. . ----+--+- ' | . -+--+- ' | Thirtyfour.org -+------------------------- '
What's the nature of the Earth? The Earth is a planet, with people on it. You've described the Earth with certain characteristics. But is the description of a thing the same as the nature of the thing itself? No, and yet... I can offer you nothing more than a description. As... you cannot know true natures. If we can't know true natures, how can we even discuss them? We can compare our descriptions to the realities we perceive. But if our descriptions are in fact the realities we perceive... ? Exactly. But they're not exactly true nature. So how can we discuss true nature if we have no way of knowing it? I can only offer you a description. We can only talk about the description of things. Is that enough of a vector to get at the nature of a problem? Over things we cannot talk about, we must be silent. This is what Wittgenstein would say. Is it your position that things we cannot have absolute knowledge of, we cannot have any knowledge of? No. But there are some things that it's better to be silent about. But basically, as long as everyone is understanding each other, we can talk about whatever we want. But what's the critera beyond which it's no longer reasonable to talk about something? When no-one can understand you. Linguistically or conceptually? Both. If I ask you if a squidge was green, what would you say? Which squidge? What do you mean? See, we can't talk about squidges, because it doesn't mean anything to you, or to me. A squidge is like a smudge. You just made that up. I think a squidge is like an alien. I can't help but feel that we haven't been very productive today. What do you know about Wittgenstein regarding the true nature of things? Well, he wrote the Tractatus, wherein he made the argument that language can express everything it can express clearly, and that which it cannot express, should not be spoken of. But again: how do you determine what cannot be spoken about, what cannot be expressed, without attempting a failure? He had some categories.. How did he get them? The logic of language. So is his infrastructure somehow exempt from the logic it creates? He claims that in order to follow the argument, you would have had to go beyond the argument on the page. He says something like, now that you've been able to climb up this ladder, you'll see that you must be able to throw it away. It seems like a life spent in the pursuit of something that by your own admission is worthless, is, maybe, explorative, but... Well, he changed a lot of positions later in life. So what's your takeaway about Wittgenstein? Is language an appropriate vector to gain understanding, or is it all sound and fury, signifying nothing? I think he's basically right, that there are things that you cannot (unintelligible) like maybe God, however, other things that he's saying, could be adequately expressed through other means, not only language. ---------- What's the commonality between the operas you've seen? What mood do you need to be in, what thing do you want to see, to best appreciate them? Satyagraha was completely different than any of the other ones... It was conceptual, conceptual opera. And even Don Giovanni was totally different, because it was so classical. And obviously, if you see a Wagner opera -- and his philosophy was "total artwork" -- so he's usually creating really incredible sets. His was the most outrageous opera I've seen; there were elevators on the stage, and crazy lighting. But you need patience. You think operas require patience? More so than a play, or a ballet? You have to really love opera music. I don't really love opera music, so... Some people say opera music is the pinnacle of music. Yeah... I think the opera requires patience. Do you think it's still an act of being entertained, in the same way a stage show is entertaining, for example? Much more trying. It's like watching an art film. But you watch those way more often than you would see an opera. Because I like things that are visual. Operas are visual? The ones that I've gone to have been particularly visual. A lot of operas are story-driven, or can be complex... I think the Wagner one was pretty complex, for example. But they're not acting the story, they're singing the story. So you have to kind of know the story already? Yeah, to some degree. But it's about the emotion -- or, that's what I always took away from it. Converting emotion from stage direction to singing, to the voice, the only perfect instrument. I think my favorite was Satyagraha, precisely because it was the least operatic. Thanks for talking about operas with me. Oh! ---------- What are you working on? Candle holder. How does it fit in to your broader ideas, and the broader context of your work? I think people should approach life with art. Transforming the world around us on a daily basis. So, here we are. Is what you're doing now transforming your world, or other people's worlds as well? This candle holder? Just my world. I mean, plus you. But we share basically exactly the same world. Most of your work revolves around the public sphere. Public spaces, and work that can be appreciated by a public body, rather than by individual people. Does this work fit into that vision of what you find important, or would you say this work is outside of that vision? It's not what I think is part of the public sphere, but I think it's an important part of my life. You mentioned earlier that you'd like to document all of these candle holders. What are your plans for those documents? Do you have any yet? Maybe I would just keep them in a folder. You know? I could look at them later, and see them all next to each other. And reflect on... certain feelings that one has about being creative. Do you hope to see an evolution in your design? Or do you view each piece independently, not part of a series? They're independent. They may show some growth, or increased technical ability... I would hope each one is interesting for its own sake. Is it possible for serial work in the same medium, and on the same subject, to really be independent? Why not? I feel like this is maybe the difference between designers and artists. A designer might think of each thing as its own... whereas, if you're a minimal artist, you might make fifty of the same thing, and the claim is that you'd have fifty of them. So is serial work always understood in the context of the body of work as a whole? (long pause) There's -- there's no rule.