2nd Lecture 2015/2016 »What is a texture?«
Etymology; from Middle French „texture“, borrowed from Latin „textura“ (a weaving, web, texture, structure), from „texere“ (to weave), past participle „textus“. General meaning; the state of material, the feel or shape of its surface or substance; the colour, smoothness, roughness, softness, etc. of something. Meaning in art and design; the quality given to a work of art or design by the composition and interaction of its parts.
What we recognize in every moment, also when we are sleeping, are particles taken from all the movements, also they may pause for a shorter or longer time, which are floating around us.
The question is which principles we use to order the particles. We do it involuntarily. We do not thinking about it.
If we start to think about it, we start to be someone who is aware of his possibility to create.
What we recognize is a special kind of woven particles. Special kind because of the rules we involuntarily use to interweave the particles. Instead of particles, we can talk about lines from point to point. Every particle is a conglomeration of lines from point to point and every point itself is in its microstructure such a conglomeration. We can continue from conglomeration to conglomeration until we find in the depths of the material world the impossibility of deciding if the smallest element is made of mass or of energy. The scientists call this phenomenon the Uncertainty Principle, first formulated by Heisenberg.
Although we are not scientists, we have to deal with the same problem. We are finally unable to fix the reality we recognize. Every recognition is in fact an unstable phenomenon. To be orientated in our daily life, we need something stable, we need something that gives us security that something will be with us tomorrow. We appreciate every kind of stability, which may be our ownership, our business, our family and all the written and unwritten laws to protect the state of stability and with it the state of security we have earned through our daily work.
The problem with this kind of stability is that it is an illusion and we know that.
The stability does not belong to the object itself but rather more to the structure on which any object is build. The rules of this structure we call grammar.
The worth of a design or any other kind of artwork therefore is given by the representation of the underlying grammar of an object but not by the representation of the object itself.
The only way to show the underlying grammar is to show its impact. We can say that every object at first is a visible form of grammar. This is why we get a text if we put several objects together. As I said last week, the objects could be letters, buildings, trees and so on.
Now it may be a little bit easier to understand why texture has to be seen as the visible structure of a text. A text can only be read if the visibility of the texture can be identified as a subjective act of compounding (we also can say Composition). This compound may not be an originally one, but at the beginning of the long row of copies of the compounds, first there was a “subjective intent”. The difference between an artist and an epigone is that the artist is the first in the row, the epigone follows behind.
To understand what it means to realize a subjective intent by arranging a text, we once again listen to T.S. Eliot:
„The poet’s mind is in fact a receptacle for seeing and storing numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles, which can unite to form a new compound, are present together.“
When Eliot is talking about „numberless feelings, phrases, images“ which he describes as „particles which can unite to form a new compound“, he is talking about texture. In its concrete shaping texture is the volume of colour and status of the respective material which belong to the respective object which itself, or reduced to its particles, is part of the subjective compounding.
With this knowledge in mind, we have to answer the following questions:
On the side of composing:
How to combine?
In which rhythm (basically given by by the relational moving from one body to the other)?
On the theoretical side:
How to describe the relation between particles, objects, text and texture?
The answers we try to give on the side of composing can only by given from a perspective of individual experience.
Every day I write a poem (it is better to say: a correlation of poetic fragments taken from my daily experiences).
Now I have taken the convolute of a half years work and set it in a two-column grid on a paper size 140 x 210 millimetre and a character height of 11,5 point.
I defined the inner of the two columns as fixed and the one which is set on the outer side as flexible. Setting the whole text in this structure on every page is to find a line which is getting connected with the line in the opposite column. The reason for this connection is simply the length of the line: the longest of the lines in the flexible column. This line gets into a structural identity with the line beneath.
You may think that this identity is nothing but a random connection. But it is easy to understand, that the connection of two things which are building together a new identity is generally not the result of something defined by a specially defined objective. With a closer look you will see that what we call a purposeful intent, in fact is based on our fundamental yearnings, such as not being alone, being kept warm, being saturated, being safe and without fear and so on. Also wishes like being able to fly, diving into the depth of the ocean, climbing the highest mountain form a part of our elementary desire.
If we are talking about random that means a description for something that happens without a predefined purpose or in relation to a failed intention. In those cases we say: it happened accidentally.
I prefer to say: it happened by chance (in double meaning of the word “chance“). To say it with John Cage: „The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accordance with nature, in her manner of operation“, which means to have any chance of coming closer to your fundamental being by any given operation, no matter if it is the whisper of the wind, the water or the traffic on 5th Avenue or two people sitting near by in a bus or in a classroom like two parts of a poem in the same line.
I wrote the poems in my so-called mother tongue i.e. in German. At last, I translated them into in English. To be honest, I am far away from speaking this language in an appropriate manner for translating poems. So why this pretension?
As long as we believe being secured in some kind of an obvious familiarity like we did listening to and speaking our own language or being surrounded by people from our country, company or family, we lost our knowledge about being a stranger.
How often it is much easier to understand being a stranger and learn how to deal with it, than staying in a compulsive familiarity without any possibility of talking about the personal strangeness. As long as we are aware our own strangeness, the desire to be a part of the world is alive in us and we will do anything to get into contact with it. But as long as we remain unconscious about our fundamental strangeness, we creep away from the world and try to get back into the lost womb.
Another very important reason for me for the translation was to provoke the chance operation again to get into a state which Arthur Rimbaud refers to as: „I am not talking, something is talking me.“
I used the format of this book to newly arrange the lineation. The size and the grid had an important influence on how the lines are connecting. You can read the lines in their vertical connection or as a lineation on the respective left or right page. So the combination of the words and short sentences and with it the secondary meaning depends on the formal conditions. This is the right point at which to explain the difference between the primary meaning and the secondary. In relation to the questions about contingency – about our understanding of what happens by accident that we can call random or define it as chance operation –, I hinted at before: The sense of our acting is primarily given by the elementary yearnings. This acting happens involuntarily and it flows through every so called deliberate action.
To understand this acting (our acting in relation to another object) as a combination of fragments which exists out of them self, is one of the most important precondition for every artwork.