Unreal Nature

December 22, 2015

How Arbitrary They Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:51 am

… True philosophy is not the one that lays down certainties …

Continuing through Art Brut by Michel Thévoz (1995):

Cheval_Palace
The Postman Cheval‘s Ideal Palace, built from 1879 to 1912

… In his autobiography Ferdinand Cheval has some shrewd things to say about madness, which apply equally well to other makers of Art Brut. It was not, he says, because he was crazy that he built his Palace, it was because he built his Palace that he was called crazy, and if he had let his imagination carry him much further, he would have been interned.

Schmidt_House-of-Mirrors
Clarence Schmidt’s seven story, thirty-five room House of Mirrors, ~1898

… Their ignorance of architectural and cultural traditions is too insidious and subversive for it to be put down to autism, to absorption in a mental world of phantasy. For in fact these builders, and the makers of Art Brut generally, are more attentive, more responsive and also more allergic than normally integrated individuals to the principles and conventions governing social life.

[line break added] And so they are more inclined to question these principles, to take liberties with them, to reverse or interchange or replace them, rather as linguists do with words to see how the system works. True philosophy is not the one that lays down certainties and classifies phenomena; on the contrary, it is the one that discerns the reasons for these categories and makes clear how arbitrary they are.

Sykes_Incuriosity
Stephen Sykes’s sixty-five foot Incuriosity, 1898-1964

My most recent previous post from Thévoz’s book is here.

-Julie

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