Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Garden of Unearthly Delights and Kant

"The mind could not possibly think of the identity of itself in the manifoldness of its representations, and indeed think this a priori, if it did not have before its eyes the identity of its action, which subjects all synthesis of apprehension (which is empirical) to a transcendental unity, and first makes possible their connection in accordance with a priori rules"
-Immanuel Kant The Critique of Pure Reason

You tell'em Kant! The consciousness of self is constituent upon the consciousness of the unity of apperception (the unity of objects all around the world FOREVER!!) and vise versa.

This idea is insanely compelling and (as many things are with Kant and traditional philosophy) so common sensical. A few months back, I wrote a piece for Timothy Saccenti's show, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, where this idea is manifested in a story of creation. The original story and concept belong to Tim. He is a genius down many avenues, creating images for the show that are surreal and beautiful.

DIESEL DENIM GALLERY ART EXHIBITION #9, Garden of Unearthly Delights, Timothy Saccenti from Caroline Celis on Vimeo.

This is the piece.

Of the Singularity and the Improbability of Existence

In three opposite and indifferent dimensions, black expanses unfold and encompass all matter, potential and otherwise, shattering silence and a tactile emptiness in all directions. There is nothingness, tangible as the paradox implies, in every corner of the non-existent verities of the particular universe – no eyes to see nor fingers to touch. Directionless and without a center, the lacuna is a possible universe void of possibility and rapt with patience. Change, given the great virtue of patience, is both impossible and inevitable in this cold, isolated reality.
Time is a direction and a space. The terrific darkness of this possible world explodes and reaches towards and through this vector, intertwining with the oldest and the newest of space in a thick fabric of black dimensions. Beneath the flat darkness is a deep and tumbling labyrinth of dimensional throughways that is beyond perception – blackness within blackness within blackness. Whatever would be is intangible and suffocated like sunshine drowned in oil.
The place is an impossibility. Nothing is material, only weak potential: empty glass containers beginning to learn the art of reflecting light. Tall, smooth pendulums of clear glass support bubbled domes of more nothing. Segmented and parallel, emptiness becomes the common denominator and from nothing – and only nothing ¬– comes something.

Of Existence and The Possible Universe

In a plane of existence where time is absolute, the potential for anything sparks a causal and deterministic chain of events where any possibility becomes a necessary reality. Under one glass roof is a paradise – under another, a desert. Each is as fragile as the frequency of the glass in which it occupies.
The particular dome retains mostly nothingness. Darkness surrounds and invades it. Energy is consumed by wanderlust. Bouncing and reflecting off the probable glass surface in the possible universe, a space was created with the aesthetic of curiosity. The trait is carried through inanimate masses and into complex life.

Of The Possible Universe and Its Inhabitants

A pulsating glow emanates in vibrant, bountiful waves before all encompassing black negates it and smothers the light to nothing. Again and again, the light billows like the smoke from a fire then dies like a bittersweet memory: a figment of some idealistic imagination. As the pale, pink light waxes and wanes, the borders of the darkness become spacious then narrow. Like hungry fingers, luminance reaches out around a pale figure to explore and feel the space around it. The light radiates in a chord protruding from the creature’s stomach, wrapped loosely around the body like a cumbersome article of clothing. Headless, though upright on slender legs below a torso with delicate arms, the creature wades through the darkness with only a feeble blink of perspective, lost, mostly, in uncertainty, comprehending only the feel and shape of its own form. The creature moves listlessly through the void, allowing one step to thoughtlessly beget the next. Like a non-existent strong force of gravity, the tall, slender creature is pulled along the glossy ground like the gears of a clock. Its slivery skin slices through space with determined precision. One foot touches down, then the next.
The creature’s is a form to contemplate. Of what stretch of existence does it occupy – for what reason does it walk?
“The ground,” it might say, given the capacity or will to communicate, “It comes up at me with each and every stride I take towards the darkness.”
But it does not communicate nor recognize matter outside of itself and therefore knows no conscious action, purposeful or not. There is no language to frame its thoughts, nor understanding of any spatial counterpart, denying the internal exchange of a conscious being. The particular mechanics of this possible creature places the being nowhere and everywhere. Time neither exists for the creature or for its universe. Each step is identical to the next in each and every calculable way. The creature’s spatial position is a quantum possibility at any given moment on an elliptical timeline of unseen dimensions.

Of The Inhabitants and Their Life Cycle

It is born and dies in the light. The long and vibrant umbilical grows longer and brighter as the creature continues through life – wrapping again and again about the body, fighting against the force that pulls it toward the ground. Eventually, the weight and the blinding light overcome the creature. A being emerges from the white space that is identical to the organism before it in all measurable and calculable ways besides the chord of light. The new being has a flat stomach where a new chord will grow.

Of a Particular Creature in a Particular Moment

An eternity or a moment ends in a flash as the light of its belly is reflected off an object in the distance. In this life shattering instant, the creature understands its special relationship with the void around it and the object in the distance (perhaps ten paces away). It freezes in a state of solidarity and minuteness that it has neither the capacity nor the physical means to articulate in any way but silence. Time begins rapturously as the creature realizes a moment that is different from the last.
Faced with a stimulus to which it has no natural or behavioral response, the creature walks in the direction of the reflected light with purpose and intrigue. Aware and connected to the space around it in a way that has never been experienced before, the creature gains a capacity for the intelligent gift of irrationality. For no other reason but curiosity, the creature, on hands and knees, approaches the object in the distance.
Upon the object, the creature kneels down and handles the reflected light as if it were just that. Its hands feel a surface that is similar to its own. The object is hard and opaque, but moveable. With its curious and awkward hands, the creature lifts the object and handles all of its intricate curves and textures. The touch is different than the creature’s own. It is harder. Coarse, dry strands of a completely different texture hang from the base of the object like hair. The creature understands a feeling of uniqueness less dramatic and more precise than before. There was before, it thought wordlessly, and there is now.
The spatial anomaly was shaped like an elongated face with large, distended eye sockets and a wide, symmetrical jaw from which the hair like strands protruded. The face immediately became a part of the creature, as it had never experienced anything so similar to itself. The creature lifts the face upwards and fixes it to the void between its shoulders. The creature suddenly is able to see in a way it never could before. It sees the hot light from the cord in its stomach glowing in all directions. This new face catches the light so precisely, that the creature is able to consider the dimensions of its own body without the aid of touch. It looks down at its hands and sees light reflecting differently than from the rest of its body. The coarse, hairy strands sweeping across its chest reflect yet a different way with momentously similar yet deeply distinguishable imperfections in its reflectivity. The new sensation is natural and familiar, as though it was a part of the creature all along.
Two objects, both following separate and parallel paths, realize an extended place. They meet and the experience of two roads is synthesized in one being.

Of The Particular Creature in The Garden

Standing still, the creature looks out into the void and notices a light shining high in the sky. The light holds shape and the creature stares at it blankly. Against the tenacious darkness, it sees the light in the sky and its own light. The familiar sensation of uniqueness changes and reconstitutes itself resiliently. With pensive eyes, the creature can no longer distinguish where one light begins and the other ends. A long path cuts through the blackness beginning at the creature and ending at the symbol in the sky. It follows the light in wonderment and awe. The light becomes brighter and reaches farther and farther into the darkness until it stops and the creature finds itself in a circle of light not its own.
At the center of the circle is an object standing upright and still. A thin trunk grows from the ground and breaks into thinner and thinner braches holding flat leaves similar to the texture of the creatures face. Hanging off of the structure is a round and spiny orb that seems to have grown from the branches. The creature is transfixed by the pod and feels a strange affinity towards it. It smells the sweet scent of life.
The circle is bright. Reflected light enters the creature’s sensory apparatus and dazzles its being with colors and shapes. It walks awkwardly about the tree, looking intensely in all directions. The creature’s legs seem to intertwine beyond the complexity of only two appendages. The creature trips and falls only to get up without noticing.

Of The Garden and Meaning

Amidst the creature’s awe, and out of the darkness, a second creature walks into the light. The second humanoid creature is of the same type as the first with more dramatic angles and a distended stomach. There is a similar object resting between the creature’s shoulders that she moves about as an appendage. The texture of the facial object is similar to that of the first creature’s, but the shape is not the same. The angles are softer and curve in unison with the voluptuous body. The hair-like material fans from the mouth and over the chest.
They look at each other passionately, as though projecting wonder and curiosity onto their counterpart. The creature develops a feeling of relation with its counterpart. Both organisms feel the warmth of life in the other. They recognize a shape that is shared.
Looking back at the tree, the creatures see the majestic, spiny pod and reach towards it. The first creature pulls it from the tree and hands it to the second. The pregnant creature squeezes the pod until the spines break skin and secrete and clear, stringy liquid. It hands the pod back to the first creature who does the same. They reach out their hands and feel the congruency in the other’s. Clear liquid oozes from the creature’s hands and is spread about their bodies in passionate strokes. The second creature rubs it’s pregnant belly, thickly glossing the vessel. As they touched, the color of their facial apparatuses changed. Speaking to each other and to themselves, they communicated and found consciousness.
From the belly of the second creature, a child is born. A cool, breezy force comes over the creatures. Leaves on the tree, ripped from their branches, fly past them. After the endless meander through the darkness, meaning has entered their lives. Weightlessness overcomes them and gravity is suspended, but it is all right.

Thanks To Timothy Saccenti

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