be said to add up to one unified reading, the fact is that the window itself serves to indicate the difference between the two. It is almost like seeing the virtual points of a space in a mirror, which, while they can be seen and experienced, not exist as such in “real” space. On the other hand, while the real space seen in the mirror can be measured and conventionally transcribed, the altering mediation of the mirror is not diminished." (Eisenman, 301)
The critique of the wall in its fullest is, to many, an alien concept. Most are subject to a different sway of distance and time. The fact that the wall and its critique remains of little concern to many is a consequence of the inherent technology of the wall. The ability of the wall to enclose a space and define a community is no longer a task assigned to the wall. Instead, screens as interfaces have taken on the task. They use the technology of the façade to draw together a community. Such technology allows for the identification of one’s self and others remains tied to how the wall has operated in the past. It remains bound in a situation where its connectedness is largely invisible. Such invisibility obscures the critical movement of the wall that is put into motion by its support of art. The dematerialization of the wall and its manifestation in various portable technological devices constitutes a continued state of enclosure that denies a possibility of its modification by obscuring the critical components that define its existence. The appearance of art offers a chance to engage the state in which the wall exists in the moments prior to the eminent completion of it critique.
Most people do not pay attention to either art or the wall. We find ourselves within a community that bears allegiance to past enclosure and are left grasping in hopes of finding orientation. The question facing this empty state concerns the urban condition that suits inhabitants who are subject to a crisis of political and visual representation. If such a city is to find life, the inhabitants must find orientation through acts of mapping that actively produce a new space within their city. They will have to carry a map with them that provides orientation to the various elements of enclosure that technology has obscured. While the creation of this map might once have been government by aesthetics, it will now be governed by sense. Such sense attempts to see past a zone of waste and decay and to the underlying entities that might supplement a reading of an urban situation. Seeing with the eyes and the hand between an empty realm beyond one’s body that is no longer metered by the façade of the wall and the page that might hold records of this search becomes a way of breaking through the thin film that is said to define the reality in which we live, but that in fact obscures actual conditions on the ground.
The struggle between the wall and community should happen on the page. It is a page that provides instructions for the visible. For this to occur, the page must bear the critique of the wall. It is on the page where the battles are fought. Shadows are pushed to the margins, the figure and ground collapses, and language is evacuated. It is almost as if the page has been evacuated following a catastrophe or as if waste is being eliminated. Just as the wall becomes increasingly virtual as its critical engagement with art vanishes, the page returns once again as a site where resistance might be staged against the pervasiveness of digital technologies. Through cleaning the page, scrubbing it and combing its surface in a struggle with the forces that linger, a possibility exists of accessing a space in-between the points that exist on a grid. Such an interrogation turns away from a world of disappearance and to one where the archives of the past as well as the table and the law were housed. It is a calculus that cleanses the eye by embracing a suppressed entropic condition. A differential relationship of art and architecture is exposed that comes to define a community. Such a relationship asks for those who are cut-off from art to practice seeing the nature of the equation in hopes that they will notice how art figures. It is a calculus as either a pure nothing or pure something. It is a simultaneously differential and integral equation linking the vertical and horizontal through movement, motivation, and affect.
There are instances where exemplary actions are taken to confront the situation facing art, the wall, and community. Such a moment occurs when artists take remnants of the wall into the city. They attempt to make the operation visible. In some cases they make use of abstraction or iconography to call attention to their efforts. In other cases the effort makes uses of something more concrete. Cases also exist where the very persona of the artist serves as exemplary and his or her movements come to be taken as the locus of art itself. What these attempts share in common is a desire to instruct the receivers of the work in mapping the relationship between art and enclosure in such a way that the critique of the wall might be carried out. The hope exists that the field in which we dwell might be one where power is distributed based on momentary and local needs rather than lodged within an institution that exists at some distance to the situation. Practices on the street and in the gallery have called for such a re-distribution of energy. The forces of capital, collectors, and theoreticians have kept such efforts at bay. Instead of destroying their efforts, this denial in fact supports the foundation of these practices as quasi-mythological support for a wide cult of value that produces a market for work that otherwise would have little worth or point of reference. Such a mythology is more accurately an anti-mythology whose aim is to demystify the space of encounter and the wall that supports this encounter. It enacts a critique of enclosure and a critique of communities largely defined by semblance as they look for the model to which they might refer.
In the context of practices that illuminate this failure in an attempt to provide instructions for finding an orientation that aids dwelling, we come to terms with the physical result of the critique of the wall. For those not concerned with manifesting this critique, with making the invisible visible, it is often the case that a foothold cannot be found. The critique slips by. The maps are too difficult to understand. In such a situation it is very temping to turn away from the terms and look for a different relationship with the world. This turn, however, cannot occur outside of the technology that supports the world of disappearance. A turn away is merely turning further into a world of virtual reality and media spectacle. It leads to a vacation where we find traces of this failure in the walls of past generations. Such sensations give way to the intuition that there might be something else. Something catches the corner of our eye. It is a mobility and a deviation. Is it both the persistent use of walls to divide and exploit as well as the precarious hope that cessation might occur and room might be given for something else.
In this moment we witness the failure of both the wall and its critique to constitute common sense. The wall has stolen common sense just as it promised to support its claims and just as we have come into an increasing state of debt in hopes that we will fall within the enclosure when common sense and a homogenous and peaceful civil society is constituted. With these failures in light and with the persistence of walls, monuments, and palaces that define a cultural heritage in which we locate an aura and ground qualitative value, it is imperative to set our house in order. In light of an understanding of how the critique of the wall has marginalized art in conjunction with the bigness of the situation as supported by capital accumulation, the disappearance of the wall into an abstract line of division should be acknowledged and the debt that one side has to the other set straight. Acknowledging theft and pledging to repay a debt will make room for a consideration of art both with its marginalization as a given and with an eye towards overcoming.
"To recapitulate: social space, which is at first biomorphic and anthropological, tends to transcend this immediacy. Nothing disappears completely, however; nor can what subsists be defined solely in terms of traces, memories or relics. In space, what came earlier continues to underpin what follows. The preconditions of social space have their own particular ways of enduring and remaining actual within that space. Thus primary nature may persist, albeit in a completely acquired and false way, within ‘second nature’–witness urban reality. The task of architectonics is to describe, analyse and explain this persistence, which is often evoked in the metaphorical shorthand of strata, periods, sedimentary layers, and so on. It is an approach, therefore, which embraces and seeks to reassemble elements dispersed by the specialized and partial disciplines of ethnology, ethnography, human geography, anthropology, prehistory and history, sociology, and so on. Space so conceived might be called ‘organic’." (Lefebvre, 229)
"Knowledge falls into a trap when it makes representation of space the basis for the study of ‘life’, for in doing so it reduces lived experience. The object of knowledge is, precisely, the fragment and uncertain connection between elaborated representations of space on the one hand and representational space (along with their underpinnings) on the other; and this ‘object’ implies (and explains) a subject–that subject in whom lived, perceived and conceived (know) come together within a spatial practice." (Lefebvre, 230)
"We will nonetheless conclude that by restricting the thinking of change to the vital simplicity of the One, even if this involves the (classical) precaution of thinking the One as a power of differentiation–just as was done before him by the Stoics, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Bergson–Deleuze cannot really manage to account for the transcendental change of worlds. It remains impossible to subsume such a change under the sign of life, weather it is renamed as Power, Elan, or Immanence. It is necessary to think discontinuity as such, a discontinuity that cannot be reduced to any creative univocity, as indistinct or chaotic as the concept of such a univocity may be." (Badiou, 392)
In order to draw out the passage of the wall into art, we will begin with accounts of the repetitive challenge to the legitimacy of the wall. The first challenge to the wall arises as a result of the dubious task of separating the world of the living from that of the dead. In this separation, the power of the wall is tested to an increasingly high standard as the world of the dead swells over that of the living. In enacting this separation, the wall is marked as different from the mound that covers the body. It is the final horizon before approaching the pyramid or boarding the ship. In marking this difference, the wall is given the possibility of serving as the site that registers this passage. It takes writing to tell the story of the passage beyond. This writing might come to develop such that the wall takes on a phenomenal dimension. In this sense, the first critique of the wall is imposed by the horizon of death that each man and woman faces. It is a critique of impermanence that opens the possibility of the wall as frame rather than as solid. It is the possibility that the wall might hold a window and the window a gaze.
The horizon of death leads architects to open the wall to vision and light. This opening exists throughout history and serves as the locus of continuity. It registers and allows for the continuation of the world. Such an opening can be taken either physically or metaphysically. The latter is in essence the opening to a phenomenal transparency of the wall in terms of paintings that comes to make use of perspective and illusion on one hand and the possibility that the wall might provide the substrate for a map on the other. While such frescoes have physicality, a great deal of meaning is encoded in a thin application of pigment to the plaster. This almost non-existent depth opens an immense depth of reference beyond the wall. Such referring to the beyond describes the second critique aimed at the wall as a metaphysical one. In contrast to the critique imposed by a horizon of death that suggests the negotiation between safe enclosure and openness to the joys that nature and a community might bring, the second critique is one of which man is entirely in control. It opens the horizon of telling a story of the struggle with nature as opposed to nature itself. It is in this early moment in the critique of the wall that a virtual dimension opens and the possibility of art, as opposed to a story or map, comes into focus.
An Enlightenment tradition suggests that enclosures can be overcome and order can be given to the chaos of nature. Collections of various kinds provide a sufficient reason for inventing methods for classifying systems. In their evolution and through a growing exchange across borders, the possibility is presented that the immovable nature of the wall might be overcome. The demands imposed on the state to address rapidly evolving conditions might be met by regulating the virtual wall that defines the line between one order and another. Art finds value along this line. It is in this sense that museums should be understood as the locus for the legacy of the wall. At the same time, they transcend international boundaries by bringing art and people from various nations together. Value arises through how one side interfaces with the other. Art on the walls of museums that exist in a given state of construction or deconstruction is the locus of exchange. It is a mirror that registers qualities that the men and women who receive the work share and hold to be of a certain worth.
The difficulty with placing such hope in the Enlightenment tradition and the institutions that it founded is seen in the walls that linger beyond the desire for their disappearance into a virtual utopia. This failure is marked by the leading architects who were practicing in Germany, Italy, and France in the years before and during World War II. In each case, the grounds of the order were projected back onto the wall itself in hopes that the wall might achieve a buoyancy and meaning beyond the history from which it was derived. Architects attempts to give the wall a transfusion that would allow it to leap into action in order to address the bigness of the situation. Their efforts created a new mode of building through the use of steel and concrete technologies. However, rather than disappearing, the wall became more present. The troubling aspect of the wall that was born out of World War II was its abstraction. It was not tied to a narrative, had no agenda beyond its own ontology, and had little concern for supporting art as an integral entity. Although the representation of modern walls was deeply tied to the tradition in art at the time, art was left at a distance.
The wall had become something that was for the first time international. Art was becoming equally subject to conversations across borders. Those who supported the creation of both walls and arts were absorbed by the revolutions that were increasingly coming to challenge the enclosure of the Enlightenment tradition. With increasing frequency, revolutions challenged the vestiges of the walls that enclosed the collections and wealth of the families of old Europe. They broke the unity of fetishistic common sense that lies hidden behind walls. It is such a critique that is exposed by stripping the house of excess and re-making it as a machine for living. Everything in such a world is made right. The house becomes a place for mixing without relying on fetishistic objects. The only activity that occurs is dwelling. It is through a rectification, a righting of the wall, a plumbing of the ground, that the wall takes on a revolutionary agenda. Revolution remains strictly as a horizon for architecture so long as it fails to see beyond righting and to movement. It is in this sense that the wall continues to look towards art in order to conceptualize its genuine dematerialization.
The a sketch of this dissolution as the final critique of the wall is understood in moment when the creators or proprietors of a wall enter an alliance with an artist in order to project that wall back onto itself, to project art on the wall, or to project art onto art. In this moment of materiality on one end of the spectrum and virtuality on the other, the confrontation of the remainder of either art or the wall with the terms that constitute it is enacted with the hope of finding a zero-space that might serve as a neutralization of the historical forces of both art and the wall in a sufficient manner that a new beginning outside of a system of signs deemed to be flawed might occur. It is a theater of revolution. A critique in constant motion is exposed in the projection between art and architecture. It is a structure engaged in critical theatre as a situation that dramatizes art in a state of suspension off the wall. While coming to understand the ethereal nature of art without reference to any wall or any classical system of representation, art emerges as no longer subject to a state and the envelopes in which humans might dwell.
At the end of the dissolution of the wall through its immanent self-critique, it should not be assumed that all the walls from the past that engaged in this evolution somehow miraculously disappear or that the critique negates their efficacy. We are left to live in constant contact with an order whose law no longer efficiently governs our world. Walls are a scar on the surface of a world defined by markets, networks, and flows. That these walls linger serves as a point of potential confusion if they are used in the same way and towards the same ends as in the past. They cannot be taken as a wall if they are to serve a system that is not empty and that leads to some future that is more than a repetition of the present. In this sense, the final phase in the critique of the wall might be defined as a re-encounter with the wall. It is not take as an enclosure or with any depth, but instead is a surface with an expanded field. The walls that linger serve as a stage set for both the artist and the objects that they make.
In this way the wall becomes a free agent. It becomes a surface that can be moved through a building, city, or world. In this movement it offers art a substrate on which it might be given free passage from one place to the next. This motion draws together a community beyond fixed boundaries. It opens the possibility of art operating in an expanded medium directed toward a specific demographic rather than a given sightline. Such an alliance between art and a wall liberated from state control by sufficient cycles of revolution makes rooms for as many variations in human spirit, essence, and breath as might be imagined. As an exception, a degree of safety is guaranteed and passage is granted. It is the provision of this safety for an infinite set of states of different human minds and bodies that defines the aura, the supersensible energy marking the potential for the invisible to become visible, that comes to be associated with the greatest art. It marks a genesis that takes place between the virtual and its actualization. The gaze falls under this passage from a virtual multiplicity to a phenomenon sensed at a given moment. It is in this sense that the critique of the wall allows it to attain its original potential as nothing more than an idea.
"There are three conditions which together allow us to define the moment at which an Idea emerges: (1) the elements of the multiplicity must have neither sensible form nor conceptual signification, nor, therefore, any assignable function. They are not event actually existent, but inseparable from a potential or a virtuality. In this sense they imply no prior identity, no positing of a something that could be called one or the same. One the contrary, their indetermination renders possible the manifestation of difference freed from all subordination. (2) These elements must in effect be determined, but reciprocally, by reciprocal relations which allow no independence whatsoever to subsist. Such relations are precisely non-localizable ideal connections, whether they characterize the multiplicity globally or proceed by the juxtaposition of neighboring regions. In all cases the multiplicity is intrinsically defined, without external reference or recourse to a uniform space in which it would be submerged. Spatio-temporal relations no doubt retain multiplicity, but lose interiority; concepts of the understanding retain interiority, but lose multiplicity, which they replace by the identity of an ‘I think’ or something thought. Internal multiplicity, by contrast, is characteristic of the Idea alone. (3) A multiple ideal connection, a differential relation, must be actualized in diverse spatio-temporal relationships, at the same time as its elements are actually incarnated in a variety of terms and forms. The Idea is thus defined as a structure. A structure or an Idea is a ‘complex theme’, an internal multiplicity–in other words, a system of multiple, non-localizable connections between differential elements which is incarnated in real relations and actual terms. In this sense, we see no difficulty in reconciling genesis and structure." (Deleuze, 183)
"The natural object of social consciousness or common sense with regard to the recognition of value is the fetish. Social problems can be grasped only by means of a ‘rectification’ which occurs when the faculty of sociability is raised to its transcendent exercise and breaks the unity of fetishistic common sense. The transcendent object of the faculty of sociability is revolution. In this sense, revolution is the social power of difference, the paradox of society, the particular wrath of the Idea." (Deleuze, 208)
"Wandering the hybrid territory of projections between home and the world, I find myself incessantly in that terrain of “unhomely” displacement and “border existence” that Homi Bhabha calls an “in-between,” zone of cultural intersections where signification is marked by hybridity. From this location, as James Clifford has put it, discourse appears as a production of “traveling cultures,” and form the chronotope of the hotel, cultural knowledge itself appears as a work of traveling-in-dwelling and dwelling-in-traveling." (Bruno, 401)
"As modern site-seeing, cinema partakes of the residual fashioning of space that is written on the white wall. The architectural fashioning of psychogeographic space, that is, extends to the cinema, where it is radically shaped by the way film makes space on the surface. Dressing the wall with new forms of mobile spatiality, film, like fashion and the modernist wall, can be seen as nothing but a screen. Like the white wall, the white filmic screen absorbs many different geopsychic textures and holds all colors within its surface. It is a texture that continues to acquire depth as the geopsychic design passes through it. Film is both the mise-en-scene and the off-screen space of everyday life dressed up in an architectonics of diverse socio-sexual shapes that become, as in fashion, a haptic landscape of absorption. These inhabited screens and digestion of images of ourselves, traced on the map of the house wall, the movie house, and the dress we live in." (Bruno, 321)
"It has ceased giving life in the order of sense, if it is true that there is never sense for just one person. If sense is of the order of the “common,” then there is no doubt that Christianity has ceased giving life–no doubt that it has passed from itself into a different status, a different realm of sense and common allotment of sense. In a more general sense, Christianity’s fate is perhaps the fate of sense in general, that is, what has been called in the last few years, outwardly, the “end of ideologies.” The “end of ideologies” is at least the end of promised sense or the end of the promise of sense as an intention, goal, and fulfillment. That is doubtless what it is: the end of the self-surpassing of Christianity." (Nancy, 142)
"From the passage of God into man to the presence/parousia of God unto man, the consequence is valid, but that consequence from passage to presence I precisely what is called sense. Thus Christianity is in the element of sense, in both senses, significative and directional, of the word. Christianity is par excellence the conjunction of both senses: it is sense as tension or direction toward the advent of sense as content. Consequently, the question is less that of the sense of Christianity than that of Christianity as a dimension of sense, a dimension of sense that–and this is the point to be analyzed–is at once the opening of sense and sense as opening. From passage to presence, it does not cease being averred that presence always repeats passage, or that passage always leads to more opening at the heart of sense. The extreme point of that tension is attained when the absolute of parousia, the absolute of presence, ends by merging with the infinity of passage. Sense is then completed, or, to say the same thing differently, used up.” It is complete sense in which there is no longer any sense." (Nancy, 147)
"…for the idea of Christian revelation is that, in the end, nothing is revealed, nothing but the end of revelation itself, or else that revelation is to say that sense is unveiled purely as sense, in person, but in a person such that all the sense of that person consists in revealing himself. Sense reveals itself and reveals nothing, or else reveals its own infinity." (Nancy, 147)
The enclosure of this authority behind a wall, within a fortress, and at the head of an empire forms the next valance of the critique of the wall. With the consolidation of power at a single point and the explosive growth of global population, the need to administer the wall arises. It has become too large to exist as a physicality. A bureaucracy is called together to account for the operation of the enclosure within a state. In this context, the question of what goes in and what goes out comes into focus. A system of judgment arises that orders the objects within the enclosure. Art, having already lost its substrate through the dissolution of first the city wall and then the walls of the church, becomes equally subject to the flows in and out of the empire. From a gradual decline of power, art has come to increasingly exist as a mobile entity that can withstand changes in state rule and the violence that might come to befall an estate. In a strange turn of events, art as an entity related to the metaphysical comes to be neither a permanent entity to be demolished along with the building to which it was bound nor threatened with being erased by changing tastes. Art finds mobility and gains currency.
The mobility that art found, however, was not guaranteed as an eternal right. There were considerable forces for whom keeping art stable and in a fixed location was in their interest. In large part, such forces were those for whom art had become akin to a monetary instrument that allowed for value to be both generated and exchanged. Such an instrument was desirable in that it operated according to alternative rules from those that regulated other instruments of value. The art object was both an entity that was subject to an alternative model of appreciation and to a different tax code. This resulted in the ability of the careful collector to turn a modest investment into a great fortune and for that fortune to become exempt from tax, in some cases even shielding other instruments from taxation, when donated to a cultural institution. Under such systems that rose to dominance in the 1980s in England and the United States, collectors were given extraordinary opportunities to bolster their cultural capital that in turn might allow for further growth of traditional capital. For such a system to operate efficiently, a concrete value had to be assigned to such art. This occurred by keeping it within the closed loop between the museum, gallery, and curator. Independent critics and art occurring in media that could not be fixed and given a number within a system of exchange were marginalized.
The cost of maintaining enclosure and resisting the critique of the wall supported by artists has come to be increasingly high. Huge amounts of capital must be spent on supporting military and security systems in order to control borders and protect compounds. Various economic and social policies must be supported in order to encourage home building traditions that have been challenged by ecological and social concerns. Historic buildings must be maintained in order to preserve a sense of national identity and support a growing tourist industry. The consequence is that a great deal of capital goes into supporting institutions that although engaged in supporting a wide range of existences have been nevertheless portrayed as less than ideal forms. Rather than devoting capital towards transforming industry, capital is devoted to resisting change. In this context, artists are required to work increasingly hard in order to break the attempts to fight change. They do so in large part by pointing to how the critique of the wall bears on capital.
In this context, wall painting, frescos, sculpture, icons, relics, moveable panels, moveable museums, moving art, art as walking, art as a dream, art as action, and art as concept arise in contradistinction to the regulation of the construction of the wall. This process marks a departure from the wall as a radical critique whose horizon is utopia. In taking on this distance from the real ground on which the wall is built, the evolution of art on the wall opens the possibility of judgment grounded in a higher order that transcends the limits of a single house. Art opens the possibility of harmony between numbers and ideas. The intersection of art and architecture is a critique in the sense that it puts into motion a play between the transcendent and the non, the local and the global. With this play, art remains tied to the point at which it arises and to the world that it claims a connection to.
While art should not be thought from the beginning as exempt from the rest of the surface of the wall, the play between locality and something that lies beyond increasingly opens the possibility of art as the opposite of architecture or art as a moment when we are exempt from broader rules. This play is traced in the physical surface that holds the image that gives rise to art and in the space on either side of the wall. The work of art is coextensive with the wall as a materiality. The various orders that structures the wall provide a context for understanding whatever the art is take to be. This interaction gives rise to depth between art and the wall. This depth is one that allows for a play between what is built and what is imagined. An image of the future is found in this depth through an understanding of the capabilities of architecture and the limits of our imagination for how we might build the future. The possibility of such a future has historically been drawn to inform the present through its employment by various religions. A science of vision came to regulate the depth and ensure that alternate systems did not come to challenge the real authority sitting on a throne within an enclosure.
XII. Bearing and the Event
A broad shift has occurred from sites of stable meaning that are intended to convey narratives through time to the next generation of receiver, to sites that are unstable and have difficulty conveying fixed meaning through time. This has occurred as a result of a general willingness on the part of artists, critics, and receivers to embrace a broad critique of the institutional framework that once supported how art was received. This form of bearing shifts the eternal in art away from the art object and the site at which art occurs and to a discourse that is charged with maintaining the values that could once be found in the work of art – generally characterized as a crisis of representation. This general bearing or influencing is caste over both the wall and art. It is generated by the event of the Holocaust and the deployment of the atomic bomb. These two entities can be understood as a black hole in the field of human existence in which all meaning, sense, and understanding collapse. While both have a fixed point in historical time, they remain present beyond the event horizon and call upon anyone, and artists in particular, to take extreme precautions if they wish to make work with proximity to the point of no return.
In response, a critical field forms that operates in a different dimension from the black hole. Allowing for the existence of overlapping worlds has the effect of allowing the thing we call art and to which the critical field refers to remain in communication with the event at the heart of the crisis of representation. In many instances, artists have taken their practice to an extreme and in the process have reproduced and perhaps even manifested a trace to the point of genuinely standing in sight of the event horizon. These practices insist on the primacy of the event for art. While the critical field guarantees existence, the event opens the possibility of experiencing non-existence as the receiver feels and even sometimes sees the artist pulled into the void.
Beyond realizing the risks that the artist takes and the alternate plane on which operation might occur, the notion that influence of critique can be applied to a distinct aspect of art, namely to the theory of art, while a broader critique that is the trace of an unimaginable entity such as a black hole or mass human and cultural annihilation suggests that a global and local aspect exists in the production and reception of art. The power of the latter and its ability to overtake a rational or sensible critique of the wall insists that this relationship will play itself out via the logic of the event of the lingering crisis.
This power of the event is nothing new, but experienced differently in the context of the present event and the proximity that we have to it in space and time. The crucial point that cannot be overlooked is that every notion that is raised in this essay is played out in an instant before the work of art as something that traces or imagines becoming a bigger event. The implications of this are broad as they point to the suggestion that there has never been a coherent existential or phenomenal mode of understanding and structuring art in the world and for the receiver. This is in part to relocate the idea and its manifestation as concept and structure from the field of history and religion to the event of generation and reception. In this sense, the event is always intimately bound and determined by the idea. This determination is defined by sense.
"We keep death ‘other’ by representing it: death always happens to an other self as we look on. This naturally infects our relation to the death of actual others. In mourning and melancholy we mimetically adapt to the other’s death, dying to life, while simultaneously and secretly being relieved (if not also appalled) by the fact that it is truly the other and not oneself who has died. This cycle of spectatorship and benumbed grief (itself a complex kind of spectatorship) is thus presented in a manner whereby, for all intents and purposes, conventional relations toward death are, in truth, forms of defense against it; but in defending ourselves against death we simultaneously insulate ourselves against life. It is just this routine state of being benumbed, half alive, alive without vitality of life, alive without the caring appropriate to the fact of aliveness, that wars sweep away." (Bernstein, 39)
"This way of breaking from representation requires therefore also the dismantling of classical drawing. What happens to the line when its task is no longer to provide an outline or contour? Line can be detached from ideal form either through having the line’s movement through space presume an enactment of movement through time, or through the speed and changing direction of the flat line; in the first case the line would appear to be the expression of an internal force, a drive or conatus, while in the latter case it would be responding to either internal or external forces. IN either case, the line contains an uncanny expressive vitality of its own that secures its liberation from its traditional functional appropriations. The liberated line avoids its role as outline." (Bernstein, 49)
"Greenberg counter-poses to the naivety of Kandinsky’s anti-representative programme the idea that the important thing is not the abandonment of figuration, but the conquest of the surface. But this conquest is itself a work of defiguration: a labour that renders the same painting visibile in a different way, that converts figures of representation into tropes of expression. What Deleuze calls the logic of sensation is much more a theatre of de-figuration, where figures are wrenched from the spaces of representation and reconfigured in a different space." (Ranciere, 77)
“There is no appropriate language for witnessing. Where testimony has to express the experience of the inhuman, it naturally finds an already constituted language of becoming-inhuman, of an identiy between human sentiments and non-human movements. It is the very language whereby aesthetic fiction is opposed to representative fiction. And one might at a pinch say that the unpresentatble is lodged precisely here, in the impossibility of an experience being told in its own appropriate language. But this principled identity of the appropriate and the inappropriate is the very stamp of the aesthetic regime in art." (Ranciere, 126)
The sensation that art can give rise to in the mind and the body of its receiver has for the most part been subordinated to the system to which the work of art belongs. The body of the receiver and its faculties have been dismissed in favor of a collective body that supports sacred or common sense. This deferral of the particular to the universal began to come under fire during the early 20th century. Through work in a variety of fields, the individual body was given primacy. This turn occurred in light of severe attacks made on the body and on collective means of organization. The critique of art as a mode of expression regulated by universal systems such as narrative, religious, or academic conventions occurred independent of a critique of the wall that might be traced by individual artists or in individual artworks.
The critique of universal systems preceded on a far more general level and was addressed to various universal systems. It followed a line that attempted to create art that communicated directly with human faculties of perception and gave rise to art that probed the depths of the psyche, the phenomenology of perception, and potential of extension in the world as both lived and performed. As art began to become increasingly capable of directly engaging the receiver, a new potential opened wherein the receiver was made an equal with the work in authoring meaning and understanding the nature of authority. The individual subject confined to a locality took precedence over a universal subject operating with a global reach and knowledge. As a result, such art supported ambiguous collectivity and a multiplicity of quasi-dominant narratives.
The ability of those creating and discussing art to break boundaries between art and receiver was contingent on an institutional critique of the physical wall on which art was received and virtual boundaries between disciplines. It occurred in the context of a wave of new technology that made the dematerialization of walls a possibility. Innovations in radar, infrared, sonar, digital imaging, heat sensing, and pattern recognition technology created new room in which art could operate. In addition, advances in network technology allowed for new paths by which art could be distributed and for the existence of an expanded field of linked consumers and producers working in industries that operate adjacent to art. Together, these changes created new territory on which art could exist and defined a new framework that defined how art is received. The rate at which this change occurred and the extent to which influence came from beyond the conventional boundaries of art has led to a certain degree of confusion as to how art is understood beyond its increasingly visceral relationship with the receiver and how this understanding and the object of art in general–whether it be real or virtual, concrete or conceptual–relates to a broader history of art.
In order to work past this limitation, we focus our attention in order to understand the extent to which a critique of the wall and the critique of how art is sensed operate as two parts of a similar force. The critique of the wall exists as an attempt to dismantle an entity most often experienced as a physicality while the critique of sense operates as an attempt to reframe an entity that is immaterial and invisible. In the former case, the critique often results in the virtualization of the real and in the latter case the realization of the virtual. A complex play between these two critiques supports a complex equation that calculates art and its relation to various other equations that define our world. Sense and sensation are given primacy over the wall. In many ways, the critique of the wall makes room for a fully operative body and its sensations. This is a result of a crisis of the representation of the human body on both political and artistic terms as well as a broader condition in which the body is increasingly mobile. It is tied to the increasing emphasis on individual desire and pleasure as well as the power that results from organizing collectives of bodies in order to protest systems of enclosure that remains inequitable in the eyes of the collective.
Directionality results and orients the receiver. Such a sense of direction points from the critique of the wall to a critique of systems that limit sensation. In order to travel this line and in particular in order to leave aside a critique of the wall, we have little else to do but embrace the linguistic nature of the critique. In doing so we can leave the material critique to continue operating while turning to investigate what it means for the wall to be described by text-based language. Calling an entity a “wall” is the first step in a transitional critique between a material critique of the wall and a virtual critique of invisible systems of authority. The critique of the wall informs this shift as it becomes clear the extent to which language and its vocalization require a particular understanding of distance between producer and receiver as well as to various enclosures that ensure that whatever vocalization occurs is audible. Various spatial, temporal, and cultural frames are encountered as language is presented. It is sense and sensation that makes such frames intelligible. As a result, language as well as the linguistic turn and its critique can be seen as intermediaries between the critique of the wall and the critique of sense that is essential for understanding art, its economy, and its relation to other economies through equations.
The ability to sense what frames language and the ability to extend this sensation into space and time in order to find broad orientation in the world is made possible by the presence of light and sound. Together they make a field of perception intelligible. The increased level of definition at which light and sound can be produced and the ability to render a space intelligible with higher resolution has allowed both to move beyond a mere instrument that supports language and in turn the authority of a political body behind a militarized wall. They become the focus of attention in their own right. This change is tied to a tendency discussed earlier that relocates meaning at the site of the body. The result of this move, however, is to ask whether privileging light, sound, and their sensation in the body and in various sensing technologies allows their power to permeate enclosures to take precedent over their need to be contained and in so doing support a radical democratization of sense and sensation as well as a final and as of yet unwritten chapter in the critique of the wall, the institution, and authority.
In order to engage this question, artists working with sense, sensors, and sensation have changed the axis and surface that is of primary importance from a vertical plane to a horizontal plane and from the object of art to the subject of art. Artists perform this transition from the authority of the vertical to the potential of the horizontal. They embrace the ground and are guided in their embrace by carefully sensing a path through an uncertain realm. Their act of sensing brings light and claims territory in which further operation can occur. As this new zone grows, the question arises as to whether language can exist without classical forms of enclosure. To some extent, a great deal of contemporary art expresses a desire for no language in a utopian effort to overcome the evil that language has wrought through its propensity to draw and account for subjects and objects out of a natural field. A few exceptional artists, however, offer an alternative wherein enclosure is not abandoned following the critique of the wall and universal systems of value and instead reflect on the enclosure of the human body, the need for shelter, and the extension of the body’s enclosure as a virtual envelope that extends into the space around them as an auratic field.
This result is a radical liberation of things enclosed by conventional means and the possibility that these items might be incorporated within a new field. This is to ask whether the critique of the wall and the faculties that sense its existence bears on the object? Is alienation overcome by demolishing the frame that structures the referent? In this moment is the object no longer an object, but a trace that has become a trace through this process of critique? Moreover, must one understand or be aware of the critique for it to become a trace? Would it then be a matter of sensing the existence of this trace in order to gain access to a world that grows adjacent to its predecessor? And, does this imply the co-existence of worlds that operate via different logics with different promises for the body, the mind, representation, and subjectivity? Here a politics is defined that equates accessibility to the trace with freedom and in so doing emboldens artists to finds ways of introducing tactics of sense, sensors, and sensation to a broader public in order to promote liberation of modes of enclosure that are not only outdated, but inefficient and economically unviable.
In considering sense, sensors, and sensation, we confront a problematic category that is largely excluded from aesthetics. On one hand, a line of reference can be drawn to the notion of common sense that has dominated theories of both politics and art and, on the other hand, to the discourse that has grown up around the body as the faculties of the senses. With this orientation in mind, a consideration of sense would in many ways serve as a consideration of that which makes possible a unity of local conditions regulating the body and global conditions regulating whether a work is judged to be art of a particular value. This connection, however, is unstable, ambiguous, and fleeting. It occurs as an event of encounter wherein reading and interpretation occur. The Sensation and the senses that make sensation possible are fleeting. They are gone almost before they are noticed. They remain only through memory. This memory occurs in both the mind of the receiver and as a trace left with the medium. The division of the artist and the receiver serves the division of memory between a memory of its creation that bears a real imprint on the surface and memory of its reception that leaves a virtual imprint in the mind of the receiver. The medium in this way comes to be in service of memory just as memory comes to be in service of sensation.
In suggesting the possibility that a medium might give rise to a particular sensation, it should be clear that sensation is to be taken as the primary drive that causes a consideration of art to spring into motion. Concerns over whether the interface and medium take on anthropomorphic characteristics are reconciled through sensation. It is with sensation and sensation alone that the movement occurs and that identification and identity in general arise. Sensation allows for both a medium to play beyond its limits and between various receivers. Joy arises from sensation as the receiver discovers a power of mind beyond utility. Sensation in this way is the ground on which imagination rests. By taking a sensation occurring in reality and transcribing it to a situation where it exists in imagination, the particularity of an imagined state comes into focus. It is exactly this ability of sensation to give way to imagination that occurs before art. A countless number of stories, scenarios, and encounters are supported by art. There is no right or wrong. For this reason, art continues to draw people to it even though it has come to be increasingly couched in obscure terminology and a high-minded discourse. In this sense, sensation is a unifying force that allows art to surpass the local and assume a global reach.
While sensation occurs continuously throughout life, some sensations are different than others. They are of greater intensity and cause whoever experiences such sensation to pay attention. The cultivation of the differences in sensation is the concern of sense. There are many ways by which sense might be cultivated. It is often a primary focus during a child’s upbringing and continues through years of education. In the context of a world that seems to be governed increasingly by the dissolution of common sense and the rise of cultural dis-sense, it becomes increasingly less productive to attempt to teach children how to sense via classical methods ingrained in the humanities and more productive to locate a sensuous education in realms such as video-games and on-line communities. Such a shift locates sense less as an intellectual faculty that is to be associated with reason and more as a bodily activity that is to be associated with the flesh. Through navigating various virtual realities in games, coming to feel a sensitivity to the touch of a trigger, and finding orientation through various signals on the interface, sense is cultivated as occurring instantly between the eye, hand, and brain. No reflection goes into such sensation. No call is made to stop and check what one feels before acting on the sensation. Instead, one is pulled ever forward.
The difficulty with cultivating sensation without reflection is in part found with a potential inability to share the sensation as anything more than a simulated sharing and in part as a result of an inability for the faculties of sense to keep up with new sensations. The former concern is essentially a difficulty that grows from the singularity of address that is inherent in sensation. It comes as a distraction from the various other valances of experience and, like the various other valances, invites the receiver to become lost in its operation for long enough such that they forget from where they have come and how the situation hangs together. Unlike the draw of interface and medium, however, the draw of sensation does not allow the subject to break free of the present and thereby threatens the subjects of the sensation’s ability to move on. It collapses experience in localization. The latter concern arises in large part through the ability of the mind to learn infinitely. Sense is what receives what will teach a new way of being. If, however, a receiver is thrown into a lesson on sensation midway through the course, they will be lost, disoriented, and dis-affected. Such a state of disaffection is coming to take hold of the many who are excluded by regimes of affect.
Art combats these concerns. It breaks the regime of video-games and sensors by altering the logic by which they operate slightly enough so that one is brought into a state of reflection wherein they might ask why, how, and towards what end such an alteration has been made. In terms of the later, art has the potential to stage a sensual education on a variety of levels concurrently such that anyone can enter and still find themselves learning the second, third, or fourth time they return to the art. In this way art runs parallel to various ways in which sense and sensation have been co-opted by various consumer institutions as well as political campaigns and war technologies. The parallel path is nowhere more evident than in situations where sensation takes over an entire environment such that it becomes the architecture in which one exists. These realms are in some ways the most instructive for a receiver who has increasing difficulty breaking away from the logic of sense to which they are bound by their job and country. A possibility arises to project one’s psyche into confrontation with art such that ‘it’ becomes momentarily bound with a medium through sensation.
The interface and the medium come together as a community through sense. This community is both real and virtual. It is real in the sense that it acts on the physical body leading to its organization and orientation within a world and virtual in the sense that the way that this acting on the body occurs is characterized by something that cannot be seen. In order for the relationship between real and virtual to be understood and if a desire exists to promote a world of revelation beyond Christian revelation that lies at the heart of a critique of the wall, the faculties of sense must be developed to characterize the world through human agency and responsibility. Reading, thinking, entertaining, acting, meditating, and staging develop faculties of sense. If the development of the faculties is to have orientation, if it is to be a practice towards the common rather than a repetition of singular interests, each development of a faculty should be oriented to the interface that holds the possibility of becoming a substrate for the medium holding the idea of an event. Practice should be orientated towards the possibility of the event as a vector running in all directions from the interface
"Bodies do not produce sensations, but complexes of elements (complexes of sensations) make up bodies. If, to the physicist, bodies appear the real, abiding existences whilst the “elements” are regarded merely as their evanescent, transitory appearance, the physicist forgets, in the assumption of such a view, that all bodies re but though-symbols for complexes of elements (complexes of sensations). Here, too, the elements in question form the real, immediate, and ultimate foundation, which it is the task of physiologico-physical research to investigate. For us, therefore, the world does not consists of mysterious entities, which by their interaction with another, equally mysterious entity, the ego, produce sensations, which alone are accessible. For us, colors, sounds, space, times,… are provisionally the ultimate elements, whose given connexion it is our business to investigate." (Mach, 29-30)
"At this stage, a sensation which does not have some such effect as to stimulate violently to movement–a sensation of pain, for instance–will scarcely receive attention. For instance, the sight of a vividly-colored spherical body, which is not supplemented by a memory of smell and taste,–by memory, in a word, of the properties of a fruit and the experiences connected with a fruit,–remains unintelligible and is devoid of interest, in the manner that has been observed in “psychic blindness.” The storing up and connexion of memories, and their power to evoke another,–in short, Memory and Association,–are the fundamental requirements of a development of psychical life." (Mach, 235)
"The actor is not like a god, but rather an “anti-god” (contre-dieu). God and actor are opposed in their reading of time. What men gasp as past and future, God lives it in its eternal present. The God is Chronos: the divine present is the circle in its entirety, whereas past and future and dimensions relative to a particular segment of the circle which leaves the rest outside. The actor’s present, on the contrary, is the most narrow, the most contracted, the most instantaneous, and the most punctual. It is the point on the straight line which divides the line endlessly, and is itself divided into past-future. The actor belongs to the Aion: instead of the most profound, the most fully present, the present which spreads out and comprehends the future and the past, an unlimited past-future rises up here reflected in an empty present which has no more thickness than a mirror. The actor or actress represents, but what he or she represents is always still in the future and already in the past, whereas his or her representation is impassible and divided, unfolded without being ruptured, neither acting nor being acted upon. It is in this sense that there is an actor’s paradox; the actor maintains himself in the instant in order to act out something perpetually anticipated and delayed, hoped for and recalled. The role played is never that of a character; it is a them (the complex theme or sense) constituted by the components of the event, that is, by the communicating singularities effectively liberated from the limits of individuals and persons. The actor strains his entire personality in a moment which is always further-divisible in order to open himself up to the impersonal and pre-individual role. The actor is always acting out other roles when acting one role. The role has the same relation to the actor as the future and past have to the instantaneous present which corresponds to them on the line of the Aion. The actor thus actualizes the event, but in a way which is entirely different from the actualization of the event in the depth of things. Or rather the actor redoubles this cosmic, or physical actualization, in his own way, which is singularly superficial–but because of it more distinct, trenchant and pure. Thus, the actor delimits the original, disengages from it an abstract line, and keeps from the even only its counter and its splendor, becoming thereby the actor of one’s own events–a counter-actualization." (Deleuze, 150)
It might be said that if we are not a subject, we are not anything. Out of fear of being nothing, or that nothing is revealed to be the essence of being, we come to look in so many directions for ways of becoming a subject while nevertheless avoiding being subjugated by some authority or another. We find an ability to try out alternative frameworks that might support individual subjectivity. Art is amongst those entities that can support such subjectivity. For someone to become a subject of art, they must find some reason for having fidelity to art. Such fidelity often grows as a result of an event. Such an event could be a captivating experience during childhood that leads to the devotion of one’s life to creating work that brings pleasure to others. The power of the event to prompt fidelity rests largely in the power of the sensation that is sensed during an event. Such a sensation adds the subject through an activation of sensors, a play of rhythm that follows, and routes of the mind that are taken that link the present experience to various memories. As a result, art is located in a particular space and time of encounter that supplements the broader world in which such a subject might return in order to live.
The ability of contemporary artists to provoke sense and even to create work that can sense the presence of a receiver produces more space and time in which such a receiver might dwell with the art. They make room for sensation as a calculus that relates medium and interface. Through the addition of digital sensors and the potential for art to respond to the receiver, current practitioners have come to be increasingly cognizant of an exclusion of the receiver that once dominated the world of art. The extent to which sensors derived from industries such as security, shopping, and travel can be integrated with the interface and medium suggests a new gradient between the use of an interface for art and for non-art. The location at which the line is drawn between the two is orchestrated by sensation. The extent to which a given sensation is understood to relate to art as opposed to non-art is organized by the cultivation of sense. The difficulty with locating a pivot in such a way is that the sensations whose function shifts, especially those related to desire and fetish, are coded to the point that the shift is either all too obvious, as in the inclusion of a boutique in an art exhibit, or entirely too opaque.
Rhythm negotiates shifting terms between the realm of art and non-art. It gives rise to sensation and through sense is understood to play out in particular ways depending on what function it serves. Difference and repetition are the tools by which we understand rhythm. Together they are the Idea that structures the presence of the medium on the interface. It is through the use of our own sensors and the sensors that sense us that rhythm is understood and the medium is experienced as a specificity. Abnormalities and moments of intensity are signs that point to the notion that something else might be at play beyond expectation. The rhythmic content allows the receiver to understand the extent to which the medium - interface interaction comes to be understood as either a site or an event through the faculty of sense. It is through rhythm that a phenomenology of perception comes about as it traces the play that goes on between oneself and another in moments when difference is discovered. We find joy in such a play for unlike moments when we come face to face with the other, we are here afforded time to play on our own. We may decide what is hidden and what should come into the light.
It is here that we are invited to take a journey. The journey that art allows us to take is not one determined arbitrarily or one that arises exclusively from the parameters of a given experience of art. Rather, such a journey draws on an evolving technology of travel that has come to a head in recent cultures of tourism. The fact that a tourist comes to look at art is no small matter. Instead of examining art from within a fixed and predictable frame of reverence, they approach the work from outside. They bring their own logic of sense that drives the play of sensation between interface and medium. Such a play is heightened by the inherent ability of the interface and medium to engage. The history of the interface and medium are subject to a history of travel that has played no small part in questioning the validity of walls and making possible the entire consideration of the dis-enclosure of art in which we are presently engaged. The fact that travel has come to alter how we understand the medium through the evolution of the camera, the cinema, and the interface via evolving maps, guidebooks, and faces allow us to face-off skillfully with nature and opens the possibility for heightened sensations when a journey is taken with art.
We must, however, return. In this return an incommensurability between oneself and art is acknowledged that duplicates the gap between oneself and the other that in turn is mirrored by our separation from nature. We return so that we may find identity following the various sensations that occurred. This moment defers continued sensation. What, however, returns in this moment? Is it merely the excessive or that little bit of sensation that lingers beyond the moment of return? Must the experience have been orgiastic for any difference in what returns to be made? In this sense we echo the notion that returning is becoming identical of the becoming itself and that returning is the only identity or the identity of difference. The key then would be to cultivate sense that makes it clear that we have returned instead of merely making it clear that we are back in the same room where we began our experience with art. This will have to occur by imposing the infinite as opposed to a finite representation and in so doing engaging the distinction between the small and the large, the beautiful and the sublime, the representable and the un-representable.
"Wandering the hybrid territory of projections between home and the world, I find myself incessantly in that terrain of “unhomely” displacement and “border existence” that Homi Bhabha calls an “in-between,” zone of cultural intersections where signification is marked by hybridity. From this location, as James Clifford has put it, discourse appears as a production of “traveling cultures,” and form the chronotope of the hotel, cultural knowledge itself appears as a work of traveling-in-dwelling and dwelling-in-traveling." (Bruno, 401)
"Film’s own cartography corresponds to a geographic condition: shifting “space-affect” that accompanies the fragmentation of space itself–especially city space–and the making of the interior, both of which were born of the age of modernity that generated film. Multiple vies of the metropolis, the montage of pedestrian experience, aerial flights: these are all present in a new mapping of the city–the cine city. The invention of film embodies interior renderings of urban settings, reinventing them in mobile, fragmented, haptic emotion pictures. Such movement, observed at the beginning of this book, can now be recognized as an emotion: it resides in lived space. It is a form of “rhythmanalysis.” Lefebvre’s urban notion, which developed from his observation of geographic rhythm, defines yet another zone of geopsychic site-seeing: the place of emotion pictures. A psychogeographic “rhythmanalysis” is housed in the movie house–the dual location of the emotion of motion. This field screen is home to a heterotopia of reinvented geographic rhythms. It is a permeable, reversible site, where the geopsychic fragments of an inner world not only take shape, but make room. Exhibited inside out, exposed to light in the darkness, they are, reversibly turned outside in." (Bruno, 277)
A great deal of art made today asks for the receiver to disappear. Some art transports the receiver with such extraordinary force that they are no longer within a realm that they might be able to believe themselves to exist within. Such art is that which takes the receiver into conflict zones or locates them in centers of poverty. Through such practices, another side of sensation is cultivated and the extent to which art can serve to educate is brought into another light. The subtraction that occurs is thus one that takes the subject beyond the various institutions that went into constituting their subjectivity and allows for a suspended state in which they might imagine themselves subject to another state. In this way art serves a meditative function where the receiver actively chooses to, for a moment, abdicate responsibility for the world in which they live on a daily basis and instead live in a world that they otherwise are not responsible for.
The first consequence of such subtraction allows sensation to open the possibility of the subject experiencing a world that is animated by a discourse of terror. Such subtraction allows the receiver to experience the world as animate without reverting to some form of anthropomorphism. This occurs when art draws on various critical discourses that narrate the various conflicts that rage across the globe. Understanding cities to be full of meaning as well as shifts in territorial ownership is often devoid from the life of the subject who has time to take out of their day in order to experience art. While they may read about them in the paper, they do not experience a physical sensation. Art presents the possibility of such sensation within the safety of a city that is not under attack. In so doing, art not only subtracts the subject, but also subtracts the gallery in which it might occur. It engages in a play of site and non-site that insists on the extent to which mapping can help us better engage the world and contribute to its change. By taking place at a safe distance, the subtraction is more complete than might occur if bombs were falling outside the gallery. It requires a greater will directed at the imagination to even begin to comprehend what it might be like. While an abyss will most likely remain, the possibility exists that in subtracting the subject from the situation, art opens a realm where one can freely commit oneself to a given representation and the possibility that it might change.
It is in this sense that subtraction runs the risk of allowing aesthetics to collide with politics. The extent to which sensation provides a link and is common should be validated and embraced in attempting to understand how art might come to sit in a world. Just as politics might drift to images when it cannot find a convincing argument in order to advance a concern, art drift towards politics in a moment when sensation calls into question the extent to which art can continue in the face of catastrophe. The moments in art that drift away from classical conceptions that went into understanding how judgments occur and taste arises should not only be tolerated, but situated as the focus of art as an equation giving rise to common sense. Subtracting the subject is also to subtract art. In such moments, concerns for how cities operate, how people relate to one another, how design can help sustain the earth, the extent to which walls continue to divide, the subjugation of people under ideologies, the misunderstandings that continue to arise as a result of religion, the famines that plague continents, the diseases that continue to kill, the politics that continue to make aid unavailable, and the general forces of capital that keep a world of flows and networks afloat, all come to be just as much a matter of art as color and line. The various work that occurs between the medium and interface and that is united in sense is done precisely so as to create a suspended state in which that which is not initially proper to art might be considered divorced from the terms that obscure its operation in daily existence.
The subtraction of the subject is thus a threat that art provokes and that it can continue to engage. This threat attains a level of gravity with the possibility that following the subtraction of the subject, the subject will enter a realm where the various sensations that might arise are so great that they pull back from desiring to sense the battle field or the famine and instead come to deal with such conditions through an analytic discourse. In such a case where the subject has been confined to the abyss of catastrophe, art would come to be concerned primarily with a discourse of habitat and attempting to promote a conversation beyond various governments and aid organization that are unable to do so. It would rely on the generosity of the receiver to open a space in-between that allowed for atrocity to be considered from a position of neutrality. It likely has been the case that we have needed such a diversion and equally likely that the analytic discourse that has come as a result has caused artists to forget that such considerations of geographic situations were undertaken in order to make room for a restored sense.
For sense to be restored and for the analytic discourse to be extricated from the state that art holds in suspension, it is not enough to impose a swerve taking us into a beautiful realm that allows us to forget a nasty interlude. To do so would fail to capitalize on continuity with institutions deeply committed to such a discourse and would ultimately collapse as the various situations of atrocity continue. What might occur instead are attempts to draw a map from various discursive considerations of the actual states on the ground and to moments on the ground and in the gallery where joy and sense can be located in spite of atrocity. In so doing, the potential for various forces to co-opt situations and present them through homogenous images would be counteracted by suggesting that behind such images there are moment of resistance. It would be to locate moments of persistence that take on an aesthetic characteristic in the face of political oppression. The sensation that might come as a result would be one located close to the body. It would call on our powers of empathy while at the same time situating this empathy within a discourse that demands involvement. In this way subtraction and addition might come together in order to receive sensation and constitute sense.
"1. The chief defect of all previous materialism (that of Feuerbach included) is that things [Gegenstand], reality, sensuousness are conceived only in the form of the object, or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectivity. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was set forth abstractly by idealism–which, of course, does not know real, sensuous activity as such. Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from conceptual objects, but he does not conceive human acitivity itself as objective activity.
9. The highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensousness as practical activity, is the conemtplation of single indivudals and of civil society.
10. The standpoint of the old meterialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity." (Marx, 569)
"The proper site of production is not the virtual space as such, but, rather, the very passage from it to constituted reality, the collapse of the multitude and its oscillations into one reality–production is fundamentally a limitation of the open space of virtualities, the determination/negation of the virtual multitude (this is how Deleuze reads Spinoza’s omni determinatio est negatio against Hegel)." (Zizek, 366)
It should be clear in all of this that the classical division of art rests largely on the notion that each medium addresses the receiver in a particular fashion. Painting was addressed to the eye, music to the ear, food to the mouth, etc… The breakdown of medium specificity rests on our increasingly haptic bodies that are more attuned to sensation from a variety of sources in close proximity to each other. A shift occurs from a point at which each medium was concerned with a particular sensation that they were charged with producing to a point at which each is caught in an increased state of ambiguity. This ambiguity is exposed in moments when reproduction is attempted. Where once art could be reproduced via maintaining fidelity to a given signal, it now has become increasingly difficult to figure out what that signal is. Where once each art generated a unique geometry, it now plays a part in an expanded and continuous set of geometries. Such expansion of production results in discontinuity with former understandings of reproduction as a route by which artists can resist dominant forces that might co-opt what they produce.
The exhibition space allows for such experiments in expanded geometries and geographies through the way in which it engages in a re-mapping of cultural heritage. The gallery is used as a zone for production whose primary aim has been to bring together artists. It is a home and a port that allows for a haptic journey around the globe. One enters a gallery and practices a virtual journey. This journey is a way of negotiating both the divisions that have occurred within art and the extent to which an expanded field of art can orient us to the world in which it occurs. These are moments when the gallery becomes an atlas and the receiver the adventurer. In this moment the work of art leaves the realm of representation and becomes experience itself. This is what is meant by a science of the sensible. In pulling the receiver into immediate contact with art and away from various reproductions, current art practices attempt to continue a tradition of reclaiming space from the city in order to offer a rationale. It is a poetic moment that unifies a set of other moments that connect the work to various parameters of visualization, appearance, and presence.
Such a connection offered by a science of the sensible is driven by a poetic economy. It elaborates the notion of a haptic trans-spatio-temporal zone of the body. This is the same zone that dance reminds us that we are in service of. It covers and shadows to provide safety for the flesh. This economy defines the poetry of the ornament as supplement. The gesture of the body and the costuming that often accompanies such gestures exists as an ornamentation of the body that might be traced on walls and furniture. In a performed state as opposed to a static state, it traces a constant birth to presence that defines art as exempt from popular ornamentation and culture. What becomes apparent with current dance is the extent to which it reveals a broader state of production that operates via a similar logic of exemption. In this context, art becomes confused with the idea of life as it no longer seems true that art stands above the terrain on which we live from day to day. For art to extricate itself from this confusion it would have to shift the terms on which it occurs such that it was entirely indifferent or neutral to such a blur or would have to become engaged with routes by which it could expose the broader crisis of exemption that has come to plague production and reproduction in the broader world in which art is situated. While this has begun to occur as artists take ever more radical steps to produce art in the economy rather than for the economy, it remains to be seen how these efforts are more broadly communicated and a discourse built.
"The proper transcendental space is the virtual space of multiple singular potentialities, of “pure” impersonal singular gestures, affects, and perceptions that are not yet the gestures-affects-perceptions of a preexisting, stable, and self-identical subject." (Zizek, 366)
"In so far as the reproduction of capital came into consideration, it was sufficient to assume that the opportunity arose within the circulation sphere for the part of the product that represented capital value to be transformed back into its elements of production, and therefore into its shape as productive capital, just as we could assume that worker and capitalist found on the market the commodities on which they spent their wages and surplus-value. But this purely formal manner of presentation is no longer sufficient once we consider the total social capital and the value of its product. The transformation of one portion of the product’s value back into capital, the entry of another part into the individual consumption of the capitalist and working classes, forms a movement within the value of the product in which the total capital has resulted; and this movement is not only a replacement of values, but a replacement of materials, and is therefore conditioned not just b the mutual relations of the value components of the social product but equally by their use-values, their material shape." (Marx, 470)
"What if the domain of politics is inherently “sterile,” the domain of pseudo-causes, a shadow theater, but nonetheless crucial in transforming reality? What this means is that one should accept the gap between sterile virtual movements and the actuality of power. This solution is more paradoxical than it may appear: one should bear in mind that virtuality stands for expressive productivity, while actual state power operates at the level of representation: productivity is “real,” state is representative. This is the way to break out of the philosophical paradigm of productivity versus the positive order of Being: the true gap is not that between reality and its representation; reality and representation are not opposed but on the same side, they form the same order of positive Being. Productivity is thus not the metaphysical principle or source of reality, to be opposed to the mere appearance of substantial Being: substantial Being is “all there really is,” while the causality of productivity is the pseudo-causality, since productivity operates in a “sterile” shadowy virtual domain." (Zizek, 370)
"The distinction between the public and private is a distinction internal to bourgeois law; and valid in the (subordinate) domains in which bourgeois law exercises its ‘authority’. The domain of the State escapes it because the latter is ‘above the law’: the State, which is the state of the ruling class, is neither public nor private; on the contrary, it is the precondition for and distinction between public and private." (Althusser, 97)
"Which amounts to saying that ideology has no outside (for itself), but at the same time that it is nothing but outside (for science and reality)." (Althusser, 119)
"Substitution is not the psychological event of compassion or intropathy in general, but makes possible the paradoxical psychological possibilities of putting oneself in the place of another." (Levinas, 146)
Certain images “laminate” art. They collapse various spheres of representation and presentation into a single field that can be received with greater rapidity than might occur in cases where art addresses different spheres. The repetition of presentation and representation in a variety of spheres of existence ensures that they cannot be co-opted by any one cause with such force that their meaning is entirely replaced with another. Instead, such art is subject to a shared space of presentation and to a multiplicity of meanings that together defines its topology beyond the initial points and beyond the real points at which it might be received. The movement of these presentations and representations are governed simultaneously by aesthetics and politics. Moreover, these presentations and representations are often experiences as an image existing at a different level of experience. Politics and aesthetics are the root cause of a shift from experiencing presentation and representation to experiencing the image. This occurs because presentation and representation are key functional terms for aesthetics, politics, and art. For a term such as art to be meaningful in the context of aesthetics and politics, it cannot be constituted of the same material as aesthetics and politics and instead must be defined at another level via its otherness. Politics works to bring the images related to art to the attention of a broader audience in hopes that their underlying value might support whatever campaign that is occurring while aesthetics attempts to keep various related images safe under the protection of various institutions in order to protect art’s meaning outside the service of any one campaign. An effective relationship between aesthetics and politics has lead to the creation of art on an incredible scale. It wraps buildings and attracts tourists to its undulating surface. The concern with this interaction is that while it is clear to whom the politician and aesthetician are responsible, for the hybrid it is not.
In this light an image should be understood as the remainder of classical representation. The image is of the surface of paintings and sculptures, photographs and concerts. Any art that makes use of systems of representation runs the risk of becoming an image. The risk is located entirely in the ease with which an image might be appropriated and in the lamination of the idea inherent to the art that might occur by shifting the logic by which art appears. The image is short hand – placeholder for the placeholder that art already is. It presents the risk of regress and opens the possibility of indulging in a state of complete neutrality and total disengagement. It is difficult to find a return from such a state of exception. The only art that cannot become an image is pure poetry. Pure poetry works from the beginning exclusively in images and thus resists lamination as an image after the fact. As a result, poetry remains a locus within a broader field of art at which resistance to the appropriation of representation as image by politicians might be found.
When representation becomes an image, the question is no longer what the representation is of, but what is affected or what affect the image produces. The affect of images has become pervasive. It defines the extent to which one is willing to spend money on a given brand, the ease that one finds when moving around a glowing concert hall, and even the comfort that is found in encountering someone on the street who seems to subscribe to the same affective regime. At the same time, it define the terror that one feels when seeing a person who might threaten that regime, the anxiety that positive feelings of affect will come to an end as the sway of the image dissipates, and the feeling of isolation and alienation that comes when one disengages from the various images and is left either to support the affective regime alone or else acknowledge the illusion. In this way the image becomes something to which we might become addicted. New art comes to break this addition and aid in dealing with withdrawal.
The extent to which an image is claimed thus defines the extent to which an affect is claimed. The present situation is one defined by claiming images in order to support and affective regime. In the present case, the affective regime is characterized by an atmosphere of ending and mourning. The various powers that draw upon the affect of images of catastrophe come to use affect in order to enclose a group under the sign of a given reading of the image. In this way a relationship between idea as lying beneath the surface of the image, structure as the extent to which this idea is given form through an interaction of interface and medium, and property as a real or virtual territory surrounding the body of men and women are brought together. The affective regime that does so ultimately finds its power in how affect controls the use of property. While artists might be equally seduced by such a regime, they might be weary of the extent to which such a regime obscures the idea and brings terms into a fixed relationship that runs the risk of excluding play between various valences on which art operates. In order to counter such a tendency, artists might see that after the enclosing power of the wall has been re-situated, the enclosing power of the image must also be addressed. A dis-enclosing of affect would be concurrent with a dis-enclosure of art. In so doing, we might see a dis-enclosure of property more generally.
Dis-enclosure is a deconstruction of sway that Christianity and art as supported by Christianity have over various domains. The process breaks the necessary link between physical sites that are controlled by the church and the classic mediums in which art was suspended. Deconstruction takes apart the land by giving meaning to nature in human rather than divine terms. Dis-enclosure works to accomplish this through something more than what might leave man separate. Instead, figure and ground merge – spreading dis-enclosure in a controlled manner. Dis-enclosure meters an opening authorizing where the cut will occur. It guarantees a route through the dark forest. In this sense, it has not been so much the case that shadows and language, figure and ground have been abjected or pushed to the edge of the frame as generalities. Rather, the evacuation has occurred to evacuate the Plato-Christian complex of shadows and language. Following dis-enclosure, the shadow of Buddha remains.
In the final stage of dis-enclosure, attempts by artists to sweep away traces of the past and allegiances causing aesthetics to become aligned with politics arrive at what was kept hidden as the foundation of Christian representation. The mysterious nature of this origin that has been kept at a distance from even the highest members of the church will come to be revealed as an illusory foundation. Such moments revelation can be understood by confronting perspectival space with a point grid that denies a privileged observer. This point grid reveals a realm of genesis that might be called choric. In this moment, the poet is not only admitted into the city but is called to design it. Divorced of myth, the artist is left to construct positively by filling emotion as a result of the conquest that allows for the end of the subject through merging figure and ground or negatively by evacuating and leaving the space empty. While the mythic dimension may still remain, western narrative falls away as artists approach the origin of representation by surpassing Platonism. As a result of this demystification of authenticity, violent attempts occur to bring authenticity into the service of authority.
Beyond Platonism, the imperative exists to re-found The City as Non-Augustinian. To do so would be to follow the history of revolution and the extent to which revolution is an urban science. We look to the Structuralists and to the Situationists in order to understand how non-western systems might exist and how artists might be suited to presenting such research to a public who remains largely traumatized by dis-enclosure. Artist might succeed in helping a broad group of men and women cope with the revelation of eternal return as the movement of or integrality of Christianity. Following the dissolution of Christian faith, art might allow for faith in another equation that explains the passage from one state to another. Chora and choral enacts the final Christian thrust that condenses as the event of dis-enclosure leading through the final violence of the palimpsest and straight to the edge of the fold.
This fold presents the interface as a vortex. The world is no longer described as one of grids but as one of vortices. It is defined by lines of energy fleeing a points and attractors that create anomalous behavior. It comes to give inflection to the line and a wide gradient to the tones that occur along its path. Mediums that occur in the vortex or that take a vortex as their substrate have come to exists as sketches of this phenomenon. These sketches suggest the extent to which sensation can be tied to a force of energy disappearing at a given point or being deflected by the existence of such a point of disappearance nearby. If contemporary art is to be thought of as art that does not exist, its lack of existence is made possible by no longer relying on interfaces of illumination and instead relying on interfaces of darkness. While this reliance may express a naive hope that all the darkness that has come to define various nations in the 20th century might somehow be absorbed, it does point to the notion that we are no longer concerned with the dichotomy of light vs. dark and instead are more readily willing to embrace a continuum between light and dark, sense and non-sense.
The necessity to embrace a world in which right and wrong has slipped into an extensive gray area where meanings are uncertain and signs are still in the process of formation allows us equally to consider the possibility of understanding a world where neither sense nor non-sense will every be realized in experience at a given moment. What will occur instead is a negotiation between the two terms. The operation of this negotiation will occur as it has always done via its reliance on our faculties of perception that remain evolved but fundamentally unchanged by the dis-enclosure of art and Christianity. What will change, however, is that instead of finding the sublime in the non-sense of Nature, in the extent to which it is cut off from us as purposeless, and sense in the beauty of nature as purposive, we will find the opposite. Chaos will become what we see to be beautiful and the various purposes of man will be sublime. This marks a shift from being oriented to Sense and Common Sense to being oriented to Dis-Sense and the Un-Common. In grounding the communal we must first define the lower limit as uncommon sense in order to eventually find the common. But, just as Christians lived primarily in sin and looked towards authority to guide good sense, a community of artists must live in good sense and look towards authority for non-sense.
"But what is metaphysically ownmost to art and what completes itself need not be grasped immediately at all. On the contrary! Following being’s abandonment of beings that is organized along with art, man’s forgottenness of being becomes boundless. When grasped according to be-ing, that is, being historically, what in the epoch of completion “actually” happens must be not only hidden, but also disguised. The explicitly regard for art, and the preoccupation with art (all the way to the industry called art-history) are animated by entirely different “categories” of thinking, namely by those that are required by the pre-eminence of man as subject, that is, by the interpretation of “being in the whole” and of man in terms of “life." (Heidegger, 26)
That sense as part of art as equation has come to be polarized between common and un-common sense is in large part a result of attachment to a binary world. Sense serves to aid in distinguishing between what is art and what is not art. The potential to find pleasure through this distinction has become increasingly difficult as one encounters a variety of sensations that cannot be reconciled with yes or no, up or down, figure or ground. The impossibility that something should either be art or not has been understood through discourses that ponder the “work of art” vs. “art itself.”
If we believe that art was at some point in the not too distant past experienced as metaphysical it is not unproductive to acknowledge discourses that hypothesize an end of metaphysical art and the suggestion that when this occurs, what art claims as its own is hidden. Such hiding is undertaken in order to preserve art from being claimed by political forces and so as not dismiss the property of art when a certain history of art works comes to an end. What is hidden holds a clue as to how man might be in some other way following the completion of a way of being that no longer is sufficient. Sense is charged with decision and outside all theories of art. It is not a matter of replacing one way of observing art with another. The ground on which art occurs is immediately given up, the interface eats light, and the medium becomes style in a state of constant information. Here, art makes a claim.
This claim extends into foreign lands and establishes satellites that take over property and call cultural values into question. This claim is mediation that reconciles nature and freedom. It reveals a capitalized nature as mechanization and in this appearance grounds freedom. The expansive influence of capital becomes the new horizon that frames art through its colossal quality and quantity. Art as equations labors against this frame. When art completes itself, it no longer serves as justification. It does not ground as a transcendental table, but is fully separate. The passage from the work of art to the art of work figures art in itself as something beyond aesthetics and politics. It appears as an installation that organizes being. Sensing this appearance takes place as the subject renders an equation of art as related to world and world as related to art.
The particular quality of sensation organizes sense as mindfulness of art. In some discourses, this mindfulness of art must put to a decision a transformation of what is ownmost to art out of a grounding decision of the dominance of machinational beings and on the ground of the truth of being. For us, what is ownmost to metaphysical art is the revelation of sense as non-sense and its transformation must lead to a continuum that is organized via rendering. Beings abandonment of beings that is organized along with art as organized by installation leads to a boundless forgottenness of being. This forgottenness is what provides the distance at which we might see a Capitalized Nature as not determined by god but of our own creation and as something that has made us subject. Skillful forgetting allows for clear seeing. The sense-event can be located in this passage.
"Art means organizing the installation of producibility of all beings: hence it lacks decision in advance. Sharing the sway of technicity and ‘history,’ art undertakes the organizing of beings whose being is decided upon in advance as machination. That is why art is not at all entitled to a free play of decision, and a decidability. It is difficult to see the ownmost of art in the perspective of ‘historical’ comparison of art-history and still more difficult to behold in that comparison the completion of what metaphysically sways in art." (Heidegger, 27)
"Such a mindfulness of art that is charged with decision lies outside all theories of art. That is why the overcoming of aesthetics remains a concurrent task, and what is more, easily misinterpretable a it could suggest that aesthetics is to be exchanged with, and replaced by, another way of observing art. This mindfulness has nothing to do with emphasizing the “work in itself” over against the artist, over against the recipients of art, and over against the historical circumstances and historically effective interconnections that condition both the artist and the recipient, because even such an emphasis need not step out of metaphysically experienced art. In all this the artwork is grasped only as an “object.”" (Heidegger, 28)
"Such a work of art is neither a symbolic object, nor the installation that organizes beings, but is the clearing of be-ing as such which holds the decision for man’s other way of being. Now art has the character of Da-sein, and moves out of all striving concerned with “culture.” Taking the enactment of art, or its appropriation as measure, either way the work of art does not belong to man. Art is now the sites of decision of the ‘rare-ones’. “Artwork” now is the gathering of purest solitude unto the ab-ground of be-ing. Such creative prowess will not be affect by “fame” or by “disregard.”" (Heidegger, 29)
Art as equation extends beyond an immediate equation that a receiver enters when facing off with art and finds equations in-between this moment and the world at large via decisions that an artist makes that prepare the art for a market and in terms of how those decisions come to be rendered in the moment art is received by someone who has been charged with selling the work. Equations in-between mediate the mediation of art with an eye towards how art might be incorporated into a world. The in-between asks where else will cultural difference be registered in public. It asks where will penetration occur such that we are able to see beyond a surface of illusion that are supported by various institutions whose power these illusory images support. The potential for art to define an equation between itself and a world allows an alternative discourse to grown between national spaces. This discourse presents new rhythms and textures that otherwise would have been absent. In so doing, the equations that blend a singular moment before art with an extended duration provide a means of resisting dominant trends.
The extent to which these equations take hold and come to be incorporated into broader equations that drives a distribution of wealth around the globe are largely regulated by critics and gallerists, collectors and curators. These are the men and women who have been authorized to read art and to ensure that the market remains balanced. They decide the extent to which pieces by a given artist are sold and decide whether new artists will be allowed to enter the game. In many ways, equations in-between bring us into the presence of what we have been trying to avoid throughout this investigation. They expose the authority that attempts to keep art enclosed. They expose the extent to which intimate knowledge of the “art world” is guarded carefully and the extent to which the forces that ensure this security are increasingly propped up artificially. While an intimate knowledge of a given field cannot be dispensed with, the extent to which this knowledge is used to close rather than open discourse and the extent to which it is used to concentrate value in the hands of the few to the detriment of those who have become intimidated by art must be repudiated by demanding a broader state of art education.
Whether those with some sway over the “art world” decide that such a world is no world at all and come to take efforts to break down barriers that keep art from investigating its true potential to inform experience and provide orientation will matter little in the long term. Men and women are beginning to break down barriers that artists have weakened through collective action. Increasingly the receiver is invited to confront their own images of the universe with those presented by art and come to find that no-one, neither the artist, critic, nor themselves as receiver, really has any idea what is going on. They come to understand how big the situation has become. It is in this sense that one might hope to get in-between in truth rather than in illusion. It is in this moment when the wall unexpectedly leads to something else. The paradox of the wall as face and the wall as enclosure might be resolved. It is the paradox that the wall is both the guarantor of sense and non-sense, the wall as surface of reflection and locus of inscription and the wall as limit that closes a set and bounds together a logic such that inscription is sensible, the wall that holds a classical order resisting gravity with reason and the wall hiding depravity in a dungeon intended to keep us in line.
Setting aside the notion that judging art is mostly a matter of judging whether it occurs at a local rather than institutional level, we must come to consider another sort of judgment that occurs following the first. This “judgment” occurs with a greater sense of faith. It is less skeptical. In this sense it might be called “synthetic judgment” while the former might be called “analytic.” It asks whether shapes and forms can be read, the function of these shapes and forms, and the extent to which various entities might be differentiated and synthesized in order to lead to greater awareness and clarity. In the most extreme cases, synthetic judgment is capable of discerning the existence of everything and nothing. It is such extremity that we increasingly find after setting aside the system that we have been sketching as a context in which the various past systems of art might occur. We see and read the extent to which the artist has evacuated language and shadow from the page. We see the collapse of the figure and the ground as both disappear through an opening. We read the extent to which the artist has drawn-out an interface, a medium, and sensation. They go to the extreme of negating their world of signs as a condition of their freedom so as to actualize the possibility that they won’t need a supplement so that their system makes sense within a broader world.
The purpose and end of synthetic judgment is the unification of sense and sensation. The extent to which this is witnessed in any particular occurrence of art serves in large part as the determining factor of its general value. It is a value that rests in the ability of such unity to lead to autonomy through the possibility that misunderstanding will be foreclosed by a unity between an experience and the name of that experience. Art, as the name of one sort of experience, is judged as sense through the repeated production of similar sensations in a variety of men and women from a number of cultural backgrounds. The extent to which this alignment is tight and the extent to which the shared experience of art is homogenous defines the value of a general economy of art as a result of the attractiveness that such an economy of sensation has to humans. Such an economy s attractive because it presents a topography of experiences that we can expect. It provides us with a service that we know that we will get when we go to the museum. As such, the various forms and signs, compositions and meanings are largely received and judged by referencing the extent to which they serve a feeling, mood, or affect that we desire.
Sometimes we are interested in the skill that the artist shows in rendering an image and at others were a concerned with a correct exposure and good story. In some cases we might even be interested in iconology. Our desire might also come to define the extent to which we are concerned with seeing ourselves in art. We may even use it as a mirror to show us the very limits of self and environment via highlighting the various stages of development through which we pass as we come to understand how we are situated in our world. We come to understand various strata to which art is addressed. As one falls further into synthetic judgment, the extent to which infinite considerations are made opens. A good work is kind in cautioning us before this vortex while a bad work allows us to go ever deeper into the abyss. In this sense, a good work provides a point from which we might exit the fascinating points to which we might bind our desire. In this moment, the occurrence of art is located as a passing beyond the various languages that drew us in. It is a passage that highlights the existence of these languages as standing suspended over the surface. Here, art passes in non-existence.
This passage is something that can be sensed – perceived as realizing that the discourse is not real. The greatest art helps us understand that there is nothing called art. Whatever we feel when trembling before art is something so great and so exemplary that all the other things called art cannot be because they do not support such an exceptional feeling. It is a shocking moment that exposes our humanity. It sends us back on ourselves as we realize the extent to which this moment has come to be the property of the individual. It is no longer safe to assume that we will be equally transfixed by the Annunciation because we have invented our own mythologies and collapsed the very meaning of the term in doing so. Beauty used – in forms, symbols, signs, and icons sensed through a phenomenology of perception – used to facilitate this encounter. Now it occurs through a desire to continue to engage in the transaction itself. Perpetual exchange is itself sufficient to keep us attuned.
In this contact, art sees the danger of perpetual exchange and the debt in which it leaves us. If transaction is the only way of grounding existence, art insists on not existing. Art, in this sense, is already naked before us. The work that we might have done in seeing and reading art and the extent to which this work might serve as a meditation that leaves us prepared to judge the work with a clear mind and cleansed of interest, has faded. We are denied a meditation from the outset and confronted with something raw that shocks us into abandoning our desire to continue transacting in the same manner. Few are prepared to see this passage of art. It presents a beak world image. The reception of art before synthetic judgment reflects violence and catastrophe. It does so only right now and only as a result of the present context. This state of art as having withdrawn to non-existence in order to mark a protest, in order to stage a critique of fetishism, of confusing subjects and objects, is a placeholder. New valances of the transaction between sense and sensation that are structured by the Idea and the particular appearance of this idea in the medium will come. We will eventually discover the extent to which we might invest in it through the extent to which it appeals to something that is beyond what can be sensed. In such a situation, the senses will no longer be used to consider the extent to which art has avoided traps that bind it to a defunct history and instead will be used to sense the super-sensible.
Coordination occurs by assigning a value of space and time to a given material. Art is located and coordinated within a numbers of systems that organize artifacts. Such organizations serve to link a given object to a particular space and time – providing a value in the nature of such links. Before the work is created, these links define the value that a given culture assigns to the material that might be used to make art, the tradition of the use of this material, and the standards that a culture has for its use. Following the creation of the work of art, these links define the patron of the object, interesting men and women who have come into contact with the object, and the extent to which the object was taken as exemplary by the broader culture from which it sprang. Such coordination is oriented towards the various exchanges that define the cost of these materials and the cost of preserving the work within a given archive. They allow art to act as a barometer of a culture by summarizing its dominance of time over space. Art traces man’s attempt to dominate nature and dominate each other. It does so as a power of vision that arrives at increasing clarity as it approaches its apogee. The affect of such a manner of relating to space and time is territorialization. As the negative aspects of claiming territory through control of space and time, art, in large part as a result of its ability to manifest multiple sites of exchange and integrate difference under its equation of fidelity, has come to abandon such spatio-temporal practices of exchange. Dis-enclosure is the name of this abandoning.
In the context of art that is subject to dis-enclosure, the space and time of exchange are understood beyond territorial terms. This is in part a result of the extent to which art has come to directly address the body of the receiver rather than referring to an academic or religious order. The result of such an address is that a global space and time is denied in favor of the interest of a body that no longer is the subject of a broader state. Art authorizes the receiver to step out of the broader state and into an entirely local state manifested by the transience of the artist. The false linearity of a world of archives and artifacts is rejected in favor of a nuanced set of points gathered by disparate means. While there is a space and time in which gathering data occurs, this space and time does not make claims beyond its immediate necessity. Rather than the exchange coming to be subordinate to space and time, space and time come at the hands of the body to be subordinate to exchange. They are pushed aside in favor of sensation. They are understood as terms that limit the reach of art in the context of art that has already surpassed such limits. Presence, duration, and awareness come to define the exchange. In this sense, the space and time of exchange are other than the space and time of past eras of art works.
Working within an exchange that can occur at multiple points and under a variety of conditions leads to “emancipatory activities.” The possibility that art can bring together sensations, voices, and awareness that would have remained disconnected, suggests the possibility that art can offer a means of communication that is separate from the various lines that are derivative of the general market economy. Through both the discourse that drives making and the set of experiences that come when art is received by a body and mind, art provides a site for a conversation that is not contingent on its occurrence in a given space and time supported by a given state. In the context of a world where states attempt to exert increased control and where choice is foreclosed by the dominance of international corporations, the possibility that art presents is miraculous. By opening a space to hold a conversation addressed to a variety of senses, the need to coordinate what fills this space arises. Such coordination must bring the traces of those who come into contact with art and the extent to which this contact echoes into some sort of relief. It must find a code and equation that renders the situation. If this rendering occurs with sufficient speed and fidelity to the conversation that art is holding, a emancipation arises. This sensation is owed to the possibility that art might blossom following its dis-enclosure and the possibility that this blossoming might influence how we live.
“Rendering” is increasingly concrete. Rather than being a term descriptive of a process that converts something from one state into another, rendering has come to be understood as a noun. In this sense, it no longer describes the strict transfer of material of little value into a state where it is valuable, but is an entity that presents this process as an object or on objective terms. In this context, a rendering is an image that has been drawn from a series of equations that lack a fixed value in order to become something of quality. The rendering traces each point of the equation in the pixels. The quality of this tracing is referred to as the resolution. Increasingly, quality has come to be understood via the extent to which the image is recognizable. Such an orientation drives a search to write equations that allow for the world that is to be rendered with high speed and with increasing fidelity to the nature of the world rendered. The process of rendering is refined in the service of rendering. This service is defined by the extent to which the rendering is subject to illumination or makes one subject to illumination. The exact alignment of a rendering with a state of illumination is defined by the consistency with which the objects that occur within this world can be rendered with quality. Attention to this alignment is driven by the succession of points of focus to which one is drawn. The rendering presents a general state of illumination and the potential of passing beyond a general horizon through a point of interest.
This general state of the rendered image forms a broad market. By this we mean to say that renderings of equations that define worlds are pervasive in daily life. They serve movies, adds, and articles that we see. They define the refinement of the voice on television, a new LP, or in an engineered concert hall. Walking through the city, renderings are coming to define the public plazas that we inhabit and the curve of the bridge crossing the river. The data that drives public decisions and the graphs that map markets are all defined by equations becoming visible and taking on value beyond abstract modeling. The cars that we drive and the planes the we fly are defined by a process of rendering a matrix of data through images, CNC mills, and wind tunnels. Our entire world is increasingly a rendering that stands in contrast to the material past that we by necessity come to inherit. It is an overlay that defines the horizon of surpassing all previous cultures of rendering. In each case, they allow for the presentation of a world proximate to our own, but that we have yet to chose to inhabit. They present a path and manifest the possibility of choice. Through the software that is used for their creation, they find a common ground of creation.
It is this common ground that distinguishes the current culture of rendering from those of the past. Rather than defining a geometric order that allows stones to be carved, dresses to be sewn, and churches to stand up, the current set of equations from which our reality is rendered are parametric, hyperbolic, and chaotic. They are contingent on the power of computers to process huge amounts of data. The software package that create a common interface for this processing have come to define the frame of such an economy of rendering. They are the exchange out of which the image economy is born. In this sense, they collectively trace a growing trend of exchanging one form of currency for another. The value of the various stocks of these companies serve as a zone in which monetary capital can be placed in service of a form of capital that is much harder to quantify. The same might be said for the value of publications whose ultimate goal is to deliver quality rather than data. In this sense, software is a platform for rendering in the sense that it allows a user to interface with a variety of equations through a convenient interface. It provides a connection to a pervasive economy of numbers and data that is equally capable of being rendered.
That rendering can occur both on a real and virtual plane, suggests the extent to which our culture has come to address human activity on a multiplicity of scales. Our imagination and awareness stretches from the intimacy of a small screen that we can hold in our hand and that might explode with a crystalline world pulled from the imagination of the most talented artist to how data might be configured in order to better serve the inhabitants of a city. The fact that renderings range from the banality of configuring existing markets to the fantasy of suggesting an image of a new world occurring in new color, suggests that the equations that define an economy of quality support an ability to bridge a variety of scales and permeate all aspects of existence. Suites of software have arisen to serve these various scales. A common position might be taken towards software and general rendering such that a unified approach is found at all levels of reality and virtuality. While rendering is driven by a process of differentiation, the ultimate product is one of integration. The possibility of integration at the level of an image of a world that has been culled together and at the level of a unified rendering strategy for data in general presents the possibility of bringing together disparate practices by offering the possibility of sharing the “costs” of production.
Such an integrated world, along with much of what is rendered, is utopic. It is driven by an economy of faith. Among the most extreme practitioners of such a utopia are the Pixar and DreamWorks studios. Together they inaugurate an economy of the image and of its production. The extent to which these and other studios have invested in proprietary equations and workflows that make visible a number of worlds is enough to argue for these practices as a mirror of nature on similar terms to the classical work of art. While this may be the case, it is far more interesting to think of these studios in contrast with practices of artists. Most artists address their audience on far more concrete and visceral terms. The manifestation of another world and in particular that this world should be derived from the most innovative understandings of how equations define the world, could still come into line with contemporary art practices. A democratization of such technology might allow artists to interface more directly with the routes by which our world of flows is rendered and thereby allow for aesthetics to contribute to a world image nominally defined by politics.
It is in this sense that rendering causes what is hidden beneath the surface to become visible. Broader access to rendering technologies might allow for a clearer understanding of how images come to effect the world in which we live and more broadly how the world image makes us subjects. In the hands of artists, rendering technologies might be used to create a zone that is semi-autonomous from the zone where rendering is predominantly in the service of monetary capital. While such a zone has begun to arise through the support of museums, it has yet to take full advantage of the innovations that define the most sophisticated images of another world. The most obvious consequence of having yet to reach this point is that the most sophisticated logics of vision remain in the service of fantasy rather than coming into the service of the real. Like the imago mundi or memory theatres of the Renaissance, rendering technologies are somewhat ahead of the material world in which we live. This is not to say, however, that artists are increasingly arguing for the possibility that they can guide rendering technologies into our world both through fabrication that defines innovative architecture and through logistics that makes possible the installation of art.
"So Richter understands his practice as an attempt to make photographs–or what he calls ‘pure pictures’ by hand. If we take Richter at his word (and perhaps we shouldn’t) this effectively turns him into an ‘automatic’, or perhaps ‘quasi-automatic’, recording device or transcription machine, mimicking the mechanical apparatus–strictly speaking that of the enlarger rather than the camera insofar as Richter’s practice is one of enlarging existing images–with the laborious work of the hand in an attempt to escape the strictures of subjectivity and personal experience." (Costello, 302)
"Axiom 1: An event is never the concentration of vital continuity or the immanent intensification of a becoming. It is never coextensive with becoming. On the contrary, it is a pure cut in becoming made by an object of the world, through that object’s auto-appearance; but it is also the supplementing of appearing through the upsurge of a trace: the old inexistent which has become an intense existence. With regard to the continuum in the becoming of the world, there is both a lack (impossibility of auto-appearance without interrupting the authority of the mathematical laws of being and the logical laws of appearing) and an excess (impossibility of the upsurge of a maximal intensity of existence). ‘Event’ names the conjunction of this lack and this excess.
Axiom 2: The event cannot be the undivided encroachment of the past on the future or the eternally past being of the future. On the contrary, it is a separating evanescence, an atemporal instant which disjoins the previous state of an object (the site) from its subsequent state. We could also say that the event extracts from one time the possibility of another time. This other time, whose materiality envelopes the consequences of the event, deserves the name of new present. The event is neither past nor future. It presents us with the present.
Axiom 3: It is not the actions and passions of multiples which are synthesized in the event as an immanent result. It is the blow of the evental One which magnetizes multiplicities and constitutes them into subjectivizable bodies. And the trace of the event, itself incorporated into the new present, is obviously of the same nature as the actions of this body….For Deleuze, the event is the immanent consequence of becoming or of life. For me, the event is the immanent principle of exceptions to becoming, or Truths.”
Axiom 4: There can be no composition of that which is by a single event. On the contrary, here is a de-composition of worlds by multiple event-sites…Deleuze often adopts the Leibnizian principle of Harmony. The eternal and unique Event is the focal point on which the ingredients of a life converge. Beyond the ‘chaosmos’ in which divergent series and multifarious multiplicities are effectuated, ‘nothing subsists but the Event, the Event alone, Eventum tantum for all the contraries, communicating with itself through its own distance, resonating through all its disjunctions’. I affirm the full and utterly unresonnant sound of what has locally cut through the appearing of a sit, and which nothing brings into harmony–or disharmony–either with itself (be it as a subsistent solitude) or with other becomings (be it as the absorption of contraries)." (Badiou, 384-385)
Rendering the event exposes the existence of “emancipatory coordinates” and allows one to understand how better to access them. The emancipatory coordinates that are revealed through rendering art as equation are the “commonalities” that we discover in the art. “Commonalities” are the points that we might share in common with another person engaged in rendering and the points that the art shares in common with our memories. These commonalities are what allow us to live generally with common-sense while still understanding that when we stop engaging in the process of rendering, we find orientation by navigating a broad field of dis-sense or dissent. Navigating this field has become the grounds on which politicians make their careers and that artists have been so adept at for many years. The coordinates that artists manifest are emancipatory in that they provide a reprieve from the field of day-to-day existence to which it seems that we are increasingly bound. The sense-event is the skillful rendering of the manifestation of emancipatory coordinates.
Photographs and movies render the world in a direct fashion. While other practices that support art are equally suited to engaging the world or disengaging through rendering, photography and cinema argue for the possibility of directly engaging a world that allegedly is inhabited by some energy or another. In providing a window into such a world, the energy that is rendered comes into line with the energy that is used to render. The result of this alignment is a direct link between a world of production and one of dissemination. Such an alignment can be manifested at will and collapses worlds. Euclidean geometry is unable to describe points that have been captured by the lens. They are better understood through cinema and morphology. The extent to which this connections and points of exchange between art and the world occur is contingent on the power of the optics used to break through the surface of the world and to see something that is happening beneath the surface.
In order to extend the distance that they are able to see and in order to validate the extent to which their vision depends on an alternative understanding of depth, artist have come to construct their own apparatuses that are aligned precisely with the affect they would like to achieve. They allow the artist to see something that the camera cannot. These machines describe a route that exists and a journey that has been taken. It occurs via grounding a logic of birth and sensation. Such machines developed by the hands of an artist allow us to understand the plane on which things occur. They allow us to understand the table on which they rest. A suggestion is made that we somehow might no longer misunderstand the function of the transcendental table. Art could be guaranteed by something other than god or the critic. The apparatus that the artist constructs is capable of resolving the antinomy of the table. Thought and sense might be united. In keeping with the diversity of the actions of contemporary artists and in particular those working with cameras, the grounds of this unity might rest in something other than good-taste. Instead, it would be grounded in a new taste for depth. The sense that lies beneath this taste, that supports it, would be derived from a need that artists seem to have to get beyond their distinction while still preserving the extent to which they are capable of expression via polyvocality.
There is no question that many artists working today remain haunted by a recent past and an uncertainty of what is going to come next. In the face of this uncertainty, many have dis-missed the language that defines such immensity as un-representable and to another means of expression derived from whatever apparatus they have constructed for such a task. It allows representation to be dismissed through acknowledge and confronting the un-representable head on. As a result, the artist is cast loose and no longer is intended to fit within a given order. Instead, the artist sees beyond order. They see through an illusion of unity and expose the system as incomplete. Through rendering, art is extricated from a linear equation. It comes to fit or at least be proximate to a differential or hyperbolic equation. While works of art may once have attempt to approximate such an organic equation through mimesis, art has now come to assume an increasingly ability to operate under its sway. Under this arc we don’t see a representation of what should take place as a gathering, but a schema rendered as a party. The community that it brings together drives Art via its attractiveness. The precise recording of this convergence and the parameters that come to be placed on it through inscription in medium and instantiation on interface perform a commentary on this convergence.
In order to reclaim a positive rendering of the event, one that hopes to find something beyond the un-representable and beyond the potential appropriation of art by a system of exchange whose axioms run counter to those of many artists and a growing number receivers, we need to embrace an intuitive estimation of magnitude. While this is merely to echo a previous definition of the aesthetical, it serves to highlight the extent to which we have faculties that are adept at estimation and that taking advantage of these faculties might allow us to see our world with greater clarity, to literally open the possibility of doing more cognitive work with images and mapping the results in order to provide orientation, and to save other faculties of estimation the trouble.
The consequence of both routes, however, ultimately leads to a point where the rendering of the event can only be understood in its completion. When the loop is drawn to a close, the role that the subject played in rendering is quickly forgotten. They barely played a part at all. It is a final assessment of rendering that retains the potential of the classical separation between subject and object. It echoes the division between artist and receiver and is an exclusion. In spite of their participation and anticipation of the moment when they will do so, the subject in this sense can never be thought to render an event. That which the subject wants most to render already is rendered or is rendered by some other. There is always an outside to the rendering of the event that absolved the subject of any agency.
In either case, the operator constructs a specific interface each time the field of judgment is approached. Rendering allows for the passage from one world to the next via the image that is created as a result. Rendering is the resolution of the antinomy of taste via the supersensible. Art inaugurates the possibility of an other. It is the possibility of a system that does not serve the one but that serves the many as a system of objects that are rendered as an affect of art. The key in rendering, however, is ensuring that these objects do not become the final purpose. Rather than resorting to taking the epoch of man as purpose, art has come to inscribe a resistance to the fragmentation into capitalists and proletarians, so as to see what blocks the constitution of a peaceful state. Art renders a vision of a more efficient alignment of space, site and event in order to prevent a breakdown of morality in the face of the Other. Rendering the event culminates when art steps entirely out of the world in order to validate a protest against the purposes driving the world that we live in. This is the moment when we are caught immersed in the ecstasy of a performance and thrill that we are transported beyond the limits of our perception as an other coordination.
"Nothing, therefore, which can be an object of the senses, is, considered on this basis, to be called sublime. But because there is in our Imagination a striving towards infinite progress, and in our Reason a claim for absolute totality, regarded as a real Idea, therefore this very inadequateness for that Idea in our faculty for estimating the magnitude of things of sense, excites in us the feeling of a supersensible faculty. And it is not the object of sense, but the use of which the Judgment naturally makes of certain objects on behalf of this latter feeling, that is absolutely great; and in comparison every other use is small. Consequently it is the state of mind produced by a certain representation with which the reflective Judgment is occupied, and not the Object, that is to be called sublime. We can therefore append to the preceding formulas explaining the sublime this other: the sublime is that, the mere ability to think which, shows a faculty of the mind surpassing every standard of Sense." (Kant, 110)
"Now we have in the world only one kind of beings whose causality is teleological, i.e. is directed to purpose and is at the same time so constituted that the law according to which they have to determine purpose for themselves is represented as unconditioned and independent of natural conditions, and yet as in itself necessary. The being of this kind is man, but man considered as noumenon; the only natural being in which we can recognize, on the side of its peculiar constitution, a supersensible faculty (freedom) and also the law of causality, together with the Object, which this faculty may propose to itself as highest purpose (the highest good of the world)." (Kant, 360)
"We can indeed think one of two dissimilar things, even in the very point of their dissimilarity, in accordance with the analogy of the other; but we cannot, from that wherein they are dissimilar, conclude from the one to the other by analogy, i.e. transfer from the one to the other this sign of specific distinction. Thus I can, according to the analogy of the law of the equality of action and reaction in the mutual attraction and repulsion of bodies, also conceive of the association of the members of a commonwealth according to rules of right; but I cannot transfer to it those specific determinations (material attraction or repulsion), and ascribe them to citizens in order to constitute a system called a state.– Just so we can indeed conceive of the causality of the original Being in respect of the things of the world, as natural purpose, according to the analogy of an Understanding, as ground of the forms of certain products which we call works of art. But we can in no way conclude according to analogy, because in the case of being of the world Understanding must be ascribed to the cause of an effect which is judged artificial, that in respect of nature the same causality which we perceive in men attaches also to the Being which is quite distinct from nature. For this concerns the very point of dissimilarity which is though between a cause sensibly conditioned in respect of its effects and the supersensible original Being itself in our concept of it, and which therefore cannot be transferred from one to the other.– IN this very fact that I must conceive the divine causality only according to the analogy of an Understanding (which faculty we know in no other being than in sensibly-conditioned ma) lies the prohibition to ascribe to it this Understanding in its proper signification." (Kant, 399-401)
"The result then is this. For the existence [Dasein] of the original Being, as a Godhead, or of the soul as an immortal spirit, absolutely no proof in a theoretical point of view is possible for the human Reason, which can bring about even the least degree of belief. The ground of this is quite easy to comprehend. For determining our Idea of the supersensible we have no material whatever, and we must derive this latter from things in the world of sense, which is absolutely inadequate for such an Object. Thus, in the absence of all determination of it, nothing remains but the concept of a non-sensible something which contains the ultimate ground of the world of sense, but which does not furnish any knowledge (any amplification of the concept) of its inner constitution." (Kant, 403)
The various scales at which the world is rendered are divided into a number of markets. These markets organize the various equations that render the world. The codes that relate the design of a world and an equation that renders this world are organized as an economy. This economy is most visible as various online marketplaces in which applications, hardware, objects, images, and services are sold. The various marketplaces each have a different potential for supporting art. Through their variation, these markets define the variable relationship of interface, medium, and sense that constitute art. Each market supports these terms in a slightly different manner. The extent to which a balance is found defines the extent to which a given market is capable of supporting art. In cases where any one term is dominant over the others, it is difficult for an artist to practice. Historically, most markets have been closed to the artist. It is increasingly the case, however, that markets beyond the court, salon, gallery, and museum are coming to provide room for art. This is occurring as markets become increasingly attuned to addressing style through design and sense through products that operate on a variety of levels directed at as many senses as possible.
Markets that are immersive act as hubs that organize a variety of codes under a common orientation. These hubs set up a manner of translating between scales and methods of addressing broad audiences. They organize codes in an efficient manner that allows them to render an underlying world with fidelity. Among the best examples of such hubs are fashion houses that turn clothing into a platform of existence and online marketplaces that works towards having a vertical and horizontal monopoly on sales. The sites that they create for the manifestation of immersion pull one in and keep one’s interest focused within the world that is being rendered. We are held captive for long enough such that we receive a message. In many cases, this massage does little more than validate consumption. In some cases, however, this message might call for increased efficiency, elegance of motion, or modesty of expression. In such cases, the immersion comes to serve a product that has a life beyond the sphere of monetized exchange. These are the rare moments when art is on the horizon. The situation is held sufficiently at bay such that a little room is given in order to read and write a language through art. Such an opening, however, is entirely contingent on a coded organization that remains outside of the broader order of the exchange.
While immersive markets are coming to act as points of intersection that are capable of supporting art, they remain burdened by the fact that one is often required to step out of the flow of a given day and elect to be within such an environment. They require a special store and unique URL in order to gain access. A visitor must know the protocol of the site in order to understand the moment when the message serves something other than the industry that created it. For such markets to be able to fully support art, they will have to cease remaining accessible under such terms and instead will have to open to occurrence within the realm where art more commonly occurs. With this notion we return to our earlier insistence that art as an equation of fidelity that opens a realm in-between is manifested in an instant that can occur anywhere provided that parameters that support interface, medium, and sense are present. In so doing the need for immersive markets to be fully immersed within a broad field of occurrence is highlighted. Digital devices allow for such immersion to be visualized, but fail to extend the elegance with which markets operates when taken as outside of the flow of the day. It is in this sense that just as hubs of codes that organize equations that render and that present stable relationship between interface and design come to be increasingly mobile and find increasing faith in their ability to support art, art denies its marketability by insisting on its momentary occurrence vis-à-vis a phenomenology of perception. It is in this sense that an attempt to organize art is paradoxical.
In this context, the relationship between the various immersive markets that make room for art and the zones that support an “aesthetic education” should be further considered. In large part, an aesthetic education is increasingly in the service of skills used to render an images or design a frame for art. At the same time, such education serves to provide space for the appropriation of practices that occur in the broader image economy as well as the capitalist economy at large. It provides space for juxtaposing market forces, considering the origin of materials, and calling the authority of markets into question. A contemporary aesthetic education provides room for a wide-ranging philosophical and cultural discourse to be presented. This potential to learn how to present something that is fraught with contradiction – in a state of becoming visible and derived from an economy that has caused mass confusion from one epoch to another – without losing one’s self – or finding nothing but self – is a powerful aspect of an aesthetic education.
For art to occur in a market that is spread within a city rather than existing in isolation, it can do so only if it is referenced to a number of codes that make sense together. The extent of this organization defines the legibility both of the market and of art. It allows the receiver to understand the “genetic” makeup of the thing that prompts an aesthetic orientation. The differential elements that code it and that each define its attributes can be clearly understood. They are understood through how they relate to the genetic makeup of the world. What is particularly unique about situations where art comes to be supported by a stable order of codes is the extent to which these codes are generally perceived to be the least stable. In this sense, art at root attempts to find room for the stability of the least stable. Rather than operating in brick and concrete, art as occurring in a non-specific medium beyond the parameters of enclosure, addresses an ethereal and fleeting zone of affects. Such affects occur in-between competing codes that are bound together through this very competition. It is precisely the affecting of the struggle to find stability out of chaos that organizes disparate codes.
The power of organizing codes that might not commonly be found to define similar worlds and that might serve to support radically different interfaces that enable different cultures of rendering, lies in the potential for the states of illumination that each code ultimately gives way to through the interface and rendering it supports to stand in proximity to one another and thereby to define a state of general illumination. Such illumination serves the same role for the image economy that money does for the economy of monetary capital. Like money, illumination is super-sensible. While it can be perceived, this perception is a fraction of the broader conception that lies behind the dollar bill. Illumination that comes as a result of a stable set of codes that support the occurrence of art rather than non-art is expended or exchanged within a marketplace that does not make use of money.
There is a considerable difference between what is required to sustain the conditions that continue to produce more money and those that produce more illumination. While money requires an increasing amount of material to be added, illumination requires less and less. The material required can be found without engaging in acts that require extreme amounts of energy or the transformation of the earth. Instead, illumination is supported by an image economy driven by seeing the world with increasing clarity such that one is able to act with increased accuracy. In this sense, illumination should be seen as an instrument of value whose proliferation is readily sustainable and easily democratized. As such, the energy required for organizing a stable set of codes that makes the art behind illumination possible might be provided. Whatever energy was invested would quickly be returned and soon might give rise to a self-sustaining chain of returns. A first manifestation of this investment might be seen in a global commitment to rendering a neutral image of the world.
Critique of the Wall
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