art, delirium, emptiness, extinction, interruption, noise, production, transportation

Producing Alterity

(Joel-Peter Witkin)

 

 

The canvas is empty.

It situates itself beyond the situation. It is a serrated vacuum, resonating upon a rupture/screen which is not a nullity but a determination, already a milieu. An emptiness at once expressive, in some sense a transcendent enterprise which calls us to specific responsibility. Art is not just freedom, it produces freedom. Transform the world; but you must already be somewhere to begin to form it, and you must have already produced an emptiness. Creative freedom begins with the preparation of materials for shaping, the production of production. Like love, it begins before its beginning, before the situation, before the empty canvas or the unsculpted lump of clay.


Creativity begins in the preparation of the immediate and intermediate materials of recording and consumption. Beneath the art of transformation, the art of transportation. This, then, is the bifurcation point, the vector of transduction. Not at all a single mechanism, but already an assemblage, an innumerable swarm of interacting and evolving machines. The basic operation is transfer: it is a process of substitution, that is to say, it is joy itself. The mechanism of the production of irreality is transportation; this is the real in the dream, the basis of cybernetics and governance at once. The answer to the myth of dualism and also the hidden reason for its depth and emptiness. In drama as in dreams we see the future through half-opened doors, an aqueous vision through a transient portal. At its most potent intuition ripples out in plateaus; it is not recollection, but an intense and intoxicated delirium.

Yet a delirium not without its utility. We cannot block out the light, the violence of emptiness. The noise is unending, rumbling from outside. Buzzing and hostile swarms. We intuitively understand how an alternate, subterranean truth can pierce through the heart of jealous power, just as better ideas can eradicate error, prejudice and hatred. It may even be that the depth and sadness of beauty is the terror that we feel when we discover that this obstacle we face– is but the first door, in a series endless and increasingly difficult. The truth is untruth, the “one” opening is but a pure and transparent screen onto a horror beyond horrors, extinction and apocalypse: the production of an absolute beginning, but not an absolute emptiness. The fullness of the empty canvas is not merely a function of vision, it is already preparing for dramatic authors, the emptiness is already the production of production, a secondary vector. The void is a parasite. The universe is art, and all art is noise. Frightened or frightening, it is an interrupted interruption. A recurrence, an echo, a stutter. To study history is to be haunted. A life, the complete works — of an incomplete rendition. Gloriously fragmented.

Even the absences are shot through with life.

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