samedi 2 mai 2009

You are always someone else's monster

"Working according to topological procedures has had the considerable advantage that it has allowed us to leave the realm of traditional representation. Michel Serres has provided a particularly clear definition of these procedures, by way of a metaphor: "like the weaver or the knitter who move their fingers without seeing them, in them and through them, and not in the Euclidean cube"[3]. Working without seeing: this reminds me of Robert Morris sumptuous "blind drawings". Likewise some of the work developed at times in our studio in Brussels consists in a manipulation of topological surfaces[4]. Or rather, instead of the voluntarism implied by the action of 'manipulating', we might say that it is a matter of slipping into —yielding to — the logic of topological surfaces to explore their possibilities.

The world of images presupposes a subject of mastery such as Louis XIV contemplating his gardens at Versailles, to use another topos. The topological universe on the other hand forces on us an alienated subjective position, subjected to symbolic laws which are inherent in the logic of this or that specific topological surface. The subject is reduced to the status of an ant walking the topological surface in a loop, without any possible grasp of a totality, without any possible grasp of its path, in the form of a view or of an image. Could we then say that the creative subject has turned away from his narcissism and that this creative subject is subjected to the operation of the surface? There meaning ends: in this subject reduced to the experience of the surface. Very different is our relationship to the image. Isn't this relationship to the image ever and again a specular one? Isn't this relationship to the image ever and again the relentless repetition of the experience of the initial assumption of the infans in the face of the specular surface, of the mirror?[5] From a meeting with the topological surface derive entirely different subjective consequences. Identifying with the image in the mirror is clearly not the same as identifying with the possibilities of folds and furrows, of twists and turns of the surface."
[3] Michel Serres. Hermès V, Le passage du Nord-Ouest (Paris, Éd. de Minuit, 1980), p. 69.
[4] For further details concerning our teaching see Lucien Massaert. “Art and Theory. An Unorthodox Approach to Teaching,” in European Journal of Arts Education, volume III, issue 2-3, pp. 25-33.
[5] See Jacques Lacan. “Le stade du miroir comme formateur de la fonction du Je,” in Ecrits (Paris, Éd. du Seuil, 1966), pp. 93 à 100.
Lucien Massaert, “You are always someone else's monster”, in New Practices – New Pedagogies, Malcolm Miles, Routledge, London and New York, 2005.

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