Addendum to “Last night I had a dream about reality”

Is everything described in waking, myth or history? Some say science is myth/history, that is, that it is subjective (myth and history are by definition subjective). Scientists claim they are objective; that the functions and interactions they describe are so regardless of any subject, like mathematics, they just are so (like the functions and interactions in my dream). What Lec wrote becomes relevant when one realizes the incredible effort being made to digitalize all description, so as to “marry” it to the objectivity of science in “real time” (since the digital code is a mathematical one and therefore is simply considered an extension of the objectivity of science). We all prefer a “scientific” doctor to treat us when we are ill; one who is not subjective but can deal with the objective “reality” of the physical body and whatever sickens it. My dream was of just such an objective, everyday, social reality. My feeling upon waking was as Lec described it. It all becomes interesting when one asks “why do we need myths and history to interact socially?” Why can’t we simply interact objectively, like psychopaths without a social conscience, purely on empirical reasoning? For me, the answer to the last question is where my art interest lies- other artists who are dealing with this in their art, as well as my own. In what way does myth and history make social interaction possible; that without it, social existence becomes unbearable (why psychopaths are described as having no social conscience, no subjective connection to the “reality” of others)? I keep returning to Bakhtin and carnival and the circus and magic, where the focus and emphasis is on the subjective, NOT on the objective (Bakhtin’s dialogic where another perspective is necessary in order to understand something, to know something, to experience something). Today the emphasis is gradually shifting, like the melting of the polar ice caps, to a more and more objective description, an objective reality.

This invites a strange combination for making art, almost in the binary sense. In making a drawing, the white and black interact to create the drawing. With this strange, meta-combination (of objective and subjective perspective), the objective is not eschewed. It is acknowledged, has the focus or priority. Yet at the same time, the subjective is not disavowed. It is allowed to play, to run riot. It is roughly parallel to Ranciere’s emancipated art where the art object taps or unlocks capacities. With magic, the magicians focus the attention on one area, one thing, while something else occurs. With carnival, there is a thumbing of the nose at the rules or hierarchy of the preordained, legitimate reality. There is the (in)famous Bush “So what?” Objectivity, with its rules and hierarchy is not changed, but simply disregarded for what it is; the rules and hierarchy do not apply here, have no reach, are without power. With circus, there is a total and complete celebration of the subjective. There is a complete overturning of priorities. The objective plays a secondary, subliminal role. Yes, there is gravity. Yes, there is weight and volume, etc. What is central and overriding are the skill, daring-do, and the subjective ability to subordinate the body, nature, etc. (note that it isn’t to subordinate the “laws” of nature but nature as a subjective entity). I’m thinking of a small bronze. It is entitled Three Figures with a Planar Surface. Three figures appear to be seated at a table, only the table has no legs, the figures have no chairs to support them. Acknowledgement of the objectivity of the material, the piece itself as an object, is given by there being no “table legs or chairs.” That in itself says it is a bronze casting, an art object. The material (and the very process of production) is what holds this composition together. But the more one focuses on that, the more the subjective aspects of the arrangement of these figurative bodies in space, their juxtaposition with the flat surface, their gestures, comes into play. Yet there is nothing that references the subjective as primary, as origin, as focal point. The subjective is allowed to run riot, to play out as the viewer intends, much as Ranciere suggests.

3 figures with a planar surface


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