22 February 2006

what a find could be

We are seeking for the convention that establishes the thing that is there, right in front of us, as a find. For the purposes of this blog, there are two distinct definitions that can be ascribed to the notion of a find, namely the beautiful and the insignificant. Under those two, any given edifice may be construed as a function of the gaze that is intent upon it.
I hasten to look up Schiller’s correspondence. I think that the beautiful for Schiller could be a find. It presents itself as the ‘experience of a certain recognition’[1]. It points the way to what I was in quest of, and calling for: the way for my eventual return to it. And the beautiful is also the place in which the ‘unitary inception of theory and practice’ is revealed[2]. It manifests ‘freedom within the field of appearances’[3]. If we insist in postulating that the ‘find’ stages a certain tentative occupancy, we might observe one other thing, along with Schiller: contemplation and consolidation of the locus of installation[4] calls for a certain decisiveness of vision that matches Schiller’s freedom within the field of appearances. Schiller’s thoughts about the beautiful afford a way for the find to be constructed.
However, for a built essay (for an installation that extends its text to the locus of the find), a further thought must be entertained; a thought that will call for the rupture of autonomy wherein the beautiful is presented in Schiller’s discourse. According to Schiller the beautiful appears to obey its own law solely: throughout his passages on the ‘beautiful’ one may discern in the discourse a certain palpable momentum towards a union with the perceptible. In the ‘beautiful’ is borne out the enduring mourning of the perceptible within discourse, and of discourse within the perceptible.
The occupancy of the finding with which we are now concerned calls for some further work on the notional unity of that which is perceptible and intelligible in the beautiful as understood by Schiller. We seek to expand our tentative rationale with meanings that are moulded by design: by the booming rational reverberation engendered in the manipulation of the image, or by means of plans for a project ‘on the drawing board’. And going beyond that: the find, in the specific work of tentative occupancy, arranges instances of monumentalized insignificance. A phrase from Lewis Mumford’s Art and Technics could be cited here: ‘it is by far deadlier for a piece of architecture to become ideologically obsolete than technically so. Once a building has lost its meaning, we cease to perceive it though it still remains upright.’[5] The find which lends itself to such occupancies is organized by means of insignificant material. From the material of such insignificance, described by Mumford, some new archaeology may be developed. ‘To see what we cease to see’. Just like any other archaeology, it can look to recover nothing else save than that which keeps receding into the past, the thing that eludes it. The find founders in the contradiction of a dual motion: one that seeks after the insignificant yet, once it has chosen it, incurs its loss.

[1] q.v. Friedrich Schiller, Kallias oder über die Schönheit, über Anmut und Würde, Stuttgart, 1994, pp. 5-65. Kallias or On Beauty, Athens, Polis, 2005, p. 137, (1847).
[2] op. cit., p. 136.
[3] op. cit., p. 79.
[4] That shall be a certain theoretical installation, recalling occupancy of an ‘interior’ landscape.
[5] Mumford Lewis, Αrt and Technics, Columbia University Press, New York, 1952. Transl. Vassilis Tomanas, Nisides, Skopelos, 1997, p. 115 (1952).