from the preface to the Phenomenology of Perception;
I cannot conceive myself as nothing but a bit of the world, a mere object of biological, psychological or sociological investigation.I cannot shut myself up within the realm of science. All my knowledge of the world, even my scientific knowledge is gained from some experience of the world without which the symbols of science would be meaningless. The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world of which science is the second order expression. Science has not and never will have, by its very nature the same significance qua form of being as the world we percieve, for the simple reason that it is a rationale or explanation of the world…Scientific points of view, according to which my existence is but a moment of the worlds, are always naive and at the same time dishonest, because they take for granted, without explicitly mentioning it, the other point of view, namely that of consciousness, through which from the outset a world forms itself round me and begins to exist for me. To return to things themselves is to return to that world which precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the countryside in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is.
To build the Thanatoscope from hardwood was to continue the traditions of the instrument and clock makers at the turn of the last century and before, hardwood is valued for its stability and unlike metal it is imbued with the “naturalistic attitude” of objectivity through seasons of steady growth, immersions and susceptibility to seasonal fluctuations, coldness, heat, wetness, dryness through the moderating parameters of its being a former tree, imbued with manyfold influences and deep seated characteristics which extol discernible aesthetics by simply existing.
Although hardwood is stable, the inside of the Thanatoscope would be painted with a reflective Gesso Sottile made from hide glue and Cornish China Clay and the outside would be dyed with a black stain obtained by collecting Ink Fungi after being covered in Irish Flax.
Materials that recall their existential genesis, described by Merleau-Ponty as the Logos of the aesthetic world, he understands the term ‘aesthetic’ in the original Greek sense of aisthesis, meaning primary mode of experiential expression which embraces both perception and imagination.
A Video of Mischas performance with the Thanatoscope will appear here when I have the time/knowledge.
Page one of Things that changed other things, a sketchbook project that is archived by the Brooklyn Art Library ,who allocated broad themes hence the clunky Things that changed other things, specifically;unspecific more absolute generality wherein the fiction of history as a fixed datum is bashed into a more user friendly prospect. Focusing upon the mournful but oblique looking stone-lined cockpits that would appear each autumn from beneath the dying bracken on the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall. These kilns or Kelp Pits have a pragmatic history that seems hellbent on refuting any humanistic element. Surely such long suffering landscape features have more to reveal than being a handy place for a childs game or even a seabirds nursery, used sometimes in what may seem defamatory as a barb-e-que by the serendipitous tourist.
The Kelp Pit, subject of School natural history rambles and picnics on uninhabited islands ,
is imbued with an array of socio historical strands that lead to many further questions. Starting on The Isles of Scilly we see an early development in Soda Ash making , introduced from Brittany with whome The Isles of Scilly and Cornwall were much more favourably aquainted than the heavy handed Landlords of English Monarchy. A Mr Nance whose name would stem from Nantes, Brittany was licenced by the afformentioned authority to burn Kelp in the manufacture of Soda Ash on Gwynynys :White Island, (Blessed Island) and Tean Island. to this day the “local” name for the inhabitants of St.Martins Island is Gynyk, dialect is rapidly being transformed by mass media and relocation but this would appear to be poetic link as well as a potentially informative one. The remaining Kelp Pit evidence on Scilly is scant compared to the former activities popularity, one perfect example on the island of Gugh, some on Samson Island, some on White Island and some on Tolls Island, they seemed less valued than the bronze age antiquitaries of which there were and are, so very many excellent and unique examples. The socio historical connections with Kelp Burning are generally centred on the the widely accepted inhumane clearances of the Scottish peoples, who like their Cornish counterparts were forced to leave their homelands and resettle in the colonial margins that had been acquired by the very authority responsible for their eviction. Kelp Burning was, it seems a cash crop situation that bought actual money into the equation as opposed to subsistence of farming and fishing which provided food and shelter, possibly some other tradeable materials but Kelp was bought for cash, it involved the whole family and although licencing was imposed by the English , it seemed to be a way out of the cyclic seasonally dependent existence. Writers like Quiller-Couch attempted to romantice Kelp Burning by transforming the act of burning a six hour bonfire into a ritualistic ceremony with pagan attributes, this treatment was clumsy as I believe there are real connections of gnostic and sacred history with Kelp Burning, the alchemical act of transforming an elemental feature such as seaweed into a chemical to be used in the process of textiles, linen bleaching, aniline dye manufacture, early photographic chemistry, medicines like Iodine and later alginic acids in foodstuffs and manufacturing processes.
All books will be included in an exhibition that tours the following cities:
Brooklyn, NY Austin, TX San Francisco, CA Portland, ME Atlanta, GA Chicago, IL Washington, DC Winter Park, FL
2010 Sketchbook Tour
2010 Sketchbook Tour