Unreal Nature

October 10, 2015

Possible Sense

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:52 am

… a quality or dimension within one object or image or history that is unwinding itself, that is coming into being, because of some need inside it to develop.

This is from That Which Is Not Drawn: William Kentridge & Rosalind Morris Conversations (2014):

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William Kentridge I think the activity of being an artist rather than, say, a philosopher, consists in trying to maintain a place — which one does as a matter of survival, not as a matter of theoretical argument — where it should be possible to find meaning, although not only through the processes of rationality. I suppose what Freud does is use the most rigorous sort of rational means to excavate and arrive at the space that is fundamentally immune to rationality. Does that make sense?

Rosalind Morris Absolutely.

WK When I say it’s not just a matter of choice or decisions, I am also trying to understand that what made it necessary for me to be an artist was that need to establish meaning in the world in a manner that was not susceptible to the kind of cross-examination that a lawyer’s family would give it.

[ … ]

RM … A trace is a mark without origin, or, at least, without an origin that you can access. You can’t get back to the origin of a trace — it eludes every effort to generate fixity. You can’t draw a straight line between a mark or fix upon an original intention or meaning or even an identifiable event. A sign is the opposite. You can fantasize with a sign that there will be a meaning to which you can attach the visible mark. We’re always treating traces as signs, though; longing for a fixed meaning, a closed system.

[ … ]

WK Okay, so … what is happening? A red line moves quite quickly across the paper as I start … When you look at this objective line of red on the page, parts of you project onto it. … From the first moment that that mark emerges, there is an insatiable need behind your retina, not in your retina but behind your retina, asking: ‘What could it be? What is it, what is it? What am I seeing? Okay, it’s a line, no, it’s a dog. No, he’s drawing a _______ .’ I think this is what fascinates me — how we look at the world. Quite how that moment of recognition or the activity of recognition happens I don’t know, but it’s vital …

[line break added to make this easier to read online] There is that need to make possible sense — not to make sense but to make possible sense of it. … There is a way in which different images connect to each other and a kind of narrative is made by me as viewer or by you as viewer. And, obviously, if the distance between images is too great or the clues stop being of interest, then one simply abandons it as a series of more or less interesting drawings. It stops having any feeling more than that. I’m always astonished at the gaps it’s possible to have, gaps that people then fill in.

[ … ]

WK … There are two different parallel times that both exist, simultaneously, in the same space. Provisionality, as I understand it, has to do with a quality or dimension within one object or image or history that is unwinding itself, that is coming into being, because of some need inside it to develop. Like the unfolding within a tree that can become a table or a book or a sheet of paper or smoke and ash.

RM Or an umbrella that can become a weapon.

WK Or an umbrella that can become … a weapon. It’s that transformation in provisionality rather than the doubleness of someone having the object as an umbrella and someone having it as a weapon. In provisionality, it’s the same umbrella transforming from one to the other.

-Julie

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