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Jag hörde språket säga till sig själv:
“Jag är allt som finns.”
Men vad skulle det annars kunna säga?

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I’m interested in the symbol and figure as non-linguistic entity. I believe language and figuration are opposed to each other and that the symbol is closer in kind to the abstraction than it is to signification and representation. The premise for my work may consequently be understood as being in opposition to the assumption that the symbol/figuration is a form of language, that it is language-like — often considered a crude form of language even. In short, that the symbol/figuration represents (a term which, to make a point, I’ll be spelling as ‘re-present’). This is of course not a mistake that happens in terms of art specifically. We can recognize this same mistake when speaking about ‘body language’, for example, since the very term implies that we misconstrue bodily interaction to be a form of language. Although the opposite ought to be the more intuitive, i.e. that language is a form of bodily interaction. We have turned the axis of power and explanation upside down without even noticing it. The effects are more far reaching than you think, trust me.

This means a habit of conceiving life as language when the opposite approach is the logically valid premise. Abstraction, figuration, ‘inventing’ symbols and playing with existing symbols therefore means the very opposite — to undermine this ‘gaze of language’. Because truly nothing in the realm of the senses is ever less than immediate. Nothing really re-presents: Everything perceived is perceived as presented to us. Therefore I need not argue that a figuration in art should be understood as abstract rather than re-presenting something ‘other than’. If you think otherwise, you need to explain how a figuration can re-present. The burden of proof is not mine.In fact, it’s a tall order to explain how language can represent even, merely because it is perceived by the same terms as any sense perception. Thus it’s more apt to claim language to be a figuration than to claim the figure to re-present.

And so again, we have it all backwards. We assume the possibility, as well as the likelihood, of, re-presentation, and consequently try to understand the seeming riddle ‘why something re-presents’. How can it be — we ask —  that this drawing of a hippopotamus looks just like a hippopotamus?! It seems bafflingly realistic… But in truth, only a madman — yes, I’m referring to you — would compare a drawing to a full fledged living animal that could kill you merely by sitting down in your couch while you’re already taking a nap in it. So no, the drawing does not look like anything other than a drawing. 

Photography is even worse in this sense. Your passport image looks nothing like you, and the recognition it nevertheless facilitates rests solely on the fact that all humans are culturally brainwashed to share the same delusion. Therefore, IKEA can use photographs to show how their furniture looks but I’ve yet to see someone use furniture to show how their photographs look. Why not then, if they’re so similar? It would literally be the same assumption at work in both cases. Only the presumptuous and habitual gaze of language makes us believe that the photograph is something more than a thing in its own right.

Why is this hypnosis-like habit a problem, you might ask? Well, think about it like this. When you listen to people speaking a language you don’t understand, isn’t it more like a kind of music? Now, listen to a language you do understand — where did the music go? You don’t hear it anymore but it didn’t disappear, obviously, you just stopped listening to it. You heard a presentation and you instinctively and immediately covered it up with another presentation, using your imagination. And you do this so habitually that you have become completely oblivious to doing it. This is a source of confusion on a level so fundamental we might call it cultural dementia (to change up our usual term, re-presentation). We’re suspended in this state of oscillating between life as it appears to our bodily senses and life as language, because they cannot be combined. Where one is, the other is not, because the sound that is the word and the sound that isn’t, is the same form of perception, on the same level on perception. You may see a hippopotamus or you may see a drawing, but you must ultimately choose between them. So choose wisely which aspect of the oscillation you invest in; the choice is the choice of an entire world.