1 / The Process /
Thinking like an archipelago
It is not enough to say: Long live the multiple.
The multiple, it has to be done.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
What forms design the world today?
Until the fifteenth century, human knowledge is deployed partly through observation, but especially by public opinion. Aristotle decrees that the world is composed of four elements, water, air, earth, fire. Galen divides the soul into three psychic centers that he locates in the brain, the heart and the liver. Etc. Since the power of tradition counts more than experience, crowds of such opinions are presented, transmitted and clashed for centuries, constantly blurring the field of knowledge.
Then comes the scientific method that does not prejudge, but asks a question and looks for an experimental device capable of providing an answer. It is Galileo who rolls a marble on an inclined plane by counting the beats of his heart (the ancestor of the chronometer) and finds the laws of the movement. It is Lavoisier who, for the first time, measures combustion reactions and discovers the law of conservation of matter. Crowds of such results are discovered, accumulate and serve as milestones in the field of knowledge.
The advantage of observations and scientific results is that once well verified and confirmed, you cannot get rid of them. Whatever theory we build, it must go through these points.
In 1991, the Georgian scientist David Lordkipanidze discovered under a medieval village a prehistoric site with remains of hominids. After several years of analysis, comparison and verification, no doubt these hominids are of the genus Homo erectus and lived there 1.8 million years ago. This totally upsets the scenario of migration outside Africa. Already, three discoveries in China had pushed the release of Homo Erectus out of Africa to 900,000 years ago. This time, you have to double the stake.
The drawing that had been drawn to connect all the fossils discovered until then no longer worked. But no way to procrastinate. This skull was real. It was another island that had just appeared and was reconfiguring the archipelago. We have reviewed the theory.
On October 1, 2014, a luminous dot appears in the southern hemisphere. It grows for 2 minutes 30, then disappears in a few hours. This point shines in the X wavelengths and is detected by chance, thanks to a telescope that pointed out for other reasons. 115 photons in total, and nothing that corresponds to a known scenario. The origin of the signal is a galaxy that is 10.7 billion light-years away, which means that the event that this little signal is the trace must have been cataclysmic. But given all that we already know in astronomy, we can be sure that it is not a magnetar, nor a white dwarf flaming, nor an asteroid fall on a neutron star, nor a super-massive star explosion. But what? A cataclysm that has never been observed or modeled? A new fact, an island has arisen in the black ocean of the southern sky. It's up to us to include it in the theory.
The archipelago is the very form of the world as we see it today.
Galaxies as well as planets, ecosystems, living beings, cultures or cities are constellations of stable elements in constant relations. Relationships much more numerous and complex than we thought,
as shown for example by the communication between plants, whose mechanisms are only just beginning to be discovered. To establish the drawing lace that connects these different elements of the world is a stimulating and risky exercise, provisional and transforming, multiple and balanced - this is the very purpose of all basic research.
Artists have the privilege of shaping their own islands and creating new ones when they want. They practice floating archipelism - just like most of us in our lives. They disperse the unique axes, prefer evolutionary and multipolar forms, comet bursts, the irony of the azure, the point of fall in multiple points, the aim saturated with landmarks, the progressive enrichment of the real.
The archipelic propensity supports the various of the world.
To create is not to distort or invent characters or things.
It is to tie between characters and things that exist and as they exist, new relationships,
it is retouching the real with the real.
Robert Bresson quoted by Laplantine
Each separate thing is full. The canvas is full even before I start painting,
and the soul of Dawn was full on the day of his birth, and what one adds to it must never clutter this fullness nor make it confused,
it is only about rearranging what is already there.
So, what I have named beauty is everything that contains in itself what awaken in my mind the idea of relationships.
Today, we have access to more elements than at any other time.
The question is to make a new coherence with them.
Archipelic thinking is a thought of trying, of intuitive temptation,
that one could oppose to continental thinking, which would be above all a system.
The philosophical difficulty presented by seeing-like comes from the strange fact that, at first glance,
if the appearance changes, the thing that is seen does not change.
It's the same joke, the same poem, the same painting or the same piece of music
which is sometimes an incomprehensible behavior, words on a page, spots on a canvas or incoherent noise, and sometimes (when understood) funny, moving, beautiful or wonderfully expressive.
What is incomprehensible is that nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed.
The past is constantly reinterpreted, as the first chapter of a novel in the light of the following.
A molecule can be seen as a combination of forms.
A radically interpreted musical work is a space in which contents and ideals transit, and do not remain.
What it teaches is above all the dynamic structure of meaning, the fact that meaning is not given,
in modernity, as a stable place, but as an uncertain galaxy of continuously rotating planets.
The "poetic moment" is just a collection of data that holds together
in an unstable mental state, and difficult to appropriate.
The art work is then a pure medium, something like a scaffolding
whose only function is to give us an access and which then has no more reason to be.
Its heterogeneity is that of a “mille-feuilles”, the most difficult pastry to start,
resistant to the fork by its very heterogeneity.
To copy the objects of which a still life is composed is nothing.
What matters is to express the feeling they inspire you, the emotion that arouses the whole,
the relations between the objects represented, the specific character of each of them,
modified by its relations with others, all intertwined like a rope or a snake.
The archipelago is diffracted, fractal, necessary in its entirety,
fragile or eventual in its unity, passing and dwelling, it is a state of the world.
I am made of parts that can fit into many mechanisms;
and of elements that make up an infinity of combinations.
It does not add up,
it multiplies itself and it multiplies.