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  351 TA 10 (2+3) pp. 351–357 Intellect Limited 2012 Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research Volume 10 Numbers 2 & 3 © 2012 Intellect Ltd Miscellaneous. English language. doi: 10.1386/tear.10.2-3.351_7 Christoph KlütsCh SCAD Savannah t   m c: rmk  Kky’ c       When Wassily Kandinsky turned his back on representation, two ontologi-cal realms became accessible: the inner   , i.e. spiritual, emotional, psychological, and sensual realm, and the abstract  , i.e. formal and mathematical realm. Most modern aesthetic theories stem from here as they reject aesthetic value through representation or master narratives and favour a more scientific agenda (think, i.e. of political, sociological, psychological, anthropological, structuralistic, constructivist, mathematical, biological amongst other approaches). But at the ontological bottom of any scientific theory we have to make a choice: do we focus on unsplittable entities, which – governed by laws – constitute reality or do we focus on processes which explain changes, transitions, movements, etc. 1 In many fields we still search for the grand unifying theory that could synthesize both: matter and energy, location and movement, brain and mind.  And ‘new’ phenomena puzzle us ontologically: i.e. what is information or memory, both technical and biological? Kandinsky opened a door. Behind that door lays an aesthetic investigation of a realm which is beyond repre-sentation. I want to argue that the notions of abstract or spiritual are falling short and that instead deep philosophical questions are raised. In the form of a sketch, Kandinsky’s point will be placed between Max Bill, Henri Bergson and Michel Henry.  1. Alfred N. Whitehead is the most prominent figure to argue for a scientific model that focuses on process rather than substance.  Christoph Klütsch 352  2. The philosophical aspects of information aesthetics and its application to art production can be found in Klütsch (2007a). The article is an English summary of the German book publication: Computergrafik:  Ästhetische Experimente zwischen  zwei Kulturen. Die Anfänge der Computerkunst in den 1960er Jahren  (2007b). 3. ‘Setzen wir anstelle des Begriffes ‘Elementarwörterbuch’ das Wort ‘Zeichenrepertoire’ und anstelle des Begriffes ‘ Kompositionslehre ’ das Wort ‘Manipulations- repertoire’, so erkennt man in der Formulierung Kandinskys nichts weniger als die seherische Vorwegnahme informations- theoretischer Programmkunst’ (in Stiegler 1970: 39–41). In 1954 Max Bense was invited to teach ‘information’ at the Ulm School of Design by his friend and concrete artist Max Bill, who was one of Kandinsky’s students at the Bauhaus. 2  During that time Bill worked on the introduction for the third German edition of Kandinsky’s Punkt und Linie zu Fläche . In ‘Point and line to plane’ (first published in German 1926 during his Bauhaus period 1922–1933) Kandinsky speaks of grammatical structures, numerical terms and a future science for aesthetics: The multiplicity and complexity in expression in the case of the ‘tiniest’ form – achieved by only minimal variations in size – offer even the non-specialist a convincing example of the expressive power and expressive depth of abstract forms. As these means of expression are developed further in the future, and as the receptivity of the spectator increases, more precise concepts will become indispensible and will certainly, in the course of time, be arrived at by measurements. Mathematical expressions will here become essential.([1926] 1994: 544)The relation between Kandinsky’s call for measurement and early compu-ter art has been addressed numerous times, i.e. art historians Max Imdahl (1968: 281) contrasted Bense’s aesthetic with Kandinsky; Cumhur Erkut pointed out the parallels between computer art and Kandinsky (2000), computer artist Joseph H. Stiegler (1970: 39–41) 3  sees Kandinsky as a forerun-ner of computer art and Frieder Nake refers to Kandinsky’s notion of an inner necessity (1974: 48f.). Kandinsky remarkably extracts the point from the sentence ‘Today I am going to the cinema.’ at the beginning of ‘Point and line to plane’. Today I am going to the cinema. Today I am going. To the cinemaToday I. am going to the cinema. Today I am going to the cinema([1926] 1994: 540f.)By moving the point that functions as a full stop in the first sentence into the middle of the line of words, the point becomes disruptive and alters the read-ing of the srcinal sentence. In the last line the point is extracted from the sentence and gains autonomy. Kandinsky leaves us with the form of a written sentence of pre-modern-times – without a full stop – and an isolated graphi-cal element – a point – that is now freed to gain other meanings. In ‘Little articles on big questions’ from 1919, he describes how our ‘accustomed eye responds dispassionately to punctuation marks’ (Kandinsky [1919] 1994: 423), that ‘outer expediency and practical significance of the entire world around us have concealed the essence of what we see and hear behind a thick veil’.  And ‘This thick veil hides the inexhaustible material of art’   (Kandinsky [1919] 1994: 423). Kandinsky goes on by saying ‘In these few lines I shall dwell only upon one of these beings, which, in its tiny dimensions approaches “nothing”, but has a powerful living force – the point’ ([1919] 1994: 423). Kandinsky’s description of the geometrical point as ‘union of silence and speech’ identifies punctuation as a zero gravity centre from which meaning is constructed. The  The point as transmedia transaction 353  4. In 1913, Max Scheler announced the Bergson reception in Germany, which had elements of hype, must be overcome (Günther 1991). Hilary Fink (1999) gives an overview of the relation between ‘Bergson and Russian Modernism 1900-1930’. She claims that during the 1920s and 1930s of the twentieth century almost all intellectuals in Russia were acquainted with the basic ideas of ‘Introduction to metaphysics’ (1903) and ‘Creative evolution’ (1907) by Bergson. pauses between words are as important as the chain of words itself. The point ‘belongs to language and signifies silence’. But furthermore: In doing so, I abstract the point from its usual conditions of life. It has become not only not expedient, but also unpractical, nonsensical. It has begun to break through the conventions of its existence; it is on the threshold of an independent life, an independent destiny. The thick  veil has been rent from top to bottom. The astounded ear perceives an unfamiliar sound, the new utterance of what once seemed a speechless being.(Kandinsky [1919] 1994: 423)  And finally, ‘says farewell to the now insane punctuation mark and sees before him a graphic and painterly sign. The point, liberated from its coer-cive destiny, has become the citizen of a new world of art’ (Kandinsky [1919] 1994: 423). Kandinsky extracts what is called in science a primitive notion  ‘point’ from nature, architecture, dance, music, woodcut, amongst others ([1926] 1994: 554). The point is an element that appears in all kinds of artistic media. It is remarkable that Kandinsky extracts the point from artistic media and not from everyday objects or phenomena. Being interviewed by Karl Nierendorf in 1937, Kandinsky answered his question whether abstract art no longer has a connection to nature:No! And no again! Abstract painting leaves behind the ‘skin’ of nature, but not its laws. Let me use the ‘big words’ cosmic laws. Art can only be great if it relates directly to cosmic laws and is subordinated to them. One senses these laws unconsciously if one approaches nature not outwardly, but-inwardly. One must be able not merely to see nature, but to experience it. As you see, this has nothing to do with using ‘objects’.  Absolutely nothing!(Kandinsky 1937: 807)Here, Kandinsky vehemently opposed a naïve form of materialism.  While Kandinsky searched in Munich for a connection with the inner nature in The Spiritual in Art  (1911), the Swiss Ferdinand de Saussure held his ‘Third Course of Lectures in General Linguistics’ (1910–1911) in Geneva and Henri Bergson, 4  the French philosopher of vitalism and imma-nence, said in the lecture on ‘The perception of change’ given at Oxford the same year:My present, at this moment, is the sentence I am pronouncing. But it is so because I want to limit the field of my attention to my sentence. This attention is something that can be made longer or shorter, like the inter- val between the two points of a compass. For the moment, the points are just far enough apart to reach from the beginning to the end of my sentence; but if the fancy took me to spread them further my present  would embrace, in addition to my last sentence, the one that preceded it: all I should have had to do is to adopt another punctuation.(Bergson 1997: 151) At this point it is interesting how Bergson treats the punctuation as a means to extend attention. Roman and Medieval Latin, for instance, do not know the  Christoph Klütsch 354  5. This contraction can be seen in Bergson’s famous cone diagram in the third chapter of Matter and Memory   (1990: 152). punctuation as a closure for sentences. The sentence full stop is a rather modern invention. How was it to read and write without full stops and punctuation?  Where is the idea of a stop, a centre, an anchor coming from? Bergson speaks of a contraction as one of the five senses of subjectivity (Deleuze 1990: 53). ‘As we shall endeavor to show, even the subjectivity of sensible qualities consists above all else in a kind of contraction of the real, effected by our memory’ (Bergson 1990: 34). That contraction, where the distance between perceived object and brain is zero, is the point where affection arises, subjectivity and personality are established, perception and memory are connected. 5  Very much like Kandinsky, the point is thus a key element that needs to be exposed to a force. When a point is moved and leaves a trace in memory and when drawn or danced, sound and moulded it becomes a line. That which we can describe only mathematically and therefore exists only as abstraction becomes in these very distinct thinkers – Kandinsky and Bergson – an srcin for art, life and spirituality.Two exemplary positions in regards to Kandinsky’s work should be mentioned. In 1957, Peter Selz drew a direct connection between Bergson and Kandinsky. Selz states: ‘His philosophy finds perhaps the closest parallel in the thinking of Henri Bergson’ (1957: 128). And he supports his comparison  with the following Bergson quote: art, whether it be painting or sculpture, poetry or music, has no other object than to brush aside the utilitarian symbols, the conventional and socially accepted generalities, in short, everything that veils reality from us, in order to bring us face to face with reality itself.(Bergson 1911: 128)Selz points out that for Kandinsky, Realism=Abstraction and Abstraction= Realism. He describes how Kandinsky derives the line from the de- contextualized hyphen and the interlinkage of pure painting, pure music and pure poetry. Selz roots this connection in the nineteenth-century theory of Gesamtkunstwerk and gives Kandinsky’s Der gelbe Klang   (1909) as exam-ple. But, Selz misunderstands the transmedia aspect of Kandinsky’s extrac-tion of the point from different art forms, which then creates a link that goes deeper than the construction of an external Gesamtkunstwerk. Jürgen Claus in contrast gives in 1991 a placement of Kandinsky within the noosphere: About 100 years ago, the cosmic code entered the paintings of Cezanne and van Gogh in the form of a ‘painted code’. These paintings embody an awareness of the philosophical, religious and existential ‘anchorage’ of the cosmic code. Cosmic data have been dissolved into a field of painted energies, no longer seen as earthly things, no longer perceived as mere objects or events. The cosmic data have been melted down together by a transfer of energies. […] Kandinsky’s […] search for a new science, ‘the science of art’ as he called it, started with the ‘proto-element of painting: the point’, reducing the element of time to the point as its briefest form. […] Kandinsky came astonishingly close to defining points (picture elements) as the equivalents of pixels, as close as one could have come to reaching this definition at that time.(Claus 1991: 121) Jürgen Claus’s interpretation of Kandinsky is a consequent extension of his embracement by the computer artist in the 1960s. But it was 1922 when Pierre
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