Zooming out a bit these display boards end up being a bit like Numbers, with the unity they are built from being digestible and agreeable units of knowledge. This idea of unity in knowledge can be seen a lot in the agreeability we have to other’s stories or to what they hold as their own truth. I think the disconnect we can have when taking on other people’s stories is lacking a common unity, a smallest building block of narrative or truth, resulting in one person trying to take up another’s space in unpleasant ways, because the shape and volume of the space that holds this story or truth is distorted without a common unity; there’s a sense of mismatching or faulty resolution. It’s like if I tried to tell you about all the numbers between 1 and 10 by only using the number 2. I can’t build all the numbers between 1 and 10 with 2. I need the unity of integers under addition: 1.
I gave a talk a long time ago about continuity and discreteness and how it relates to the way I (and everyone really) tells stories. I think I think about stories as a discrete piece -- "this is the story about the time X happened" -- although it is perceived as a continuous block of time, which is again broken down into further discrete pieces that make up this whole flowing river of narrative. Recently I've found myself in a residency that I'm not quite sure what my purpose is. I came in with an idea that originally made sense, but didn't really make particular sense FOR ME; as in the goal of the project didn't buttress some work I'm currently doing.
This is something I think I do quite often, which is spread myself further thin, versus dig deeper into a specific direction. I think a lot of people tend to use posthole diggers when they follow an idea, whereas I'm more a shovel person, which requires moving much more dirt. A posthole digger gets a Y-diameter hole X meters down and will at ground level also have a Y-diameter hole, while shovel digging creates a Y-diameter hole X meters down, but creates a Y-diameter-plus-some-trig-with-the-angle-of-repose-(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angle_of_repose)-and-X hole.
What I hope is that the hole is different but still valuable. Although I'm self conscious about my hole digging technique not being optimized in certain regards, it tends to make sense to me when I get back to basics and think of continuity and discreteness. As I do a lot, I've been recently fixated on a paper (that I've only partially read), called The Multiplicity of Conscious States; The Idea of Duration. It's one of a bundled three papers by Henri Bergson, who I first read about a while back when he was mentioned in the Poetics of Space, which I guess a lot of people read when they were pretty young, but I stumbled into at the ripe age of 34 or so. He talks at length about the expression of a number and what a number actually is, arguing that the IDEA of a number takes place in space and not time. Basically, a number becomes something that individually occupies a single space as well as being a multitude of some unity in a single space. Like when we count 50 sheep to fall asleep (an example he uses), we are placing 50 identical sheep side by side in some physical space in our mind, whereas if I think of the number 50, I think of an unbreakable object called Fifty.
He can get a bit wordy and I'm not sure if I'm following his main thought, but he punctuates all of this by saying "Number in process of formation is discontinuous, but, when formed, is invested in the continuity of space". Which I found funny to read yesterday as it made me loop back to main premises I have in my work: continuous/discontinuous divides, The Middle, complexity from simplicity, internal/external space, creation of ubiquitous means of information exchange, etc.
My plan coming here was to photograph buildings and paint representations of their structure (low creative fidelity), using some ideas about painting I thought of when I was here 2 years ago; I thought of it as sort of a reunion of technique. However, on reading this little tidbit of Bergson, I realized that work here could tie back into ideas I've been having that I'm loosely calling Modular Modes of Existence, which is about chaining static sculptural elements together, which have possibilities for feedback loops with themselves and the environment. The structure and brutalist concrete elements of Belgrade are singing with ideas of Modularity and I think I've become a bit obsessed with a pair of identical apartment buildings about a mile away from me that seem as if concrete was poured into a kaleidoscope (originally tried to spell that "colidascope). But these buildings seem to scream about reference to Numbers in they way Bergson talks about Numbers, in that they inhabit, as all buildings do, a certain continuity/discrete middle ground, where they give space meaning as a whole, but also dictate an information exchange in their own right.
I remember when I was in 7th grade we were supposed to do a research project highlighting some issue in the world and mine was "Should we save the Salmon?" Just for some context some other kid researched Lasting Cultural Impacts of the Vietnam War, which when I heard of I thought, "OH. Issues like that! Why didn't someone tell me?!" The project involved doing first and second hand research. So I read a lot about damns, conservation, and animal population thresholds, while standing outside my local grocery store asking people "Do you think we need salmon?" As you can imagine, people looked at me like I was an idiot, but I couldn't tell at that age if anyone actually knew anything was True, so it seemed like any question you could ask was an issue.
(Also side note: My dad would always say to me when we left exterior doors open or the lights on "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?!?! KILL THE SALMON!?!", which is a few degrees of separation from the issue, heat-loss, to the result of heat-loss: increased damn activity in order to produce more electricity for heat, resulting in salmon death. This took mental leaps at the age of 11.)
I bring this up because this age (7th grade-ish) was the period of making displays boards (this kid looks happy: https://the4sanzas.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/science-fair-1st-place/amp/. Interestingly, science fairs, a major outlet for display boards, started in the 40s, becoming quite popular in the 50s due, in part, interest in the atomic bomb. Other tidbit is the first winner of a national science fair: Alan J. Fletcher) and OUTLINES of issues and references/connections to tangential information around the issue. Boards usually folded in threes with each panel containing selected boxes of information that when taken on the whole created an argument or illustration of The Point. In some ways, this is probably the most important understanding of how knowledge works, since each box can be broken down into its own display board, and so and so on.
This is the starting point... basically I'm going to start investigating the creation of a display boards AS PAINTINGS for some buildings in Belgrade related to modularity and space. And Numbers. Crafty painting.