To change an archive into a possible vision, is to change a language defined by grammar and dictionary into a medium in which you can change your mind: by disregarding how the content has originally been tagged and shelved.
Here, the archive has been pictured as a language that is not defined but spoken. Speaking without any idea of definition is like speaking in tongues. The bonds between these images are not meaning, they are like meaning. Taken out of their original positions in files and books, they can now form a new territory from which we can drill back into sources that may otherwise have remained invisible by being known, tagged and shelved.
CIVIC VIRTUE’s Grand Tour Homecoming party and exhibition at W139, Amsterdam.
The Grand Tour Temple was made of sewer pipes and asphalt, decorated with a copper dome by Brian, texts and silk emblems by Gijs, a pediment and copper Emoticons by Ruchama and Clay Gods by Geirthrudur.
‘Editorial Notes’, an autosociographic reworking in tongues of ‘New Atlantis’, or ‘New Appliances’, by Gijs.
The Gewebe and the idea of the Air Loom was developed during CIVIC VIRTUE’s residency at Künstlerhäuser Worpswede and exhibited at ‘IMMERGO IDENTIDUM / Time To Recollect’ at the Stadhausgalerie in Münster.
The Air Loom was used to influence minds, by weaving time into space. A spatial form of time made it possible for an idea to occupy different points in space at one single moment in time. By spinning time into currents of air and various gasses and weaving it into Air Tapestry, the Air Loom was able to change time from progression into movement and depth.
“The Air Loom is operated by a gang of undercover Jacobin revolutionaries, who want to force Britain into a disastrous war with Revolutionary France and are bent on maintaining hostilities between the two nations.” (1)
However, it is one thing to change the design of a state, it is quite another to change one state into something radically different.
“We do not want to move from problem to solution as if they were both present in the same space at once, but instead we seek ways to move from the current space into one we will inhabit at a later point in time.” (2)
“We do not seek for answers within, but envision the problem outside, that is, the problem is structural. There are two structures: The first structure is the one in which the question arose, the second structure is the one in which the question will be- come irrelevant.” (3)
While the Air Loom was able to exhibit time spatially, this form of time was necessarily always already structured, and could as such never account for the possibility of change. If not progression but movement and depth, what then makes it ever possible for a state to radically alter into something yet unknown?
A reversal of the actual weaving process of the Air Loom was believed to open a gateway back to the progression of time. In order to leave the fabric of movement and depth which formed reality, a state of chaos was induced. This signified the return to the Air Loom Cloud, a state, it was believed, in which no specific designs or hierarchies yet existed. The intellectual diaspora thus induced constituted a recurrent purification ritual, necessary for any state laid out solely in a fabric of movement and depth. Consequently, the Air Loom not only functioned as a device for mind control, in reverse it could wash the brain.
Exhibit 1 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
At that time, it was widely believed enlightenment could be realized through social unison. People from the different classes may have been equal by law, their difference in shape strongly suggests that they were culturally separate. Being the producers in society, the lower classes didn’t have time nor opportunity to take even the first small step towards enlightenment. The solution to this situation was to be an education. More precisely, education by their superiors, who displayed much higher levels of refinement in conduct, taste as well as knowledge. And so it was proposed that the masters would invite their servants to have dinner with them. Surely, the contact of the subordinates with the table manners and conversations of the higher class would soon enough uplift the servants to a similar level of civilization.
Si credeva che l’illuminismo si sarebbe realizzato passo a passo, attraverso la sintonia sociale. Le diverse classi avrebbero potuto essere uguali per legge, ma le differenze formali tra di loro suggerivano chiaramente che sarebbero state culturalmente separate. Essendo i produttori della società, le classi inferiori non ebbero nemmeno tempo e possibilità di fare il primo passo verso l’illuminazione. All’epoca si credeva che la soluzione a questa situazione fosse l’educazione. Considerando che l’educazione migliore poteva essere offerta naturalmente dai loro superiori sociali, avendo quella classe dimostrato di avere un livello di condotta, gusto e conoscenza molto più elevata. Quindi fu proposto che i padroni invitassero a tavola i loro servi per mangiare insieme. A tavola il contatto dei subalterni con la classe superiore, avrebbe presto elevato i servi a un pari livello di civiltà.
Exhibit 2 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
There were of course those who, through careful observation, readily learned to manipulate as well as their masters. This would only have produced a few more masters. And so it is very likely, the sharing of the dinner table was nothing more than a ritual table dance. The servants wouldn’t just have learned about the sensibilities and tastes of the upper classes, they would also have seen that those were made of gold. In terms of value, the unequal distribution would have remained intact, whether places were swapped or not. It remains unclear which god is depicted here.
Ci sono stati, naturalmente, quelli che hanno imparato come manipolare osservando attentamente i loro padroni. Tuttavia, ciò avrebbe prodotto solo padroni in più. E così la condivisione della cena, è rimasta niente di più che una danza rituale. I servi non avrebbero solo imparato a conoscere la sensibilità ed i gusti della classe superiore, ma si sarebbero resi conto di come questi erano fatti d’oro. In termini di valore, la distribuzione iniqua sarebbe rimasta intatta, sia con i posti scambiati o meno. Rimane da individuare quale dio è raffigurato qui.
Exhibit 3 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
No actual table conversations have been recorded or even remembered. This fact along with the ongoing preoccupation with the idea of equality -something that can be sensed throughout the cloth-, strongly suggests that enlightenment through dinner-conversation has indeed never been more than a ritual. Language holds the map of memory, and social order is preserved in the order of language. Whatever must have been said during dinner can only have reinforced the social order of inequality that already existed. From our contemporary perspective it is easy to see that it were the superiors who needed to take on the native tongue of the lower class and speak as the suppressed. Or more precisely, speak as those that did not accept their fate. This could not possibly have been speech, but rather a disruption of speech. The chaotic and confrontational design of the cloth provides us with ample cues that such a disruption had indeed taken place.
Nessuna cena o conversazione simile sono state registrate o ricordate. Questo fatto, insieme alla questione dell’uguaglianza, è un punto che può essere percepito attraverso i vestiti e suggerisce che l’illuminazione durante le cene non è mai andata al di là del rituale. Il linguaggio contiene la mappa della memoria e l’ordine sociale è preservato nell’ordine del linguaggio. Qualunque cosa detta durante le cene, avrebbe riprodotto unicamente l’ordine sociale della disuguaglianza pre-esistente. Dal nostro punto di vista è facile constatare che erano i superiori ad aver bisogno di assumere la lingua della classe inferiore e parlare come gli oppressi. O, più precisamente, parlare come quelli che non accetano il loro destino. Questo non poteva essere un discorso, ma piuttosto una interruzione del discorso. La prova che tale interruzione si sia effettivamente verificata, offre spunti nel disegno caotico e conflittuale del tessuto stesso.
Exhibit 4 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
Around the time the people had liberated from their classes, they started to submit themselves to very strict dietary rituals. Organic bread played a key role in the way that these people tried to free themselves from the totalitarian individual that arose from this practice of extreme self-control by eating. The mouth of the bread depicted here is shaped like Wolf’s Tooth, also known as ergot, a species of fungus that lives of organic grain by mimicking its seeds. When eaten, ergot produces strong hallucinatory effects and induces what is often referred to as the ‘dancing plague’. It was thus believed that when consumed, this fungus liberated the consumer from his own totalitarian lifestyle.
It is still highly disputed if there had indeed been probiotic terrorists spreading ergot to enforce liberation, or that its spread was simply the natural consequence of the exponential growth in the use of organic strains of grain.
Quando il popolo si era liberato dalle rispettive classi, iniziò a sottoporsi a riti alimentari molto severi. Il pane biologico ebbe un ruolo chiave nel modo in cui queste persone cercarono di liberarsi dall’individuo totalitario che era nato da questa pratica di estremo auto-controllo alimentare. La bocca del pane qui rappresentata ha la forma di un dente di lupo, noto anche come segale cornuta, una specie di fungo ‘parrassitico’, simile al parassita dei sei del grano biologico. Una volta ingerita, la segale cornuta produce forti effetti allucinogeni e porta a quello che viene definita come la ‘peste danzante’.
Si è quindi ritenuto che, quando consumato, questo fungo liberi il consumatore dal proprio stile di vita totalitario. Si discute ancora se in tutto questo c’è effettivamente un atto di terrorismo probiotico in cui la diffusione della segale cornuta serviva a fare rispettare la liberazione, o piuttosto la sua diffusione era semplicemente un effetto naturale della crescita esponenziale dell’uso dei ceppi organici di grano.
Exhibit 5 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
This depiction of signs captured in spheres suggests a growing interest in the medium of language itself. It would not be too bold to suggest that the dinner table would also have been the table used to host seances. These seances would have satisfied the growing desire for a view of language uninfluenced by the individual that is speaking. This seems to have been one of the first steps towards an understanding of language as something that is exchanged between individuals, rather than merely as a collection of signs and rules. Conversation is presented here as a series of autonomous visions, cut free from any speaker. It is therefore probable that the idea of such a form of speech was arrived at through the conduction of a seance.Of course, such a speech could not have communicated anything other than the symbology of its own practice.
Questa rappresentazione di segni catturati in sfere suggerisce un crescente interesse per il linguaggio stesso. Non è troppo azzardato pensare che il tavolo da pranzo poteva essere stato anche il posto per ospitare sedute spiritiche, per soddisfare il crescente desiderio di una visione del linguaggio non influenzato dalla persona che parla (nessuno mai chiederebbe ad una sfinge di chiarire le sue dichiarazioni). Questo sembra essere uno dei primi passi verso la comprensione del linguaggio, inteso come scambio fra gli individui e non semplicemente come insieme di segni e regole. La conversazione è qui presentata come una serie di visioni autonome decise da ogni oratore. Probabilmente è l’idea di una forma di discorso raggiunta attraverso la conduzione di una seduta spiritica.Naturalmente, un discorso del genere non si sarebbe potuto comunicare se non con la simbologia della propria pratica.
Exhibit 6 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
If evidence of the use of a certain template existed scantily in one place, the motif could be supplied from the template found somewhere else.
Se la prova dell’uso di un certo modello è scarsa in un certo posto, abbiamo preso questo tema da un modello trovato altrove.
Exhibit 7 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
Exhibit 8 The Cloth of Vittoria, detail Ink on silk Ritual table cloth – period: ?
A performance by Duo Feigenbaum, consisting of a lecture interspersed with an automatic language performance (in Dutch) by Duo Feigenbaum, for Museumnacht, Huize Frankendael, Amsterdam, 2013.
Perspective is violent, heterotopy is a broken body. A dialogue drilling down into the structures of time, space and language, plunging from scale to scale in an effort to reframe these broken bodies, like a geologist uses the mass extinction events to structure the history of Earth.
ER ZIJN TWEE STRUCTUREN: DE EERSTE WAS DIE WAARIN HET PROBLEEM ONTSTOND, IN DE TWEEDE IS HET PROBLEEM NU IRRELEVANT. ZOALS ELK NIEUW ANTWOORD IS NIET HET ANTWOORD OP BEPAALD EEN PROBLEEM ALS EEN VRAAG, MAAR JUIST HET VERDWIJNEN ERVAN. HET ENIGE ANTWOORD IS HET ANTWOORD OP DE VRAAG: HOE HEBBEN WIJ ONSZELF VAN DE VORIGE SITUATIE NAAR DE HUIDIGE VERPLAATST?
“He passes on his journey to hell-gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; By whom at length they are openend, and discover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven; With what difficulty he passes through, directed by chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.”(Paradise Lost, Book II – John Milton)
IS VERANDERING MOGELIJK MET VOORBEDACHTE RADE? DE WANORDELIJKHEID VAN HET GEHEEL VAN DE TAAL IS HET FUNDAMENT VAN ALLE ORDE, EN MAAKT TEGELIJKERTIJD ALLE ORDE PROVISIONEEL. TAAL IS HET SKELET VAN ALLES. VERNIETIGING VAN EEN GESPREK ALS DIT IN HET MIDDEN VAN DE TAAL TE VERTRAGEN, TOT ALLES IS GEMENGD.
DE DOOD IS DUS ZAAD VAN ORDE, EN MAAKT TEGELIJKERTIJD DAT DE VOORLOPIGE ORDE VAN SITUATIE ZO VOLLEDIG KAN WORDEN GEDEFINIEERD ALS BEGREPEN, DAT AL HET OVERIGE ALLEEN NOG LIJKT TE VERWIJZEN NAAR ONMOGELIJKHEID. VOLLEDIG IS HET MOGELIJK DAT DEZE VOLGORDE VAN ALLE BESTANDEN SAMEN DE GEHELE BESTELLING NAAR HET CENTRUM TE VORMEN, IN DE TAAL DIE WIJ PRESENTEREN, ALTIJD EEN MANIER OM ELKE TE WELOMSCHREVEN PLAATS TE ONTRUIMEN. MAAR NATUURLIJK PRESENTEREN ALLEEN ALLE GEDACHTEN DE GEHELE TAAL ALS HET DE ONDERGANG VAN ALLES DAT VOORLOPIG IS. DE COLLECTIE VAN TALEN VAN ALLES WAT IS GEDEFINIEERD IN DE WERELD, IS MORELE DESORGANISATIE. WIJ GELOVEN DAT DE VREDE STOORNIS.
MENSELIJKE TAAL IS ONTSTAAN UIT STALINS TOESPRAAK, SPORT, KAPOTTE PERSONAGES EN GEBROKEN BOTTEN. IN VEEL GEVALLEN ZELFS GRATIS. VRIJ VAN ELKE VERWIJZING NAAR DE OORSPRONKELIJKE PLAATS TUSSEN DE ANDERE FRAGMENTEN VAN DE ANGST, IN DE VORMING VAN ZINNEN. ZO’N GEORDENDE SET VAN BEGRIPPEN DIE DIE WE KUNNEN ALTIJD OM OPNIEUW TE CREËREN , JUIST OM IN PRINCIPE NIET VOOR EENS EN ALTIJD EEN ORDE TE VESTIGEN. ONZE PASSEN WOORDEN NIET IN EEN ZIN DAAR ALLE GENERATIES NIET TEGELIJKERTIJD KUNNEN BESTAAN.
NET ALS IN DE TAAL VAN DE OPDRACHTGEVER OF MOGELIJKE TOEKOMSTIGE SCENARIO’S, IS IN EEN CHAOTISCHE WERELD ECHTER HET SPECIFIEKE SCENARIO DAT TOEKOMSTIGE WERKELIJKHEID ZAL WORDEN ONVOORSPELBAAR. APPERCEPTIE VAN DE WANORDELIJKE WERELD IS HETZELFDE ALS ONZE PERCEPTIE VAN TIJD. DE TAAL IS DE WANORDE VAN ALLE DINGEN MOGELIJKE COMBINATIES DIE WAAR DE HELE TAAL KUNNEN BESTAAN SLECHTS DE ONBEGRIJPELIJKE TOESTAND VAN DE WERELD IN HET GEHEEL DER TIJDEN. FINANCIERING VAN EEN GEBRUIKELIJKE NEUTRALE PERSOON TOT EEN BURGEROORLOG IN HUN TAAL OVER LIJKEN TE SPREKEN, OMDAT JE NIET ECHT NAAR DE TOEKOMST BENT GEWEEST.
DE ORDE VERANDERING IS WANORDE. RADICALE VERANDERINGEN ZIJN MOGELIJK MET VOORBEDACHTEN RADE. HET WORDT NIET GEANNULEERD OMDAT ER GEEN MANIER IS OM AANKOMENDE PROBLEMEN ALS ER EEN VERANDERING OPTREEDT. RADICALE VERANDERINGEN KUNNEN HET EINDE VAN DE WERELD OP VOORHAND BETEKENEN. HOEWEL WE NIET VAN TE VOREN KUNNEN BESCHRIJVEN, KUNNEN WE ACHTERAF ELKE BESCHRIJVING NATUURLIJK GEMAKKELIJK WIJZIGEN. VERANDERING IS NIET HET RESULTAAT VAN DE WIJZIGING, MAAR ZELF WIJZIGING.
OMDAT NIET DE TOEKOMST MAAR WIJZELF DOOR UITBREIDING VAN DE TAAL IN DE TIJD, VERANDERT DE ONDERGANG VAN ALLE HUIDIGE CONCEPTEN VAN DE ZIEKTE VAN DE WERELD BUITEN, OM VERANDERING TE BRENGEN DOOR VAN DEZELFDE HOOGRE EEN STAAT VAN CHAOS TE CREEREN. OP ZEKERE HOOGTE ZAL U NIET LEREN VAN DE GESCHIEDENIS, MAAR BENT U ZELF HET UITBREIDEN VAN DE TAAL IN DE TIJD ALS DE ONDERGANG VAN DE CONCEPTEN IN DEZE VOLGORDE VAN DE WERELD, TOT VER VOORBIJ HET HEDEN. DANK U.
On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the design of the typeface ‘Hollandsche Mediæval’, we invite you to Type & Characters, a manifestation comprising an exhibition, a publication, performances, screenings and discussions.
With the works and contributions by Re’em Aharoni, Keunpyo Ahn, David Bennewith, David Bernstein, Laurenz Brunner, Jasper Coppes, Henk Gianotten, Roosje Klap, Mathieu Lommen, Hans van Maanen, Ane Østrem, Sjoerd de Roos, Henk Tieman, Sander Uitdehaag, CIVIC VIRTUE & Lawrence Weiner.
The exhibition was curated by Paul Gangloff. Type & Characters receives the support of the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Stadsdeel West and Canada Type.