Working under the aesthetic premise that it is the context of some physical thing that charges it with meaning, I would like to say a few words about music.  It’s actually quite simple and not that profound at all, but frequently looked over by musicians and other artists.  Music is simply a way for cultures to communicate with one another.  Any other discussion about music is merely talking about taste in some ungrounded theoretical way.  The context of a song at a particular venue is what charges the tune with cultural power, similarly to the way the context of a symbol can charge it with meaning, like in natural languages.  It is the language of inter-cultural discourse.  In a phrase, tone or rhythm, musical histories that extend into socio-political histories are summoned to the venue.  It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Metal or Punk-Classical.  You are inevitably continuing the historical inter-cultural dialectic, either through an embrace or rejection of musical sensibilities throughout history.  If you accept the premise and follow it through, as a musician, you are the voice of a people in a vast history of cultural dialectics.  Musical traditionalists that adhere to strict tonal, rhythmic and emotional limitations are as mute to cultural discourse as a Cubist painting hanging on a white wall in a museum. Image

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” – Wittgenstein

Actuality has little to do with making sense and more to do with accepting nonsense.  Making sense is an activity that operates with 4-dimensional syntax and grammar (usage).  Logic (syntax and grammar) is a sequential (time) contextual (space) analysis – it is the rules “behind” making sense.  The limits of these rules – their boundaries – confine a sign and separate it from its context of signs, charging the symbol with meaning through its usage.  Logic gives form in an otherwise “undifferentiated mass of organic sensation”.  Without the form of a sign, it would have no meaningful content, but would rather be a powerless shape in a context of sameness.  There is a logical limit on the expressive power of languages.  What is beyond these limits is nonsense.  That is not to say that it is insignificant, but rather inexpressible.  The nonsense is something logic cannot limit.  It is either an infinity or a paradox that dissolves logic and all hopes of making sense.  The causal (sequential) way of interpreting the world is an active way of interpreting the world.  The passage of time is continuous, flowing and progressive.  Growth and decay are continuous, fluid movements.  This way of thinking of time, as Smithson pointed out, is a practical, active way of thinking about time, but has little to do with the impractical actuality of time – the present.  The present is unobtainable by any logical means.  This does not necessarily entail that it is unlimited, infinite and void.  (which Smithson might ascribe to the present)  But if time were a place where events happened, the active (logical) event would cease to happen as soon as it happened.  The present – the actual – is a space without limits… it is a space apart from logical (limited) expressive meaningful space.  It is an incomprehensible infinity of possibilities where there is no correct or incorrect.  It is a meaningless context of sameness… unobtainable.  The present is inactive.  There is no movement in an instant of time.  It is a pause between the future and the past.

The future criss-crosses the past in an unobtainable present.”  – Smithson “Quasi-infinities of a Waning Space”  Logic cannot obtain the present.  Feeling cannot seize the present.

The inactive present avoids logic and experience because it has no limits.  What we experience is the future criss-crossing the past.  This is an active, expressive time with limits that change.  It can be mapped.  Progression and evolutionary notions of time turn into logical (epistemic) tools to map action.  This time makes sense.  Using this time, the world makes sense.  Without this active time, there is no sense to be made.  It is, as Smithson suggested, an infinite void of sameness – no limits – no form – nothing to make sense out of.  Logic requires active, continuous time.  It is fundamental to thinking.  This is not to say that all of our provisional theories are wrong.  They are correct.  But they are only correct because they are within the limits of logic.  There is no correct or incorrect outside the limits of language and logic.

The interpretations of actuality have infinite possibilities, none of which are correct or incorrect.  There are historically contingent provisional theories built on logical, fallible foundations that cannot be proven correct or incorrect because the foundation (axiom) floats without context.  There is no map of the map.  The world described is limited by the epistemic tools at hand.  The world felt is limited by the glass (sensing) body.  The nonsites eliminate the body from setting up limits, to let the world set the limits.


February 3, 2009


The context that postmodern aesthetics takes into account, traced back to Frederick Law Olmsted’s creation of parks in New York City in the 19’th Century, developed into a massive dialectical relationship of the landscape to human activities, be it social, political, and natural. The vastness of the context, for some post modernists, spans all the way back to the paleolithic era encased in permeable glass in museums – the bones of a triceratops still undergoing the culturally emergent notion of entropy – to the extrapolated second law of thermodynamics, that says, in the future, the universe will become an all-encompassing sameness, all the way to the irreversability of eternity. The context encompasses our (biased) epistemic evolution along with the actual landscape in a dialectic-as-process that is never finished.


I think dialectical relationships need to be specific. For instace, a dialectic between a landscape and a map must consider a broad contextual range, meaning that the physical sciences must be employed to establish the “side” of the landscape in the dialectic and its relation to the “side” of the map. Physical history, like geological time, of a particular landscape (site) is in a continual relationship with the human activities (social, political and natural). The primordial eras are entombed in permeable glass cases, where heat can escape the fossils of dinosaurs. We have a relationship with the primordial era through the archeological digs that brought up the fossils from rock layers in the earth. They are now entombed in museums. The entropic geological time, then, might be said to be in a relationship with the social, political and natural human (cultural) activites manifested in the “landscape” of the architecture, and design of a history museum. The preserved history is what some postmodern artists were interested in, as they could use a physical landscape of a museum to establish a dialectic with the maps. The social, political, and natural (i.e. biological evolution) histories are found in ruins like pompey, cathedrals in europe, Mayan Pyramids, and even the deteriorating archtecture of today. History proper, is a fiction to some. The people that hold this view become interested in the ruined landscapes of past civilizations, fossils found in the rocks, hieroglyphs, language entombed in books – all real stuff – even the buildings erected today that “rise into ruin, rather than erected for the future.” (paraphrasing Smithson) The future becomes forgotten in the past – meaning in the instant a brick is layed, it is already in ruin. The future is remembered through the past.  The history museums are an actual landscape undergoing physical processes alongside cultural processes. This way, a map of the past can be developed from a transitory landscape evolving along with human cultural activities.

In simpler terms, All of the physical Sciences, aesthetics, semiology, architecture, and art are employed on actual landscapes to make maps of history. It is a deconstruction of Idealistic historical dialectics, through the belief in material reality. Alot of artists were reading Borges, Merleau Ponty, Levi-Strauss, Olmsted, physicists, biologists, chemists, geologists, etc., which reconstructed this deconstruction of history-as-an-idea.

All of these sciences are themselves an historically contingent cultural emergence that change alongside with the landscape. The landscape is no longer a “thing-in-itself” but a “thing-for-us”.

Material Symbols

January 25, 2009


In anything with potential, or expressed material power, it seems to me that it is the opposing dissimilarities within their context that illuminate the matter into it’s powerful expression. Whether it be printed matter – some symbols on a page, a landscape (natural or architectural), a motion picture, or a belief etc., it is the disparates of the relative matter that surge it with expressive power. Symbols on a page, only have phoenetical or conceptual meaning because of the angular and (more generally) spacial irregularities in the symbolic context itself. The “H“, made of “l” “” and “l“, are nuetral, and powerless if isolated away from the context of “H“, or (further) “Home”, or (even further) “Homeplate is riddled with cleat marks and wet with dirt.” It becomes a mute set of symbols that are not even phoenetically powerful. However, when the “I” “” “I” of an “H” are pieced together in a context (which it can never not be), the symbol grows in strength into an expressive entity because of the angular “disagreements”. The symbolic mind, if looked at this way, becomes a recognition of opposing forms that illuminate the symbols into expressive entities. The recognition is not in the similarites, but in the dissimilarities. We read and interpret through the spatial variations of oppositions in the material. The perception of where these oppositions are, spatially, I think, give bias its relative character. The normative (rule-following) mind is hinged on the “inner eye” seeing this material, spatial play. The normative mind is following spatial rules, seen by the eyes. The symbolic structure of a letter, word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, book, desk, room etc., is only recognizable by the rule-following mind because of the depth perception of the eyes. The symbols only become rules to follow after the perception of the the spatial play of the symbols through the eyes perception of opposition. Or, in other words, the oppositions percieved by the eyes give form content. The content is then interprested and evaluated by the mediator of the normative.

To speculate, I imagine the material symbols come from a type of synesthesia of seeing the sounds, and then representing the sounds as sights. A backwards logic is used when then translating the sights of symbols into sounds and images, respectively. Reading (interpreting and evaluating through the normative) is a spiraling process that is set into motion by the consistent reversals of translating sounds to symbols and back again. It is a material process that rotates on an axis of depth perception.

Speculation aside, and propositionally focused – perceptual opposition in matter gives symbols their expressive power.

Apples or Oranges?

January 24, 2009


Climb Back Up the Ladder

January 13, 2009

Stable Two-Dimensional Animated Three-Dimensions


I hope for immediate access to the scale of experience. I think (and I’m not alone on this) we are getting further from experiencing the scale of the eye and the ear, as one “descends”, or “ascends” the ladder of the analytical, technological mind – the two-dimensional mind. Language seems to strengthen the analytical mind that almost pulverizes the eye and ear to a death. This is to say, only, that we are moving away from the experiential scale of the eye and the eear – not to say becoming closer to the “thing-in-itself”. The experience of the enantiomorphic eyes and ears are in an inextricable, paradoxical relationship between the expressive power of the “thing out there”, and the expressive power of the eye and ear (and even the analytical mind for that matter). This makes experience, an inseperably intertwined “loopy” or spirialing paradoxical seizure, or apprehension (not an understanding) of expressive-impressiveness. It is both expressed, and impressed at the same time. The analytical mind rejects these paradoxes of the eye and ear, because it is calibrated to another scale(s). These scales are rendered uni-directionally causal. 

The articles “the”, “is”, “has”, as well as present tense nouns like, “runs” “walks” etc… create, I think, a belief in stability, and present moments that could be frozen.  This, however, is a result of the technological scale that language operates in.  It is not the scale of the eye and ear.  It is the scale of the analytical mind.  The freezing of moments into two-dimensional pictures of memory, has scaled the mind down to a place where the cybernetic exists – a place far from the senses, that makes us cyborgs.  We are human-machine, because of the practical power of the analytical two-dimensional maps.  They have nearly destroyed all belief in reality.  The project of art and peotry is to bring back a lost belief in reality – a lost scale.

Robert Smithson – Corner Mirror with Coral, 1969

The classifications of the ever sprawling and transformative myths are the entropic rotations of the crystalline.  The crystal, it seems, is a looking glass, a scope where the light eventually becomes diffused into an opaque “death”.  Each three-dimensional geometry in the crystal is refracting, and absorbing light, “pushing” some through, while containing “bounce light” refractions.  This, might be looked at as a three-dimensional metaphor for the geo-linguistic classifications of time.  The entropy of the heat is the essential cause of this nucleaic procedure of rotation, and geometric emergence.  It is a three-dimensional mirror of geo-linguistic time.  It contains a powerful metaphor in the reflective experiencing mind.  It might be the reflection of the mirror.  Or in other words, when one looks at a crystal, the abstract three-dimensions of the scattered reflective mind are expressed in the crystal, and impressed (or “embedded”) in the reflection.  It is a “back-and-forth” entropic dialogue that sprawls out new three-dimensional categories.  The crystalline is a three-dimensional map of the reflective mind.  It is a “sediment of the mind” as Smithson might say.  Inside this nonsite contains a powerful metaphor that shifts with the entropic structure of geo-linguistic time.  

The crystaline is transparent glass that one looks through to see itself.  It is unlike anything else.

“… [Merleau-Ponty] indicates this aspect of time when he notes that “a point of time can be transmitted to the others without ‘continuity’ without ‘conservation’” (Visible 267). These flashings of time in which one moment comes to be joined with others “without continuity” suggests how moments of time become “piled up,” enjambed, as “sudden reversibilities.” The time of aspects of the “inbetween” may be more like a fractal constellation than that of a continuous “spanning” among moments. We may see that it is in this way, even though we may think we are not directly working with machines, that we might have become enfolded in distant mechanical processes that have restructured what our own histories have come to mean to us.” – Glen A Mazis, “Cyborg Life: The In-Between of Humans and Machines”

George Kubler, like Ad Reinhardt, seems concerned with “weak signals” from “the void”. Beginnings and endings are projected into the present as hazy planes of “actuality”. In The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things, Kubler says, “Actuality is … the inter-chronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events.” … The future criss-crosses the past in an unobtainable present. Time vanishes into a perpetual sameness.” – Robert Smithson, “Quasi-Infinities and the Waning of Space”

The “in-betweens” of time, from one moment to another – the criss-cross of time, are possibly what allows for the cyborg. Our ability to follow rules, making tools and using language is our use of the temporal fractals, and not its continuity. The overlapping, “folding over”, criss-crossing of time is an ebbing matrix wallowing somwhere in the elsewheres of the mind. It is, as I see it, a technology itself. The matrix of time is a technology, not much different than a spear, a smudge of paint on a wall, or a computer. It is a design that is also the designer.

The designed-designer of Time, it seems, would look like this:


With a stick drizzling, splattering, and splashing paint onto a canvas, Pollock seemd to paint his temporal fractals.  The stick twists, with the flick of his wrist, into a prosthetic of his aesthetic expression.  The paint becomes “the past, and the canvas becomes the future.  This play of time freezes the past and future into an “unobtainable present”, or an indeterminate certainty that resembles the fractaled past of grey, blue, black, red, and yellow.  The white future, or the “blank canvas” is at play, criss-crossing the fractal of time.  The present is no longer there in this painting.  It is the fractaled matrix of Pollocks past and future.  Pollock, the expressionist, is an agent of the criss-crossing past and future, animated between the past and the future, where time is the “loopy” animator.

To me, it’s violent, joyous – all of the attributive adjectives to humans. It achieves this through an abstract anthropomorphic rendering. That blasts back at you a myriad of fragments that make non-sense. Sometimes there is something thier – a three-dimensional “skull”, and attribute nouns to the adjectives. This spawns the imagination to bound itself into a fictional world of psychosis. These are the power of adjectives – the power of the world in the middle of the Fruedian triad. Language is at work here in this painting. It becomes alive.

Geo-Linguistic History

January 7, 2009

I think it’s best not to think of words, or works as artifacts, but rather to the think of the bulk of them as three-dimensional pictures, and not two-dimensional pictures with syntactical structure. Perhaps the concepts “in” bulks of words don’t make sense to the rational ear, but taken as a whole they might make non-sense. The latter is what I’m shooting for, ultimately. I want to piece together puzzles without placing them in coherent succession, but rather to let them remain scattered and reflect the aesthetic absurdity of the scattering. Upon completion of pieceing together a categorically limited puzzle, you must move on to another boudary.

In other words, to percieve the whole is leave the fragments displaced.

Robert Smithson, A Heap of Language


The heap here, is transposed onto the graph, at play with it.  Language can be syntactically sifted through, by following its rules, or it can be percieved aesthetically.  It is both two-dimensional and three-dimensional at the same time.  It’s just a matter of how one approaches it.  The language is a geological formation.  Stresses from pressure transform the languages meaning at the bottom of the heap.  One starts reading at the top, and works their way to the bottom, each glance at a word shifts the meaning of the next.  The bottom strata takes on a whole new meaning then.  Just as with history, the linguistic tools of today are used to describe the artifacts underneath the pressure of its own devise.  Language is a geological process – or even better, history is a geological process.  “History is fiction.” as Smithson pointed out.  The entropy described in thermodynamics, causes the bottom rock-layers to go through nucleation and its properties shift.  It’s physical make-up is altered.  Just as with this physical entropy, language is entropic as well.

Geological strata:

An architectural metaphor for the building of history: