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Form and Communication (beyond phono-logo-centrism)
solinvictus press 2010
Trajan’s column. Roman banners: vexillum (left) and signum (center and right). Each century and cohort had a signifer to carry its signum. Trajan’s column. Roman banners: aquila (left), signum (center left, center and center right), imago (right).
Sign: signum [military banner], perhaps akin to secare, to cut; PIE sekw- point out
“Kunst gibt nicht das Sichtbare wieder, sondern macht sichtbar.” (art does not render the visible, but renders visible) Paul Klee “Before ascertaining the necessary connection and adequation of form and content, before knowing what a painting may signify, one must ascertain if it exists as a good painting.” Maurice Denis
…the object to which a sign refers back is not a piece of the so-called real world, but something which precedes and thus determines the sign in the process of semiosis as a previous experience or cognition of the world. Such an object (or referent) of the sign can be a sign itself… Both attributes of the genuine icon – exhibition of a quality of its own and reference to a mere possibility – evince characteristics of self-reference. If a sign is a sign by Its own quality, it is a self-referential sign. It shows or exhibits those qualities in Itself, and therefore its object is to a certain degree already present in the sign. Another aspect of self-reference in genuine iconicity is that it denotes a mere possibility. Although there may be some vague mode of reference in something that denotes something merely possible, this referential potential of the genuine icon remains extremely weak, since mere possibility is never actualized. Insofar as the genuine icon remains referentially undetermined, the essence of this kind of sign lies once more in itself. In the media and in the arts, iconic self-reference can be typically encountered in the aesthetic dimension…The aesthetic sign, according to semiotic aesthetics, is a sign which functions as such due to its own quality and not on the basis of its reference to something else. Aesthetic signs are signs that direct our attention to their own material substance or form. In this sense, the aesthetic function of a message is opposed to its referential function, as Roman Jakobson has argued…
Winfried Noeth, Self-Reference in the Media http://www.uni-kassel.de/iag-kulturforschung/projektbeschreibung.pdf
Behavioural Implicit Communication, Stigmergy, Peicean Indexicality (the work as outcome of the artist’s action):
Our definition of BIC [Behavioural Implicit Communication] is: “A practical action primarily aimed to reach a practical goal which can also lead to achieve a communicative goal, without any predetermined (conventional or innate) specialized meaning”. .. BIC plays an irreplaceable and underestimated role in human interaction and coordination, social order, cultural transmission… We restrict stigmergy to a special form of BIC where the addressee does not perceive the behavior (during its performance) but perceives other post-hoc traces and outcomes of it. Cristiano Castelfranchi
Peirce´s triadic relation between sign, object, and interpretant represents neither a logical system nor a calculus. Actually, this relation corresponds to von Foerster´s model of cognition which can be summarized as follows: "environment is the triadic relationship E(W,C,D) between the domains W (real world), C (cognitive processes), and D (descriptions).“ Eberhard von Goldammer, life as polycontexturality some remarks on part_1, http://www.vordenker.de/ggphilosophy/la_poly.htm
1.Intended [immediate interpretant] = signification [cultural convention] 2.Dynamic interpretant [variable, includes all types of personal interpretations] 3.Final [conditional] interpretant [refers back to the manner in which the sign tends to represent itself as being in relation with its object]
object [referent] 1.immediate object "the object as the sign itself represents it" - it is the idea that relates to the object in the sign. 2.dynamic object the opportunity of the sign to be a sign, "the really efficient but not immediately present object“ – it is "outside the sign." sign [representamen] Charles Sanders Peirce’s Triad [Critical Analysis of Peirce's Semiotics, by Patrice Guinard, Ph.D. -- translation Matyas Becvarov – http://cura.free.fr/16peiren.html]
1.immediate object "the object as the sign itself represents it" – it is the idea that relates to the object in the sign.
Leonid Tchertov opines that from a semiotic point of view a configuration of spots and lines stimulating perception can be considered not as a single sign, but as a set of "sense-distinctive" relations forming together a visual-spatial construct of a particular kind. Such visual-spatial construct functions as a "perceptogram", which, on the one hand, acts expressively regarding the creator, and, on the other hand, acts impressively in relation to the spectator, and only by this condition may perform also a representative function relating each perceptive construct to an external referent Despite the fact that the signal-indexical means of such perceptography are derivative from the perceptual code, they can be distinguished as an autonomous group and considered as a special perceptographic code. As an external artificial modification of the perceptual code it does not mediate intra-subjective processes of cognition, but inter-subjective processes of visual communication. Its semiotic means differ from the means of the naturally formed and unconsciously used perceptual code, because they are selected as results of reflection in processes of inter-subjective visual communication, and are medially embodied in a cultural tradition. Within the compositional organization system the artist uses a recursive dynamic stochastic operational algorithm for generating medium constrained structures which must be interpreted in the context of perceptographic domain knowledge to produce a symbolic representation. As Tchertov puts it, the perceptographic code is rather a characteristic of form.
See Leonid Tchertov , PERCEPTOGRAPHIC CODE IN VISUAL CULTURE: SIGN SYSTEMS, CULTURAL NARRATIVES AND SYMBOL APPREHENSION. http://cf.hum.uva.nl/narratology/tchertov.htm
2.dynamic object the opportunity of the sign to be a sign, "the really efficient but not immediately present object“ – it is "outside the sign."
The prototype may be an imaginary entity [e.g. Ktisis, the personification of the act of foundation], an entity whose appearance is not known first-hand [e.g. an apostle or a saint], or a known and real entity. Photios mentions that likeness is not even necessary, as an extra-art clue (inscription, monogram, epigraphe) can play an identifying role and assign a communicative function to the work (Pelikan). Of course, within a mostly non-literate culture, the inscription turns into an abstract design.
Pyramus and Thisbe, Roman mosaic, Paphos, Cyprus
Cyprus, Curium, Kourion, Mosaic of Ktisis (a well known Roman mosaic of the AD 4th century, depicting Ktisis, personification of the act of foundation and architectural art: she holds the instrument for the Roman one-foot measure)
St John the Theologian, Gračanica monastery, Serbia (Kosovo), 14th century
Icon and detail, St Paul, Macedonia, 17th century
Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait of Paul Guillaume, 20th century
3.Final [conditional] interpretant [refers back to the manner in which the sign tends to represent itself as being in relation with its object]
Culture conditions individuals, which by their turn reciprocate, and so on, in a circularity that cannot be understood in terms of linear thinking.
“circularity… is crucial for a semiotic grounding…i.e. the fact that signs do not only participate in sign processes on the basis of dispositions (usage regularities), but may also – as a result of their participation – change these dispositions.” Alexander Mehler Methodological Aspects of Computational Semiotics http://www.library.utoronto.ca/see/SEED/Vol3-3/Mehler.htm
The concept of recursive symmetry echoes Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy of ‘eternal return’. Nietzsche argued that systems move in a cyclical pattern, returning to similar events or phenomenon without actually repeating them exactly. Physicist David Ruelle makes reference to Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return in his discussion of recursive symmetry. Ruelle believes that complex systems ‘come back again and again to near the same situations’, suggesting that if a system ‘is in a certain state at a certain time, it will return arbitrarily near the same state at a later time’. Brian Ward, The Chaos of History: Notes Towards a Posmodernist Historiography http://www.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/past_volumes/volumes_15/volume_2?f=73934
If ‘the backbone of fractals’ is ‘feedback and the iterator,’ this may be at the heart of what Mircea Eliade called ‘the myth of the eternal return.’ Could iteration and the eternal return be referring to the same thing? The eternal return begins in tensions of opposites (present and future, actual and potential, sacred and profane), manifests itself in fractal imagery (transcending categories and demonstrating self-similarity across scale through recapitulations of the original act of creation), is sensitive to initial conditions (demonstrated by the wide variety of myths and rituals of different cultures), and iterates (the eternal return). The oscillatory dynamics (tensions of opposites) that generate myths and rituals enliven them as well, by bringing up new possibilities. Thus, creation occurs over and over again....So, the eternal return is an iterative dynamic: it allows the present to be fed back into the original equation. While all archetypal processes generate feedback dynamics, the eternal return is the epitome of all such aspects of archetypal processes. It is the archetype of archetypal dynamics, so to speak. John R. Van Eenwyk
It is apparent by inspection of the rightmost figure above that upon the whole torus every point partakes of at least two kinds of orderings, the annular and the meridial. This at once implies heterarchy and multi-connectivity… …a Villacreaux tracing upon a simple torus embraces both the annular and the meridial in one continuous looping. The simplest such tracing embraces each order only once... Where more turns are taken, one can perceive a ‘re-spiratory’ tracing such as in the example at right below.
…if we let the torus become knotted, whole worlds of alternative means for representation are opened…For example, a knot such as the one below happens to be homeomorphic to a simple torus but represents a richer kind of ordering.
Donald H. McNeil, WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE TOPOLOGY OF RECURSION? http://www.library.utoronto.ca/see/SEED/Vol4-1/McNeil.htm
Nicholas Swindale’s investigation of the cerebral cortex itself reveals that “the receptive field properties which may be indirectly related to direction selectivity, can be represented as positions in a non-Euclidean space with a topology known to mathematicians as the Klein Bottle. Melanie Claire Purcell, The Klein Bottle in Nature, 2007 http://www.towardswholeness.net/?p=7 (See Swindale,“Visual Cortex: Looking Into A Kleinbottle”, 1996 http://www.cs.unm.edu/~williams/cs591/klein_bottle.pdf )
Klein bottle [Klein’sche Flaeche]
Now think of a visual contour as a path-curve generated by the transformation group action, and choose some point on it. Call this the identity element of the group. Draw a tiny tangent line to the curve at that point. This is the infinitesimal transformation of the continuous or Lie group (named after Sophus Lie, a genius mathematician of the last century who invented the things. The story goes that when Lie and Felix Klein--another great mathematician--were students together at Göttingen, they decided to divide the world up between them, Klein to take the discrete groups, Lie the continuous ones. Though this was said at the time as a joke, in the intervening 150 years or so, it has certainly come true in physics and chemistry, and the burden of the work described here is that it may well hold in psychology as well.) The infinitesimal transformation is embodied in a Lie derivative, which "drags the flow along the path-curve," the so-called "orbit"--in this case the visual contour. William C. Hoffman http://home.att.net/~topologicalpsychology/
Employing the rhetoric of pure experience, art thematizes the paradox of communication itself: according to Niklas Luhmann art communicates “by using perceptions contrary to their primary purpose…Perception…can decide quickly, whereas [visual] art aims to retard perception and render it reflexive”. Art communicates through the self-referential indication of pictorial formants. Giovan Battista Armenini describes painting as mirabile artificio. There are two ways of looking at art and they are mutually exclusive: one either looks at/for the content (information) or one gazes at the form of the utterance. Fine visual art is not necessarily figurative. An artificial material visual image is not necessarily fine visual art. Visual culture is not necessarily visual art. Or: Visual art ≠ artificial image No material equivalence, } Artificial image ≠ visual art no identity …von Foerster's second-order cybernetics, according to which models of… systems change the very systems they intend to model. F. Heylighen Principia Cybernetica Web http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/CAS.html
Rock cut church, Cappadocia, Turkey, 11th century (?) St.Helena am Wieserberg, 1250
Pio Semeghini, 20th century
Because art is a complex system, it contains a kind of circularity where the system is created by the marks, it constrains them and in turn is modified by them.
The mark is both operator and operand at the same time, a self-referential operator which works upon itself and becomes part of itself, an operator (the mark) which becomes an operand (the mark).
Cristiano Castelfranchi distinguishes between communication [getting a message] and signification [getting a meaning.]
A damaged fresco: the message or utterance appears as a painted abstract configuration of marks; the image (the potentially signifying hetero-reference or information) is almost unrecognizable. (St Basil Rock church, Göreme, Turkey, 11th century)
Forms convince by implicit selfreference. They propose themselves. They…resist further decomposition…In this sense they have a ritualistic quality… Ambiguity of forms comes about, if the problem of form is reconstructed as a problem of the relation between form and context…However ambivalent, the paradox of form is the paradox of organizing context by self-reference. Niklas Luhmann
…in [Thomas] Sebeok's view, language is only one type of communication and it is narrow-minded…to privilege language over other types of sign systems… To answer the question regarding where visual communication fits, the answer is that human communication is both anthroposemiotic (language based) and nonverbal. In the nonverbal area, for example, written language is communicated visually as are many other nonverbal language or notation systems (Braille, mathematical, musical and choreographic codes), symbolic systems (dress, cosmetics, heraldry, road signs, maps, engineering and architectural schematics, algebra, chemistry tables) and many forms of what we call visual communication (film codes, color systems, layout, composition, aesthetics, etc.). In areas more closely tied to what Sebeok was referring to when he used the word zoosemiotics [nonverbal], we find other sensory communication systems, such as kinesics and proxemics, and sensory codes such as the language of perfume, as well as indexical and iconographic sign recognition… In terms of development, the visual sign system is antecedent to language. In terms of complexity, visual interpretation can be seen as being more complex than verbal interpretation… Sandra Moriarty, VISUAL COMMUNICATION AS A PRIMARY SYSTEM Journal of Visual Literacy 14:2 (1994): 11-21
Die im Ereignis wesende Kehre (The turn coming to presence in Ereignis) Martin Heidegger Ereignis is translated often as “event of appropriation” or “en-owning”. “Er-eignen means, originally, to distinguish or discern which one's eyes …,” writes Heidegger, “and in seeing calling to oneself, ap-propriate.” [Martin Heidegger, Identity and Difference, trans. Joan Stambaugh, New York: Harper & Row, 1969.] The verb ereignen derives from the Middle High German erougen, to set before the eyes, from the Old High German irougen, to show, reveal. From the Old High German ir (er) and ouga (Auge), eye, originates the Early New High German secondary form eräugnen, replaced in the 18th century by ereignen. The noun Ereignis is now used with the sense of Geschehenis, event, occurrence, happening [compare with the Old High German irougnessī, a coming forth, appearance, shining (translation of the Latin ostensio, a showing), with the Old High German irougnissa, promulgation, revelation (translation of the Latin manifestatio, revelation), related to the Old High German ouga (Auge), eye.] Consequently, Ereignis may be translated as either “seeable/seen occurrence”, or “viewable/visible arising”, or “a coming forth seen with one’s eyes”.
Gregory Bateson’s cybernetic concept of the mind as a system of differences traveling in cybernetic loops, together with his definition of information as "a difference that makes a difference", was to some a major step away from Wiener’s objective first-order cybernetic foundation of the cognitive and information sciences. It also provided an impetus toward the development of what Heinz von Foerster came to call second-order cybernetics. Second-order cybernetics defines information as something an observer notes as internally created in an autopoietic system and which has formed structural couplings in reaction to perturbations from the environment…
icon - from Greek ε κών, eikōn, "image, likeness, portrait,“ related to eikenai "be like, look like“ signum – Roman military banner, perhaps akin to secare, to cut, from PIE sekw, point out
Luhmann (1995) regards communication as comprising of: information (what the communication is about), utterance (form of the communication) and expectation of understanding. The difference between information and utterance is regulated by ‘symbolic generalization’. Once information is expressed it is no longer information per se; it has exhausted itself. Such is the case of the many Last Supper scenes. Repetition itself is a form of meta-information that can be interpreted as indicating the validity of the repeated (now) non-information. Visual art functions in the medium of perception. “[Visual] art makes perception available for communication, and it does so outside…language…Art integrates perception and communication without merging…their respective operations…[Visual] art, in circumventing language, establishes a structural coupling between consciousness and communication…Consciousness cannot communicate, communication cannot perceive…”, observes Niklas Luhmann.
“Instead of information we might talk about the (in)formation of communication, i.e., the form of communication, knowing that the same information may be formed in different ways.” Ole Thyssen, Aesthetic Communication Skrifter fra VÆRK, Aarhus Universitet & Handelshøjskolen I Århus, Århus 2006
This order generally features what might be called visual equivalents. A viewer may require little more than reminders to recall. Since the works are often variations on established themes and usually allude to earlier works, the repeated and now familiar information (the content) appears as a construct that may be dissociated from the form of the utterance. Communication will take place on the level of meta-communication, i.e. communication about communication. In meta-communication one communicates not only about a particular content but also about the effect that a communication has, in other words about what difference the particular communication makes, and about how it communicates. This is how 'art constructs art' [S.J.Schmidt.]
In Luhmann’s theory of communication, communication is understood as a unity of three selections – information, utterance and understanding. So his concept of communication does not seem to cover aesthetic communication, which is not defined by its information in the ordinary sense of the word. By using Gregory Bateson’s extended definition which defines information as “differences that make a difference”, it is possible to include aesthetics under the general theory of communication. The differences that make an aesthetic difference are not the empirical themes, nor the practical rules of communication, not even the normative principles, but rather the mode of communicating. Instead of information we might talk about the (in)formation of communication, i.e., the form of communication, knowing that the “same” information may be formed in different ways. Ole Thyssen, Aesthetic Communication, Skrifter fra VÆRK, Aarhus Universitet & Handelshøjskolen I Århus, Århus 2006 http://www.asb.dk/fileexplorer/fetchfile.aspx?file=434
Form-ing (Variations on a Theme)
Egypt, 7th century
Master of the Magdalen, 13th century
Barnaba da Modena, 14th century
Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 14th century
Anonymous Italian Master, 14th century
Lippo Memmi, 14th century
Santa Lucia church, Matera, Italy, 14th century (?)
Portinari chapel, Sant’Eustorgio church, Milano, Italy, 15th century
Robert Campin (?), 15th century
Bartolomeo Vivarini, 15th century
Italy, 15th century
Crete, 16th century (?)
Crete, 16th century
Altomonte, Italy, 16th century (?)
Virgo Lactans, Abbey of San Donato, Sesto Calende, Varese, Italy 16th century(?)
Russia, 17th century
Bulgaria, 19th century
Diachronic and Synchronic Axes
The Anastasis: Structure Modifications of Iconographic Models Dictated by the Shape and Size of the Support
The transmission of sets of images, the recurrence of constructs, the chain of constructs that function as antecedents, as links, as products of artistic conventions, as elaborated versions of models where diachronic changes add new layers to the visual palimpsest, replication by repeated instantiation paradoxically underscoring the impossibility of invariant repetition, are a conscious process involving free and purposeful re-thinking and re-interpreting of the tradition, and an imagery that is re-imagined [polyvariance, appropriation, substitution, transposition, metamorphoses and attenuations, interpretation, adaptation, quotation and self-quotation, re-use, hidden and stylistic quotations, transposition, de- and re-contextualization.] There can be no secure rules by which such a process can be reversed to regain the lost originals.
Nea Moni, Greece, 11th century
Sopoćani monastery, Serbia, 13th century
Moldoviţa monastery, Annunciation church, 16th century
Moscow, 15th century Russia, 17th century
Fresco and detail, Patriarchate of Pec, Church of the Virgin Hodigitria, Serbia, 14th century (?)
Megalo Meteoron monastery, Greece, 15th-16th centuries
Russia, 16th century
Northern Greece, 16th century
Russia, 16th century
Fresco and detail, The Dark Church (Karanlik Church), Göreme, Turkey, 11th century
Fresco and details, St Sophia church, Trabzon (Trebizond), Turkey, 13th century
Novgorod, 13th century
Dečani monastery, Serbia (Kosovo), 14th century
Fresco and detail, Suceviţa monastery, Resurrection church, Romania, 16th century
Chora church, Istanbul, Turkey, 14th century
Pskov, 14th century Studenica monastery, King’s church, Serbia, 14th century
Dionisy, Russia, 15th-16th centuries
Varlaam monastery, Meteora, Greece, Frangos Katelanos of Thebes and/or George and Frangos Kondares of Thebes (?), 16th century
The contribution of ethology Advertisement and persuasion are phenomena that game theoreticians have had problems explaining… There are empirical psychological data showing that humans like other animals are sensitive to the form of signals and not just to the information they convey…Some of the qualities found in ritualized biological signals, such as large size, frequent repetition, symmetry, elaborate ornamentation and mimicry, also appear in human advertisement…. Spectacular cultural phenomena can evolve that convey little meaningful information, but still have strong impact on spectators… many displays appear to be highly redundant … (Magnus Enquist, Anthony Arak, Stefani Ghirlanda, and Carl-Adam Wachtmeister Spectacular phenomena and limits to rationality in genetic and cultural evolution http://cogprints.org/5277/1/enquist_arak_ghirlanda_wachtmeister2002.pdf)
…costly signals may evolve for a number of reasons… …biases in receivers’ recognition mechanisms can promote the evolution of costly exaggeration in signals… …learned recognition gives rise to more exaggerated signals than inherited recognition. (Masashi Kamo, Stefano Ghirlanda, and Magnus Enquist The evolution of signal form: effects of learned versus inherited recognition http://cogprints.org/5280/1/kamo_ghirlanda_enquist2002.pdf)
Costly Signal Sümela monastery, Turkey, painted in the15th-18th centuries(?)
Bistriţa monastery, “Bolniţa” church, Romania, 1513 (?)
Costly Signal Stroe from Targoviste zographer, Arnota monastery, Romania, 17th century (pronaos retouched in the early 18th century by Ioanichie sin Preda zographer)
". . . while no Representamen actually functions as such until it actually determines an Interpretant, yet it becomes a Representamen as soon as it is fully capable of doing this; and its Representative Quality is not necessarily dependent upon its ever actually determining an Interpretant, nor even upon its actually having an Object“. Charles Sanders Peirce
St Barbara church, Göreme, Turkey, 8th-9th centuries(?)
Ağaçaltı Church, Ihlara valley, Turkey, 10th-11th centuries(?)
Bistriţa monastery, “Bolniţa” church, Romania, 1513 (?)
Maurice Esteve Serge Poliakoff
Nicolas de Stael
Hetero-references merely serve as pretext for displaying alternate possibilities of order…one can reduce hetero-references to the material…thus demonstrating an improbable order at the material level…The concept medium indicates a specific difference, that is the difference between a medial substrate and a form constructed in this substrate. Niklas Luhmann
Sign and Form
We are always simultaneously making gestures that are archaic, modern, and futuristic. Earlier I took the example of a car, which can be dated from several eras; every historical era is likewise multitemporal, simultaneously drawing from the obsolete, the contemporary, and the futuristic. An object, a circumstance, is thus polychronic, multitemporal, and reveals a time that is gathered together, with multiple pleats. Michel Serres, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time Context may be synchronic, diachronic and/or polychronic, According to Edward T.Hall, polychrony means that many strands of time are moving at once. Polychrony [the many different temporalities of the constituting elements] is being introduced here in addition to synchrony and diachrony. One may infer that it involves reproductivity, which only means that it can be repeated or reduplicated in a variety of contexts without losing either its meaning or its autonomy, while relationally expressions containing it necessarily modify each particular instance of it. Polychronic and highcontext cultures rely more on implicit and nonverbal information as opposed to monochronic cultures that seek explicit communication. There is a looseness of reference of signs. A high-context communication is one in which most of the information is either in the physical context or internalized in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit part of the message. High-context cultures will focus on 'how' something is done and on the extensive use of cumulative rhetorical style.
Iconographic Tradition and the Emptying of the Sign
Roman fresco fragment, Stabiae
MICHELI, Parrasio The Lute-playing Venus with Cupid after 1550 oil on canvas, 110 x 97 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Attributed to Jacob de Backer (Antwerp 1555-1585) An Allegory of Music oil on panel 41½ x 31½ in (105.4 x 80 cm)
Attributed to Jan Sanders van Hemessen 1500-1556/7 An allegory of love and music oil on panel 42¾ x 38 in (108.6 x 96.5 cm)
Jan Hermanszoon van Bijlert, Concert, 1635-1640
Georges Braque (after Corot), 20th century Felice Casorati, 20th century
Ossip Zadkine, 20th century
Henri Laurens Femme nue à la mandoline terracotta 7.5 x 0 in (19.1 x 0 cm) 1922
Andre Lhote, 1935 Orphée ou Éloge de la poésie oil and brush and ink on paper laid on canvas 31.4 x 45.7 in (79.8 x 116 cm)
Pablo Picasso Femme à la mandoline,1925 130 x 97 cm Oil on canvas
Pablo Picasso Femme à la guitare 1924 Oil on canvas Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Piazza Armerina, Sicily Diocletian period 286 - 305 AD
Roman Mosaic, Volubilis, Morocco
Dečani monastery, Serbia (Kosovo), 14th century
Polichronic Formal Assemblage: The Sign as Form [Iconographic Reminiscences and Formalization Appropriative Citations]
Rudolf Schweitzer Cumpana Alexandru Ciucurencu
The wonderful ontology of such simultaneous ‘anachronisms’ is precisely the point. This random sorting of multiple pasts has katachretic effects (Shanks 2004: 152). This sorting also leads to surprising blends, mixtures and associations; it creates points of transaction between various entities otherwise separated by linear temporal distances which are often vast. At these points of contact and transaction we encounter pleats in the fabric of time. Such folds are (often) observable in contexts in which more stubborn pasts persist… 3. Palimpsest and chiasmus. The former metaphor connotes erasure and superimposition; the latter denotes crossing, intersection and intertwining. It indicates the points of contact, the pleats in the fabric of time. These metaphors fluctuate, but are always possible and simultaneous in sites, features and landscapes. 4. Entropy and negentropy are time’s two arrows. Entropy is an irreversible flow toward aging, degradation, decay, ruination and death. But negentropy is the action/force/energy of information and life, which re-form through activities such as recycling, memory and unforgetting (activities exemplified through archaeological practices such as the documentation of matter otherwise caught up in a process of decay). These flows are coupled and coincident and yet turbulent… 5. Katachresis is a juxtaposition of two seemingly disparate things, accounts or situations which can create aleatoric frictions, transactions and associations. As an empirical method deliberately employed by the contemporary archaeologist, katachresis is designed as a forcible juxtaposition, the effect of which may lead to the unexpected (Shanks 2004: 152). Whether by chance or design, understandings and confusions arise which would, perhaps, have not occurred otherwise. The random sorting of various pasts in landscape often has a katachretic effect. Christopher L. Witmore, Landscape, time, topology: An archaeological account of the southern Argolid, Greece Chapter in Hicks, D., Fairclough, G. and McAtackney, L. (eds), 2007(in press) Landscapes in Archaeology. Routledge, London.
Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight… To paint is to remember. Orhan Pamuk
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