Monday, 6 December 2010

Research notes. 6th December 2010

Ralph Dorey
Research notes. 6th December 2010

Art as a means to reality
“The Stalker: Because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing.
When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible, when he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a plant is growing, it’s tender and pliant, but when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win.” Stalker Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky. 1979.

To begin with there is a question of language.
I am interested in ways in which discourse can be used, and so naturally this requires a means of talking about such use. Here, there is an overlap with Foucault, with discourse as an act, “the author function”. I would argue that the act is (or is capable of being) both a means and a source. The naturalist’s field notes are the recording of discovery, but the creation of discourse is itself capable of being both genesis and witness. This is perhaps best described in terms of the creation of discourses most bound up in the “thinglyness” of the world. At moments of engagement, the authentic Heideggerian being, when manipulating or manoeuvring paint or rocks, this is not just a balanced state but one that is an extension of thought that moves beyond the Symbolic Order.
This thought-through-action is the engine of development. Development itself, the fluid state (to borrow from Bergson) is the place where I would attempt to site art and to which I would draw comparison to the development of the Hero (Bildungsroman, or the action caught up mid-development, and no stopping; the film Badlands, the scenarios of Walter Hill) and through this the drive of Modernism itself.
I believe that all developments must be taken into account, that all is fluid and what we are looking for is the spark between things passing, rather than the nailed down planks in order one against the next. To this end I am investigating Ulysses  as a model for both “Situated Knowledge” (the subjective partial knowledge is not only acknowledge but utilised as a site of reaction in terms of the author, the characters and the physical form of the book. The unreliable narrators are the only ones worth listening too, consider Rashomon..) , the creation of a discourse being simultaneously the creation of a resource, and the potential for loops of feedback within this, as well as its use of language which operates simultaneously in a mode of interpretation and a wild and raw one of volatile association. It moves forward and back at once, paths are blazed and steps are retraced in one kinetic action.

Survival / compression
A further question would be how do we survive? To bracket out that which we imagine we survive against, and now just focus on what is left. To survive is to get the job done, with no waste,with a poetic economy, to assess the terrain and then... Respond. I contain not only my history but the systems, the ideology, the problematic. Like Princess Yuki I can travel light, a mute woodcutter’s daughter and still be the heir and ignition (the tightest point in the lines between past and future, a lens) of my empire.

Paths of Bodies
To deal with systems, away from the real, perversely, away from situated knowledge to deal with the abstract, because this is a mine also, or the point on the climbing wall that allow the paths of bodies. The hole in the ground owns the space above it.

What is to be done?
Can there be landscapes to hold this fraction and that broken object and this truncated exclamation?
What word might mean both collapse and growth? A many-armed scale.
The campsite is between body, object, architecture and landscape, it bends with all these and receives a different kind of permanence from the monument. How can one be so prepared, so engaged?

Death Waits in Your Car

I pay the rope out as I lead the donkey, leaning slightly into its shoulder as we both try to keep balance. The rope loops down to the floor in coils as the animal slides over rocks and  split skinned roots arching out of the camber and I keep feeding and we walk on clockwise.

Death waits in your car.

A light is on in the house, then when you look again, all the lights are on.

A man says “it feels like I have iron filings on my teeth, I’m so nervous”

A switch is cut.

It is important that the structure be both waterproof and pervious to cross winds so that these may pass through it meeting no resistance for this resistance would bring about the collapse of the enterprise.

You could walk for miles and see nothing

Opening. Shine.


Low is stronger.

Finally, things for holding water.

History of the sled

History of the sled

Ever since we had strength to do so, we have dragged objects across the ground.

We pull bones out of the cave and set them upright, leaning, then move on.

That expression, “ to carry the world on ones shoulders”, the story of Atlas, The sherpa porter who carries your pack, these are all misleading. In reality might it be more accurate that we drag behind us? Like a sled, or a plough.

This isn't an unreasonable state. Considering our being bound to the earth it makes sense that everyone else would be so to. There should’ be any rides. There aren’t any.

So we drag behind us the luggage of history and these carpet bags and trunks accumulate leaf and root and lumps of chalk the size of your fist that feel wet and uncertain.

Three things happen here. One we carve sea-furrows in the things we walk on, obliterating our own tracks and leaving the bloody edges impressed upon and below the surface and recording the passing of something quite different to us with altogether inexplicable locomotion.

The second and third things that happen are sited within the objects being pulled. As we drag these objects they alter, weather, degrade and grow, their core unstable by still constant, made constant by their being dragged. We acquire passengers, like the tick on the behind of the hiker and like that tick they exist as passenger only for that last moment of potential before assimilation with the body. A man’s parasites are his own, there are no rides. And while all this is happening the very nature of the load is always changing, rotting, blooming and cracking like we all know that you drag anything in your wake for long enough and it will cease to be that which you first grasped, it will cease to be anything definable.

In classical civilisation time was thought of as like a wind that rushes from behind you, only sensed prior to its passing and with its passing only the implications of its great agency visible. It seems prudent then for us to pull our-load backwards, like someone with head pressed to the very lip of exhaustion or one rowing a boat. bow and stroke, bow and stroke.

We could stop of course but then everything else would stop the fluctuation of the baggage, the fluctuation of the land beneath it and to start again is uncertain.