Tuesday, February 27, 2007


All problems presuppose their answer. The answers one gets are based on how well the question is asked. To ask a question is to assume a possible field of answers. It is most beneficial if one is going to pose an answer to pose answers that bring a whole bunch of new questions. Experimental problematic practices. Throwing questions out into the world.
From a change in degree comes a change in kind. Universe is the continuous modulation of a single thing. You come from a process and you are thrown into a process, not a space. A map is quantitative an experience is qualitative. Reality is a qualitative experience that crystallizes in a quantitative way every now and again. Experience is both abstract and concrete. Do not mediate, modulate. Two things meet to form a third thing. Signifiers aren’t just about communication, they are about how the present refuses the present. Relationships are themselves meanings. Society and the individual are interdependent. Traditional liberal humanist thought offers that the individual comes first, and we can see where that has gotten us.
Rules come after a game is invented. The rules do not determine the game, they are retrospective limits to variation within a given context. The biggest stars play around the rules of a game without breaking them.
Parody is little more than play change. It is fucking around with an existing order, it is a sublimated desire for static continuity. If you can go back, it means you never left. It is impossible to leave a field that has already been defined. How can we not reduce intensity to mere signifiers?
When you pick up a rock, why not imagine that it is the rock that found your hand, not your hand that found the rock?
Negative difference is the basis of meaning within “the actual” (as opposed to the virtual). Identity is negative difference. Negative difference is necessarily based on lack. A thing is a thing because it is not some other thing. This is the basis of structuralism. One cannot look at a thing or an object, one must look at its system or its context. we have an incalculable network of systems and forces at work, not one single system to engage with. In order to affect real change, one must understand the structure and/or context.
The “real” includes the “virtual”, but it can only be included as a conceptual system, not an actual one. As such it still affects the real, but more as a metastructural force than a physical one. The virtual is real without being actual. In the virtual there is only pure difference. Difference differing. Qualitative changes rather than quantitative ones. The virtual exceeds and precedes identity. It is an event of becoming and is beyond any type of individuation.
Use of chance is about being open to genuine difference.
Nothing is passive, everything has agency and will. That blank canvas is already covered with meaning. It is best to not make a claim, but to create a field of distributions.
“A thing has as many meanings as there are forces capable of seizing it. The presence of a sign is not an identity but an envelopment of difference, of a multiplicity of actions, materials, and levels. In a broader sense, meaning even includes the paths not taken. It is also all of the forces that could have seized the thing but did not. It is an infinity of processes.”
-Gilles Deleuze
What about reference as experience? Image as open ended gathering of forces?
The possibility of meaning is blessedness. It gives. This exceeds us in every possible way. “something” attempts to define. A thing is not an object but a gathering. How something gathers makes a world come into being. How does it gather? This is the tension between belief in essence and belief in difference.
There are commodity exchanges and gift exchanges. Gift exchanges privilege the value of the event of giving rather than the value of the thing given. The danger of gift giving is putting someone in debt to you. As a maker you are giving a gift, implicitly obliging people to you. What type of obligation are we creating? Gift giving is tied to the existential problem of excess. If a gift reinforces a social order, it is not really a gift at all. Gift giving includes in itself the destruction of generosity. Generosity becomes exchange. A gift needs to be sent with no address on it, it can’t return and there is no certainty of whom it is for and where it is going.
A main component of gift giving is symbolic capital. This is privileging the symbolic value of a thing over its commodity value. Having a Duchamp changes your aura. What the artist sells is not use value, but symbolic value. Things become de-and re- territorialized creating a charge in symbolic value. It turns Duchamp into a symbolic capital, as in “I got a Duchamp.” How do you separate from the solidification of the maker, how can you make it so the meaning is its own space? How to produce a circulation outside yourself? How can you actually not put your signature on something? False humility is twice denying and doubly self serving.

Some of the preceding notes might be helpful for all of us, I know they are for me and what I plan to do with the calmdome idea. The last conversation Ashley and I had at least in part honed in on the abusive nature of the symbol….which I suppose mainly deals with the issue of abstraction and the problem with symbolic language as a hindrance towards the reconciliation of dualism. This presupposes that the elimination of duality is a prime directive of the calmdome’s endeavor. We formulated that one method is to undermine the idea of signs as objective communication devices and thus bring into light ideas about subjectivity and language. I plan to make drawings and other work that is interested in this area. At least one part of my focus will be these drawings that will mesh numerous references, symbols, and ideologies. The goal is in part to give the illusion of some type of mystical or religious truth being conveyed. This will be done not only through the image content, but through the style as well, which will be the same photorealistic pencil drawing style that I have been employing.
I am very interested right now in what I see as a conflict between conspiracy theory and occult magick in general. Bear with me, because I have yet to totally map this out. Both practices presuppose that reality is malleable. Conspiracy theorists seem to think that history is a simple but hidden cause and effect scenario that is guided by an illuminated elite. In effect, they believe if they can crack the “code” they can uncover the ugly truth. My understanding of magick is the codes themselves are arbitrary and become embodied by the practicioner to cause change in accordance with the will. Anything can be sigilized. In short, I would like to make drawings that play this content up; to simultaneously give the appearance of arcane wisdom through symbols that end up not being a code for some type of “mystic truth” but to illuminate the real mystic truth that reality is composed on a non-hierarchical feedback loops and emergent systems. That everything is composed of millions of forces including the viewer. That each person has agency to cause, if not “real” change, then at least a perspectival change…..that the universe is ultimately unknowable and yet infinitely readable.
Of course I am leaving out tons of specifics and whatnot as far as the types of images and everything, but see the attached sources that I am looking at and refer to the last body of drawings I made and you will have some idea as to what to expect.

Another idea I am playing around with currently is the idea of creating a game that has no rules. It would not outwardly appear to be meaningless, I would work hard to give it the appearance of having legitimate boundaries and modes of playing, but the goal would be unclear. Somewhere or somehow along the lines it is necessary for there to be an interaction or a feedback. This will be an experimental process with no clear end goal.

Generally speaking, it seems to make a lot of sense for all us to be working to create a liminal zone, a space of in-betweens that eludes a simple read. A space such as this is the only terrain capable of producing real change.


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