Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Excerpt from Stewart Goes to the City

Excerpt from Stewart Goes to the City

“Try not to follow politics, for obvious reasons. Maybe make a sign instead, one that says nothing and then hang it where no one sees it.” Maybe make a sign instead, one that says nothing…”

Inevitably, making something that says nothing or the creation a “content-less symbol” is impossible. The act of creation requires self-definition. Aesthetic self-reflection must take place. What kind of sign? What color? What material? What size? Even if language elements are absent, action is definition. Even pragmatism is not with out a design philosophy, no matter how austere. Preference is substance. Just as the act of interpretation required by a Rorschach test reveals the interpreter, the act of invention intimates a meaning.

If one would attempt evade or circumvent the questions of Aesthetic self-reflection by being indifferent or with some tool of randomization, one would have simply misunderstood what it means to “make” a thing. The acting subject has still not become a creator because creation requires agency. As an artist and philosopher, I would claim that in the absents of agency, the subject’s “agent statues” should fall into question. A subject “void of agency” is inanimate, inhuman, the biological equivalent to the astrological phenomenon commonly referred to as a black hole.

“Try not to follow politics . . . Maybe make a sign instead, one that says nothing and then hang it where no one sees it.”

Hanging a sign where no one sees it is absurd. A sign is meant to convey public knowledge. But this action is no more absurd than making a sign, which while saying something, incidentally means nothing and parading through the street with it. This analogy was in my mind at the time.

Finally, and this occurs to me only after I originally wrote this line. There is a comfort in this secrecy: this hanging a sign in a clandestine place. I believe that there is a compass at the heart of us that always points us to us. A silent pray on our lips at every moment. We may never say this prayer aloud. We may never confess its content or purpose to anyone. Sometimes, we may not even know its meaning ourselves. But it is there. Its sweetness can sustain us as we walk amounts the bustling crowds. Its guidance can preserve us, save us from losing our way.

Thank you Marianne for bringing these lines to my attention. I really enjoyed taking a second look at them.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this exegesis so quickly. I think I might post something on it on my blog. I'll link to you when I do. This is good stuff.

    I also enjoy the new Stewart photo.