Chaos, Creation, & Collage

Polylogue 1:
Excess supplies


The collage aesthetic remains one of the great innovations of the 20th century, and it continues to burrow through artistic and technological practice. It engages any new technology. It’s omnivorous. It demands new technologies to feed the jump-cut of the collage—the essential mind-set of the 20th century. There’s so much velocity, there’s so much capacity, there’s such a volume of imagery that one of the only ways of responding to it, besides going white, like the paintings of Agnes Martin, is just to dive in. Get into the volume, accommodate the velocity, work with it, learn how to surf. Few artists have, and it may take even longer than our lifetimes to see a kind of implicit mastery of the medium.

—David Ross

“Accommodating the Velocity,”
Wired
  3.09, September 1995

 

“The research may be of a particular kind, but, if so, it’s the best kind: that errant, excitable, semi-accidental rummaging which is guaranteed to kick the synapses into life.”

—Anthony Lane

“Byte Verse,“ The New Yorker,
 
February 20/27, 1995 p. 104.

 

“…there’s my favorite low-tech, high-yield information transfer system: the 3 inch x 5 inch index card. I stumbled upon the 3 x 5 as a mode of communication completely by accident early in my career, and I’ve used it ever since.”

—William G. Pagonis

“The Work of the Leader,”
Harvard Business Review
, Nov-Dec 1992, p. 125

 

“The third factor in the making of my vision—intuition—might be better understood as an uncanny ability to know fully how things must have been, how and what people must have said or felt at a moment when neither I nor Wade, my main witness, was present. There are kinds of information, sometimes bare scraps and bits, that instantly arrange themselves into coherent, easily perceived patterns, and one either acknowledges those patterns, or one does not. For most of my adult life, I chose not to recognize those patterns, although they were the patterns of my own life as much as Wade’s. Once I chose to acknowledge them, however, they came rushing toward me, one after the other, until at last the story I am telling here presented itself to me in its entirety.”

—Russell Banks

Affliction,
1989

 

“‘No ideas but in things,’ said William Carlos Williams, and though he was speaking of poetry it is true of fiction, too. Fiction’s power to sway us comes about not through directed meditations and conclusions but through depicted realities to which meaning clings, and which transfer this meaning, unmediated and otherwise inexpressible, to our consciousness, dust to dust.”

—John Updike

“Vagueness on Wheels, Dust on a Skirt,”
The New Yorker
, Sept. 2, 1991

 

“We know more than we can use. Look at all this stuff I’ve got in my head: rockets and Venetian churches, David Bowie and Diderot, nuoc man and Big Macs, sunglasses and orgasms.”

—Susan Sontag
 
I, etcetera
, 1979


“Every creation springs from an abundance… an overflow of energy. Creation is accomplished by a surplus of ontological substance.”

— Mircea. Eliade

The Sacred and the Profane, 1957

 

“Recently I was struck by the obvious: in the etiology of all psychotoxic disturbances the wrong kind of emotional supplies is conspicuous. Some of the psychotoxic disturbances (three months colic, infantile rocking, etc.) show in addition a specific etiological factor, in essence the diametrical opposite of emotional deprivation, namely, a surfeit, an overdoes of affective stimulation.”

—René Spitz

“Derailment of Dialogue,” 1964

 

“The whole thing was so momentous, overmastering, tragic, that in the end what I wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep. I have always had an exceptional gift for passing out.… There are times when the most practical thing is to lie down.”

—Saul Bellow

Spoken by the character Charles Citrine,
Humboldt’s Gift
,1975, p. 108, 110


“In solitary confinement before his color TV, the citizen is made a part of all that is happening on a planetary scale and impressed with his powerlessness to act on precisely that planetary scale. Closed in upon himself, the citizen is not the yeoman structure that creates the content of the Republic, but simply a photograph in a collage enormously larger than himself.”

—W.I. Thompson

Evil and the World Order
, 1975


“What might be the implications of all this for psychohistory? It seems to me that the ‘psychic numbing’ that Bob [Lifton] was talking about might be a kind of impairment of this sign-making function itself, and could imply a kind of psychically defenseless man who is overwhelmed by what has become for him an undifferentiated and insignificant reality. The breakdown of symbolization describged by Bob would be the incapacity to imagine that necessary leeway in existence, an overacceptance of the literality of existence.”

—Peter Brooks 
   
“Symbolization and Fiction-making,“ 1972 , p 219


“Everything had broken down and new things had to be made out of the fragments. Collage was like an image of the revolution within me —not as it was, but as it might have been.”

—Kurt Schwitters
In J. Russell, The Meanings of Modern Art, Vol 6, 1975


“[This] alludes to one of the more radical and persistent notions in Freud’s thought: the memory trace, not as an image of its object, but as a sign constituted by its coordination with other signs.”

—Jeffrey Mehlman

“The ‘floating signifier’: from Lévi-Strauss to Lacan,”
French Freud
, p. 31


“It would appear that the development of modern depth psychology parallels the development of the character in drama and the novel, both depending on the inward turning of the psyche produced by writing and intensified by print.… In both cases, textual organization of consciousness was required.”

—W.J Ong, S.J.
“Writing Restructures Consciousness,“
Orality and Literacy
, 1982

 

“Consecutive presentation is not a very adequate means of describing complicated mental processes going on in different layers of the mind.”

—Sigmund Freud

“The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman,” 1920

 

“The novelist Donald Barthelme’s statement that ‘Fragments are the only form I trust’ has ramifications far beyond the literary. However severe the problems posed by such a principle for social and especially political revolution, we deceive ourselves unless we learn to focus upon these shifting forms—to recognize new styles of life and new relations to institutions and to ideas. Indeed, we require a little revolutionizing of our psychological assumptions, so that both the young and the old can be understood, not as bound by static behavioral categories, but as in continuous historical motion.”

—Robert Jay Lifton

History and Human Survival: Essays on the Young and the Old, Survivors and the Dead, Peace and War, and on Contemporary Psychohistory
, 1970, p 351.

 

“In truth, the fragment, the sketch, the unfinished canvas, and the shattered statue are all congenial to an age of relativity, indeterminacy, and agnosticism.”

—John Updike
 
“Dark Smile, Devilish Saints,”
The New Yorker
, 1980

 

“You are familiar with all that was written about the ‘true outline’ of [Pascal’s] Pensés, until a structuralist analyst showed not only that the fragment as a literary form was necessary to Pascal but that—and this is far more important—he used it intentionally and that it was a Cartesian perspective that had prevented considering fragments as ends in themselves. For Pascal’s message is that Man is great in that he searches for absolute values but small in that, without ever ceasing to search, he knows that he can never approach these values. The only form to express this content is one which does not prove the contrary: which doesn’t show either a man who has abandoned the search or one who has approached the goal. The fragment is such a form.”

—Lucien Goldman
“Structure: Human Reality and Methodologicial Concept,”
The Structuralist Controversy
,1972

 

“The mind is dealing with the world but is always working on itself. The mind takes materials from the world…”

—Robert Jay Lifton

“Symbolization and Fiction-Making,” 1974


“The modern mind is an incredible complex of impressions and transformations; and its product is a fabric of meanings that would make the most elaborate dream of the most ambitious tapersty-weaver look like a mat. The warp of that fabric consists of what we call ‘data,’ the signs [signals] to which experience has conditioned us to attend, and upon which we act often without any conscious ideation. The woof is symbolism. Out of signs and symbols we weave our tissue of ‘reality.…’”

—Susanne Langer

Philosophy in a New Key
,  1942/71

“[Robert] Rauschenberg found that his imagery needed bedrock as hard and tolerant as a workbench…

The picture plane [in some of his collages] could look like some garbled conflation of control system and cityscape, suggesting the ceaseless inflow of urban message, stimulus and impediment. To hold all this together, Rauschenberg“s picture plane had to become a surface to which anything reachable-thinkable would adhere. It had to be whatever a billboard or dashboard is, and everything a projection screen is, with further affinities for anything that is flat and worked over—palimpsest, cancelled plate, trial blank, chart, map, aerial view. Any flat documentary surface that tabulates information is a relevant analogue of his picture plane—radically different from the transparent projection plane with its optical correspondence to man’s visual fielf… If some collage element, such as a pasted-down photograph, threatened to evoke the topical illusion of depth, the surface was casually stained or smeared with paint to recall its irreducible flatness… And it seemed at times that Rauschenberg’s [collage] work surface stood for the mind itself—dump, reservoir, switching center, abundant with concrete images freely associated as in an internal monologue—the outward symbol of the mind as running transformer of the external world, constantly ingesting incoming unprocessed data to be mapped in an overcharged field.”

—Leo Steinberg

Other Criteria: Confrontations With Twentieth Century Art
, 1972


“Contemporary psychoanalytic theory…is impoverished when it is treated as a repository of themes…

Rather than [an interpretive procedure] which discovers or assigns meanings, [this] would be a poetics which strives to define the conditions of meaning.”

—Jonathan Culler

The Pursuit of Signs
, 1981,
Structuralist Poetics
, 1975

 

“[Much has already been said about [the expression of drives and defences], whereas mental functioning is still a vast uncharted sea within the [psycho-]analytic setting.”

—André Green

“The Analyst, Symbolization and Absence in the Analytic Setting [On Changes in Analytic Practice and Analytic Experience],” 1975

 

“The important thing is never to reduce the unconscious, to interpret it or make it signify following the tree model, but rather to produce the unconscious, and, along with it, new utterances and other desires. The rhizome is precisely this production of the unconscious…”

—G. Deluze
and F. Guattari
On the Line
, 1983, p. 40


“The question is whether the Freudian therapy enables the individual to [become free of the infantile fixation], or whether it does not, as I think, obstruct it by the infantilization of the actual therapeutic situation.”

—Otto Rank

Will Therapy,
1936/78

 

“It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards. And if one thinks over that proposition it becomes more and more evident that life can never really be understood in time simply because at no particular moment can I find the necessary resting place from which to understand it—backwards.”

—Søren Kierkegaard

 

“ …if …instead of beginning with the conscious, that is, by being confronted by the adult in whom consciousness and cognition are fully developed, and whom one looks backwards to the unconscious, we start with the infant in whom cognitive faculties are not yet developed, and look forward to cognition, then the reverse of the (usual) picture arises. The strange part of the mind, the phantasy part is what confronts us. This is now the norm, and the problem before us is: How and why does the cognitive system arise?”

—Margaret Lowenfeld

The World Technique
, 1979

 

“There are a few further points which we ought to note. In the first place, we must remember that we live our childhood as our future. Our childhood determines gestures and roles in the perspective of what is to come. This is not a question of the mechanical reappearance of montages… [The] gestures and roles are inseparable from the project which transforms them… For this reason a life develops in spirals; it passes again and again by the same points but at different levels of integration and complexity.”

—J.-P. Sartre
“The Progressive-Regressive Method,”
Search for a Method
, 1960 /63

 

“Croce was not thinking of poetry in particular when he said that language is perpetual creation.”

—Wallace Stevens

The Necessary Angel
, 1965

 

“…if Faust is a critique, it is also a challange—to our world even more than to Goethe’s own—to imagine and to create new modes of modernity, in which man will not exist for the sake of development, but development for the sake of man. Faust’s unfinished construction site is the vibrant but shaky ground on which we must all stake out and build up our own lives.”

—Marshall Berman

All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity
,  1982

 

“Dynamics drives toward form, in which being is actual and has the power of resisting nonbeing. But at the same time dynamics is threatened because it may lose itself in rigid forms, and, if it tries to break through them, the result may be chaos, which is the loss of both dynamics and form.”

—Paul Tillich
Systematic Theology, 1951

 

“Rather than repressing these contradictions, the primal scene enables the project of the deconstruction of the subject to exist side by side with the historicist project of the reconstruction of the object. The primal scene ensures that the double operation of deconstituting the subject’s relation to language and reconstituting language’s relation to the object retains its necessary tension and complexity.”

—Ned Lukacher

Primal Scenes
, 1986, p. 338

 


“As you say that, all these things come back. My father worked with Heimie a long time. Heimie was killed; he fell off a building. And my father fell off a building, but later. They used to do their work on high buildings, and they must have thought they were angels—or feathers. Among other things my father broke was his pelvis, in five places. We were all very proud of it, because no one we knew had a father with a pelvis broken in five places.…

…the ‘operations’ I experience in making [my] collages have proved to be the models for what I do and for much of what I have done with just about all the bits and pieces and stuff and things and events and occasions of the entire life I live.”

—Donald Weismann

“The Collage as Model,“ 1969


Polylogue 2:
Collage and language


“The real patterns of feeling … these felt events, which compose the fabric of mental life, usually pass unobserved, unrecorded and therefore essentially unknown to the average person.
It may seem strange that the most immediate experiences in our lives hould be the least recognized, but there is a reason for this apparent paradox, and the reason is precisely their immediacy. They pass unrecorded because they are known without any symbolic mediation, and therefore without conceptual form.”

— Susanne Langer
Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Vol. 1, 1967


“Brecht’s epic theater … is a theater that is in certain ways conscious of itself as signifying practice, and that draws attention to its own means of production, its own processes of representation. This quality of self-reflexivity largely derives from the devices of distanciation or alienation… [The] means of representation are foregrounded.… This foregrounding of devices, however, is not so much designed to produce a sense of aesthetic ‘play’ … [as] to offer the audience a place from which it can develop its own criticism of and judgement upon the actions represented.…

…‘the individual episodes have to be knotted together in such a way that the knots are easily noticed.’…

This process of ‘noticing the knots’ or of foregrounding the means of representation has been a familiar one in modernist theroy and practice since the time of the cubists.”

— S. Harvey

Quoting B. Brecht,
“Whose Brecht? Memories of the Eighties,” 1982


“Still, the difficulty of discovering an architecture that generates mentality cannot be overstated.”

— Alan Kay
“Computer Software,”
Scientific American, September 1984, Vol. 251,
No. 3., p. 57.


“… consciousness in itself is not so much a representation, distinguishing a particular object, but really a form of representation in general.”

— Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Pure Reason, Division II, Book II, 1781/1966


“In the collage, our modern method of thinking, in which reality only becomes understandable when interpreted by human intelligence, is epitomized in an abbreviated model which is itself graspable by consciousness. Characteristic civilizatory processes and substantive situations can, with the help of the collage principle, be re-experienced without the emergency-causing consequences that would accrue in actual life.”

— Franz Mon
Prinzip Collage, 1968


“An image is different from a model, and serves a different purpose. Briefly stated, an image shows how something appears; a model shows how something works… [An image] is a rendering of the appearance of its object in one perspective out of many possible ones. It sets forth what the object looks or seems like, and according to its own style it emphasizes separations or continuities, contrasts or gradations, details, complexities or simple masses.…A model … always illustrates a principle of construction or operation; it is a symbolic projection of its object which need not resemble it in appearance at all, but must permit one to match the factors of the model with respective factors of the object, according to some convention. The convention governs the selectiveness of the model; to all items in the selected class the model is equally true, to the limit of its accuracy, that is, to the limit of formal simplification imposed by the symbolic translation.”

— S. Langer

Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Vol. 1, 1967, pp. xix, 59


“Transformation is achieved only by touching … the formative zone of the psyche. One might also speak of the mythic zone, as it is very close to what Mircea Eliade writes of as ‘the zone of the sacred, the zone of absolute reality.’ The principle is one of psychic action, by which I mean the genuine inner contact leading to confrontation, reordering, and renewal. In describing ancient rituals surrounding the new year, one experiences (in Eliade’s words) ‘the presence of the dead,’ the ceremonial depiction of ‘a “death” and a “resurrection,” a “new birth,” a “new man,”’ and the overall principle that ‘life cannot be restored but only recreated,’ This too is the principle of genuine Protean transformation.…

The ultimate task of transformation is the re-creation of the adult self.…
But of course the difficulties in the path of psychological and social transformation are profound.…”

— R.J. Lifton
The Life of the Self: Toward a New Psychology, 1976,
pp 135-145


“…how can death pass into language? I am quite willing to say that it does this, but the question is to know whether it is completely overcome in the passage.”


— J. Hyppolite
“The Structure of Philosophic Language according to the ‘Preface’ to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind, 1972

(Joseph Smith (from Arguing with Lacan) and Loewald, on primary and secondary principles of organization.)


“Quite unlike the modernist collage, in which various fragments and materials of experience are laid bare, revealed as fissures, voids, unresolvable contradictions, irreconcilable particularizations, pure heterogeneity, the historicist image pursues the opposite aim: that of synthesis, of the illusory creation of a unity and a totality which conceals its historical determination and conditioned particularity. (These ‘concealed collages’ in painting represent a false unification…)”

—B.H.D. Bulloch

“Figures of Authority, Ciphers of Regression: Notes on the Return of Representation in European Painting,” 1981 (October # 16)


“Looking historically, there is a whole category of people, which would include Piaget and Chomsky, Cassirer, Langer, and Jakobson, who represent an emerging current of twentieth-century thought that Freud half began and yet spoke of in the language of mechanism. Freud is transitional in this, because he moves toward meaning and yet he speaks in the language of mechanism. The term ‘fiction’ has dubious value in psycho-logical thought, because it suggests falsehood. But the principle of fabrication is very important and central.

Incidentally, the overall idea in all these twentieth-century thinkers has to do, I think, with transformation…”

— R.J. Lifton

“Symbolization and Fiction-Making,” 1974, p. 223


“Picasso took the photograph in his small hands. He held it horizontally in front of him, carefully, as though it were a valuable bowl. After assuring himself that we were watching him attentively, he ever-so-attentively, and with a concentrated expression of his face, turned it backward, downward, until the picture’s upper edge touched the surface of the table. After a glance at us, he raised it again and bent it till it became warjped. Finally, he slowly rolled up. ‘Did you see?’ he asked. ‘There’s so much one can do. And how little’s actually been done so far! Wherever you look, there’re univestigated and unexploited things. Even this photograph — which, although it might seem final, can be reused in the most varying ways — can be re-photographed and yield the most unexpected effects. Every photograph can be the sstarting point for a whole series of new photographs, and every one of those can then be used in a similar way… When one works that way, there’s no end at all’.”

— G. Jedicka

Begegnungen mit Künstlern der Gegenwart, quoted in “The Transformations of Photography,” Tusen och en bild, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1979, incident described occurred in the early 1940’s


“…symbolization … [is] an act essential to thought, and prior to it. Symbolization is the essential act of mind; and mind takes in more than what is commonly called thought.

…The symbol-making function is one of man’s primary activities, like eating, looking, or moving about. It is the fundamental process of his mind, and goes on all the time. Sometimes we are aware of it, sometimes we merely find its results, and realize that certain experiences have passed through our brains and have been digested there…
Symbolization is pre-rationative, but not pre-rational. It is the starting point of all intellection in the human sense, and is more general than thinking, fancying, or taking action. For the brain is not merely a great transmitter, a super-switchboard; it is better likened to a great transformer. The current of experience that passes through it undergoes a change of character, not through the agency of the sense by which the perception entered, but by virtue of a primary use which is made of it immediately: it is sucked into the stream of symbols which consitutes the human mind.”

— Susanne Langer

Philosophy in a New Key, 1942/1971


“[Robert] Rauschenberg found that his imagery needed bedrock as hard and tolerant as a workbench…

The picture plane [in some of his collages] could look like some garbled conflation of control system and cityscape, suggesting the ceaseless inflow of urban message, stimulus and impediment. To hold all this together, Rauschenberg’s picture plane had to become a surface to which anything reachable-thinkable would adhere. It had to be whatever a billboard or dashboard is, and everything a projection screen is, with further affinities for anything that is flat and worked over — palimpsest, cancelled plate, trial blank, chart, map, aerial view. Any flat documentary surface that tabulates information is a relevant analogue of his picture plane — radically different from the transparent projection plane with its optical correspondence to man’s visual fielf… If some collage element, such as a pasted-down photograph, threatened to evoke the topical illusion of depth, the surface was casually stained or smeared with paint to recall its irreducible flatness… And it seemed at times that Rauschenberg’s [collage] work surface stood for the mind itself — dump, reservoir, switching center, abundant with concrete images freely associated as in an internal monologue — the outward symbol of the mind as running transformer of the external world, constantly ingesting incoming unprocessed data to be mapped in an overcharged field.”

— Leo Steinberg

Other Criteria: Confrontations With Twentieth Century Art, 1972


(Lacan and the phallus as symbolizing symbolization
)

“It seems to me that the essential function of all these much-decried variants of classical analysis only aim, in varying the elasticity of the analytic setting, at searching for and preserving the minimum conditions for symbolization. Every paper on symbolization in psychotic or prepsychotic structures says the same thing couched in differenct terms. The patient creates but does not form symbols… [Much has already been said about [the expression of drives and defences], whereas mental functioning is still a vast uncharted sea within the analytic setting.”

— A. Green

“The Analyst, Symbolization and Absence in the Analytic Setting [On Changes in Analytic Practice and Analytic
Experience]”, 1975


“I have preferred to speak of a process of psychic numbing rather than repression. Repression occurs when an idea or experience is forgotten, excluded from consciousness, or relagated to the realm of the unconscious…

The concept of psychic numbing, in contrast, suggests the cessation of what I call the formative process, the impairment of man’s essential function of symbol formation or symbolization. This point of view is strongly influenced by the symbolic philosophy of Cassirer and Langer.…

Psychic numbing is a form of desensitization; it refers to an incapacity to feel or to confront certain kinds of experience, to the blocking or absence of inner forms or imagery that can connect with such experience.…

…it took the work of Cassirer and Langer to demonstrate the truly radical potential of the concept of symbolization — its possibilities for raising questions at the heart of human knowledge and motivation.”

— Robert Jay Lifton
The Life of the Self: Toward a New Psychology, 1976


“I wonder…if we do not underestimate the extent to which becoming able to speak the unspoken or unspeakable makes possible a higher level of functioning or organization to the personality system.”

— M. Edelson

The Idea of a Mental Illness, 1976


“The depth to which the influence of language goes in the formation of human perception, thought and mental processes generally is as impressive as its evolution from human feeling, peripheral and central, of all corners of man’s overtaxed psyche.”

— S. Langer

Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Vol. II, 1972


“As for language, the notion outlined here differs, furthermore, from innatist theories concerning linguistic competence (Chomsky) as well from Lacanian notions of an always-already-there of language that would be revealed as such in the subject of the unconscisous. I of course assume, with respect to the infans, that the symbolic function pre-exists, but also maintain an evolutionary postulate that leads me to seek to elaborate various dispositions giving access to that function, and this corresponds as well to various psychic structures.”

— J. Kristeva

“Freud and Love: Treatment and Its Discontents,” 1983 / 86


“Lacan’s concept of the symbolic as the key to the Unconscious system would be much more acceptable if it could be related to a paradigm other than that of language, but one which makes language possible. This seems to have been understood by Winnicott… For the problem is not to inject representations already elaborated by someone else, but to favour the processes which will enable these representations to be put at the disposal of the analysand.”

— A. Green

“Conceptions of Affect,” 1977


“But what is specific in the psychoanalytic discovery is that language itself works at the pictorial level. This discovery is not only a call for an apppropriate theory of the imagination, but a decisive contribuition to it…
It is remarkable that condensation and displacement should be mentioned [by Freud in The Interperetation of Dreams ] in the same context with regard to words and visual images, as though these rhetorical figures and visual images belonged to the same realm of ‘representability.’ Yet the ancient rhetoricians had already noticed that a figured language is one that gives a contour or a visiblilty to discourse. Consequently, the problem is not so much that we find words in dreams and that the dream-work should be close to the ‘verbal wit’ which governs jokes, but that language functions at a pictorial level which brings it into the neighborhood of the visual image and vice versa.”

—P. Ricoeur

“Image and language in Psychoanalysis,”
1978, Psychoanalysis and Language , pp. 323, 315


“What first needs to be made clear in Freud’s method is this; it is not the thing itself, but a representation of it that is being interpreted.… In this light, the endless stream of talk on which the psychanalytic treatment is carried becomes the opposite fof a liability, as some have urged; the value of therapy is just its prolonged opportunity for the patient to formulate his emotion.”

—P. Rieff

Freud: The Mind of the Moralist, 1979


“‘…our speech is not mere talk; it is an utterance replete with workings.’ … it produces the things it names.”

— L. Dieckman

Quoting Asclepius, in Hieroglyphics: The Return of a Literary Symbol,


“The whole future of psychology is bound up with that of linguistic study, with our deepening grasp of man’s unique speech status.… But it would be surprising if an exclusively verbal alpproach could prove adequate to the communicative energies of the psyche, particularly the psyche in some partial state of lesion.”

— George Steiner

“The Langauge Animal,” 1969 / 76, pp. 88,87


Gadamer on language making things fluid
“Symbolization is the essential act of mind, and mind takes in more than what is commonly called thought.”

— Susanne Langer

Philosophy in a New Key, 1942


“Symbols grow. They come into being by development out of other signs, particularly from icons, or from mixed signs partaking of the nature of icons and symbols... So it is only out of symbols that a new symbol can grow. Omne symbolum de symbolo.”
— C.S. Pierce
“The Icon, Index, and Symbol,”
c. 1895 / 1932


“… anything that grows has a groundplan, and . . . out of this ground plan the parts arise, each part having its time of special ascendancy until all parts have arisen to form a functioning whole…”
“The organismic principle that in our work has proven indispensable for the somatic grounding of psychosexual and psychosocial development is epigenesis…”
“[On] each stage of development a child is ‘identified by the totality of operations he is capable of’ … in an expanding arena of interplay.”
— E.H. Erikson
Identity and the Life Cycle, 1959;The Life Cycle Completed, 1982;
“Play and Actuality,” 1972


“Basically, the mental development of the child appears as a succession of three great periods. . . [The] evolution of sensori-motor schemes extends and surpasses the evolution of the organic structures which takes place during embryogenesis. Semiotic relations, thought, and interpersonal connections internalize these schemes of action by reconstructing them on the new level of representation.… Finally .… formal thought restructures the concrete operations by subordinating them to new structures.”

— Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder

The Psychology of the Child, 1969


“An infant’s first cycle…achieves complete success. At the end of it the child can speak, its ideas are classified, and its perceptions are sharpened…

Education should consist in a continual repetition of such cycles.”


— Alfred North Whitehead

The Aims of Education, 1929


“Everything that seems to us imperishable tends towards decay; a position in society, like anything else, is not created once and for all, but…is constantly rebuilding itself by a sort of perpetual process of creation… The creation of the world did not occur at the beginning of time, it occurs every day.”

— Marcel Proust

In Search of Lost Time, The Fugitive, 1925


“Forms are…preserved because they are constantly renewed by analogy… But one thing in particular interests the linguist. In the enormous mass of analogical phenomena built up through centuries of evolution, almost all elements are preserved; they are only distributed differently… Language is a garment covered with patches cut from its own cloth.”


— Ferdinand de Saussure

Course in General Linguistics, 1916 / 66


“During the first decade of this century a transformed world became theoretically possible and the necessary forces of change could already be recognized as existing. Cubism was the art which reflected the possibility of this transformed world and the confidednce it inspired. Thus, in a certain sense, it was the most modern art — as it was also the most philosophically complex — which has yet existed…

…[Cubism] re-created the syntax of art so that it could accommodate modern experience…
I find it hard to believe that the most extreme Cubist works were painted over fifty years ago. It is true that I would not expect them to have been painted today. They are both too optimistic and too revolutionary for that. Perhaps in a way I am surprised that they have been painted at all. It would seem more likely that they were yet to be painted…

Nevertheless I must insist on the sensation I have in front of the [Cubist] works themselves: the sensation that the works and I, as I look at them, are caught, pinned down, in an enclave of time, waiting to be released and to continue a journey that began in 1907… The Cubist moment was…a beginning, defining desires which are still unmet.”

— John Berger
“The Moment of Cubism,” 1969


“In the future collage will be an important means of (self) education. We will all put the pieces of our case histories together and experiment with the simple process of splicing and superimposition, to reach, maybe, the margins of our expression.”

— Martin Stanton
Outside the Dream: Lacan and French Styles of Psychoanalysis, 1983


Polylogue 3:
Collage and the tradition


“The doctrine of creation is not the story of an event which took place ‘once upon a time…’

God certainly created the world ‘in the beginning’ and gave it the laws of nature. But [according to a deistic view] after its beginning he either does not interfere at all (consistent deism), or only occasionally through miracles and revelation (theistic deism), or he acts in a continual interrelationship (consistent theism). In these three cases it would not be proper to speak of sustaining creation.

Since the time of Augustine, another interpretation of the preservation of the world is given. Preservation is continuous creativity, in that God out of eternity creates things and time together. Here is the only adequate understanding of preservation… God is essentially creative, and therefore he is creative in every moment of temporal existence… There is a decisive difference, however, between originating and sustaining creativity. The latter refers to the given structures of reality, to that which continues within the change, to the regular and calculable in things. Without the static element, finite being would not be able to identity itself with itself or anything with anything. Without it, neither expectation, nor action for the future, nor a place to stand upon would be possible; and therefore being would not be possible. The faith in God’s sustaining creativity is the faith in the continuity of the structure of reality as the basis for being and acting.

The main current of the modern world view completely excluded the awareness of God’s sustaining creativity. Nature was considered a system of measurable and calculable laws resting in themselves without beginning or end. The ‘well-founded earth’ was a safe place within a safe universe… Today the main trend of the modern world view has been reversed. The foundations of the self-sufficient universe have been shaken. The questions of beginning and end have become theoretically significant, pointing to the element of non-bing in the universe as a whole. At the same time, the feeling of living in an ultimately secure world has been destroyed through the catastrophes of the twentieth century and the corresponding existentialist philosophy and literature. The symbol of God’s sustaining creativity received a new significance and power.”

— Paul Tillich

Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 1951


Insert quote from S. Hawking


[Petitot on creating deep structures]


“What an individual can learn, and how he learns it, depends on what models he has available… Anything is easy if you can assimilate it to your collection of models. If you can’t, anything can be painfully difficult.”

— Seymour Papert
Mindstorms, 1980


“Whatever interest attaches to your subject-matter must be evoked here and now… The present contains all that there is.”

— Alfred North Whitehead
The Aims of Education, 1929


“Our present, current experiences have intensity and depth to the extent to which they are in communication (interplay) with the unconscious, infantile, experiences representing the indestructible matrix of all subsequent experience.…

Without such transference —of the intensity of the unconscious, of the infantile ways of experiencing life that have no language and little organization, but the indestructibility of the origins of life — to the preconscious and to present-day life and contemporary objects — without such transference, or to the extent to which such transference miscarries, human life becomes sterile and an empty shell.”


— Hans Loewald
“On the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis,” 1960


“Rituals as images in action.”“Every ritual has a divine model, an archetype…

The conception underlying [ancient] curative rituals seems to be the following: life cannot be repaired, it can only be recreated through symbolic repetition of the cosmogony, for… the cosmogony is the paradigmatic model for all creation.…What is involved is, in short, a return to the original time, the therapeutic purpose of which is to begin life once again, a symbolic rebirth…

What is important is that man has felt the need to reproduce the cosmogony in his constructions, whatever be their nature; that this reproduction made him contemporary with the mythical moment of the beginning of the world and that he felt the need of returning to that moment, as often as possible, in order to regenerate himself… To listen to the recital of the birth of the world is to become the contemporary of the creative act par excellence, the cosmogony.”

— Mircea Eliade

Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return, 1954
The Sacred and the Profane, 1957


[Langer: an image shows how something looks; a model shows how it works]


“Perhaps my most influential model is that of biochemical metabolism, repetitive and restorative as well as progressively and irreversibly transformative: the lifelong succession of compositions, decompositions, and recompositions… [Here also are countless instantaneous configurations…some of which…are relatively solid and enduring like the framework of a house.”

— Henry A. Murray

“Preparations for the Scaffold of a Comprehensive System,” 1959


[V. Turner on V. Gennep: separation / transition / incorporation]
“I believe that change during adult life is real and perpetual. . . I wish to describe in rough outline a pattern of personal change, another symbolic form of death and rebirth.… We may conveniently envision it within a three-step sequence: confrontation, reordering, and renewal.

— Robert Jay Lifton

Thought Reform: A Psychiatric Study of “Brainwashing ” in China, 1961


R.J. Lifton on the mind re-creates all sensory stimuli


“First images . . . arise in the spirit. Then words, applied to images. Finally, concepts, possible only when there are words — the collecting together of many images in something nonvisible but audible (word).”
[EXTEND]

— F. Nietzsche
“Principles of a New Evaluation,” The Will to Power, 1884 / 1901


— G. Deleuze on Nietzsche and the power of affirmation


“No one [Freud] announced, lives in the real world. We occupy a space of our own creation — a collage compounded of bits and pieces of actuality arranged into a design determined by our internal perceptions, our hopes, our fears, our memories, and our anticipations.”

— Willard Galin
Feelings, 1979


R. Barthes on “the monument of psychoanalysis must be crossed”


“…the unitary method of thought can be used to facilitate the regenerative processes which are latent in every organism. . . [The] time is ripe for an approach which is neither subjective nor objective in emphasis but recognizes the single form of all processes.

— L.L. Whyte

The Next Development in Man, 1944

[EXTEND,CRITIQUE FREUD]


“Increasingly in my clinical work I had found myself needing to find what verbal concept in psycho-analytical thinking corresponded with what L.L. Whyte has called the formative principle.… Certainly, some patients seemed to be aware dimly or increasingly, of a force in them to do with growth, growth towards their own shape, also as something that seemed to be sensed as driving them to break down false inner organizations which do not really belong to them; something which can also be deeply feared, as a kind of creative fury that will not let them rest content with a merely compliant adaptation and also feared because of the temporary chaos it must cause when the integrations on a false basis are in the process of being broken down in order that a better one may emerge.”

— Marion Milner

The Hands of the Living God: An Account of a Psycho-Analytic Treatment, 1969


Chassugeuget-Smirgel on the ego ideal as formative locus


Tillich on breaking down false unities


— H. Jonas on metabolism


…the [modern] distress lies exactly in formlessness; a sense of disconnection, or dissociation, of feeling from activity--the extreme form of which may produce schizophrenic language, but the routein form of which creates a sense of meaninglessness in the midst of activity. The experience of emptiness, of inability to feel, is not easily encompassed by mechanical notions of repression. This shift in ordinary symptomatology has challenged psychoanalytic thinking to find a new diagnostic language, and to expand terms which in the early years of psychoanalysis were poorly thought out, because the then dominant clinical experiences of distress did not demand their articulation.”

— Richard Sennett

The Fall of Public Man, 1976


“…the psychoanalytic situation is extremely suitable to check whether a certain set of propositions is true or false; but to discover anything new, or of far-reaching consequence, from the observational field as given in the psychoanalytic situation, seems to place unusually great demands upon the human mind.”
[add: microscope; new methods of investigation-I doubt that, since Freud, much progress has been made in that respect]

— Kurt R. Eissler
“Freud and the Psychoanalysis of History,” 1963


[-- M. Proust: any new conversation must at first appear labored]


“…despite their value those devices supplied by psychoanalytic theory and technique are not irreplaceable; they are -- as I once said about free association -- improvable tools.”
[add: a science is defined by its object, not its instruments]

— H. Kohut

The Restoration of the Self, 1977


“February 26, 1973
Dear Eric,

…I would like to think about still further ways to gather information — or perhaps a better way to put it would be, to enter into and observe the psychoformative process in the act of creating new syntheses.
Ever,
Bob”
[ R.J. Lifton, personal communication to EWO:]

[Jean Metzinger’s Cubist paintings] offer to the viewer’s intelligence…the elements of a synthesis situated in the passage of time.
—R. Allard

“March 20, 1973
Dear Bob,

This morning I got what I think is a good idea…

The idea is that we would ask people to make collages.

I think doing this is very much an appropriate adult equivalent of what Erikson did in having children make play constructions, and I think both that and collage making are very clearly ways of getting at concretely what we mean by the psychoformative process. Something very exciting would be taking place in front of us.…

Best,
Eric”
[E.W. Olson, personal communication to Robert Lifton:]

“Winnicott was very aware that his concept of the transitional object had many close correspondences to some of the concepts in literature and art. For example, the Cubist collages of Braque and Picasso have distinctly the quality of the transitional object in so far as they assimilate the given to the created, the imagined to the concretely found in one space — that of the canvas — and there give it a new unity and reality.”

— M.M.R. Khan

“Introduction” to D.W. Winnicott, Through Paediatrics to Psycho-analysis, 1975


“The mingling of object and image in collage, of given fact and conscious artifice, corresponds to the illusion-producing processes of contemporary civilization… what Walter Benjamin called ‘the age of mechanical reproduction.’
…In the vision of collage, the identity of an object is suspended between its practical reality and the conceptual
whole in which it is set. A banknote incorporated in a
collage has surrendered its simple character as money and undergone an aesthetic transformation.”
— H. Rosenberg
“Collage: Philosophy of Put-Togethers,” 1976


“The notion of heterogeneity is indispensable… [The term semiotic] quite clearly designates that we are dealing with a disposition that is definitely heterogeneous to meaning but always in sight of it or in either a negative or surplus relationship to it.”

— Julia Kristeva

Desire in Language, 1977 / 80


[C. Greenberg: flatness, surface and depth; also early comment from Chipp collection]
Their use of found-objects, their fragmentariness and their direct conversion of objective reality into a subjective experience, into abstraction, make collages the model for the most profound work in traditional forms.
[begin this quote with comment on Picasso]

— C. Westerbeck

“Taking the Long View,” 1978


— J. Culler on Cubism/linguistics


“With the definition of modern man as one ‘condemned to re-create his own universe,’ twentieth-century Viennese culture had found its voice.”
— C. Schorske
Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, 1979


“Perhaps the strongest impulse toward a shift in the approach to language and linguistics…was — for me, at least— the turbulent artistic movement of the early twentieth century. The great men of art born in the 1880’s — Picasso (1881- ), Joyce (1882-1941), Braque (1882- ), Stravinsky (1882- ), Xlebnekov (1885-1922), Le Corbusier (1887- ) — were able to complete a thorough schooling in one of the most placid spans of world history, before that ‘last hour of universal calm’ was shattered by a train of cataclysms.”
— Roman Jakobson
“Retrospect,”
Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1962


“I had also struggled with my own investigations and with concepts having to do with individual experience in holocaust and historical
change….
…rigorous development of a psychohistorical perspective holds out special promise, on the one hand for addressing the extraordinary threats and confusions of our time, and on the other for generating a new conceptual and perhaps therapeutic vitality within the psychological professions.

— Robert Jay Lifton
“Preface,”
Explorations in Psychohistory: The Wellfleet Papers, 1974


“I must insist on the sensation I have in front of the [Cubist] works themselves: the sensation that the works and I, as I look at them, are caught, pinned down, in an enclave of time, waiting to be released and to continue a journey that began in 1907…
The Cubist moment was…a beginning, defining desires which are still unmet.”

— John Berger

“The Moment of Cubism,” 1969


“Until very recently, Cubism was seen as a quasi-scientific system that set out to replace the Renaissance tradition of perspective and modelling with a vision more in harmony with the discoveries of modern physics. Instead of providing an illusion of space, a Cubist painting was supposed to be the log of a journey, showing in a single image the world seen from all sides. By combining multiple views in one picture, Picasso and Braque, or so the story went, silted up the deep space of painting, and replaced the perspective recession with an upright ‘grid’ — an implied network of straight lines and right angles on the surface of a picture. In doing so, they changed the nature of painting from an artifact of sight to an artifact of thought: a picture was no longer a make-believe snapshot but a bulletin board for the psyche.

Cubism seen whole, however, turns out to be completely unsystematic. Picasso and Braque’s vision seems less a dutiful bookkeeping of fronts and backs than a response to the radiance of ordinary things and an evocation of the give and take that shapes perception. Cubism emerges, in its original moment, less as the conceptual grid on which the recognizable world was analyzed than as a net stretched taut between the world and sight, catching eventually the whole haeraldry of modern life: city lights, summer vactions, pop songs, news of distant wars, and department-store sales.…

…there is no sense in the work of either painter of a ‘pictorial problem’ solved or of a plan going forward. In a picture like the ‘Violin and Palette,’ it is as though Braque suddenly asked himself what would happen if you treated the surface of the picture not as a low relief but as a refracting glass or a kaleidoscope, breaking up the surface into symmetrical facets and vertical strips. The violin strings in that picture leap from a diagonal to a vertical across a well of empty space, and seem the consequence less of a purposeful attempt to represent something seen from many angles that of an effort to endow it with the angularity of observation itself — to evoke thse stutter-step ardor of the recording eye.…

The cylinders and cones and straight lines [in Picasso’s draiwings from 1909] fracture on regular fault lines, and what should be the continuous edges of planes and solids move just a half interval out of plumb. The effect of shimmering energy and indeterminate form is the consequence of a little game rather than a big idea — a studio joke that unlocked a new dimension of energy.…

Cubism is a leap in the dark, and what is genuinely ‘scientific’ about it is its readiness to make new things up without a plan or program; its willlingness to extend the logic of a sudden thought to an apparently absurd conclusion (which then turns out not to be absurd at all); its mistrust of reduction; its faith that the free play of the imagination can summon up a picture of the world more powerful than any patient description; its belief in the sanity of fragmentary knowledge.…

Who could have imagined in 1907 that something remarkable could be made from a weird mix of Cézanne, geometric drawing, Rembrandt’s light, caricature, and dumb puns picked up at a newspaper kiosk on the way to work?”

— Adam Gopnik
“A Leap in the Dark,” The New Yorker, Oct. 23, 1989


“…the symbolizing capacity [is] ‘the unique hallmark of man … the sine qua non of man’s highest psychological and spiritual capabilities,’ and … it is in impairment of this capacity to symbolize that all adult psychopathology essentially consists.”

— Harold Searles

Quoting L. Kubie, in
“The Differentiation Between Concrete and Metaphorical Thinking in the Recovering Schizophrenic Patient,” 1962


“…[in traumatic neurosis] psychic action, the essence of the formative-symbolizing process, is virtually suspended, and the organism is in a severe state of desymboliztion. In that sense psychic numbing undermines the most fundamental psychic processes. That is why we can speak of it as the essential mechanism of mental disorder.”

— R.J. Lifton

The Broken Connection, 1979


“Under the stress of an extreme abaissement the psychic totality falls apart…

It is as if the very foundation of the psyche were giving way, as if an explosion or an earthquake were tearing asunder the structure of a normally built house.”

— C.G. Jung

“On the Psychogenesis of Schizophrenia,” 1939


The importance of this kind of phenomenon was impressed upon me very profoundly by my work in Hiroshima. . . But my assumption is that psychic numbing is central in everyday experience as well, and may be identified whenever there is interference in the ‘formative’ mental function, the process of creating viable inner forms…
There is a close relationship between the phrase used by a Hiroshima survivor, ‘A feeling of paralysis in my mind,’ and a Buffalo Creek survivor’s sense, in explaining his isolation from people around him, ‘Now…it’s like everything is destroyed…

— R.J. Lifton

The Broken Connection, 1979


…how can death pass into language? I am quite willing to say that it does this, but the question is to know whether it is completely overcome in the passage.

— J. Hyppolite

“The Structure of Philosophic Language according to the
‘Preface’ to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind, 1972


“I have preferred to speak of a process of psychic numbing rather than repression. Repression occurs when an idea or experience is forgotten, excluded from consciousness, or relegated to the realm of the unconscious…
The concept of psychic numbing, in contrast, suggests the cessation of what I call the formative process, the impairment of man’s essential function of symbol formation or symbolization. This point of view is strongly influenced by the symbolic philosophy of Cassirer and Langer.
Psychic numbing is a form of desensitization; it refers to an incapacity to feel or to confront certain kinds of experience, to the blocking or absence of inner forms or imagery that can connect with such experience.
…it took the work of Cassirer and Langer to demonstrate the truly radical potential of the concept of symbolization — its possibilities for raising questions at the heart of human knowledge and motivation.

— R.J. Lifton
The Life of the Self:
Toward a New Psychology, 1976

[Lacan: the relations between man and the symbol]


Lacan’s concept of the symbolic as the key to the Unconscious system would be much more acceptable if it could be related to a paradigm other than that of language, but one which makes language possible. This seems to have been best understood by Winnicott…

— André Green

“Conceptions of Affect,” 1977


When Winnicott aptly referred to traumatic neurosis as a ‘break in the lifeline,’ he came close to articulating…our reason for using the traumatic syndrome to epitomize all psychiatric disorder. For what is ‘broken’ — shattered — is the experience of life, the construction of vitality.

— Robert Jay Lifton
The Broken Connection, 1979


…in all psychotherapeutic work with patients, psychotherapists and analysts have to provide two distinct types of relating from their side. One type of relating is covered by interpretive work, which helps the patient to gain insight into his internal conflicts and thus resolve them. The other sort of relating, which is harder to define, is more in the nature of providing coverage for the patient’s self-experience in the clinical situation. The knack of any psychotherapeutic work is to strike the right balance within these two types of functions.
— M.M.R. Khan
“The Finding and Becoming of Self,” 1972


…the problem is not to inject representations already elaborated by someone else, but to favour the processes which will enable these representations to be put at the disposal of the analysand.
— A. Green
“Conceptions of Affect,” 1977


“It is the thesis of this work that human symbolism has its origin in the symbolic interplay between two distinct modes of direct perception of the external world… I have termed one mode ‘Presentational Immediacy,’ and the other mode ‘Causal Efficacy.’”
— A.N. Whitehead
Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect, 1927


“…history is impossible without the spatialization of time that is characteristic of consciousness.”
— J. Jaynes
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, 1976


[Petitot: problem of projecting the paradigmatic onto the syntagmatic; problem of inserting spaces to permit signification]


[B. Hopkins from “The Collage Attitude” on the daily newspaper]


[E. Cassirer on space, time and self]


[E.H. Erikson: every stage is a configuration]


[Von Uexkull; visiting that special stage]


“…the central concept of [von Monakow’s monumental contribution to neurology of 1914] is the concept of
‘chronogenic localization,’ a concept which has been almost completely ignored in the intervening decades.
— Dr. Klüver
“Discussion,” in K.S. Lashley,
“The Problem of Serial Order in Behavor,” 1951


[Bakhtin on the chronotope ratio]


The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time.
— S. Sontag
On Photography, 1977


…the important thing is that the photograph possesses an evidential force, and that its testimony bears not on object but on time.
— R. Barthes
Camera Lucida, 1980 / 81


Deeply aware of the photograph’s status as a trace,
[Nadar] was also convinced of its psychological import.
— Rosalind Krauss
“Tracing Nadar,” 1978


“Let’s return for a moment to our generalized model [of neurological processes in the brain]. The model specifies two basic processes: spatially organized states and operations on those states by pulsed neutral transmissions.…

[Constructions] of configurational, topological, i.e., spatial representations in the nervous system constitute one form that brain states can take.”

— Karl Pribram

Languages of the Brain, 1971


“The dream-work then proceeds just as Francis Galton did in constructing his family photographs. It superimposes, as it were, the different components upon one another.”

— Sigmund Freud
On Dreams, 1901


“For Freud, the analysis of dreams, above all his own dreams, was a means of seeing the functioning of the primary process, as if through a microscope…

Perhaps something was lost when, with Freud, the dream reached its definitive status through interpretation and the dream dreamt in images was converted into the dream put into words: every victory is paid for by exile, and possession by loss…

Dreaming is above all the attempt to maintain an impossible union with the mother, to preserve an undivided whole, to move in a space prior to time. This is why some patients implicitly ask one not to get too close to their dreams, neither to touch not to manipulate the body of the dream, not to change the ‘thing presentation’ into a ‘verbal presentation.’ As one of them said to me: ‘I likes this dream more than I am interested by it. It’s like a picture made of different pieces , a collage’.”

— J. B. Pontalis
Frontiers in Psychoanalysis: Between the Dream and Psychic Pain, 1977 / 81


[R. Coles, S. McNiff: problem of how image and language go together in art therapy]


[P. Ricoeur: Freud discovered that language operates at the level of the image]


“By appropriating and broadening the method of collage, a method with remarkable similarities in approach and potential to that of psychoanalysis…”
— T. Lawson
“Silently, By Means of a Flashing Light,”


[Wolfson: collage; reality has always been strong medicine]


“I’d notice you’d been using words like ‘montage’ lately. You want to be careful; those who live by montage perish by montage.”
— Kenneth Tynan
Letter to Dwight Macdonald, published in
“Between the Acts,” The New Yorker, October 31, 1994, p. 84


Photographs do not translate from appearances. They quote from them… In a photograph time is uniform: every part of the image has been subjected to a chemical process of uniform duration. In the process of revelation all parts were equal… Memory is a field where different times coexist.
[add: a radial system has to be constructed around the photograph]
— J. Berger
Another Way of Telling, 1982


“It has become customary to apply the term ‘collage’ to all works in which components belonging to separate intellectual or perceptual categories are combined, even when…nothing in them has been pasted or glued. Max Ernst himself has expressly sanctioned this omnium-gatherum notion in his assertion: ‘Ce n’est pas la colle qui fait le collage.’ (‘It’s not the paste that makes the collage.’)”
— H. Weschler
Collage, 1968


“The concept of computational power refers to what a computation can do rather than to its speed or efficiency. You might imagine that its secret lies in some new and potent types of instruction. In fact, somewhat surprisingly, the crucial modification does not call for novel instructions, but for a better memory. What is needed is an unlimited memory for the intermediate results obtained during computations. Memory is power.

The simplest form of unlimited memory works like a stack of plates. The only plate to which you can have direct access is the one on the top of the stack. A stack of symbols provides a similar form of memory with access to the item on top. If a program needs to get to a symbol stored lower down in the stack, the items above it have to be removed. But, once a symbol is removed from the stack, it is no longer in memory. It must then be used at once or it is forgotten.… (p. 41-42)
A natural step is to remove the constraint that memory operates like a stack, and to allow unlimited access to any amount of memory. There are several ways in which to conceive of such a memory. Alan Turing had perhaps the simplest idea. He imagined a machine that has a memory consisting of a tape divided into cells like a strip from a child’s arithmetic notebook. The tape can move to and fro under a device that can read the contents of one cell, and, if need be, expunge the current symbol and replace it with another. If the machine gets to one end of the tape, then a further length can be added so that it never runs out of memory. Since a symbol is lost from memory only when it is expunged by the machine, this system escapes from the constraints of the stack. Two stacks, however, can simulate an infinitely extendable tape by shunting symbols between them.…

When a finite-state machine is equipped with an unlimited tape, the result is the most powerful computational device: a Turing machine.”
— P. N. Johnson-Laird
The Computer and the Mind:
An Introduction to Cognitive Science, 1988


“Only the simultaneous representation of the visual field gives us co-existence as such… * The present, instead of being a pointlike experience, becomes a dimension within which thigs can be beheld at once and can be related to each other by the wandering glance of attention. This scanning, though proceeding in time, articulates only what was present to the first glance and what stays unchanged while being scanned.”
[*add more]

— Hans Jonas

“The Nobility of Sight,”
The Phenomenon of Life:
Towards a Philosophical Biology, 1966


J. Lacan: the deep unities that have to do with light


A. Korzybski; eye / hand / brain


The interchange [between spatializing and temporalizing] never stops. … How does the mind achieve this spatialization of time?
— R. Shattuck


“How are difference as temporalizing and differance as spacing conjoined?

…how am I to speak of the a of differance?

The two apparently different meanings of differance are tied together in Freudian theory: differing as discernibly, distinction, deviation, diastem, spacing; and deferring as detour, delay, relay, reserve, temporalizing …

The (pure) trace is differance.… It permits the articulation of speech and writing…as it founds the metaphysical opposition between the sensible and the intelligible, then between signifier and signified, expression and content, etc.…

Differance is therefore the formation of form.”

— Jacques Derrida

“Differance,”1967/73;
“Linguistics and Grammatology,” 1967 / 76


“Space has not room, time not a moment for man. He is excluded.
In order to ‘include’ him -- help his homecoming -- he must be gathered into their meaning. (Man is the subject as well as the object of architecture.)
Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more.
For space in the image of man is place, and time in the image of man is occasion…
Provide that space, articulate the inbetween.

— A. van Ecyk

Team 10 Primer, 1978


[Janis and Blesh: with Schwitters collage became a major art medium, ]


“The house, quite obviously, is a privileged entity for a phenomenological study of the intimate values of inside space, provided, of course, that we take it in both its unity and its complexity, and endeavor to integrate all the special values in one fundamental value. For the house furnishes us dispersed images and a body of images at the same time… A sort of attraction for images concentrates them about the house. With the house image we are in possession of a veritable principle of psychological integration… Now my aim is clear: I must show that the house is one of the greatest powers of integration for the thoughts, memories and dreams of mankind.”
[add: house as tool for analysis]
— Gaston Bachelard
The Poetics of Space, 1958


Rites of passing through the door…are transition rites… A rite of spatial passage has become a rite of spiritual
passage… To cross the threshold is to unite oneself with a new world. It is thus an important act in [rituals of psychological, and spiritual development].
— A. van Gennep
The Rites of Passage, 1908 / 60


I hear and I forget,
I see and I remember,
I do and I understand.
— Ancient Chinese Proverb