"Pending works and bureaucratic Objects - A lecture on the reality of never"
(published on the occasion of solo exhibition entitled Each thought's an instant ruin with a new disease - Sabot Gallery, 2014)
The following lecture is concerned with the uncanny reality of Never and its design within a post-ideological field of artistic practice. Throughout this lecture, I will be talking about objects seen as unified things, units that both display and conceal a multitude of traits, a view on objects that Graham Harman extensively formulated in recent years. Reality of objects is made undoubtedly of smaller particles, and this issue has been adequately addressed by speculative realism, stressing out the autonomous existence of objects outside the human-world relation. The view on objects advocated in this text refers to them as being present only when they appear to consciousness, only when perceived by humans, they calcinate, and—what an object is to us can only be via the last strata of its surface — this is what communicates, never the real thing. Beyond that, objects withdraw from sight. To think of something is to make it present to the mind, while, de facto, the object remains the same. A fire burns qualities of the cotton, not the cotton itself. We only have access to sensual objects. An object is indifferent to its shadows, inaccessible through the angles through which it appears to us. Time is the tension between sensual objects and their sensual qualities defined by Husserl as eidos. Whatever sensual profiles an object shows to me, it differs to the real object, which is withdrawing from me. The real object has no real contact with its sensual qualities and is attached to them only through allure. Any appearance of an abject is only an appearance for some other entity as—objects cannot be present, are never present.
It is worth mentioning that this text is far from being expository regarding my works. Quite the opposite, it is rather intended to deliver a critical exigence to a possible state of things, to make way for new possibilities of interpretation with no desire to establish a ground through which these artworks are thereafter validated. This lecture draws from intimate notes on works from my recent series called Pending Works (P.W), (post)language writing, artworks that accommodate concepts of locative media, remote or mainstream technologies, poetics of Google or Youtube, satellite rendered images and classic photography. Therefore, I would like to examine consequences of those reflections regarding what I call—reality of never, and try to frame some potentially rewording perspectives that it allows, with respect to its inherent beauty. Just as a wheel performs 'wheelness', 'never' performs 'neverness', which is the object's essential quality defined here as a hyper-object at work in the reality of any given object and its presence in the world. 'Neverness'— a pool of many coordinates, inexhaustible and unclose-able due to its relentless withdrawal from any interaction with other objects and the world. As the main feature of never, 'neverness' is experienced within objects such as P.W,which will be further discussed.
I am particularly interested in ways in which elements of this hyperobject called ‘neverness’ finds form, designs and sketches equipment—likewise writing and time finds poetry, designs gaps, open up spaces, calibrate speeds in reality. I intend to look into ways in which my work, being writing or media based, finds an adequate outlet and sufficient elsewhere or surplus beyond appearance, in which one finds out what is not rather than what is —a sign of absence as an object signifies nothing but absence; where an object is the lack of something else and a lack of itself. This asks for a closer look at why an artwork ends, establishes closure, and finally, if it really does? One view would be that a work of art becomes problematic at the moment of ending—it calcinates, generating site sculptures.
It will be helpful to state from the start that, throughout this lecture I make use of two literary concepts: ‘bureaucracy of objects’ which has never before being used in any object oriented theories, that looks on ways in which meaning is generated to the dynamics and politics of writing and reading, and ‘design of never’, which is rather an unfamiliar concept, but nevertheless one that offers most surprises. The second refers to realities in objects that never meet and manifest, but somehow define what we call the appearance of an object. There is an interior design of objects, that eludes us at any instant suggesting that there is more to things than our representations of them and more depth than we are able to see. My definition of design is therefore a phenomenological one, and it entails different levels of encrustations of qualities on the surface of a sensual object but also functions as an embodiment to what might be called participative equipment that informs equipment. It deals with a reality of the discourse of the object, outside scientific reference. One example might be that qualities of wine can be analytically traced if passed through a substance detector without exhausting the wine or its powers, and then there is the human ability to bring to a close, to complete the picture of these qualities through taste, smell etc, that is rather a cultural, and historical mean at the same time as one uses experience and knowledge beside what the unit of his body has to say biologically. Both of these means to define the object of wine offer only a caricature of the object because any description whatsoever fails to be the wine in question. This failing to totally engage with an object generates other objects as a consequence, that never comply to the original. De-toured objects that travel within time, and redefine for example our approach to the way we see the environment and how we deal for example with global warming.
If we take the 2013 IPCC climate report that concluded with humans as the dominant cause of global warming, we might agree that what these scientists are saying is rather the most fundamentally acceptable thing. We may accept it because it can never be proven otherwise, due to our lack of perspective.
If another report will eventually come up in fifteen years, the lineup of blameworthy entities will be the same as in two hundred years. To accept that global warming is an object that cannot be grasped properly neither in fifteen years, nor quantifiable in two hundred years, as there is no way to get on top of global warming, is to accept this reality. If the climate design before 1950 and after might mean something, and if it is relevant or not makes it only more complicated to fit it in a report. The difference now is that we become aware of new objects that penetrate our environment, and we think we are able to define them and pin them down
on paper. Ironically, that too is generated out of CO2, therefore perpetuating what we initially fight for as a situation creates other situations. The loop can never close on itself. In this respect Zizek's claim that humans have intervened too much into nature thus maybe it is time to step back, think and say the right thing, is problematic. There is simply no right way of acting on the environment because there is no possible distance, no right way through which this situation can be evaluated. Any decision that we further take on this issue is wrong by definition. The belief that we can actually fix something in the word is wrongheaded because in order to evaluate something one has to be outside of the observed object to be able to see all at the same time, which as described before is impossible. Any solution is wrong.
There is no better design as there is no distance between the world and humans. We are all in this together, enmeshed in the same web, on the same footing. What we don't maybe realize is that objects of climate change affect each other without our consent. There is a communication level that escapes our understanding, that we are unable to detect not to say follow and comprehend. It is a communication and interaction that informs itself, of which, nevertheless, we are part.