Archive for February, 2009

4/4 series 02_09

February 28, 2009


Erin Manning — Relationscapes — How Contemporary Aboriginal Art Moves Beyond the Map

February 23, 2009

Dreamings – Jukurrpa– are an integral aspect of life in Central Desert society. Stories told for more than 40 000 years, Dreamings not only speak about the landscape and its vicissitudes, they create spacetimes of experience. This creative alchemy sustains not only a reciprocal relationship to the land, it is also an enactment of the Law.  Law creates-with life, setting operational constraints for the perpetuation of the creative nexus between Dreaming and life. As story, Dreaming evokes the lived landscape, a spiritual and lived experience. To dream is to take response-ability seriously. It is to operate at the threshold where culture and law overlap, where the future-pastness of experiences in the making take hold.

For Aborigines, life is Dreaming in the sense that the coordinates of spacetime out of which everyday lives emerge are significantly in line with creation and recreation of the land and its Laws. But even this is too simple: the land is not an extension of the Aborigines – it is them. To be the land is to become in relation to it, in relation not to space itself, but to the living coordinates of a topological relationscape that embodies as much the Law as it does the grains of sand that prolong it in realtime. The land and the Law are not two, are not juxtaposed. They are not sustained in a present-future symbolism. They are one: a becoming multiplicity.

The Dreaming alters all dimensions of experience even as it embeds pastness in futurity. To simply locate a Dreaming as a story of creation is to touch only one aspect of the concept. Dreamings are mythological and cosmogenic tales that are not simply stories of creation (with all attendant dramas and misunderstandings, love stories and disappointments) in the Biblical sense, they are also stories of the creation of the future-present. Dreamings do not exist once and for all (although they also do that): they are tales for the retelling through song, voice, dance, paint. Dreams are for keeping alive.

The cosmology of the Dreaming must be understood as both actual and virtual. It is as an overlapping of the two, where reality and dream are not opposed but superimposed. Aborigines of the Central Desert animate time in space.  In their rituals, the present is ancestralised not as a nostalgia for the past but as a becoming-future. The past and future, the actual and the virtual are traces of becoming whose dimensions are experienced in shifting continuity as through the spiral of a Nietzschean eternal recurrence. When time is activated in this way what emerges is a time-line that is not linear. The present is always in the mode of an embodying withness not of a forgotten past but of a reexperiencing in the future-present.

To experience Alhalkere is to feel the recomposition of a living landscape that is not separate from the perception of perception that recomposes us. Alhalkere is the Dreaming insofar as it incurs concern for the event that is the shapeshifting of experience. Moving-with its own eventful becoming, Alhalkere becomes a metastable system that cannot be thought outside the experiential field it opens. Touching (with) us, Alhalkere asks that we have concern for the Dreaming.

It is to take the immanent materiality of the Dreamings seriously and to note that what paintings such as Alhalkere do exceeds the parameters of their landmarks. Their concern is for the embodied eventness of land, not a pre-determined location.

The relation the Dreaming proposes is not composed separately from its eventness. Dreamings are here and now as much as they are then and before. Dreamings are neither nostalgic nor predictable. They are concern for the present passing.

A Dreaming is not an entity, not a place. It is a movement, a song and a dance, a practice of mark-making that does not represent a spacetime but creates it, again and again.

Timespace is at the heart of this complex art as are conceptual slidings, performative experience, rituals of appearance and disappearance. This timespace is not haphazard: Dreamings must be performed lest they disappear into disuse, their songs forgotten or unsung.

Topology refers to a continuity of transformation that alters the figure, bringing to the fore not the coordinates of form but the experience of it. Topologies suggest that the space of the body extends beyond Euclidean coordinates to an embodiment of folding spacetimes of experience: pure plastic rhythm.

Topological spacetime refutes the dichotomy between the abstract and the concrete. Topological spacetime is not 1 + 1 but n + 1, always more-than. The Dreaming is an evocation of such a topological spacetime of experience. It situates land, body, space, time, experience all in one structural node, an elastic point that fields the perpetual movement of time.

To think topologically is to think dynamically: it is to situate the movement of thought at its transformational vector, deforming it into its potential. When we re-render the form static, when we stop the process, we are shortchanging the experience.

The desert is not one space: it is many overlapping spacetimes of experience that Aboriginals call Dreamings. These Dreamings can be drawn into maps, but such maps will never lead us anywhere if we expect them to do the walking for us.

. Space here is performed, folding into durations that become part of the materiality of the painterly event.

Bringing futurity into the mix, the sixth panel seems to virtually contain all the other canvases, holding the series together even while exhausting it, the paintbrush squeezing out its last drops of colour. In Whiteheadian terms, the subjective form has coalesced (concresced).  It is the event that composes the series even as it marks the beginning of its perishing.

where “the world within experience is identical with the world beyond experience, the occasion of experience is within the world and the world is within the occasion” (Whitehead 1933: 228).

). Percepts are “independent of a state of those who undergo them” and affects do not arise from subjects but pass through them (Deleuze and Guattari 1994: 169).

Emily Kngwarreye’s art moves the body through the interpellation of increasingly complex sensations that are connected not to one final event but to the perpetuation of events alive in the “whole.”

When movement is no longer indexed to position (when mapping becomes an event), position itself becomes mobile.

the figure is the movement of becoming itself.

Gilles Deleuze suggests that the figure need not be conceived as the figurative. For a more detailed explanation, see his work on Bacon in Logic of Sensation (Minneapolis:Minnesota UP, 2003).

It is the rhythm of the land I see in Kngwarreye’s relationscapes, a rhythm that refuses to subjugate the image to the text, the dance to the music. The rhythm is all around, it is the “whole lot”: the weather, the seasons, the births and deaths, the rituals and performances, the body painting and batiks. These rhythms are sensations of the boldest kind, sensations that alter the very core of what it is to sense. There is no inside/outside to the sensations: they are as much of the body as of the land, extending synesthetically beyond all comprehension of three-dimensional spacetime, leading us not toward a dimension as such but toward a topological hyperspace of relationscapes, to an immanent transcendence that is profoundly of the land, of the here and now. [insert image 59 – Kngwarreye Merne Kame 1995]

The observations marked in my paintings are possibly valid for other people.  Though I can not make claims for more than the life i observe on this island and my practice which sustains my dreamings.


Direction.  non-euclidian non x-y axis.  how to describe the direction of dreams and how to map them? how to not map them but track their mobility?

-ice skater/figure 8 = the type of figure that my painting is expressing. read Deleuze on Bacon.

-Interplay between backround/foreground (folding in)

-Painting experience in the making

-Do people need to understand topologies in coming to my work?

-Paintings of experience, spacetimes, the activity of making

-The law( processional rules)(series of events and things coming one after another) is created to perpetuate dreaming and life.  Its constraints coral the meeting of both.

-subjective form has coalesced.  Coalescing is the event which marks the making and the beginning of the events destruction. The subject is the movement of the figure becoming itself.


February 22, 2009

He took the words right out of my mouth!

“If the world were merely seductive,

that would be easy.

If it were merely challenging,

that would be no problem.

But I arise in the morning torn

between a desire to improve the world

and a desire to enjoy the world.

This makes it hard to plan the day. “

John Cage – Indeterminacy

February 21, 2009


I enrolled in a class in mushroom identification.
The teacher was a Ph.D. and the editor of a 
publication on mycology. One day he picked up a 
mushroom, gave a good deal of information about it,
mainly historical, and finally named the plant as
Pluteus cervinus, edible. I was certain that that
plant was not Pluteus cervinus. Due to the 
attachment of its gills to the stem, it seemed to
me to be an Entoloma, and therefore possibly 
seriously poisonous. I thought: What shall I do? 
Point out the teacher’s error? Or, following school
etiquette, saying nothing, let other members of the
class possibly poison themselves? I decided to 
speak. I said, “I doubt whether that mushroom is 
Pluteus cervinus. I think it’s an Entoloma.” The 
teacher said, “Well, we’ll key it out.” This was 
done, and it turned out I was right. The plant was
Entoloma grayanum, a poisonous mushroom. The teacher
came over to me and said, “If you know so much about
mushrooms, why do you take this class?” I said, “I
take this class because there’s so much about 
mushrooms I don’t know.” Then I said, “By the way,
how is it that you didn’t recognize that plant?” He
said, “Well, I specialize in the jelly fungi; I just
give the fleshy fungi a whirl.”

the purpose of purposelessness.

one of the most interesting parts of this lecture is the other noises that enter into listening to the sounds of cage’s voice and composition.  Allen in his studio tap tap tapping, kids talking nearby, fish tank filtering water, bird chirping outside, running water, pots clanging in the kitchen etc…

Homecoming — Friedrich Holderlin

February 20, 2009


                                                            – to my Kinsfolk



It is still bright night in the Alps, and a cloud, 

Authoring joyfulness, covers the yawning valley. 

Playful mountain breezes rush and toss about, and a ray 

Of light shines abruptly through the firs and disappears. 

Chaos, quivering with joy, hurries slowly to do battle. 

Young in form, yet strong, it celebrates a loving quarrel 

Among the cliffs.  It ferments and shakes within its eternal 

Limits, for the morning accelerates in ecstatic dance. 

The year advances more rapidly out there, and the holy hours, 

The days, are more boldly ordered and mixed. 

A storm bird marks the time, and stays high in the air 

Between the mountains, announcing the day. 

Now the little village awakens down below.  Fearless, 

Familiar with the heights, it peers up beyond the treetops. 

It senses the growth, for the ancient streams fall like lightning, 

And the ground yields fine mists under the crashing waters. 

Echo resounds, and the vast workplace flexes its arm, 

Sending forth its gifts, by day and by night.


Let us begin our search for the essence of art with an essay entitled “Remembrance of the Poet” {[5], pp. 233-69}, first published in 1943. It is an analysis of Holderlin’s elegy “Homecoming.” (12) At the narrative surface, “Homecoming” tells the story of a man who returns from his youthful travels to the town of his birth, his home. He sails across Lake Constance and out of the shade of the Alps to the little town, where he finds familiar places and congenial faces. As Heidegger saw it, “Homecoming” tells a deeper story of a poet who is finding thesignificance of his homeland and, hence, of home itself. Holderlin considered the poet to be specially tempted to journey into distant lands and, because of that, to be specially prepared for a homecoming. Afterall it is the traveler who can place his “home” in the widest context of where and how people live.


Heidegger found the rudiments of a theory of art in this poem because he conceived of the poet’s journey in life as wholly a matter of “homecoming;” the essence of home is the general subject of poetry. Human life itself is wholly involved in the issue of finding “home;” life “really consists solely in the people of the country becoming at home in the still-withheld essence of home.” {[5], p. 245} That essence is never obvious to us and, usually indeed, we must leave our homeland and return before we can ever discover it. Nor is the discovery merely in seeing old and familiar places. Home is not the people and the place; merely coming into the homeland is not enough. “Homecoming is the return into the proximity of the source ..[but].. proximity to the source is a mystery.” {[5], p. 258-9} We will never quite know what home is; but home is the essence of our being on the earth and that toward which we should work in our lives. In the poet’s writing we can share the poet’s vision of this human quest.


Reminded of Anatefka, Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, Tradition…

am i lost, am i out of place? what is my direction? what is this direction going towards? what is it going away from ? if i dont know what specific direction i am going in is it enough to just say i am going up and that i came from being down?  how specific a direction does one need to have? it is this question of specificity that emerges when i attempt to relay my personal direction to another.  it is here that directions become complicated because if you want to move together — or to arrive in the same place at the same time — you need to be succinct in your direction to explain where it is you are going and coming from.  the other person will not be able to follow if you can not relay this information discretely.  so it is in the presence and necessity to move with another that vague directions such as up or south or this way or that way are insufficient.  it is only with clear explanation of your own direction and an understanding of another’s direction that movement together becomes possible.

Heidegger — Technology / Art / The Environment

February 20, 2009

Heidegger describes our relationship to technology in a manner similar to how Deleuze describes our human relationship to islands:

We are to understand technology through enframing in two very important ways. First, technology is a process, or coming-to-presence, which is underway in the world and which has truly gigantic proportions. The two concepts that Heidegger used as analogies in arriving at the word ‘Ge-stell‘ were ‘Gebirg” and ‘Gemuet.’ Both of these are processes of cosmic scope. The former is the gradual building, emergence, folding, and eroding of a mountain range. The latter is the welling up and building of emotional feelings that originate in the depths of our beings, as differentiated from the simple emotions that arise quickly and spontaneously in normal contexts. Second, technology viewed as enframing is a process that is shaping human destiny today and that has been shaping human destiny in relation to the universe for almost as long as we conceive of our history. What we call technology and think to be a neutral instrument standing ready for our control is actually a specific manifestation of this whole process. {[7], p. 19} The concept of enframing suggests that human life in the context of the natural world is gathered wholly and cosmically within the essence of technology. Just as the technology that we now see ongoing in the world shows the characteristic of challenging-forth the objects around us, the whole process within which human life is developing challenges-us-forth to this mode of revealing the real or of ordering nature into standing reserve. Our control over technology is an illusion; it and we alike are being shaped, like an evolving mountain range, in the process that Heidegger called enframing. The possession of what we commonly call technology is only a fragmentary, though characteristic, aspect of that whole development; language thought, religion, art, and all other aspects of human life are coordinated into this development as a part of enframing.  

Just as humans have progressively limited the being of the natural objects around them, Heidegger observed, they too have acquired a progressively limited character or being. While we have come to think that we encounter only ourselves in the world, “in truth, however, precisely nowhere does man today any longer encounter himself, i.e., in his essence.” {[7], p. 27} While all epochs of human evolution contain danger, the epoch of modern technology possesses the gravest danger because it is the epoch whose characteristic is to conduct humanity out of its own essence. Modern technology, in Heidegger’s view, is the highest stage of misrepresentation of the essence of being human.  Tad Beckman

Modern technology puts nature in reserve.  (oil tanks) by using technology to put nature in reserve we are putting our own lives in reserve.  

Art is not what makes the turning away from technology possible or necessary; it is rather proposed as the form of revealing through which we may be conducted out of that epoch.

 It is therefore an essential kind of human awareness that brings us into relation with the nature of our being as human beings who dwell on the earth through that specific recognition and understanding of objects and their relations that they call their world. Clearly, art in general, like poetry, is a uniquely vital journey into the basic human issue of finding the essence of home within life on this earth.

Joy comes from Serenity and Serenity is the “spatially ordered”


February 13, 2009

Ben Shahn — The Shape of Content

Peter Greenaway — Vertical Features Remake

Anne Carson — Fragments of Sappho

David Abrams — The Spell of the Sensuous (Husserl / Merleau-Ponty)

Gilles Deleuze — Deserted Islands

Annie Dillard — Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

My own Journals 

Gerhard Richter

Luc Tuymans

Majorie Perloff – Radical Artifice

Jules de Balincourt

Lynne Drexler

Ted Ames

Deleuze — Deserted Islands — focus on Originary Islands

February 13, 2009

There are two different types of islands.  Originary and Continental.  Continental islands have drifted away from a continent or main land, and originary islands have punched up through the ocean ( The constructive nature of a growing coral reef or compiled and consolidated mass of sediments.)

All islands are considered deserted as a philosophical view (see deleuze) even if they are inhabited by humans and other species.  In the most ideal philosophical thought, humans can only inhabit deserted islands if they are sufficient and absolute creators.  

Humans which come to live on islands, in turn, give islands a “dynamic image of itself” by becoming a consciousness to the movement which produced the island (continental or originary).  THrough human inhabitants, islands become conscious of themselves as deserted and unpeopled, which we as humans know is not a reality but is still a valid consciousness of an island.  (an island, in western thought, being an inanimate object and therefore unable to posess a consciousness only granted to animate life.)  looking at indigenous cultures and non-western traditional thought one begins to uncover this understanding of land is inaccurate and a production of capitalism.  the island does have a consciousness produced by a movement.  the people are not the islands reality and are seemingly only a dream since islands believe they are deserted and unable to sustain people in a … sense.  thereofre, making of the island is only the dream of humans and a pure consciousness of the island.  this can be concluded when one reduces themselves to the movement which brought them to a place (an island).  

humans on islands can do the opposite of what the island did.  they can create on one that has drifted away and they can drift towards one that is originary.  

(the human can move in the opposite way the island did exist in their place.  a human may drift to an originary island and an island which in western thought, makes not sense of having a consciousness.)

“human beings live there already, but uncommon humans, they are absolutely separate, absolute creators, in short, an idea of humanity, a prototype, a man who would almost be a god, a woman who would be a goddess, a great Amnesiac, a Pure Artist, a consciousness of Earth and ocean, an enormous hurricane, a beautiful witch, a statue from the Easter Islands.  There you have a human being who precedes itself, insofar as it imagines and reflects itself in its first movement.”

“It is not enough that everything begin, everything must begin again once the cycle of possible combinations has come to a completion.  The second moment does not succeed the first: it is the reappearance of the first when the cycle of the other moments has been completed.  The second origin is thus more essential than the first, since it gives us the law of repetition, the law of the series, whose first origin gave us only moments.  But this theme, even more than in our fantasies, finds expression in every mythology.” p.13

“In the ideal of beginning a new there is something that precedes the beginning itself…” p.14

(moved to be still)

February 13, 2009



I Sylus conversation / movement to stillness (O is the voices moving until they are moved to be still)

Chatter, language, translation, understanding, communication, coersion, relaxation, comfort, reassurance, repetition, song.


O Rubbings / stillness (O is still)

Sticks, ice, bark, buds, grass, ground, stones, leaves, nettles.

I Sketching / stillness (O is sleeping)

Sleep, comfort, coziness, children, lovers, dream.

O Plein air / movement (O is moving)

Ocean, tides, rocks, algae, coast, foam, waves, sky, horizon, islands, submerged, breaking, emerging.


O Spray paint + masking / movement (I am moving and O is moving)

Trees, roads, hills, bushes, branches, piles, sky

O Drawing / movement (O is moving)

I Drawing / stillness (O is a photograph)

Landscape, Cole, stopped, moment, trees, sunlight, dirt, leaves, shadow, depth, Peaks Island, preservation, documentation


O Place painting / movement (I move and O moves)

Peaks Island, beach, beaver dams, woods, the edge

I Nights / stillness (O looks still through my window)

Layering, subtleties, trees, shadows, light, shifts

I Blocks / movement (My memory moves O in my memory)

Layering, shapes, through, over, above, inside, around, in between, all over, through out, emerge, re-emerge, come together.


I Month Painting / movement (My mind moves for O to show itself)

Layers, mix, window, searching, pattern, one, inspired, spontaneous, planned, square, in, circles, stop, dry, start, remove, obscure, add, next, again, mask.



(O is moving)

(I am moving and O is moving)

(O is moving)

(I move and O moves)

(My memory moves O in my memory)

(My mind moves for O to show itself)


(O is still)

(O is sleeping)

(O is a photograph)

(O looks still through my window)

(My memory moves O in my memory)

(My mind moves for O to show itself)


I Conversation about Sy.

“…” indicates more to come

O is The Outside and The Object

I is The Inside

David Abrams – The Spell of the Sensuous

February 13, 2009

Yet we should not be so ready to interpret these dimensions as “supernatural,” nor to view them as realms entirely “internal” to the personal psyche of the practitioner.  For it is likely that the “innerworld” of our western psychological experience, like the supernatural heaven of christian belief, originates in the loss of our ancestral reciprocity with the animate earth.  When the animate powers that surround us are suddenly construed as having less significance than ourselves, when the generative earth is abruptly defined as a determinate object devoid of its own sensations and feelings, then the sense of a wild and multiplicitous otherness (in relation to which human existence has oriented itself) must migrate, either into a supersensory heaven beyond the natural world, or else into the human skull itself — the only allowable refuge in this world for what is ineffable and unfathomable.  p 10 

remain transparent 

Magic, then, in its perhaps most primordial sense, is the experience of existing in a world made up of multiple intelligences, the intuition that every form one perceives — from the swallow swooping overhead to the fly on a blade of grass, and indeed the blade of grass itself — is an experiencing form, an entity with its own predilections and sensations, albeit sensations that are very different from our own p 9-10

paint primordial senses and multiple intelligences.  every form painted is one experienced.  

painted directly or from memory of experience.

The traditional magician cultivates and ability to shift out of her common state of consciousness precisely in order to make contact with the other organic forms of sensitivity and awareness with which human existence is entwined.  only by temporarily shedding the accepted perceptual logic of his culture can the sorcerer hope to enter into relation with other species on their own terms; only by altering the common organization of this senses will he be able tot enter into a rapport with the multiple non-human sensibilities that animate the local landscape.  it is this, we might say, that defines a shaman: the ability to readily slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate his or her particular culture — boundaries reinforced by social customs, taboos, and most importantly, the common speech or language — in order to make contact with, and learn from, the other powers in the land.  His magic is precisely this heightened receptivity to the meaningful solicitations — songs, cries, gestures — of the larger, more than-human field. p 9