When I’m talking about human-beings in the world and how they collaborate, I do so initially in the most direct way: physical and empirical. Sometimes a crack forms, a rupture in this dimension. Two realities meet in one experience. Although they’ve always lived beside one another, this is where they merge. The physical aspect becomes absolute. Senses loop back and forth, in and out. The border fades between what is never expected to be coherent, abstraction and matter. Mind and object.
In this moment – or space, tone, perception – a truth is revealed. It is where I'm fully on. For me, meaning originates from these sensations.
01_The importance of understanding
To understand, grasp, to follow with the mind. A unit of thought. The image represented in the mind, a sense of something.
Understanding something means that it makes sense in the mind. It doesn’t need to be a truth, but it’s a possibility, it might be. According to the logic something fits in a certain way together, understanding is a comprehensive idea of that.
A misunderstood case is meaningless to us, we cannot use it. We cannot know the meaning of it, only when we adopt it from another.
When we do have an understanding of something, we are able to decompose, to turn around, to apply and put back together as a whole. A powerful position.
Because of these two aspects, the meaning of something and the control, understanding is so important. Without it we are lost in an undefined hassle.
Understanding a complex idea feels like mastering the case in question, even if it concerns slowly grasping the chaos and paradoxes that our reality consists of. The world as such is not being overpowered, but the idea of it is.
Personally, for me this is probably the most important reason why I am on a continuous quest to understand the big picture. To have the feeling that I am in control of something so abstract, like the ambiguity of a contradiction. In particular the contradiction of the world as a whole, but also consisting of separate things and beings.
The first time I came across the idea of our world being a unity instead of a composition of countless things was in the philosophy of Nietzsche. In his book The Birth of Tragedy he talks about two forces that our world exists of, one that contains a unity of everything, the other that separates these things into understandable concepts.
In the first chapter of this book: "An attempt at self-criticism", Nietzsche initially focuses on his fascination for the society of the ancient Greeks, which (at least in Nietzsche's time) is seen as culminating in the history of mankind. In particular he expands about his wonder about the origin of the tragedy within this society. How is it possible that such a grand and developed nation is the inventor of this pessimism, this suffering - the tragedy?
Needless to say, it is assumed that the search for (for example) happiness derives from a lack of it. Nietzsche therefore wonders whether the reverse hereof, logically, should be true, so that the occurrence of the tragedy is necessarily the result of an abundance of vitality, strength and well-being. "Is there perhaps a suffering from abundance itself?"  With this Nietzsche gives a starting shape to the idea that two opposites can arise in both directions, not only from lack to abundance, but also vice versa.
Nietzsche encounters two forces – in mankind, life, the world - that are the driving force for all motion by always being in conflict with each other; he names these forces to the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo symbolizes reason, structure, form, light, control, dream and individuality. Nietzsche links Apollo directly to "principium individuationis", a term from the philosophy of Schopenhauer. Dionysus on the other hand represents daze, emotion, darkness, chaos, life, coherence or unity (the Primordial Unity), formlessness, frenzy and ecstasy. Dionysus also brings Nietzsche directly related to one of Schopenhauer's key terms: Will. 
Nietzsche particularly aims to answer the question of what the Dionysian really means in his book. He places Apollo directly opposite to Dionysus, but at the same time he also suggests that they are completely dependent on each other and cannot live without the other. Especially we, as people, can’t do without one or the other in life. Initially we are present in an Apollonian world, which is a world of appearances, a world in which we have used our minds to form ourselves into an "I" and also have invented science. Personally, I would like to add language too alongside science and individualism, because language is a way to structure and categorize reality. Language pulls all elements in the world apart, by naming them separately.
But apart from a clear and structured world, an Apollonian world is most importantly one of semblance. The Dionysian world is an underlying layer in which each boundary disappears, making any distinction between things and individuals impossible. The appearance of the Apollonian world is essential for us to understand the phenomenal world as it appears to us and above all to be able to bear it: appearance does not only bring structure to an otherwise elusive and chaotic reality, we derive pleasure from her as well. This idea is illustrated by Nietzsche with the example of someone who is dreaming, realizes that and chooses to dream on. In a dream, Nietzsche says, every form speaks to us, nothing is useless or unnecessary. The dream brings us salvation from appearances; the redemption of the Dionysian is impossible to tolerate without the necessary salvation, because of her violent and contradictory character.
Although Nietzsche considered the Dionysian a true reality and the Apollonian as a euphemism, they are both necessarily present in reality and their endless conflict contains everything.
The Apollonian world is built on the Dionysian, but both of them however originate from nature itself. The Apollonian is the release of the eternal suffering of the Dionysian (not Dionysus himself, who, after all, will always exist under the veil of Apollo). According to Nietzsche, the Greeks had created their gods of Olympus from their deepest misery to be able to endure existence. The Olympian gods lived – in contrast to for instance what is pictured in Christianity – a human life. This is what makes life in itself for us worthy of emulation.
According to Nietzsche, the creation of their gods derives from the same urge that also brings art to life. Art is not only an appearance from Apollonian appearance (when it concerns a piece of work that is an imitation of reality as it appears) and therefore an even higher satisfaction of our desire for the salvation of semblance. In that case, Nietzsche speaks of naive art and the naive artist. But in a work of art, and even more in the aesthetic experience we have when we create and see it, the duality between Apollo and Dionysus is visible to us, however we just can intuitively grasp that they are both necessary. On one hand we are confronted with the horrifying truth of the Dionysian, while on the other hand at the same time redeemed by the beauty which comes from the salvation that is derived from the Apollonian. Nietzsche even calls the aesthetic aspect the sole justification of life, and that we have to consider life and ourselves as art.
I understand this as an instant and unique merge of the two forces; Nietzsche himself speaks of a reconciliation that occurred in Doric art, when Apollo was no longer able to maintain its repellent attitude towards the Dionysian, which penetrates upwards from the roots. This reconciliation is the most important moment in the history of Greek art. Nietzsche doesn’t mean to say with this reconciliation that the battle is over – it never will be. I see this reconciliation as a coincidence of the two realities in a single experience, a merge of the contradictions, pain and redemption, individual and oneness.
Within the artwork and the tragedy we can – as I see it now – tolerate Dionysus (temporarily). The suffering and release coincide.
With this model that Nietzsche explicates here, I can explain my view on what it means to understand something. When we understand what the world of Dionysus contains, we are not per se present in that world. In this sense understanding creates a certain distance between us and the subject we contemplate. If we could fully proceed in the Dionysian reality we would not be capable of comprehending anything but the entirety of everything. Taking things apart, turning them around and putting them back together is not relevant anymore. Experiencing the Dionysian will probably help us to understand the concept better, but only when we get out of it again – into the Apollonian.
That’s why understanding is about distance. Finding a safe spot for myself, where I live the illusion of being in control. A method to survive.
 De geboorte van de tragedie – F. Nietzsche, International Theatre, 1988, p. 19
 In his book Nietzsche frequently uses (terms from) Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Although Nietzsche says in the (later written) chapter “An attempted at self-criticism” that he regrets borrowing terms from Kant and Schopenhauer so often, he sees it as a weakness and that his book has "no characteristic language."
 In the end Nietzsche will not get a very specific answer to this question, his style of writing remains more of a compelling story rather than a logically structured text, something he seems to blame himself in the chapter “An attempted at self-criticism”, and whereby he received a lot of criticism from others on his book.
 De geboorte van de tragedie – F. Nietzsche, International Theatre, 1988, p. 32
 Nietzsche speaks of a "true reality" and a world of semblances. Still, this idea does not sort with the general perception that there is an absolute truth (known or not known). According to Nietzsche everything is interpretation (including this conception) therefore there is no absolute truth. Although the Dionysian is more "real" than the Apollonian, it is a misconception that this reality is immutable, certain, absolute, known or superior. The Dionysian is ambiguous, changeable, violent and intolerable. With its ambiguity it contains, so to speak, the Apollonian which necessarily occurs as redemption.
 De geboorte van de tragedie – F. Nietzsche, International Theatre, 1988, p. 35
 De geboorte van de tragedie – F. Nietzsche, International Theatre, 1988, p. 39-40
 De geboorte van de tragedie – F. Nietzsche, International Theatre, 1988, p. 37
It was a hazy day when I first came in contact with the work of Trisha Donnelly. Early that morning I traveled by bus to London from Liverpool, to spend the day in the capital and continue the journey back home after dinner. Maybe the situation made Donnelly’s work seem even better in the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. There was no introduction to her work; I can’t even remember knowing a name when I looked at the works presented there. I must admit it wasn’t until I saw her work again in Gent that I realized how much it had impressed me, and impressed me again in Gent. This time there was a piece of text to accompany her images. Not much, just enough to provoke curiosity and the imagination. Words like “frequency”, “intangible phenomena”, “vibration” and “interspace” were mentioned. To read this, while looking at abstract drawings and projections of indefinable objects that slowly and repeatedly seem to move, was such a thrilling experience! Of course I didn’t understand a thing, but somehow I also did.
When I tried to find more information about Donnelly’s work online, it appeared that she doesn’t give much away about her work on purpose; to leave the image intact. Where I try to understand, explain and conquer in order to manage, Donnelly is able to maintain control perfectly in the elusiveness of her pictures. That is something that has captured my interest to this day. My goal is to achieve trust in my own work so I can let go of my analytical support as only support. I know I need to find balance between theoretical ideas, autonomous imagery and confidence. (How often have I been told to have fun in creating art? Exactly.)
The existence of contradictions is something that speaks to me. It will probably speak to the imagination of many. They only subsist in our twirling minds; it is impossible for them to be at the same place and time. However, that’s all they are. Opposites must be the same at some point. Careless of what our understanding is capable of. In a constant state of conflict and motion. The world penetrates us in pieces, therefore we find ourselves back in fractures. Man does not wander around in this world as a creature that is submissive to all occurring events. Nor are we like an animal that adapts to given circumstances just to survive.
For a long time in psychology people were observed as if we were things that can be studied as such. Nowadays this is no longer the case; a more modern way of approaching the psyche of mankind is as a self-explanatory being, solely the empirical-analytic view of science is not necessarily applicable to humans as a study object. This perception allows more space in our ordinary scientific methods of perceiving our relationship with reality.
Carl Gustav Jung was a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who started to think differently about the interaction between a man’s mind and reality within the field of (pseudo)science. He rejected the generally accepted idea that everything can only be scientifically explained by causality and claimed that there is a synchrony between the mind and the phenomenal world of perception. This means that Jung believed that the world is of true meaning by itself, this meaning is revealed to us in events that are meaningful to us. The world is not random and life not concatenated events that happen for no reason. He saw a deeper order in reality, which he and his befriended scientist Wolfgang Pauli referred to as Unus Mundus: the world as one wholeness from which everything emerges and eventually returns to. This spiritual concept of the world faded the line between the paranormal and quantum mechanics.
When diving a little bit into Jung’s theory on the internet, one will quickly find his idea to be fairly debatable. Not only did I find the essence of his idea explained on the website skepdic.com (“The Skeptic’s Dictionary”), everywhere you read about the man himself it turns out he was not a very stable person, who believed in UFO’s, telepathy, telekinesis and clairvoyance. It’s hard to prove that synchronicity is true; even if there was a synchronicity between the mind and the world, such that certain coincidences resonate with transcendental truth, the problem of figuring out those truths would remain. What guide could one possibly use to determine the correctness of an interpretation? There is none except intuition and insight, the same guides that led Jung’s teacher, Sigmund Freud, in his interpretation of dreams. Regardless of this debunk, he did bring some interesting new ideas and perceptions into the world of psychology and science.
The understanding of an individual being in the world as a meaningful creature is essential for getting a hold of reality. In contradiction to the more existential approach on us as humans that are just born into this world that by itself is meaningless and seemingly not even made for people to live in, I prefer the idea of true meaning that originates from the relation that people have with reality. This meaning is not a set truth, but is variable and differs from individuals to groups. It is a subjective truth.
Nietzsche already said: “everything is interpretation”. The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty would partially agree with this, I think. Merleau-Ponty states that the only starting point we can rely on is the moment a person has a perception of the world, which directly occurs to us via our senses. From that point the world and the person are formed. There is no way we could ever discuss a human-being a priori, because there is no such thing. Therefore it is useless to think of a man before he ever sensed something, like Immanuel Kant did with structuralizing reality in the mind before it ever perceived anything, through his famous twelve “categories” as pure concepts of understanding. According to Kant it is only in the mind where meaning is connected to things and events. This meaning does not exist out there beside us, but only for us, in order to understand reality.
Merleau-Ponty turns this idea completely around by not fixing any concepts about what humans or the world would be before perception. The starting point is perception. Objectivity does not exist.
The first sensation we have is that we are present in the world, not as a mere consciousness but always as a physical presence: the body. Sensation can never be isolated from a situation or setting, hereby Merleau-Ponty fades the border between body and mind. So everything can only be led back to ourselves, we are an absolute aspect, meaning not-relative. Since our wholeness of body and mind is essentially connected to the world, this relationship between us and reality can be considered as “point zero”. There is always interaction needed for meaning to grow, actions to happen or changes to occur. We are partially active and partially passive in acting out and receiving back, which means that we can’t determine what happens to us, but we can act out and thereby change how the world is perceived. Both an individual and the world change through time, but what really changes is our perception of reality. Nothing in the world is meaningless, but no meaning is a set fact that is just there for us to discover, it is ambiguous. The body is not an object, but the beginning of sensation of this dubious world.
Here Merleau-Ponty would agree with the concept of Carl Jung that man can’t be studied as an object, but only his intentionality to the world can be reflected upon. His biggest and most important desire is to achieve openness to the world, to merge into it. This is exactly what I value and strive for in my work. To fuse the absolute body with the edge of itself.
I want to be alive and I want to be in control.
What can I learn from Nietzsche and Merleau-Ponty? Being in control means distance between me and what is out there, preserving enough rational space to keep things apart and name them. Does that also mean to crawl away under my skin? To hide in a hole known as my skull, with thick bone separating me from the world which I can watch through binoculars and observe, but stay unimpaired.
Nietzsche tells us what he thinks the world in its unity must be like: beautiful, tempting and dangerous. Distance from it is a necessity, but truth is found in proximity to Dionysus.
Merleau-Ponty also pursues contiguity, not space to the things. Only in closeness to sensations and observations there is real experience. He does not believe in being a rationalist, estranging from all the things that are happening in the present. It’s a lie to think that a point of view that is distant from a subject can tell something about the world.
Can you say that you’re alive when you conceal yourself? I have to get out there. As far as I can reach with my arms and fingers, touch it?
When I was a child, I had a dream. It occurred to me that when I had a bad fever, dreams would seep into my bedroom and become real. But this one didn’t fit in the room, the orbicular shapes that played the main role were so abstract I couldn’t see but only feel them. One was gigantic, bigger than anything. While the other was nothing, a point in space that was infinite small.
The two were approaching each other. Very slowly, the tension was unbearable but the collision was inevitable. The idea that these would touch felt impossible, two round surfaces of such different size and still the contact of skin would be minimal.
I found a word that describes this point of contact: osculation. An internet dictionary defines it as following: “a point at which two branches of a curve have a common tangent, each branch extending in both directions of the tangent.”
Osculation is also the act of kissing. That is a beautiful and almost poetic overlap!
The word tangent is also important to explain further: “a line or a plane that touches a curve or a surface at a point so that it is closer to the curve in the vicinity of the point than any other line or plane drawn through the point.”
What’s most important, for me, about this definition is the emphasis on the nearness of two objects to each other. As if contact is only a theoretical point that can only be comprehended as a mathematical assumption.
Still, this almost non-existent touching is of utter importance; it’s a point in time and space where all significance and perspective results from. According to Merleau-Ponty, the relation between a subject and object is all we can relate to. Without it nothing even exists, or at least we can’t speak of anything or know it is there.
For me, this moment is the core that my curiosity longs for. It can be experienced as an ultimate concentration where the physical and the abstract become fluid and free to become a Dionysus-like fusion. It can be dramatic, confronting and fierce. The animation of the room with the brick wall and the red light in space that is approached until you are completely swallowed by it, goes more in that direction. It’s an image that should be watched in a dark room with little or no reference points to reality and where it ends/starts, the entire room is filled with red light. It’s impossible to escape its effect, which makes you as a physical presence in the room an absolute aspect to the image: the “actual” scale of the red light remains uncertain. The darkness of the space the work is placed in determines that the body of the spectator is the only point of reference and is therefore absolute.
The moment of osculation can also be very subtle and quick. Like the red circle that spins around its own axis, (not) showing that it’s only two-dimensional and doesn’t exist in depth, but behaves like it does. The moment I tried to capture in this image is exactly that: the sense of a revealing moment that at the same time is nothing on its own. You need to keep watching the repeating rotation to grasp the idea of what this circle could be, even though it seems so simple. In a revealing moment there is an understanding, and then, right away, it is lost again.
I search for the point where concentration is strong enough to allure you into the connection itself, doubting what your place is, or where you end and something else starts. This is only a brief occurrence which needs to be repeated to sustain, which is why most of my works are an infinite repetitive motion (or sound).
My creative process is mostly a process of thinking, cohesive through insights and parallels in different dimensions. The idea that an image is not always a necessary outcome of this process has always perplexed me; I am a fine arts student after all, so shouldn’t that be some kind of assurance? The image should always be the leading aspect; it is in the picture where everything comes together and makes sense. Isn’t it an authority in itself? Then how can I deal with the fact that my creative process starts in my mind, where it settles as a concept that needs to take shape in the outer world so I can talk about it with others?
The term “autonomy” is an important one. Especially since this education contains this word in its title! So let’s see what we understand from it anyway.
Autonomy means independence, obeying only to its own rules and laws, without interference from outside.
According to this definition, it sounds as if an artwork should be completely self-explanatory towards every spectator or even towards the artist. It’s a separate existence which has full authority over itself.
How can I apply this to conceptual art? Is there anything at all that exists totally isolated from any relation to reality? I believe this is impossible by definition: everything we know or can know is related to the world. I also believe that this inevitable relationship exists not only between the facts and rules of the known reality, but to us as people as physical, subjective beings.
However, this does not necessarily mean a restriction of what autonomy is; since this context is always existant, you can implement it in the definition of the term and understand the context as an enrichment of autonomy.
It is necessary for an autonomous thing to be known by a subject. Referring to the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, we as subjects can’t talk about objects (or whatever) a priori because we do not exist in such a state. Man exists only as a physical orientation to the world; sensation is primary and meaning ambiguous.
The independence of the conceptual artwork is therefore by definition manifested in the necessary occurring context: the existing environment and the eye of the beholder.
Especially for conceptual art this is an important stating. The essence of the image is not directly observable but exists only in an immaterial way: as an idea. An abstraction can’t be perceived by our senses but is only present in the intellect.
It must be that the artwork becomes plenary in the interpretation and can’t exist independently.
As a contradiction to this matter, you can see non-conceptual art as a form of art where aesthetic or material aspects are more important than the concept, which are directly observed and not fabricated in the mind.
Before I offer my “solution” – or rather “way of dealing” – to this seemingly problematic statement, I briefly want to ask the following question: is it possible for something to exist outside of our mind that can not be empirically known by us? If the answer is no, that would mean we deny the possibility that reality could comprehend more than what we can see, hear, smell, taste or feel. It would also mean that eventually we can know and establish pretty much everything about the world, since all is knowable to us.
I’d like to suggest the alternative answer: yes, it is possible for things to exist beyond our empirical capabilities that are not a product of our brain. An example to illustrate this idea is dark matter; there are enough reasons to state that “it” exists, but no one has succeeded to designate what it is, let alone sense it. Possibly it’s something that doesn’t have any similarities with matter we know from modern particle physics. Someday we might have an idea of what it is so we can compute with it, but whether science will ever be able to really unveil what it is, remains an uncertainty. The same goes for black holes (or any hole really, if you think about it), which we can only know that they are there because of the behavior and movements of stars, dust and light (and known matter) that are close to the hole. In other words: although it cannot be directly observed, we know it exists because of surrounding elements that we can observe.
I could just dive into these prodigious phenomena of the universe, about which I’ve read some things in Behind the Scenes of the Universe: From the Higgs to Dark Matter, but I should leave it at this example and see what it does for my view on autonomy of the concept.
Wouldn’t it be an interesting point of view to see a concept or idea as a thing that in some way does exist outside of the mind? Don’t most art lovers acknowledge the impact a piece of art can have on one’s perception, accompanied with so much power that it’s hard to believe it’s just something that happens in the mind? When one is touched by an artwork it can be described as if a connection is made between the object and subject; there is a meeting point. But how does that work?
It’s necessary to redefine the word “autonomy” for this theory to work, or at least explain it differently. An idea or concept is like dark matter: we can only observe it through surrounding substances – the artwork – and study it merely theoretically, on an abstract level and in the mind. But it has a pure form besides us, like a mathematical truth. A simple example: a sum doesn’t need to be thought of to be true.
However, a concept can be way more complicated than a plain sum and therefore less pure when it is interpreted, in contrast to a sum that doesn’t leave much to argue about.
But the assumption that an interpretation doesn’t affect the purity of a concept isn’t that crazy; in the extension of this theory the point of contact finds a place as well. The concept operates on a different, in-between dimension, like dark matter. It can be explained as a transferal semblance, able to betake the middle.
When an idea is autonomous, it is not made up by the autonomous mind, but meets it; they can touch. Osculate. Maybe they can grow, comprehend each other and thus expand beyond their original contour.
I introduced this chapter with a personal anecdote about my own insecurity towards the image. I feel like I have found an opening, possible gate to deal with the issue. First of all, I have to create something substantial that can be shared, even with me. Otherwise it will remain just a thought, a thing that exists only in the head and does not take part of reality. This form could be a conversation, consisting from sound waves in the air. It can be anything, as long as it takes place outside the mind. Whenever I make something, it will instantly have an autonomous shape that will speak of its own. It is my task to steer the material to arrange the osculation with the mind as precisely as possible. Therefore it needs to take a very strong, independent position.
This whole process seems to be full of contradictions. Thinking of Dionysus – perhaps also veritable?
The medium that attracts me is three-dimensional animation. The first time I considered using it for my own work was after I visited the solo exhibition Recent Ouija by Ed Atkins at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Although I didn’t aspire to make similar images like the semi-natural looking faces and body parts I found the medium of animation strong and convincing as an autonomous reality.
The digital world is, obviously, very well-known by all of us. The world of special effects, extremely realistic looking games, social media but also simple pixelated pictures from the early computer years are – especially for my generation – a second reality. Ed Atkins did exactly that: blurring the boundary between what’s real and what feels real. His videos differed from repetitive images to chaotically edited "trailers" of sinister events. He used many recognizable images, sounds and texts which made it easy to get pulled in to the film, despite the absurdity of the representation and seemingly incoherent storylines. Most of his works were projected on enormous white surfaces that reminded me of the cinema, and for as long as I was there, his semi-fictitious world determined the law, imposed its own rules on the beholder. It was impossible to take a step back from one of these huge screens and contemplate the work quietly.
After I left the exposition I had to reset my mind and adjust to normal life again. Later that day I visited several other exhibitions and art galleries with my classmates, but I could hardly absorb any new information.
The experience of immense domination by that surreal and digital world stayed with me. Since I am searching for a thin line, a transmission between two layers, three-dimensional animation seemed to comprehend important qualities; it relates to the world as we know it, although the proportions are forever relative to screen resolution, pixels and optical illusion. Even though a virtual space can look like it is 3D, it can never be more than 2D since it only exists on a flat surface (often a screen).
(...) Digital video is something else, of course. The appearance of movement is no longer predicated on the recurrence of absence. – It is not predicated on recurrence at all: there is simply no movement because there is no matter. The digital is entirely hole. Defined by its own dreamed-of, vacated representations.
There’s a tension in that given, can we or can we not enter a digital space? How does it exist if it doesn’t consist of matter? I think this is a very interesting question considering Merleau-Ponty’s statement that reality begins at our presence in space, through our senses, and only substantial matters can be perceived. How do we sense this space as three-dimensional, if we can’t possibly go there physically? The space itself is not present in material meaning. It becomes visible to us mainly through light: the pixels in your screen or a projection. But the light isn't the space we experience.
There are many points of friction, but they don’t need to be answered in theory. It needs to be seen and felt while standing directly opposite of the image. Feel the space of an empty black screen, and endless floor, the bottom of the sky and realize that the body becomes an absolute aspect in relation to this medium.
The virtual world is autonomous, not related to the material one because it only exists in a transfer between its shape and the meeting in the mind. That is why, among other media, I choose to work with this medium in my studio, regarding my ongoing research about osculation.
 A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience, lit. “from the earlier”.
 See footnote #4
 Behind the Scenes of the Universe: From the Higgs to Dark Matter by Gianfranco Bertone, 2013
 https://mgml.si/en/center-tobacco/exhibitions/174/ed-atkins-patrick-ward/, Ed Atkins & Patrick Ward, Defining Holes
In this short article analog and digital video is briefly compared in relation to “holes”, described in the same article as following: “a hole is a parasite from the void: a negatively charged paradox whose nominal existence disguises an essential un-being”. Important about defining holes is that its existence can only be determined by that which surrounds them. This refers back to what I discussed before in this chapter.
Within the moving image, holes define the presence of the medium. Where analogic video is materially concrete, digital video is different.
In Andrei Tarkovsky’s famous movie a man known as Stalker guides two men to “the Zone”; a forbidden area where no other people go but where a desired room exists that can make wishes come true.
From a depressing monochrome Russia they enter the Zone secretly via an old railway, passing dangerous areas with guards and shootings. The Zone itself is a green colored piece of limbo, where old and forgotten electricity poles, car wrecks but mostly overgrown bushes are found. The route through the Zone is mysterious and, according to Stalker, filled with traps. The fragment that is seen at the left describes in a beautiful way how the Zone must be perceived; as a reflection of our inner world.
Throughout the two and a half hour during movie most events remain opaque or indistinct; I didn’t manage to fully penetrate the reality of the Zone. Although that can make a film distant, impervious, this is of course how it should be. We, as mankind and individuals in the world will always be battling reality where we meet other autonomous objects, subjects and what more. Conflict and atonement, contrast and diffuseness, inner and outer thoughts are what makes this world and what makes us autonomous. It will keep me searching for immersion, contact and expansion.
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