By Ira Livingston
A shift in how we comprehend the area and ourselves, additional displacing the nature/culture divide as soon as so definitive for modernity
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Extra info for Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics
The fast, cold rivers that run into Lake Superior have cut deep gorges through the basalt that slopes steeply down to the lake. The rivers are stained the color of Coca-Cola by the dissolved iron, and the names of the rivers (Manitou, Baptism, Temperance, Knife, Gooseberry) speak of the lives and gods of the Native peoples and the white settlers who displaced them—the alternating bands of red and white that settled around the lake. The stalwart Protestants, whose God was a mighty fortress, called the concentrically banded rocks “fortiﬁcation” agates.
Foucault’s Order of Things traces shifts in the Western episteme since the seventeenth century, focusing on the interrelated histories of linguistics, biology, and economics. T. tend to be more consistently geological (for example, in representing knowledges as deposits that displace and metamorphose previous strata). These metaphors help convey the sense of impersonal processes at work over very large scales of time and place. It may also be helpful to think of epistemic shifts in analogy with more clear-cut events: I like to use as such an analogy the “great vowel shift” in medieval English, in which the pronunciation of vowel sounds shifted, as if each were yoked in tandem, over the course of several centuries, leaving only traces of earlier pronunciations fossilized in English spelling.
Since art can work with what is abjected by hegemonic categories, it is easy to make epistemological art by deploying grids and combinatories that play with similarity and difference. Here are just a few projects using everyday things around the house (Michel Foucault meets Martha Stewart): * Make a grid of twelve-inch squares on your wall, with small nails at the intersections. Hang small objects of approximately the same size on the nails, each as different from each other as possible (for example, a book, a wine glass, a photograph, and so on).
Between Science and Literature: An Introduction to Autopoetics by Ira Livingston