Reading/Writing: An Exercise in Not-Knowing
On Thursday the 10th of May I proceeded to talk about the ever so close relationship between life and work, to discuss my devotion to creating my own (curatorial) writing style through a palm reading conducted by a London-based psychic. Rather than becoming the negation of everything the other person would say, I am inclined to think my writing and curatorial work is closely linked to my own personality. Paradoxically as it may sound to then engage in a palm reading, the question rises whether a reading of our, and in this case my physical make-up could prove to be a more structural and tangible approach to the continuous act towards individuation? Since this exercise is rooted in the physical world of encounter, between two persons: myself, the subject of the exercise, and an external agent, or should I say agents?, the informant, the psychic; the hand, the eye, and the mind; between the physical and the mental; the knowable and the sensible, the unknown and the open-ended, I intend this exercise as to open both a speculative space and to take flight from the common denominators of know-how (experience through practice, learning), know-what (facts) and know-why (science).
The exercise is employed to come to terms with the field of not-knowing, or nonknowledge. This area of enquiry seems to be in conflict with the scientific and academical modes of rational thinking, and, more generally, could be considered as reactionary and contested in our time-pressured culture of high performance. In fact, artistic “research” often functions as a parody of instrumentalised academic knowledge production: falling short of even its eroding criteria. However, this may not be a negative thing, at least not entirely. The failure to meet a dubious standard always holds the potential to erupt into a questioning of that standard. In this respect, it is interesting to note the place held by the symptom in what passes for artistic knowledge production. While the rhetoric and practice of artistic knowledge production can themselves be seen as symptomatic of the social constraints to which autonomous art is subjected, the outcome of this exercise actively engages with the ‘symptom’ as an alternative to the empire of signs created by academic disciplines: pointing both backwards and forwards in time, beyond the current order of things.
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