User:Emily/Thematic Project/Trimester 03/07

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project description

Utilising animate, inanimate, organic, inorganic, human, nonhuman things to analog /interpret dreamachine in a subjective fictional view (speculative vision).

The interpretation starts from two questions, — what dreamachine is? and how it affects people? However it aims to fill the gap between these two questions in different context, by comparing it with TV, drugs, or even imaginary thing. (‘They were only interested in machines and drugs which made people go to sleep.’ Brion Gysin). The result could be a video (essay) consists of analogs and imitations of dreamachie( or what could be dreamachine), and voice-over on them.

Thoughts on the subject

At first I thought encyclopaedia is a standard form for accumulating knowledge, and it seems existed in the middle among all our knowledges therefore changed slowly. It is a kind of index reaching to different disciplines, maybe for each discipline there is always some information at the edge has to be updated, but in the middle, the index is quite stable. After a few courses on encyclopaedia of media object, I find out that the way of understanding the term "encyclopaedia" changed to a large extent. There can be different ways to approach encyclopaedia. It is not universal but subjective; it can contains both fact and fiction. What is the artistic approach to encyclopaedia?

According to Graham Harman "most human cognition involves reducing a thing to one of those two roots: if someone asks you what something is, you tell them what it is made of or you tell them what it does." He suggests a third table besides Eddington’s Two tables, the scientific and manifest tables (the table described by physics, the familiar table of everyday life). The third table is the real table in between these two. So as art argued by Harman, it has to do with the separation between the real object and its sensual qualities. This really helps me to understand artists can turn media into a strategy addressing the question/critique they want to put forward. Like for example, in Haytham Nawar's work 'The Seven Days, The Heavens and The Earth.' he brings forth the story that the universe was created in seven days from mythological, historical and religious sources. Those content even together with manipulated images from internet about seven days of creation consist of a handmade book. The display includes seven ceramic sculptural pieces and seven short animated films that are projected on the handmade book. The project is interactive, inviting audiences to turn the pages of the book and watch the projected images in play with the book’s content. The creator’s hands, the creator versus knowledge, collective conscious versus alternative inputs that threaten the establishment, are some of the thoughts tackled by the artist.

This work is a kind of encyclopaedia of the seven days of creation. Describing it only with its components or its effects are not enough. It brings all the stories from different context into one, showing how authority and public manipulate the "truth" (a truth of a myth/ convention). It also implies it is so subjective, not completed and may always be unstable as long as someone use it to different context. The complex encyclopaedia become a strategy shaking the structure of our knowledge.

For me, the data in encyclopaedia has the potential to reassemble itself, as well as regroup with new content. So it is too unstable and of Immediacy to be reduced to what what it is made of or what it does. It exists at the edges different disciplines instead of "the eye of the thunderstorm". So for the encyclopaedia of media object, I would like to address artistic approach to present what the encyclopaedia of media object can be. What is the third table.

We had discussion on object/thing. Thing seems to be so raw and has much less association with surroundings or human. I think the most important point to me is the object revealed by encounter no matter directly or indirectly. According to Garcia, everything is a thing. Everything can be equally discussed, human is also a thing. When the thing encounter human, the predominated anthropocentric notion make the thing objects, which people can encounter. Then for me, the objects seems become a form structured human will. Like conceptual art, when the idea takes physical form to exist in reality, it opens for all to percept. Here with perception, LeWitt indicates the apprehension of the sense data, the objective understanding of the idea and simultaneously a subjective interpretation of both. Again, I consider this as a kind of third table, something between the two reductions.

In this proposal, I would like go further with my media object, dreamachine. I am thinking what about bring three tables together through the images show what it is consisted of, what its effect on people, and more detailed illustration in between to connect the first and the second table (like for example in what way it is similar like drug or Tv). Utilising speculative realism to turn the encyclopaedia of media object to a subjective fiction.

keyword phrase

the thing-in-itself as unknowable but imaginable.


present-to-hand (Speculative Realism)

humanity, technicity; technical reality, human reality; physical being, technical being, human being



A.S. Eddington’s Two table [2]

庄子《齐物论》 昔者莊周夢為胡蝶,栩栩然胡蝶也,自喻適志與!不知周也。俄然覺,則蘧蘧然周也。不知周之夢為胡蝶與?胡蝶之夢為周與?周與胡蝶,則必有分矣。此之謂物化。


“ding an sich” (Kant) therefore is a logical fallacy for how else can thing be of any purpose except for that of man?