Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tabula rasa





From the work series about the origin of ideas, -Tabula rasa.

Tabula rasa
1998
Oak, wax,
Six plates, quotation in six languages

Art and philosophy are often thrown in the same pot during discussions, by meaning that both are concerned with issues aside from mainstream concerns therefore frequently are labeled as being difficult if not fussy. Throughout time our disciplines have developed such highly tuned and refined language that it often creates an alienating effect on some
Leaving this obvious prerogative aside there is an inevitable difference between our fields of research. To say it in a blunt way one could state that- while Philosophy is concerned to free the thought from the ballast of unnecessary imagery and to condense facts from the vapor of thought, the visual art tends to the opposite searching for the pure shape the visual form liberated from means of justification and explanation
This is of cause very simplified and in reality I now quite little colleges that are radical formalistic or people that engage in philosophy that can state opinions without the use of visual symbols and iconography. I am attracted by this bicameral psyche dilemma.
During the last year of my final work I frequently engaged my father, - that was amazingly agile within philosophical thought in discussions, to counteract my visual ideas with his knowledge to form a sort of synergy. By profession he was a practicing p├Ądiatritan, specialized in children with mental and motoric disabilities and naturally we were soon discussing a lot about cognitive developing processes of children, the inborn and acquired grows in mental and motoric functions.
Where do ideas and abilities generate? It let me to the series of works under the term, - Origin of ideas.
In 1998, I participated in a two-week international workshop in the Monastery Bentlage in Rheine, Germany that was called, - Local time. At the workshop I created the series of wax plates (Latin: blank slate or originating from the tabula rasa-wax plate, a early writing tool) that all had been engraved in the language of the participating nationalities. (English, Finnish, French, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese).
“There is nothing in your mind, that has not been in your senses”
Sections sewed out of a single oak beam and covered with wax assembled the plates; the text image was hammered into the wax with lead letter blocks from a printing press.
The quotation originates from John Locke and refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world. This work is one of three-contra dictionary works, -all dealing with the origin of ideas in philosophical history.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz that pointed out the structures on the rough wax surface and its translucency - that lets the underlying surface shine through, was using these visual metaphors to contradict John Locks statement. His response to the thesis was s to argue that there always is an under laying structure. He, G.W.L., added therefore to the Statement of “ There is nothing in your mind, that has not been in your senses” the appendix” except the mind itself”.

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