by Caitlin Murray

MOVIES + CARS by Caitlin Murray


GUN CRAZY (1950)




VERTIGO (1958)




THE KILLER IS LOOSE (1956) (minute 43ish to 44.5ish)

HIGHWAY DRAGNET (1954) (16:30 - 17:20)

THE DEFIANT ONES (1958) opening clip to minute three





The chief interest of all is the quest for what is abiding in the flux of things. 

Ionia proper was a country without a past. That explains the secular character of the earliest Ionian philosophy. 

In its religious sense the word "god" always means first and foremost and object of worship, but already in Home that has ceased to be its only signification. Hesiod's Theogony is the best evidence of the change. It is clear that many of the gods mentioned there were never worshipped by any one, and some of them are mere personifications of natural phenomenon or even human passions (No one worshipped Okeanos and Thethys, or even Ouranos, and still less can Phobos and Deimos be regarded as gods in the religious sense). This non-religious use of the word "god" is characteristic of the whole period we are dealing with, and it is of the first importance to realize it.  No one who does so will fall into the error of deriving science from mythology.

what are you if you are a non-religious god? what does that mean? what is your purpose? who are you? 


It was at Miletos that the earliest school of scientific cosmology had its home. Miletos prospered during over half a century of peace through treaty-relations with the Lydians (Croesus was the leader of the Lydians). 

THALES (floruit, 585 BC)

The founder of the Milesian school and the first-person of science / Herodotus says that Thales foretold an eclipse of the sun, although he would not have known its cause - "To explain what we are told about Thales no more is required. He said there would be an eclipse by a certain date; and luckily it was visible in Asia Minor, and on a striking occasion." The introduction of Egyptian geometry into Hellas is ascribed to Thales and it is probable that he did visit Egypt; for he has a theory of inundations of the Nile. Thales applied the empirical rule to practical problems which the Egyptians had never faced, and that he was thus the originator of general methods. This is a sufficient title to his fame. It was also common for these early philosophers to be involved in politics. 

So far as we know, Thales wrote nothing, and no writer earlier than Aristotle (b. 384 BC) knows anything of him as a scientific man and a philosopher - in older traditions he was an engineer and an inventor. He was said to have introduced the practice of steering a ship's course by Ursa Minor. He also created an almanac and gave, for a series of years, the equinoxes and solstices, the phases of the moon, the heliacal risings and settings of certain stars and also weather predictions. 

Aristotle makes the following claims about the cosmology of Thales:
1. The earth floats on water. 2. Water is the material cause of all things. 3. All things are full of gods. The magnet is alive for it has the power of moving iron.

The claim was that water was the stuff of which all other things were transient forms. The prevailing interest at this time was meteorological. Why did he think this? Of all the things we know, water seems to take the most various shapes. 

The third claim mentioned above is supposed by Aristotle to imply that Thales believed in a "soul of the world." All of this has to be taken very cautiously. Burnet spends hardly any time on this claim. 

AXANIMANDER (floruit, 565 BC)

Also a citizen of Miletos - an associate of Thales and a generation younger. Some writers have credited him with the invention of the gnomon (sundial), but that can hardly be correct. Herodotos tells us this instrument came from Babylon and Thales must have used it to determine the solstices and equinoxes. Anaximander was also the first to construct a map - of enterprise in the Milesian enterprise in the Black Sea. What we know of Anaximandar comes from the First Book of Theophrastos (b. 371 BC):

     Anaximandar of Miletos, son of Praxiades, a fellow-citizen and associate of Thales, said that the material cause and first element of things was the Infinite, he being the first to introduce this name of the material cause. He says it is neither water nor any other of the so-called elements, but a substance different from them which is infinite, from which arise all the heavens and the worlds within them. 
     He says that this is "eternal and ageless," and that it "encompasses all the worlds."
     And into that form which things take their rise they pass away once more, "as is meet; for they make reparation and satisfaction to one another for their injustice according to the ordering of time," as he says in these somewhat poetical terms.
     And besides this, there was an eternal motion, in which was brought about the origin of the worlds. 
     He did not ascribe the origin of things to any alteration in matter, but said that the oppositions in the substratum, which was a boundless body, were separated out.

Anaximandar taught, then, that there was an eternal, indestructible something out of which everything arises, and into which everything returns; a boundless stock from which the waste of existence is continually made good. His argument as preserved by Aristotle:

Further, there cannot be a single, simple body which is infinite, either, as some hold, one distinct from the elements, which they then derive from it, or without this qualification. For there are some who make this (i.e. a body distinct from the elements) the infinite, and not air or water, in order that the other things may not be destroyed by their infinity. They are in opposition to one another - air is cold, water moist, and fire hot - and therefore, if any one of them were infinite, the rest would have ceased to be by this time. Accordingly they say that what is infinite is something other than the elements, and from it the elements arise. 

If Thales had been right in saying water was the fundamental reality, it would not be easy to see how anything else could have existed. We must, then, have something not itself one of the warring opposites, something more primitive, out of which they arise, and into which they once more pass away. It was natural for Aristotle to regard this theory as an anticipation or presentment of his own doctrine of "indeterminate matter" and that he should sometimes express the views of Anaximandar in terms of the later theories of "elements." It is clear that he would not have used the word "elements" which no one thought of before Empedokles. 

Anaximandar's reason for conceiving the primary susbance as boundless was, no doubt, as indicated by Aristotle, "that becoming might not fail." It is not clear that these words are his own, though the doxographers speak as if they were. The "opposites" are we have seen, at war with one another, and their strife is marked by "unjust" encroachments on either side. The warm commits "injustice" in the summer. We must picture, then, an endless mass, which is not any one of the opposites we know, stretching out without limit on every side of the world we live in. This mass is a body out which our world once emerged, and into which it will one day be absorbed again. 

We are told that Anaximandar believed that there were "innumerable world in the Boundless" and that, though all the worlds are perishable, there are an unlimited number of them in existence at the same time. When a portion of the Boundless was separated off from the rest to form a world, it first differentiated itself into the two opposites, hot and cold. The hot appears as flame surrounding the cold; the cold, as earth with air surrounding it. Thales had said that the earth floated on the water, but Anaximandar realized that it was freely suspended in space and did not require any support. 

The traditional cosmos had given place to a much grander scheme, that of innumerable vortices in a boundless mass, which is neither water nor air. In that case, it is difficult to resist the belief that what we call the fixed stars were identified with the "innumerable worlds" which were also "gods."

We have seen enough to show us that the speculations of Anaximandar about the world were of an extremely daring character. We come now to the crowning audacity of all, his theory of the origin of living creatures. The Theophrastean account of this has been well preserved by the doxographers:

     Living creatures arose from the moist element as it was evaporated by the sun. Man was like another animal, namely a fish, in the beginning. 
     The first animals were produced in the moisture, each enclosed in a prickly bark. As they advanced in age, they came out upon the drier part. When the bark broke off, they survived for a short time. 
     Further, he says that originally man was born from other animals of another species. His reason is that while other animals quickly find food by themselves, man alone requires a lengthy period of suckling. Hence, had he originally been as he is now, he would never have survived. 
     He declares that at first human beings arose in the inside of fishes, and after having been reared like sharks, and become capable of protecting themselves, they were finally cast ashore and took to land. 

It is clear from this that Anaximandar had an idea of what is meant by adaptation to environment and survival of the fittest, and that he saw the higher mammals could not represent the original type of animal. 

ANAXIMENES (floruit, 546 BC)

Of Anaximenes, Theophrastos wrote:

Anaximenes....who had been an associate of Anaximandar, said, like him, that the underlying substance was one and infinite. He did not, however, say it was indeterminate, like Anaximander, but determinate; for he said it was Air. From it, he said, the things that are, and have been, and shall be, the gods and things divine, took their rise, while other things come from its offspring. "Just as," he said, "our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and air encompasses the whole world." 

At first, it looks like a falling off from the more refined doctrine of Anaximandar to a cruder view; but this is not really the case. On the contrary, the introduction of rarefaction and condensation into the theory is a notable advance. 

The primary substance bears the same relationship to the life of the world as to that of man. Now this was the Pythagorean view, and it is also an early instance of the argument from the microcosm to the macrocosm, and so marks the beginning of an interest in physiological matters. 


The spirit of the Ionians in Asia was thoroughly secular, and so far as we can judge, the Milesians wholly ignored traditional beliefs. Their use of the term "god" for primary substance and the innumerable worlds had no religious significance. 

The Orphic religion had two features which were new in Greece. It looked to a written revelation as the source of religious authority, and its adherents were organized in communities, based, not on any real or supposed tie of blood, but on voluntary adhesion and initiation. The main purpose of the Orphic observances and rites was to release the soul from the "wheel of birth," that is, from reincarnation in animal or vegetable forms. The soul so released became once more a god and enjoyed everlasting bliss. They believed in philosophy as a way of life - this idea has long-lasting influence. Science became a religion and to that extent it is true that philosophy was influenced by religion. 

There was a religious revival at this time and we would expect that it would have influence on philosophy, but this was not the case. Phythagoreans and Empedokles, who took part in the religious movement themselves, held views about the soul which flatly contradicted the beliefs implied in their religious practices. There is no room for an immortal soul in any philosophy of this period. Ancient religion was not a body of doctrine. Nothing was required but that the ritual should be performed correctly and in a proper frame of mind; the worshipper was free to give any explanation of it he pleased. 

PYTHAGORAS OF SAMOS (floruit, 532 BC) 

It is not easy to give any account of Pythagoras that can claim to be regarded as historical. He was well-known in the fifth century, both as a scientific man and as a preacher of immortality. It is said that Phythagoras left Samos in order to escape the tyranny of Polykrates and that he founded his society in Kroton. 

The main purpose of the Pythagorean Order was the cultivation of holiness. In this respect it resembled an Orphic society, though Apollo, and not Dionysus, was the chief Pythagorean god. This is doubtless due to the connexion of Pythagoras with Delos, and explains why the Krotoniates identified him with Apollo Hyperboreios. 

Pythagoras apparently preferred oral instruction to the dissemination of his opinions by writing, and it was not till Alexandrian times that any one ventured to forge books in his name. He taught the doctrine of transmigration. This is most easily explained as a development of the primitive belief in the kinship of men and beasts. Further, this belief is commonly associated with a system of taboos on certain kinds of food, and the Pythagorean rule is best known for its prescription of a similar forms of abstinence. 

Examples of Pythagorean rule:

1. To abstain from beans
2. Not to pick up what has fallen
3. Not to touch a white cock
4. Not to break bread
5. Not to step over a crossbar
6. Not to stir the fire with iron
7. Not to eat from a whole loaf
8. Not to pluck a garland
9. Not to sit on a quart measure
10. Not to eat the heart
11. Not to walk on highways
12. Not to let swallow's share one's roof
13. When the pot is taken off the fire, not to leave the mark of it in the ashes, but to stir them together. 
14. Do not look in a mirror beside a light
15. When you rise from the bedclothes, roll them together and smooth out the impress of the body. 

It would be easy to multiply proofs of the close connection between Pythagoreanism and primitive modes of thought, but what has been said is sufficient for our purpose. Now, were this all, we should be tempted to delete the name of Pythagoras form the history of philosophy, and relegate him to the class of "medicine-men."




The earliest recorded excavations of images bearing the distinctive Two-Horned headdress were made in 1900 along Escalerillas Street (now known as Guatemala Street) in Mexico City.  In excavations undertaken by the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History from 1978 to 1982, thirteen sculptures with the Two Horned headdress were found buried in the body of the Templo Mayor alone, and two were found within the Ceremonial Precinct. Generally deposited in small, stone-lined chambers, the sculpture was often accompanied by stone Tlaloc (rain god) vessels; flint knives; shells; animal remains; obsidian blades and polished miniature objects; greenstone beads, masks, and figurines; and other lapidary miniatures and deity insignia.

Although the Olmecs, the Maya, the inhabitants of Xochicalco, and the Tolecs were know to have buried stone monuments, these sculptures were generally mutilated or symbolically killed prior to interment. The phenomenon of the burial of a sculpture representing a specific diety emerges as a distinctively Mexica practice. 

 (left). Two-Horned God sculpture from Offering 1, Templo Mayor. After Garcia Cook 1978: 24. Figure 4 (right). Two-Horned God sculpture from Offering 11, Templo Mayor. After Association Francaise d'Action Artistique 1981: 66.

 (left). Two-Horned God sculpture from Offering 1, Templo Mayor. After Garcia Cook 1978: 24. Figure 4 (right). Two-Horned God sculpture from Offering 11, Templo Mayor. After Association Francaise d'Action Artistique 1981: 66.

 [The Mexia were a Nahua people who founded their two cities Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco on raised islets in Lake Texcoco around AD 1200]

Generally measuring between 30 to 38 cm in height, the figure is seated with knees drawn up to chest and arms crossed over knees. His costume consists solely of a headdress, plain loincloth, and ear ornaments. Most distinctive is the headdress with its two rectangular "horns" projecting from the crown of the head; its headband decorated with circles flanking a central J-shaped curl over the forehead; its triangular-shaped slabs projecting from the nape of the neck; and its long rectangular panel hanging down the figure's back with two notched ovals resembling eggs or bow ties in high or low relief respectively. The ear ornaments are formed by a square with a long pendant from the center. Occasionally, facial paint has survived, primarily an oval of red surrounding the mouth and blue for the rest of the face. Two teeth protrude from beneath the upper lip at the corners of the mouth.

The salient characteristics of the Two-Horned God can be broken down into five categories: pose, headdress, ear ornament, teeth, and facial paint. (Since the only garment worn on the body is a simple loincloth, typical for Aztec males, this will not be considered as a distinctive trait.) Each of these five aspects of the sculpture will be considered to determine the identity of the figure.


The position of anthropomorphic sculpture often defined the gender of the image among the Aztecs. Certain poses were reserved for males and others for females. The seated posture of the Two-Horned God occurs in two variants. Most representations show the figure with knees drawn up to chest, arms crossed, and elbows resting on knees. In Aztec sculpture, this pose is typical for seated males.


The headdress of the Two-Horned God consists of four parts: (1) the two "horns," (2) the panel hanging down the figure's back, (3) the headband, and (4) the triangular attachments at the nape of the neck.

The significance of the turtle shell back device is perhaps more complex than a simple allusion to the earth. In addition to its relationship with the fructifying and creative powers of female fertility deities, it may have been an important symbol of sustenance, based on the reproductive means of the turtle itself. Sahagun described the mysterious birth of turtles as follows: "Thus does it bring forth its young: it lays its eggs on the sand; it buries them in the sand. In some way they go on to be hatched; they hatch. And when it is time to hatch, they are edible; they taste better than turkey eggs." He also says of the turtle, ". . . like the frog, it is edible, good-tasting, very good." The burial of the turtle's eggs and the subsequent birth of living, edible creatures forms a striking conceptual parallel with the act of the planting of agricultural sustenance, especially maize. This resemblance underscores the symbolic relationship between maize and turtles (maize being another figure often represented on the headdress). 

In summary, it appears that two principal complexes are represented by the pose, headdress, ear ornaments, and teeth of the Two-Horned God. One relates to vegetation and fertility, and the other to supremacy and high status. The concepts of sustenance and vegetation are expressed by such insignia as tasseled corn or turtles in the headdress, pulque or rain god ear ornaments, and fertility or rain deity twisted-cord headband and fan-neck attachment. Exalted status is expressed by the jeweled headband. The two teeth and beard also express high status.


Tonacatecuhtli is not only the progenitor of humankind, but also the protector of his creation. On a human level, Tonacatecuhtli feeds the people by providing sustenance, especially maize. Tonacatecuhtli also provides divine sustenance, that is, human lives for sacrifice and autosacrifice, by sending babies to the earth. Tonacatecuhtli sustains the entire cosmos.


The act of burial had a multifaceted meaning for the Mexica that involved concepts of death, renewal, and protection. In mortuary contexts, burial was reserved for special groups of people. The way that a person died determined the treatment of the body and the ultimate destination of the soul. Most corpses were cremated and then buried. The only individuals who were buried directly in the earth were young children or babies; women who died in childbirth; warriors who died in battle; and individuals who died at the "hands" of Tlaloc by drowning, lightning, dropsy, or certain skin diseases. The corpses were often buried in special locations ? the symbolic "homes" of their respective supernaturals. Children, for example, were buried near granaries, sources of sustenance associated with the Lord of Sustenance, and women who died in childbirth were buried near the temple dedicated to their patron goddesses.

What is the significance of the act of burial to the Mexica? It appears that burial, as it does everywhere, operated on both a symbolic and a pragmatic level. Symbolically, burial was associated with the honored dead: those who died in particular sacrifices or under circumstances that indicated that they were "chosen" or "touched" by certain patron gods. At the same time, the act of burial was clearly linked symbolically with the world of the living and with survival in the form of agricultural, animal, and human reproduction and sustenance. In more practical terms, burial was a means of hiding hoarded valuables. Precious commodities were interred most frequently in the temple of a polity, the most sacred and thus the most tenaciously defended location and symbol for a political group. Although burial was one of many different ways of presenting an offering to the gods, it differed from other sacrifices, such as tossing an offering into a fire or into a body of water. Through burial an object was not destroyed, but rather was removed from circulation and hoarded in a specific immovable location. The burial of offerings in the Templo Mayor integrated the opposing meanings of burial - life and death - perhaps also channeling valued nonperishable commodities of the empire back into the empire. Furthermore, the permanent interment of precious and sacred objects in the Templo Mayor served to recharge the potency of the Templo Mayor as a powerful and effective political and ideological tool.


The Templo Mayor at Tenochtitlan, from 'Historia de Nueva Espana', 1770 (engraving) 

The Templo Mayor at Tenochtitlan, from 'Historia de Nueva Espana', 1770 (engraving) 

 Throughout time in Mesoamerica, structures significant for religious as well as political reasons were the primary locations for cache interment. Nevertheless, the quantity of offerings in general as well as of this specific type buried in the Templo Mayor is striking. 

 The capital of the Mexica Aztecs, Tenochtitlan, was a city constructed on an artificial island set in the marshy waters of Lake Texcoco. Although joined to the north to another, smaller island-city called Tlatelolco, both centers were essentially autonomous. Tenochtitlan, but not Tlatelolco, was divided into four quarters by four avenues that radiated out from the ceremonial precinct in the cardinal directions. The layout of Tenochtitlan mirrored the Aztec view of the horizontal organization of the cosmos, which was divided into five world directions with the Ceremonial Precinct as the central direction.

 In the conceptual center of the Ceremonial Precinct was the principal temple of the empire, the Templo Mayor. This structure consisted of a low platform on which was elevated a tall pyramidal base with two stairways on the western side leading up to a pair of temples situated at the top. These twin temples were dedicated to a pair of opposing deities, Tlaloc (rain god) and Huitzilopochtli (god of war and the patron of the Mexica). These twin shrines have been considered a supreme place of duality, like Omeyocan, the highest of thirteen heavens where lived the gods of creation, Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl or Ometeotl. The Templo Mayor was also considered an axis mundi, a place of passage between upper and lower realms. In fact, it has been suggested that the twin temples not only symbolized the highest of heavens, but also the pair of clashing hills in the netherworld that must be passed by the dead on their way to Mictlan, one of the Aztec places of afterlife. 

The burial of Tonacatecuhtli in the Templo Mayor expressed symbolically the identification of the Templo Mayor and Tenochtitlan as center and as supreme place, just as Omeyocan, the place of duality, was the highest of all possible realms. It also identified the Templo Mayor with Tonacatepetl, the mythological Hill of Sustenance, paralleling Tenochtitlan's role as central redistributor for goods collected in tribute. The sacrifice and burial of Tonacatecuhtli was probably a petition for sustenance in the form of abundant maize. It implied that the Mexica were responsible for the continued supply of the maize that was essential for humankind. In cosmic terms, the sacrificial petition to the Lord of Creation and the interment of Tonacatecuhtli underscored the need for human births to feed the gods and singled out the Mexica as responsible for the continuation of the cosmos as a whole.

LIUBOV POPOVA by Caitlin Murray

Born 24 April 1889

"The Cubist period (the problem of form) is followed by the Futurist period (the problem of motion and color); the principle of the abstraction of the parts of an object is followed with logical inevitability by the abstraction of the object itself. This is the road to nonobjectiveness. The representational problem is followed by the problem of the construction of color and line (Post-Cubism) and of color (Suprematism)."  - Popova

"O.10" exhibition in Petrograd / Malevich's Suprematist Compositions / Popova's first opportunity to view these works was at this exhibition, where she herself showed a series of Cubo-Futurist paintings. She and Malevich were not on friendly terms; she was much more in the orbit of Tatlin, who, as we know, feuded with Malevich

MALEVICH                         v.                                    TATLIN


Ivanovskoe, Bridge (detail), 1908, oil on canvas, 19 1/8  x 15 1/8 inches. Private Collection, Moscow. 

Ivanovskoe, Bridge (detail), 1908, oil on canvas, 19 1/8  x 15 1/8 inches. Private Collection, Moscow. 

Landscape with Female Figures (detail), 1908, oil on canvas, 13 6/8 x 17 1/8 inches. Private Collection, Moscow. 

Landscape with Female Figures (detail), 1908, oil on canvas, 13 6/8 x 17 1/8 inches. Private Collection, Moscow. 

Cover design for 6 Prints, 1917, color linocut, 13 x 8 7/8 inches. 

Cover design for 6 Prints, 1917, color linocut, 13 x 8 7/8 inches. 

Plate from 6 Prints (detail), 1917, color linocut, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

Plate from 6 Prints (detail), 1917, color linocut, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

Plate from 6 Prints (detail), 1917, color linocut, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

Plate from 6 Prints (detail), 1917, color linocut, 13 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

Painterly Architectonics (detail), 1918, oil on canvas, 22 7/8 x 22 1/8 inches, Costakis Collection, Athens. 

Painterly Architectonics (detail), 1918, oil on canvas, 22 7/8 x 22 1/8 inches, Costakis Collection, Athens. 

Spatial Force Construction (detail), 1921, oil and metal dust on plywood, 27 1/2 x 20 1/4, Tretiakov Gallery. 

Spatial Force Construction (detail), 1921, oil and metal dust on plywood, 27 1/2 x 20 1/4, Tretiakov Gallery. 


The Revolution brought radical change to the entire spectrum of artistic life. Before this Popova has seen herself as the classic easel painter immersed in problems of craft and artistry, living the concerns and problems of her artistic circle, her milieu. Under the new conditions, the status of private life, of living-room debates, and of informal communication took a sharp plunge. The private market for artistic production vanished. The collectors scattered. A new type of artist - the artist as civil servant - was born. Artists were assigned to staging political and social events; a network of art schools and educational institutions grew up despite the harsh economic circumstances; and finally, research institutes, something hitherto unheard-of, were created to study living artistic practice. 

Both the artist's altered social position and the very nature of her work - her teaching and research jobs, which were utterly new for her - required new forms of artistic activity: research and theoretical formulations. 

The Principle of EXPEDIENCY - - - the degree to which a form attains its goal through the appropriate use of material

{End on 212}


VAO CONCEPTS by Caitlin Murray

VAO / one of the small islands off the northeastern coast of Malekula in the archipelago of the New Hebrides, which were renamed Vanuatu in 1980. 


Inevitably any study of Vao must rely heavily on the one major monograph about it - Stone Men of Malekula (1942). Although this ocntains a very large amount of information about Vao, it is obviously incomplete, since Layard spent only three weeks on the island, and while there was not sure what aims he was trying to achieve in his field work. 

So the following analysis is characterized by provisionally and, at times, a paucity of material. In this sense, it is very different from Layard's. While admitting a lack of knowledge in certain areas, Layard regards many of his interpretations as "conclusive" and in other cases offers "ample proof." But certainty is unobtainable in social anthropology when dealing with ethnographic investigations. The quality of such an investigation is relative to the amount of information available. From this information, some kind of concrete logic is often induced, and this serves as an explanatory model of guiding the reader through the ethnography. However, any postulation of a concrete logic is precisely that, an assumption or working hypothesis that will be modified, or not, according to the factual material available. 


Appears under two aspects:

(A) As a mythical hero arriving in a canoe, whence he distributes foodstuffs and pigs together with instructions about how to rear the pigs, and then sails away, taking a woman with him. 
(B) As a deity with the following attributes:
1. Is creator of all man and things.
2. Lives in the moon, where his image may be recognized in the dark areas we call "the man in the moon."
3. Begets all human children by the moon...whence, when ready, the children fall into their mothers' wombs, which are the portal through which they come top the light of day. 
4. Lights up the moon.
5. Secondarily, and by analogy, as luminary, associated with the sun and to a lesser extent with the stars, and, by yet further analogy, with the clouds and the wind. 
6. Through his association with the sun makes trees and plants grow; but has no control over the weather. 
7. Is definitely not a ghost (ta-mat), though like one in respect of the fact that he has no body. 
8. Is the object of no cult or supplication, but is accepted as in all ways good. 

Above all, Ta-ghar is light. Both the warmth of day and esoteric. He is predestinator, deciding how long people will live and when and how they will die, he is a guardian deciding punishments in this life, he is the founder of the "perfect" system of social organization. 

[The Vao term for white men in general is "To-hal-hal" = those who float, those who travel and live in ships. ]


soul - spirit - ghost - dead man

Ta-mat is capable of degrees. Through sacrifice both pigs and men accumulate it and thus grades. The sacrifice of a tusked boar permits a transference of the boar's ta-mat to either another pig or a man if the recipient is of a lower grade than the boar. By gaining the maximum amount of Ta-mat one can become a Ta-ghar on earth - one is unworldly, but still in the world. 

Ta-mat appears to be linked with prestige and ancestral power. There are no chiefs on Vao, but, in an otherwise democratic organization, there is in each village always one dominant family that also happens to be the wealthiest in pigs. 

Incision rituals - a kind of self-sacrifice which involves taking in the psychic powers of the ancestors. 


Abstaining from eating certain kinds of yams during the period of mourning for a young man

the sacred / sacredness is marked by the acquisition of a new name / everything in the Vao world, rather animate or inanimate, is said to possess a name / "only, we do not always know what it is" 


This is a category with an extremely wide extension. It embraces powers that are used for both magical and medicinal purposes. Everyone on Vao, regardless of sex, is acquainted with "man" in some form, which they are able to perform. The structure of every rite contains the four main elements:

  1. abstinence and fasting and observance of certain prohibitions
  2. the concrete medium such as a stone together with ritual actions
  3. a song or incantaton
  4. a muttered prayer

Also, the number four - things being done in fours 


The memel tree is a very tall one on Vao. It has high branches, throwing down lianas on which grow the memel fruit. This fruit is large and red and, of its kind, is unique on Vao. Ta-ghar mythically caused on of these fruits to fall. It split into two parts, which turned into the first man and woman on Vao / The erythina tree's red flowers blossom after it has shed its leaves. This exceptional behavior is very noticeable, being highlighted by the background of the green, dense brush. The flowering proclaims the approach of the intensive calculations leading to the important decision as to which of the two moons - October or November - is the one in which the dead are expected to make their annual return into the land of the living. 

Erythina Tree

Erythina Tree

The only other use of red that appears to be at all symbolically important is the painting of a bride's face vermillion just before she begins the procession to her husband's house. The path leading to his house is decorated with an array of yam poles, which are garlanded with dark red amaranthus flowers. 


The general term for stone is "vet." The most important uses of stone are for the the construction of the dolmens and the stone platforms in rituals. It is on one of these that the major individual Maki sacrifices are performed. The ta-mat of the ancestors who have previously performed Maki inhabit, or hover near, these monoliths. 

The connection between the stone and the ancestors:
Any natural stone or coral of unusually large size or interesting appearance is believed to be the dwelling place or even the petrified personification of some mythical hero


INACTIVITY by Caitlin Murray

Giorgio Agamben / Art, Inactivity, Politics

The divine government of the world is in fact something fundamentally finite. After the Last Judgment, when the history of the world and its creatures is at an end, when the elect have obtained eternal bliss and the damned their eternal retribution, the angels will have nothing more to do. 

A totally idle god is a god without power, who has given up governing the world; this is the god the theologians find it impossible to accept. To avoid the total disappearance of all power, they separate power from the exercise of power and maintain that power does not disappear but that it is simply no longer exercised, thus it assumes the motionless, resplendent form of glory (doxa in Greek). 

-----------------------------------glory and inactivity-----------------------------------

The most important Jewish festival, the shabat, had its theological foundation in the fact that it was not the work of creation but the cessation of all work on the seventh day that was declared sacred. Inactivity thus defines the state proper to God (“Only to God does inactivity (anapausis) really belong” writes Philon, “the Sabbath, which means inactivity, belongs to God” and, at the same time, is the object of eschatological expectations (“they shall not enter into my inactivity” – eis ten anapausin emou, Ps. 95, 11)).

The unspeakable mystery which glory, with its blinding light, is supposed to hide is the mystery of divine idleness, of what God did before creating the world and after the providential government of the world had reached its conclusion. 

The majesty of the empty throne. Funerary relief with a sella curulis. Marble, Roman artwork, 50 BC–50 AD. From the Torre Gaia on the Via Casilina, Rome.

The majesty of the empty throne. Funerary relief with a sella curulis. Marble, Roman artwork, 50 BC–50 AD. From the Torre Gaia on the Via Casilina, Rome.

The mosaic in the arch of Sixtus iii in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (fifth century) depicts an empty throne en‑ crusted with multicoloured stones on which rest a cushion and a cross; beside the throne can be glimpsed a lion, an eagle, a winged human figure, fragments of wings and a crown. 

The mosaic in the arch of Sixtus iii in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (fifth century) depicts an empty throne en‑ crusted with multicoloured stones on which rest a cushion and a cross; beside the throne can be glimpsed a lion, an eagle, a winged human figure, fragments of wings and a crown. 

the empty throne 

It is in Christian circles, however, in the majestic eschatological image of the hetoimasia tou thronou which adorns the triumphal arches and apses of Early Christian and Byzantine basilicas, that the religious significance of the empty throne reaches its climax.

Throne of Preparation, part of a Fresco of the Last Judgment (1300's, Serbia)

Throne of Preparation, part of a Fresco of the Last Judgment (1300's, Serbia)

Historians generally interpret the image of the throne as a symbol of royalty, whether sacred or secular. Such an explanation cannot however account for the empty throne in the Christian hetoimasia. The term hetoimasia is, like the verb hetoimaso and the adjective hetoimos in the Greek translation of the Bible, a technical term which in the Psalms refers to the throne of Yahweh: “The Lord has prepared his throne in heaven” (Ps. 102, 19); “Ready (hetoimos) for ever is his throne” (Ps. 92. 2). Hetoimasia does not allude to the act of preparing or arranging anything; it alludes to the preparedness of the throne. The throne has always been ready and has always awaited the glory of the Lord. According to rabbinical Judaism, the throne of glory is one of the seven items Yahweh created before he created the world. Similarly, in Christian theology, the throne is eternally prepared because the glory of God is coeternal with it. The empty throne is not, therefore, a symbol of royalty but of glory. Glory precedes the creation of the world and survives unto its end. And the throne is not only empty because glory, although coinciding with the divine essence, is not identi‑ fied with it; and also because it is, in its heart of hearts, idleness. The supreme image of sovereignty is empty.

Inactivity does not in fact mean simply inertia, non­‑activity. It refers rather to an operation which involves inactivating, de‑ commissioning (des­‑oeuvrer) all human and divine endeavour.

Art is political in itself, because it is an operation which contemplates and renders non­‑operational man’s senses and usual actions, thus opening them to new possible uses. For this reason art comes so close to politics and philosophy as almost to merge with them. What poetry achieves by the power of speech and art by the senses, politics and philosophy have to achieve by the power of action. By rendering biological and economic operations inactive, they show of what the human body is capable, they open the body to new possible uses.

vis inertiae

interview with Agamben

Thinking about inoperativeness, for example? 
The insistence on work and production is a malign one. The Left went down the wrong path when it adopted these categories, which are at the centre of capitalism. But we should specify that inoperativeness, as I conceive it, is neither inertia nor idling. We must free ourselves from work, in an active sense – I very much like this French word désoeuvrer. This is an activity that makes all the social tasks of the economy, law and religion inoperative, thus freeing them up for other possible usages. For precisely this is proper to mankind: writing a poem that escapes the communicative function of language; or speaking or giving a kiss, thus changing the function of the mouth, which first and foremost serves for eating. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle asked himself whether mankind has a task. The work of the flute player is to play the flute, and the cobbler's job is to make shoes, but is there a work of man as such? He then advanced his hypothesis according to which man is perhaps born without any task; but he soon abandoned it. However, this hypothesis takes us to the heart of what it is to be human. The human is the animal that has no job: it has no given biological task, no clearly prescribed function. Only a powerful being has the capacity not to be powerful. Man can do everything but does not have to do anything. 

Leaving secondary school, I had just one desire – to write. But what does that mean? To write – what? This was, I believe, a desire for possibility in my life. What I wanted was not to 'write', but to 'be able to' write. It is an unconscious philosophical gesture: the search for possibility in your life, which is a good definition of philosophy. Law is, apparently, the contrary: it is a question of necessity, not of possibility. But when I studied law, it was because I could not, of course, have been able to access the possible without passing the test of the necessary. In any case, my law studies came to be very useful for me. Power has dropped political concepts in favour of juridical ones. The juridical sphere never stops expanding: they make laws on everything, in domains where it would once have been inconceivable. This proliferation of law is dangers: in our democratic societies, there is nothing that is not regulated. Arab jurists taught me something that I liked very much. They represent law as a sort of tree, with at one extreme what is forbidden and, at the other, what is obligatory. For them, the jurist's role is situated between these two extremes: that is, addressing everything that one can do without juridical sanction. This zone of freedom never stops narrowing, whereas it ought to be expanded. 



Peter Cockelbergh - Marginalalia: On Pierre Joris Justifying

The concept of “un/working” is crucial here, and needs further elaboration. The word itself is Joris’s translation of “désoeuvrer” / “désoeuvrement,” and goes back to his 1988 translation of Maurice Blanchot’s La communauté inavouable. ‘Désoeuvrer, -é, -ement’ has been translated variously as ‘inoperable,’ ‘worklessness’ and ‘uneventfulness;’ Joris, however, opted for ‘unworking’ so as to maintain the ‘semantic range’ (UC, xxii-xxiii) as much as possible. The literal meaning of ‘être désoeuvré(e)’ is to be idle, to be at a loose end, unemployed, unoccupied, yet Blanchot expands the term tremendously, turning it into an active philosophical and literary concept. Crucial to that concept is the notion of ‘oeuvre:’ a literary or artistic work, both in the sense of a single book or work, and of the collective works or oeuvre of an author. In the preface to his translation, Joris quotes a passage from Blanchot’s L’entretien infinithat gives a good sense of what is at stake in the former’s essay books as well:

To write is to produce absence of the work (worklessness) [désoeuvrement]. Or: writing is the absence of the work as it produces itself through the work and throughout the work. Writing as worklessness [désoeuvrement] (in the active sense of the work) is the insane game, the indeterminacy that lies between reason and unreason.

What happens to the book during this “game,” in which worklessness [désoeuvrement] is set loose during the operation of writing? The book: the passage of an infinite moment, a movement that goes from writing as an operation to writing as worklessness [désoeuvrement]; a passage that immediately impedes. Writing passes through the book, but the book is not that to which it is destined (its destiny). Writing passes through the book, completing itself there even as it disappears in the book; and yet, we do not write for the book. The book: a ruse by which writing goes towards the absence of the book. (Blanchot, translated by Lydia Davis, quoted in UC, xxiii-xxiv) 



This book deals with the arts of the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Andes and with related arts from the adjacent Amazon region and southern Central America.

It is often impossible to trace the direction of the flow of influences from one cultural center to the other throughout the Andean area. In some cases the kinship between two style from distant regions seems obvious yet lack of knowledge makes it impossible to state whether these similarities are the result of migrations, of military or spiritual conquest, of trade, or of a common cultural background. 

An unusually well documented example of the rapid distribution of an art style over a large area is seen in the spread of the Inca style during the expansion of the Inca Empire. At its greatest extent the Empire reached from what is now northern Chile to central Ecuador, a distance of well over two thousand miles. It included large population centers whose varied cultures had produced highly individual art form of their own long before the relatively short period of Inca rule / cultural trade not always a result of conquest and colonization 

the andes

Many advanced civilizations had been built up in different parts of highland Andes and the adjacent Pacific coastal plains (pre-discovery by the Europeans in 1492), but although  these shared a common cultural basis and exchanged ideas, they were never finally united into a single political system until incorporated as parts of the Spanish Colonial Empire. However, the Inca had gone far in building an extensive empire before the arrival of the Spaniards, and in earlier times, kingdoms of some magnitude existed. 

CENTRAL : mountains and Pacific coast of modern Peru, with some extension into highland Bolivia
SOUTH: northwest Argentina and Chile
NORTH: mountain regions of modern Ecuador and Columbia, with some extension into Panama, Central America and parts of Venezuela
EAST: the Amazonian tropical forest

Long-term time sequences have been tentatively established only in the Central Andes / many of the cultures must be left "floating" in time until further work has been accomplished. 

the central andes

The civilizations within the Central Andes shared more with each other than they did with their neighbors to the north, east and south. 

Subsistence: intensive agriculture, herding in the mountains, fishing along the coast - goods distributed by trade
Crafts: ceramics, metallurgy, basketry, weaving
Building: permanent materials - stone, adobe
Lifestyle: population concentrated in villages with political organization in village units; leisure time

cultural groups formed by basins, rivers and valleys

1200 BC to 1532 AD (six major time periods) - no form of writing or recorded calendars, dating is based on radio-active carbon dating

STRATIGRAPHY (cultural and archeological) : building over building, grave over grave

The earliest inhabitants of the Central Andes, like those elsewhere in South America were the nomadic hunters, fishers and gatherers who had pushed southward from North America through the Isthmus of Panama

PERIOD ONE (1200 to 400 BC)


Occupied a valley region, the Chavín de Huántar (religious site and capital of the Chavín culture)flanked on both sides by high mountain ridges / stone carving defines the Chavín style / carving in the round is largely limited to animal and human heads with projecting tenons for wall insertion / flat carving is represented by wide and narrow stelae, like the Raimondi stone - the carving is in low relief / tendency to cover all of the available surface

the feline / even if the carvings represent other creatures, certain characteristics of the feline can always be detected in them / no other pre-Columbian culture shows such an overwhelming predilection for a single pervasive design motif

the valley could not have supported a large permanent population / no signs of extensive habitation - perhaps was a gathering places for religious ceremonies at certain points in the year

PERIOD TWO (400 BC to 400 AD)

The second period of cultural development in the Central Andes is characterized everywhere by experiments leading to technological development. On the coast, walls are built of conical, ball-shaped, cylindrical, hemispherical, and rectangular adobes. 


"Figure of a flute-player; a very early representation of a person in an everyday pursuit." 

PERIOD THREE (400 to 1000 AD)

The long period of formation and experimentation culminated in the mastery of techniques and the establishment of flourishing culture centers in every major region of the Central Andes. The architects directed the construction of large public works and enormous temples. Each local culture was capable of maintaining its own pattern in spite of the numerous influences from neighbors. 


Located in the North Coast valleys of Chicama, Moche and Viru. The Mochica is one of the best-known prehistoric cultures in the Central Andes, in part because of the numerous surface remains and rich burials but likewise because of its faithfully realistic art style. The local flora and fauna are reproduced so accurately that the species can be identified. Sculptured head jars are so individual that they can properly be called portraits. 

Stirrup-sprout jar, representing a battle between magic bean warriors. Mochica. Clay, 10 3/16'' high. 

Stirrup-sprout jar, representing a battle between magic bean warriors. Mochica. Clay, 10 3/16'' high. 

The major Mochica architecture was directed towards the erection of great unit pyramids, some built on the open plains, others capping natural ridges. The Huaca del Sol, not far from the town of Trujillo, is probable the largest of these pyramids. A gross estimate of the number of bricks used in this structure runs over 130,000,000. 

Huaca del Sol. Northern Coast of Peru. Located at the center of the Moche capital city, the temple appears to have been used for ritual, ceremonial activities and as a royal residence and burial chambers.

Huaca del Sol. Northern Coast of Peru. Located at the center of the Moche capital city, the temple appears to have been used for ritual, ceremonial activities and as a royal residence and burial chambers.

It is the ceramic art which is preserved in greatest quantity and which is the most representative of the Mochica. The outstanding characteristics of the Mochica ceramics are the skilled modeling and the delicate painting in red and cream white. 

Portrait Jar, Mochica. Clay, 4 1/8" high. A fine example of realistic portraiture typical for the culture and otherwise very rare for pre-Columbian America. 

Portrait Jar, Mochica. Clay, 4 1/8" high. A fine example of realistic portraiture typical for the culture and otherwise very rare for pre-Columbian America. 

The realistic designs, supplemented by other archeological information, give a broad picture of Mochica culture. The basic emphasis was on farming, as confirmed by the great attention to plants in the ceramic decoration, and by the remains of mammoth aqueducts which served as parts of the irrigation system. Hunting is depicted in the paintings as a sport for the privileged. 

There were many specialized groups, such as warriors, messengers, weavers, medicine men, priests, dancers and musicians. The ceramic designs also indicate a hierarchy of gods represented by animals, birds, fish, plants and humans, but further identification involves speculation. In spite of the high artistic achievements, there seems to have been an urge, later crystallized by the Inca, to reduce everything possible to unit labor and mass production. 

Double vessel, Mochica. Clay, 6 3/4". If this vessel is dipped when filled with liquid, it emits a mournful sound, which accounts for the open mouth of the figure. 

Double vessel, Mochica. Clay, 6 3/4". If this vessel is dipped when filled with liquid, it emits a mournful sound, which accounts for the open mouth of the figure. 


The Paracas peninsula, near Pisco, was a burial ground for the Necropolis culture. The Necropolis burials are found in subterranean, rectangular rooms, lined with rough stones and small adobes. In 1925, Julio C. Tello removed from these rooms over four hundred mummy bundles. The desiccated body occupies but a small portion of the bundle, the bulk being built up by numerous cloth wrappings. 

The body of the deceased has been viscerated and dried and placed on a large circular shallow basket in flexed position, that is with the knees drawn up under the chin. Offerings had been put next to him, such as dried meat, wool, beans, maize, cotton and peanuts. The body itself was dressed in simple clothing and the head adorned with a turban to which feathers and gold ornaments were attached. Then layers of cloth had been wrapped around. At this point the upper portion of a plain cloth wrapping was bunched and tied to form a false head. The enlarged bundle with its false head was then treated as though it were the body. The false head was decorated with a turban and the bundle adorned with shawls and shirts. The padding and wrapping process was continued and a new false head was formed. In this bundle, there were four such stages of wrapping, which suggests a ceremonial procedure, perhaps at four time periods, in which the bundle was dressed in new wrappings for the ceremony and then reinterred. 

Julio C. Tello with a mummy bundle. 

Julio C. Tello with a mummy bundle. 

Cross-section of a mummy bundle.

Cross-section of a mummy bundle.

The Paracas Necropolis is justly famed for its turbans, ponchos, skirts and shawls characteristically decorated with over-all polychrome embroidery. The designs are elaborate stylized cat demons, birds and anthropomorphized figures, arranged in repeat sequences, often alternating right side up and upside down. 

The amount of time required to spin, dye, weave and embroider any one of the thousands of large Paracas textiles must be estimated in years. In spite of the quantity of material, it is difficult to point to one piece which is better or poorer made than another, and the designs, in spite of their complexity, are amazingly consistent. When the quantity of weaving is reviewed in terms of available weavers, we are presented with a picture of a people devoting the major part of their leisure time to the skilled production of textiles predestined to be interred with their ancestors. It is not surprising that such a people would be little concerned with the erection of great temples, or elaborate political systems. 

Detail of embroidered mantle, Paracas Necropolis. 

Detail of embroidered mantle, Paracas Necropolis. 


On the deserts, flanking the Nazca valley, airplane pictures have revealed an intricate maze of lines that extend for miles and curve to form figures of various kinds. There has been much speculation about the purpose of these lines, or paths, all clearly of artificial construction. It is particularly provoking since the designs could only have been seen from the air. Some have suggested that they resulted from calendrical observations, or that they were symbolic representations of genealogical trees. They might also have been markers for ceremonial parades by a people who devoted much of their life to weaving for their ancestors and who thought nothing of marching for miles onto a desert peninsula to inter their dead. 

Aerial view of Nazca Lines intersecting the Pájaro (“Bird”), possibly a representation of a condor, approximately 443 feet (135 metres) in length, near Nazca, Peru.

Aerial view of Nazca Lines intersecting the Pájaro (“Bird”), possibly a representation of a condor, approximately 443 feet (135 metres) in length, near Nazca, Peru.

This aerial photograph was taken by Maria Reiche, one of the first archaeologists to study the lines, in 1953.

This aerial photograph was taken by Maria Reiche, one of the first archaeologists to study the lines, in 1953.

PERIOD FOUR (1000 AD to 1300 AD)

The fourth period is dominated y the Tiahuanaco culture which extended its influence and perhaps its control over most of the Central Andes. The Tiahuanaco expansion is traced by a distinctive design style, a ceramic type, a color scheme and a weaving pattern. It is still uncertain whether the wide spread of these features was by peaceful or military means, but in any event, local cultures everywhere were wither merged with Tiahuanaco or eclipsed.


The famous ruins named Tiahunaco lie on the Bolivian side of the Titicaca basin some twelve miles south of the lake. The site is composed of a series of construction units spread out over an immense area. Although each unit is symmetrical within itself, no geometric system can be discovered in the overall plan.

The famous monolithic stone gateway, called "Gate of the Sun" is associated with the Calasasaya construction unit.

Monolithic doorway "Gate of the Sun" at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

Monolithic doorway "Gate of the Sun" at Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

Tiahuanaco, like Chavin de Huantar, was probably not a great population center, but was rather a religious site to which pilgrims came for annual ceremonies and were put to service hauling stones, dressing them, and constructing temple walls.

Many examples of stone carving have been found at Tiahuanaco. There somewhat realistic statues representing kneeling or seated figures, with projecting cheek bones, jutting jaws, and flaring lips; boulder-like heads; pillars carved with simple features; and slabs with angular, geometric designs.

Sculptures. Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. Stone. These sculptures show a realism unusual in the Tiahuanaco style.

Sculptures. Tiahuanaco, Bolivia. Stone. These sculptures show a realism unusual in the Tiahuanaco style.


Fragement of a face. Coast Tiahuanaco. Clay, 3 3/8" high. Part of a large jar showing a realistic face covered with polychrome geometric designs.

Fragement of a face. Coast Tiahuanaco. Clay, 3 3/8" high. Part of a large jar showing a realistic face covered with polychrome geometric designs.

Bowl in the shape of a skull. Coast Tiahuanaco. Clay, 4 1/4" high.

Bowl in the shape of a skull. Coast Tiahuanaco. Clay, 4 1/4" high.

Detail of fragment of poncho in tapestry weave with highly stylized feline design. Coast Tiahuanaco. 19 5/8" wide. Collection: Nelson A. Rockefeller. Photo Nickolas Muray.

Detail of fragment of poncho in tapestry weave with highly stylized feline design. Coast Tiahuanaco. 19 5/8" wide. Collection: Nelson A. Rockefeller. Photo Nickolas Muray.

PERIOD FIVE (1300 to 1428 AD)

The new emphasis was on political organization. Populations were reshifted into large habitation centers, some of which reached city proportions. Because of the increased awareness of the threat of invasion, forts were built at strategic points and garrisons established at them. The shift in emphasis is reflected in the craft products which, although still in produced competently and in quantity, lack quality and artistic inspiration.


The Chimu control was extensive. The population was large and well organized. Extensive irrigation systems allowed the cultivation of every available acre of land. They had two types of cities: garrison towns and ceremonial cities. Chanchan is one of the largest ceremonial cities, covering over eight square miles and containing ten major units. The building is almost entirely of large rectangular adobes, and the walls are coated with clay plaster and often decorated with relief arabesques of rows of birds, humans and animals.

The early Spanish documents contain a few rare accounts of the "Kingdom of the Chimor," as the Chimu organization was called. It is described as a sharply class-divided society with a definite ruling group and great masses of commoners. Once again most of the features which characterize the Inca Empire are already present in the Chimu pattern.

PERIOD FIVE (1438 to 1532 AD)


The review of the early history has shown that most of the features of Inca culture were based on past cultural developments.

In 1532 when Francisco Pizarro sailed from Panama down the Pacific coast to Peru, he encountered eventually destroyed the Inca Empire, the only truly organized political state of the New World in pre-Columbian times. The Empire was large in size. At the maximum, it included the mountain and coastal areas from the southern border of Colombia to central Chile, a total of some 350,000 square miles, the equivalent of the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Population could have been as large as 7 million people.

The vast territory with its divergent populations was welded into a true political sate founded on organized military conquest. The Inca were not content merely to extract tribute from the conquered people but instead tried to incorporate them into a political whole. Once people were subdued, the process of incorporation was systematically applied. A topographic model of the region was made and a census taken. Forts were built and army garrisons established. Roads were constructed to link the new territory into the system. Important hostages and the most sacred of the local religious objects were taken to the Inca capital of Cuzco. If the population continued to be rebellious, whole villages might be moved out to another section and pacified groups moved in to replace them.

The Inca Empire was based on intensive agriculture. Over forty domesticated plants were cultivated, many of them well-known American species such as corn, bean, squash, potato, cotton and tobacco.

Organizational structure: the DECIMAL PYRAMIDAL PATTERN: at the base of the pyramid was the puric the able-bodied male worker. Ten workers were controlled by one straw boss; ten straw bosses had a foreman; ten foreman in turn had a supervisor, ideally the head of a village. The hierarchy continued in this fashion to the chief of a tribe, reportedly composed of ten thousand workers, to the governor of a province, to the rule of one of the four quarters of the Inca empire and finally to the emperor, the Sapa Inca, at the apex of the pyramid. Very little communication between officers of the same rank - this has been claimed as one of the major weaknesses because when Pizarro seized the emperor himself there was no on authorized to give the orders. 

The dualism between the aristocracy and commoners was emphasized in many if not all aspects of life, including religious practices. The Inca state religion, superimposed on all sections of the Empire, was complex and marked by elaborate ceremonies. In contrast, the religious practices of the local villages of the commoners consisted of simple rituals for curing the fields and the sick. 

The early documents offer rich details on many aspects of the Inca culture, and the numerous archeological remains serve to confirm the historical records. Although the conquering Spaniards shipped many examples of Inca craftsmanship back to Spain, few if any of these collections have been preserved. Consequently, the principal collections of Inca artifacts are the results of relatively recent archeological investigations. 

The Inca are famed for the quantity and variety of their stone constructions. They are particularly noteworthy as road builders since their elaborate system of highways formed a network throughout the entire Empire (almost 25,000 miles of roadway). 

The Inca expansion was the most extensive ever witnessed in the Andean region.


Wall with three windows, Machu Picchu. Inca. Photo Heinrich Ubbelohde Doering

JEAN-LUC MOULÈNE by Caitlin Murray

From family photo to brand image: the disjunctions (damien sausset)

The number of photographs grouped as Disjunctions was in flux between 1983, when the first photograph was taken, and 1995. The catalogue serves as a definitive inventory of the work. 

Most striking was the absence of style and the explosion of subject matter and composition that seemed to respond overtly to the heterogeneity of reality. 

Paysage Culturel Francais, Paris, Spring 1987 - opus 11

Paysage Culturel Francais, Paris, Spring 1987 - opus 11

Pentax 6 x 7 camera (5lbs, medium format) - By refusing the heavy side of the photographic camera and its ceremonial uses unsuitable for fieldwork in open spaces, Moulène was more interested in mobility and in being a "stroller." His place was exactly between the reporter searching for events and the advertiser who records a carefully composed design in his studio. 

visuals vs. images 

These photographs indicated even for those who knew how to look at them attentively and lucidly that all criticism of the image is vain because "the image already appears escorted by its criticism, affected by its index of distance and derision", according to Jacques Rancière, Moulène had integrated this idea so perfectly that he had already explored all the ambiguities of the exhibition formats by using in his new series both spectacular dimensions and modes of distribution (from 4 x 3 m posters to editorial inserts in newspapers during the Documenta X in 1997). 

"Disjunction as a mathematical operation came to me slowly, while thinking about rupture, discontinuity, negation and so on, like a positive path to a new dialectical know-how."

Everyone of these photographs is a cosmos, a minutely calculated arrangement in which the terms are in relationships of extreme tension, never indifferent to their places or their figures, always set out in view of a suspended configuration.


...poems that refuse the ordinary language of words to borrow the much more difficult and dangerous language of mechanical recording. 


(earned his living doing marriage photography)

(influence of Jean-Marc Bustamante's Tableaux Photographiques)

Il était une fois

Janus, Paris, 2014, concrete, wood, iron, 66 x 90 x 48 cm Babu 1er, Paris, 1977, felt-pen on green paper, 16.2 x 16 cm

Janus, Paris, 2014, concrete, wood, iron, 66 x 90 x 48 cm
Babu 1er, Paris, 1977, felt-pen on green paper, 16.2 x 16 cm

Sample 1 (25 Figure), Paris, 2015, verdigris burnished bronze, 81 x 65 cm

Sample 1 (25 Figure), Paris, 2015, verdigris burnished bronze, 81 x 65 cm

Tronches, Installation view, Villa Medici

Tronches, Installation view, Villa Medici

La Pucelle, Paris, 2013, concrete, 90 x 150 x 76 cm

La Pucelle, Paris, 2013, concrete, 90 x 150 x 76 cm

Hilary Clinton, Paris, 2014, on aluminum, 72 x 58 cm, waxed concrete, 25 x 22 x 28 cm

Hilary Clinton, Paris, 2014, on aluminum, 72 x 58 cm, waxed concrete, 25 x 22 x 28 cm

Gnou, Verona, 2015, polystyrene and plaster model, 41 x 41 x 46.5 cm

Gnou, Verona, 2015, polystyrene and plaster model, 41 x 41 x 46.5 cm

Sample (Onyx) 1, Verona, 2015, onyx, 58 cm

Sample (Onyx) 1, Verona, 2015, onyx, 58 cm

Once upon a time (Eric de Chassey)

Story of an exhibition: what was needed was an approach compatible firstly with the Villa Medici exhibition rooms, decorated by Balthus in the 1960s and since transformed into a Renaissance version of the white cube; and secondly with the history of the Villa, created by Ferdinando I de' Medici in the late 16th century and home to the French Academy in Rome since 1803. 

The proposal included a return to the Balthus procedure in terms of the walls: a blue room (echoing the director's living room), a green room (as in Josephs room) and a yellow and red room (which had no precedent at the Villa). In the end, only two rooms were giving a monochrome patina.

Many of the works on show at the Villa Medici revisit history: that of the artist himself and that of the place. The monochrome patinas in two of the rooms reprise the way Balthus applied paint on the Villa's interior walls, but without resorting to any literal copying or restoration / the use of a work which combines three intermingling sculptures: an eagle, a bust of Handel and a statue of a young woman. Janus, the large double-faced piece at the intersection of these two works, tells us that there is an archeological project here, it is looking in both directions, towards the past and the future, from the present. 

Moulene has spoken on several occasions of his avoidance of clarity, in particular because opacity is also the result of a certain "depth."
frank discontinuity vs heterogeneity
The refusal of the deficient common - of the "storytelling" which, in addition to its increasing pervasiveness in the art field, has become the political mode of communication par excellence - makes it clear that, as in all of Moulene's work, the project of this exhibition is thoroughly political. 

an aside   ------------->

Giorgio Agamben / Art, Inactivity, Politics

The divine government of the world is in fact something fundamentally finite. After the Last Judgment, when the history of the world and its creatures is at an end, when the elect have obtained eternal bliss and the damned their eternal retribution, the angels will have nothing more to do. 

A totally idle god is a god without power, who has given up governing the world; this is the god the theologians find it impossible to accept. To avoid the total disappearance of all power, they separate power from the exercise of power and maintain that power does not disappear but that it is simply no longer exercised, thus it assumes the motionless, resplendent form of glory (doxa in Greek). 

-----------------------------------glory and inactivity-----------------------------------

The most important Jewish festival, the shabat, had its theological foundation in the fact that it was not the work of creation but the cessation of all work on the seventh day that was declared sacred. Inactivity thus defines the state proper to God (“Only to God does inactivity (anapausis) really belong” writes Philon, “the Sabbath, which means inactivity, belongs to God” and, at the same time, is the object of eschatological expectations (“they shall not enter into my inactivity” – eis ten anapausin emou, Ps. 95, 11)).

The unspeakable mystery which glory, with its blinding light, is supposed to hide is the mystery of divine idleness, of what God did before creating the world and after the providential government of the world had reached its conclusion. 

The majesty of the empty throne. Funerary relief with a sella curulis. Marble, Roman artwork, 50 BC–50 AD. From the Torre Gaia on the Via Casilina, Rome.

The majesty of the empty throne. Funerary relief with a sella curulis. Marble, Roman artwork, 50 BC–50 AD. From the Torre Gaia on the Via Casilina, Rome.

the empty throne 

It is in Christian circles, however, in the majestic eschatological image of the hetoimasia tou thronou which adorns the triumphal arches and apses of Early Christian and Byzantine basilicas, that the religious significance of the empty throne reaches its climax. 

The mosaic in the arch of Sixtus iii in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (fifth century) depicts an empty throne en‑ crusted with multicoloured stones on which rest a cushion and a cross; beside the throne can be glimpsed a lion, an eagle, a winged human figure, fragments of wings and a crown. 

The mosaic in the arch of Sixtus iii in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (fifth century) depicts an empty throne en‑ crusted with multicoloured stones on which rest a cushion and a cross; beside the throne can be glimpsed a lion, an eagle, a winged human figure, fragments of wings and a crown. 

Provisional Bodies:



DURER'S HANDS by Caitlin Murray

one most familiar but strangely recalcitrant item: his own body observed within its surrounding environment

This young artist's first project was to create himself. Through these drawings, an obscure young man from Nuremberg became the singular Albrecht Durer.

a solitary left hand

Durer's sketch of his left hand took only minutes to make. Yet the results are momentous for the history of art. In this informal exploration of the quintessentially near at hand, Durer leaves behind the time-bound subjects and methods that still engage him in the sheet's other sketches, blazing a trail that would lead him to the open and endless possibilities of the empirical world.

Always definitively "ready to hand" it can also easily be posed and manipulated, since the hand (Latin manus) is manipulation's definitive tool. But his hand also eludes him. Whether it finishes at the cuff or carries on up the arm, its portrait ends in a body that can't be observed in its entirety.

[stopped at pp 22]


Welliver's eclogues

published in ArtNews in 1967


[an aside: see in writings, "a particular green"]

The orthodox tendency in recent painting has been, for the most part, to concentrate and eliminate / frequent result has clearly been a sterile form of purity / to be "about painting" and nothing else

Welliver : "to make a 'natural' painting as fluid as a de Kooning." / Perhaps this quality of his training [Albers, watercolor], is responsible for Welliver's skepticism of all prescriptive criticism and dogma, especially of the kind that presents to derive validity from some concept of historical necessity.

a particular humor and fantasy : the realm of a private mythology

the new paintings have become real eclogues: the scene is an idealized nature, the wildwoods with rocks, ferns and unpolluted streams; distinctly arcadian although in a rather special sense / For this is not a simple opposition of Rachel Carson vs. the technological euphoria; nor is it the sensitized touris seeing ready-made art in natural beauty / Welliver's old farm and wildland in Maine and his kind of last-ditch stand to preserve it from the encroachments of power companies and highways and wood-butchering lumberman seem part and parcel of this ethic / it is not what you see from a scenic turnout, not is it the observation of some modern Thoreau


Burchfield, raised in rural Ohio and spending the remaining 45 years of his life in suburban Buffalo, developed his art in isolation, apparently convinced that close familiarity with tradition, or the art world, could not enrich but only alter the complexion of his art. He took more interest in music and literature than in the great schools of painting. The beauty of his career is that more independent its direction, the better the work.

His art offend virtually all the predilections of modern taste.

Burchfield's vision is that of the naturalist joined with the romantic poet; it is a vision that reads nature, for whom a wildflower is not a spot of color but a sign.

"all-day" pictures

thistles, sunflowers, dandelions, salsify, moths and spider webs

Summer Solstice (In Memory of the American Chestnut Tree), 1961-66; watercolor on paper, 54 x 60 inches

Summer Solstice (In Memory of the American Chestnut Tree), 1961-66; watercolor on paper, 54 x 60 inches

(to remember that it was painted in the middle 1960's is to realize the pitiful myopia of standard art history)


(ARTnews 1969)

[In most ways that would matter to a modern-art lover, John Koch (1909-78) was not a great artist.] (Ken Johnson, The New York Times, December 21, 2001, review of ''John Koch: Painting a New York Life'' is at the New-York Historical Society, 2 West 77th Street)


The subject of art is life. Works of art are metaphors of life. A statement is the vehicle for thought, discarded as soon as the thought is communicated; a simile is an illustration to such a statement. But metaphor is unique, inexhaustible and untranslatable; there is no other way to say it.

Jean Renoir's Boudu Saved From Drowning / E.M. Forster The Machine Stops

what can elude critical dialectic?

Porter seemed to be writing an Areopagitica for art, freeing it from its bureaucrats, distinguishing it from ideas and ideals, from words, theories, and justifications: from professionalism, from social service, and from technology's separation of the thinking from the sensuous part of the person.

a private art

In this sense they were moderns; that is to say, artists who do not share or observe an inherited body of knowledge, skills, or critical precepts, or specified aims. (It was Picasso who, I believe rightly, identified working in solitude and sharing no goals, as the common denominator of the Post-Impressionists, the founders of modern art).

I think that the figurative element of this work was not an attempt to oppose abstract painting, but to enlarge and increase the resources of painting / The desire for a more complete and inclusive art also led these painters to take a fresh look at the past masters; they were not, in the words of Coleridge, artists who wished "to destroy the wisdom of ages in order to substitute the fancies of a day."

Today as we approach the last quarter of the twentieth century, we have hardly yet unshackled ourselves from concepts (expressed in code words like "avant-garde," "advanced," and "mainstream") which are in fact the orphaned offspring of mid-nineteenth-century intellectual method. For it is only the lends of chronology that makes art appear to go forward. Respect for chronology would display Manet with Whistler, Monet, Renoir; but respect for visual affinities might display him with Hals, Velazquez, Goya.

I like to look at art in terms of the ever-shifting balance between schema and nature.

I do believe that the upsurge of landscape painting did involve a critique and disavowal of the optimism of the technocrats which was to receive, by 1970, a death sentence from demographers and ecologists. [rackstraw, james benning, a third? dark ecology?]

plainness - stylishness

Breughel has an ethical message for us. His two intellectual friends were Fabius of Bologna and Ortelius of Antwerp, the two great geographers of their day; geography was, at the time, the science that saw man as a part of a world much greater than himself. He never painted a town or urban complex, except this outrageous tower which I cannot help seeing as a symbol of his hubris, of man too big for his boots. A modest sense of out place in relation to the whole is the lesson we, with out power to upset it, have yet to learn. When Breughel paints one of the ambitious adventures of man, like the fall of Icarus, he gives it a place, a very tiny place, in relation to the day-by-day preoccupations of people and the processes of nature.

The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, ca. 1525–1569), Oil on wood

The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, ca. 1525–1569), Oil on wood

CEzanne's drawings/exhibiting cezanne

comments on the importance of the CR: In the study of art there appears from time to time a work of loving scholarship that takes us significantly closer to the artist and his work; one of its most admirable forms is the catalogue raisonne. This one, of Cezanne's drawings by Adrien Chappuis - scrupulously compiled, rich in pertinent information, modestly asserting no claims to absolute authority - treats a great painter with just the respect, not to say reverence, he so sadly missed in his lifetime. Having it to hand one feels disposed to offer a quiet prayer to the departments of scholarship and criticism for a general moratorium on historicism and polemics until the job is done for every artist whose works posterity has thought fit to preserve.

invented a personal vocabulary of drawing / Cezanne was one of the outstanding empiricists of Western Art

The syntax of painting - from Florentine artists of the 15th century / Brunelleschi over a 400 year period : Renaissance perspective represents the horizon as a straight line extended parallel to the flat surface of the canvas on paper. Cezanne noticed that when the head turns - as it must, be it ever so slightly, in order to scan the view - this horizon curves, changing its angle in two dimensions, and enveloping the viewer in three: it becomes concentric.

I think Cezanne, of all artists, is encumbered by his reputation; so much, from this problematic to the portentous has been tagged onto his pictures. A great Cezanne show to me, would consist of the 40 finest available works, without theme, raison d'etre or fanfare; then we could take a clean look.

four fallacies in modern art criticism

the power of the art critic does not so much lie in his prerogative to make favorable or unfavorable judgments on particular works of art, but rather in the hidden assumptions and demands that he brings to a work of art / In his writing he puts into circulation a terminology which expresses those demands, and if this terminology gains a popular currency among the audience for art it becomes a pair of spectacles which that audience wears when looking at art, and which it uses as a basis to confirm or dispute the particular judgments of critics.

  1. The historicist fallacy : paintings are not stepping stones in a historical sequence
  2. The ahistoricist fallacy : a simultaneous order - criticism should operate somewhere in between historicism and ahistoricism
  3. The political fallacy : consists in locating praiseworthy merits in one kind of art and applying them as touchstones of quality to works of another kind : Stendhal - "That in matters of taste we can only judge for which we have a taste." In a fable of La Fontaine's, one of Ulysses' companions is turned into a bear, and Ulysses exhorts him to convert himself back to a man because men are more beautiful than bears. The bear replies "who are you to say that one form is more beautiful than another? It is not for the likes of you to judge of the likes of us?"
  4. The formalist fallacy

I submit that all these fallacies represent partial and incomplete approaches to a work of art; that, in so far as they enter the consciousness of the practicing artist they tie a noose round his neck when it might be hoped of creative criticism that it should open doors for him: and that it is the simplifying character of all of them that has given them their extensive power, since they introduce a comfortable and convenient degree of tidiness into a world which consists, in Valery's phrase, of "mutually exclusive marvels."

post-modernist painting

Courbet issues the first call-to-arms of Modernism with his remark, "Paint an angel? I've never seen an angel." From Giotto to Delacroix painters had thought of the invisible and imaginary as compatible worlds inhabiting the same space; Courbet, by separating them, made the first move in the process of dividing and narrowing the province of painting that was the distinguishing characteristic of Modernism.

Modernism constituted a rapid succession of specialized styles, each on supplying some deficiency of the rest; what they gained in intensity and concentration they lost in comprehensiveness and range.

what realism means to me

Through the metaphor of travel everything comes alive. Except that the traveler's picture is half a picture: he is euphoric on exotica and the novelty of it all. This may be O.K. for a romantic; but the realist needs to know his subject like a resident too. The traveler sees that farmland is pretty; this doesn't concern the farmer at all, even if he had time to notice it / It's a common rift in experience; what we're outside of we don't really understand, what we're inside of we can't really see.

From the side, a whole range;
from the end, a single peak:
Far, near, high, low, no two parts alike.
Why can't I tell the true shape of Lu-Shan?
Because I myself am in the mountain.
(Su Shih, 1084, written on the wall at West Forest Temple)

Remake Rural Rides by William Cobbett (peter porcupine) / EM Forster A Passage to India

the act of looking at a view: an artist's openness to the rich, endless complexities of that situation, the nuances involved in it and the numerous ways of playing with it, makes it possible for something to become a revelation when it might so easily have been a boring iteration of facts

"It is opinion, not truth that travels the world without a passport." - Gibbon

So realism, in elevating the art of being intensely, thoroughly observant, expresses a set of values.

Where Maupassant picks things out with a spotlight from one acute angle, Chekhov shines floods from all around; he shows events in their context like gold in the matrix. Differentiation between foreground and background disappears, and the real hero turns out to be the texture of life.

Rubens vs. Constable

Rubens, Le Chateau de Steen, c. 1636.

Rubens, Le Chateau de Steen, c. 1636.

Constable, The Hay Wain, 1821

Constable, The Hay Wain, 1821 the way Rubens shows you around his newly-acquired country place the Chateau de Steen with exhilarated rapidity and an eye for the typical, rushing you off into the distance like the pilot of a tiny plane skimming the hedges in an eager take-off; while Constable, who borrowed a lot from Rubens's compositions, wanders through the landscape of The Hay Wain at a more ruminative pace, allowing himself to be diverted by a gentle, affectionate attention to the individual things around him.

There is one thing I think realism is definitely not, though it is often confused with it, and that is a technique.

henri rousseau and the idea of the naive

Homer and Thoreau : Thoreau, trying to put his finger on nature itself, finds himself accounting for it as a clandestine form on culture. This suggests that nature subjected to analysis is impenetrable, or it evaporates.

Is nature an it?

Henri Rousseau, Myself, Portrait-Landscape (1890)

Henri Rousseau, Myself, Portrait-Landscape (1890)

HIs landscape as Tristan Tzara pointed out are "souvenir landscapes"; they record some local landmark, some neighborhood spot. 


reality is a matter of pre-selected, accepted signs

[incomplete - to be returned to]


Masks and music: James Ensor Playing the Harmonium in His Music Studio, July 28, 1933

Masks and music: James Ensor Playing the Harmonium in His Music Studio, July 28, 1933


Here Marin in New York almost out-Turners Turner in Venice.

He was equally as inventive with the intense drama of rocks, tides, and weather that he found on the remote parts of coastal Maine, where he spent more and more of his time. 

He has thrown compasses and everything overboard - "stop where your interest stops"

John Marin, Brooklyn Bridge, 1912

John Marin, Brooklyn Bridge, 1912

THE Meaning of the landscape

Some of the meanings in a landscape are natural and some are cultural, but in either case they are local. 

Constable: "We see nothing truly until we understand it." / Constable's love of landscape passes beyond the euphoria aroused by the unexpected or the unfamiliar; beyond the dulling effects of habituation and methodical study, to that more sure-footed sense of poetry which sees magic where there is no mystification and feels the mystery in the known and explicable."

claude's subjects

Claude Lorrain's Sermon on the Mount at the Frick Collection is one of a few paintings in New York museums that I return to look at again and again, almost as though they were oracles. 

[absurdly exaggerating the heights of the trees] [some indefinite past tense]

I went for a walk along the old Appian Way and suddenly there it all was - Claude's ingredients - the golden glow of the afternoon sky with foliage blackening against it (was this what the English connoisseurs meant by "the light that never was"?); bits and pieces of the old tombs and villas, columns, bases and pediments surrounded by weeds and shaded by trees; far off in a sea of tall grass some arches of an aqueduct leading from nowhere to nowhere, scabs of antiquity, clinging on. In the distance were hazy blue hills; when one got close to them, as at Tivoli or Nemi, they rose almost sheer, tufted with trees, punctured by post-and-lintel entrances to caves, maybe even topped by some columns of a temple. 

Rome: the distinction  between a landscape with ruins in it and a ruined city overrun by the landscape again is slight. 

[Here dynasties have passed]

"so difficult it is to be natural"

vuole andare su guadare giù” - you have to go up to look down

Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Pan and Syrinx, 1656

Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Pan and Syrinx, 1656

The landscape elements in this later phase of Claude's work have been detached from observed nature and constitute a virtual fixed set of symbolic forms that Claude used to construct wholly imagined world: massive rock formations topped with foliage; small temples or buildings; overarching trees, often placed "in the wings," with vertical or leaning trunks played off against one another, and whose roots define the surface of the foreground plane; middle distance clumps of trees with trunks often positioned in a fanlike arrangement; deeply distant horizons of water or land; tall Roman buildings, ruins, or towns with towers that are often round; long, low bridges, cattle proceeding down over a bank. 

english landscapes


Constable - "is pictures hold together by sustained sympathy of feeling."

John Constable, Hadleigh Castle, 1814

John Constable, Hadleigh Castle, 1814

Turner ' [the energy] / the essence rather than the evidence

constable country

[completeness, not detail] - Constable's 3 x 4 inch sketchbooks that he took with him on walks

The familiarity of the sites repeatedly portrayed, all within a couple of miles of home, reminds us that Contable walked, and that this slowness helped make these quiet truths available to him. 

WHat have we made of the landscape?

We are not the measure of all things, but part of them When Turner painted Rain, Steam, and Speed he portrayed the Industrial Revolution with profundity, as force taking its place among the forces of nature. By now it's a runaway force, and out efforts to contain it seem feeble and not honest: in an expanding consumerist economy there cannot be a wholehearted conservation movement. 

When I was growing up, I learned to look at nature more or less through the medium of English romantic poetry, as something inspirational but apart...


Archaeological Dialogues, Tim Ingold (2007)

(my stone) 1 May 2015

(my stone) 1 May 2015


the ever-growing literature in anthropology and archaeology that deals explicitly with the subjects of materiality and material culture seems to have hardly anything to say about materials / might we not learn more about the material composition of the inhabited world by engaging quite directly with the stuff we want to understand: by sawing logs, building a wall, knapping a stone or rowing a boat? Could not such engagement – working practically with materials – offer a more powerful procedure of discovery than an approach bent on the abstract analysis of things already made?

Praxeology:  the deductive study of human action based on the notion that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to reflexive behavior, such as sneezing

What, then, is this material world?

landscape and artefacts?     :      does rain belong to the material world, or only the puddles that it leaves in ditches and potholes? / and where, in this division between landscape and artefacts, would we place all the diverse forms of animal, plant, fungal and bacterial life? Like artefacts, these things might be attributed formal properties of design, yet they have not been made but have grown.

the ecological approach to to visual perception - medium, substances and surfaces : 
     medium : affords movement and perception, ex. air
     substance : resistant to movement and perception, solids, ex. rock, gravel, wood, mud (not generally                   possible to see or move through them)
     surfaces :  the interface between medium and substances, surfaces have properties

It is all too easy, however, to slip from the physical separation of gaseous medium from solid substance to the metaphysical separation of mind from matter / Thus the artefact is characteristically defined – as it is by Godelier – as an object formed through the imposition of mental realities upon material ones

the slippage from materials to materiality :  interfaces between one kind of material and another – for example between rock and air – not between what is material and what is not /  I can touch the rock, whether of a cave wall or of the ground underfoot, and can thereby gain a feel for what rock is like as a material. But I cannot touch the materiality of the rock. The surface of materiality, in short, is an illusion. We cannot touch it because it is not there.

Like all other creatures, human beings do not exist on the ‘other side’ of materiality but swim in an ocean of materials. Once we acknowledge our immersion, what this ocean reveals to us is not the bland homogeneity of different shades of matter but a flux in which materials of the most diverse kinds – through processes of admixture and distillation, of coagulation and dispersal, and of evaporation and precipitation – undergo continual generation and transformation. The forms of things, far from having been imposed from without upon an inert substrate, arise and are borne along – as indeed we are too – within this current of materials. As with the Earth itself, the surface of every solid is but a crust, the more or less ephemeral congelate of a generative movement.

. . .

insects, animals and plants : providers of an endless source of materials for further processing and transformation

studies of material culture have focused much more heavily on consumption rather than production / it is the objects themselves that capture our attention, no longer the materials of which they are made - It is as though our material involvement begins only when the stucco has already hardened on the house front or the ink already dried on the page. We see the building and not the plaster of its walls, the words and not the ink with which they were written.

Despite the best efforts of curators and conservationists, no object lasts forever. Materials always and inevitably win out over materiality in the long term.

wood that has been made into a ladder rather than a ladder that has been made out of wood

Far from being the inanimate stuff typically envisioned by modern thought, materials in this original sense are the active constituents of a world-in-formation.

animism, understood at some times as additional to the material object on which it has been bestowed / but -we do not need to look beyond the material constitution of objects in order to discover what makes them tick; rather the power of agency lies with their materiality itself (fetishist) : On the one hand it acknowledges the active power of materials, their capacity to stand forth from the things made of them. Yet it remains trapped in a discourse that opposes the mental and the material, and that cannot therefore countenance the properties of materials save as aspects of the inherent materiality of objects ///\\\ Bringing things to life, then, is a matter not of adding to them a sprinkling of agency but of restoring them to the generative fluxes of the world of materials in which they came into being and continue to subsist. This view, that things are in life rather than that life is in things, is diametrically opposed to the conventional anthropological understanding of animism, invoked by Pels

It is, however, entirely consistent with the actual ontological commitments of peoples often credited in the literature with an animistic cosmology. In their world there are no objects as such. (a world without objects) / Stripped of the veneer of materiality they are revealed not as quiescent objects but as hives of activity, pulsing with the flows of materials that keep them alive.

what are the properties of materials?

every material has inherent properties that can be either expressed or suppressed in use : in relationship to art or craft,  it is not really the properties of materials that an artist or craftsperson seeks to express, but rather their qualities, ex.  the rounded form of a clay pot, formed while the material was damp and pliable, can hardly be said to bring out the brittleness of clay that has been baked in a kiln:

The properties of materials are objective and measurable. They are out there. The qualities on the other hand are subjective: they are in here: in our heads. They are ideas of ours. They are part of that private view of the world which artists each have within them. We each have our own view of what stoniness is

The assertion, then, that a sculpture is good because it brings out the stoniness of stone cannot be justified on the basis of any properties of the stone itself that can be objectively known. It merely reveals our own personal preferences concerning the qualities we like to see in it.

the properties of materials, regarded as constituents of an environment, cannot be identified as fixed, essential attributes of things, but are rather processual and relational/ they are neither objectively determined nor subjectively imagined but practically experienced. In that sense, every property is a condensed story. To describe the properties of materials is to tell the stories of what happens to them as they flow, mix and mutate.

The properties of materials, in short, are not attributes but histories.


  Hagia Sophia (537-1453) Istanbul, Turkey


Hagia Sophia (537-1453) Istanbul, Turkey

"objects of daily piety and living" / the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum : "That space was surely in control of us. It told us how to approach, in what posture or attitude, when to look up, ahead, or down." / the New Testament in his left hand - teaching or blessing with his right

BYZANTIUM: Byzantion is the name of the city the preceded Constantinople, the city of Constantine I the Great founded in 330 - came to be applied to all inhabitants of the empire ruled from that city / considered themselves Romans - only since the sixteenth century have "Byzantium" and "Byzantine" been used commonly to distinguish ancient from medieval Romans. Then end of the Byzantine period is almost always given as 1453, when Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, but a Greek kingdom lingered at Trebizond until 1461 / Many different dates for the beginning of the Byzantine period / often defined as a medieval empire inhabited by Greek Orthodox Christians (but there were also other Christians, Jews and Muslims in the empire)

DIVIDUAL: the opposite of individual, non-divisible entities, as we understand them to be / the dividual then is a porous being, open to the world and its transformations, and likewise it operates out in the world and changes it, too. Our notion that we are discrete beings - intact, self-contained, and unchanged by the world - does not really hold up under scrutiny.

EULOGIA: a pilgrimage token

HETEROTOPIA: coined by Foucault; a flexible term to describe the opposite of utopia - so instead of a no-place (utopia's literal meaning), heterotopia is a place that represents another place, but in a manner that subverts, challenges, distorts our understanding of that represented place

ICON: an active agent in full relation with the divine with deep circulation throughout the culture

ICONOCLASM: the destruction of images

ICON-MODEL RELATIONSHIP: conventionally icons are considered by their prototypes (God, saints, angels, etc.) In this explanation, they are not like their models except in terms of visual resemblance and even more often because of inscriptions that state their identity - Byzantine Things argues the opposite - icons are indeed related in essence to their subjects, and their actions and treatment by human subjects enact a widespread assumption in the Byzantine world that divinity saturates all creation

LATE ANTIQUITY: third to eighth centuries

MANDYLION: God's self-portrait in an image; the great touch-relic of the medieval world

ORANS: a position of raised hands, arms, and eyes held by a person in a devotional manner, asking for favor and protection in an attitude of prayer or request (Christomimesis - being like Christ - leads to assimilation with the originary body)

RELATIONALITY: the condition of swimming in the flows of creation, as we all do, and of realizing that our skin is not the edge of us. Being fully open to and transformable by the reach of the material world.

STYLITES: a category of saint who excelled at a particular kind of self-denial, the removal of oneself from the surface of earth and instead dwelling on top of a pillar for remarkable periods of time / Particularly popular in Late Antiquity, such saints became less popular, certainly by the twelfth century, when such individualized attempts at extremes of piety were frowned upon by church authorities. The most famous of these saints were the Symeons, Elder and Younger. (SIMON OF THE DESERT)

THEOTOKOS: a theology-laden honorific given to the Virgin Mary. From the fifth century, it denotes her role as the vehicle of the entry of divinity into the world with the New Dispensation: she, that is a women, who bore God.

Byzantine things in the world (glenn peers)

panpsychism: "To overcome this anthropocentric perspective, the panpsychist asks us to see the 'mentality' of other objects not in terms of human consciousness, but as a subset of a certain universal quality of physical things, in which both inanimate mentality and human consciousness are taken as particular manifestations."

In Byzantium, divinity infused matter, and when properly activated and perceived, that matter mediated and transformed / Icon, relic and person were in relation, their identity assumed / the passage from objects to figures and their power to summon others and then to travel between the court of Christ and back again - the remarkably labile nature of things

not a non-essential relationship between image and model, but a presentation - attendance, presence, agency : THE QUESTION: WHAT IS THE DEGREE TO WHICH OUR WORLD IS SENTIENT AND ALIVE (also the question of iconoclasm) : the fear of the presence of things - yet, incarnation was at the center of Orthodox theology, namely, the Incarnation of God - this informed assumptions about materiality : No line needs exist between worlds of meaning and objects. Knowledge is a relation between knower and known, and it is unequally distributed amongst all knowers:

(participation in the world "becomes extended as a defining attribute of all perception involving a dynamic interplay between the perceiving body and that which it perceives. In that sense, we are all primitive animists. Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is effectively a modern western exposition of animistic and totemisitc thought in which the essences of persons and things are intertwined through an embodied mind in which perception is a worldly event governed by participation rather than a disembodied mental image") (The Materiality of Stone: Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology"



What is modernism's ability to tell us something new about Byzantium? The premise of this exhibition is that Byzantine things emerge more fully as themselves when we subtract sacralizing and deferential exhibition practice, and when we give them some room to act and reveal their agency (always now, incompletely, however). This argument operates through placing Byzantine things in constellation with like-minded things, modern and non-western, and analogies between these non-Byzantine artworks and Byzantine things will demonstrate that their world was in fact porous and open to dynamic relation among all things in the world - human, made, and natural.

. . .

The organizational principle is analogy / how do you make the material histories and properties

. . .

"forms of objects are not imposed form above but grow from the mutual involvement of people and materials in the environment. The surface of nature is thus an illusion: we work from within the world, not upon it. There are surfaces, of course, but these divide states of matter, not matter from mind. And they emerge from within the form-generating process, rather than pre-existing as a condition for it." (see Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Primary of Perception and Other essays on Phenomenological Psychology, the Philosophy of Art, History and Politics)

"Thought is not necessarily connected with a brain...Not only is thought in the organic world, but it develops there. Where there is a relationship, there is a thought, whether or not a brain is thinking it. We come upon our thoughts, discovering them in the world as much as inventing them in the imagination" (Charles Saunders Perice - through Shiff?)


THE OTHER SENSES / halation (the spreading of light beyond its proper boundaries to form a fog around the edges of a bright image in a photograph or on a television screen.)

Works by Rauschenberg, Klein, and Byars present ways of being in the world that are meaningful for an understanding of what it meant to be Byzantine in their world. See remarks on gold.

The philosopher Merleau-Ponty talked about the sensual reversability and self-alienation inherent in even a simple gesture like touching one's left hand with one's right. The left hand is not simply a passive recipient; it experiences and connects to the touching agent. He called this process the formation of identity through difference, that led to an opening of the body in two (see The Visible and the Invisible, 122-5)

"This is at the heart of all acts of perception. To perceive anything, including my hand, a relation of distance must be established from my own body, yet, even i the case of looking at something, I am 'touched' by what which I look at. It has an effect on me, and my perception of it" (see Tilley, The Materiality of Stone).

THE POWER OF THINGS IN CONCERT (see "The Force of Things: Steps toward an Ecology of Matter," Jane Bennett) ( / bodying oneself back into the object's realm can reveal affordances not provided by museum study / Imagining weight, texture, temperature of objects, let alone the destabilizing qualities of light, is risky, and of course it reveals a good deal about our own insecurities about and alienation from our objects of study (the placelessness of the white cube gallery - a utopia - a no place)

"the properties of materials, regarded as constituents of an environment, cannot be identified as fixed, essential attributes of things, but are rather processual and relational. They are neither objectively determined nor subjectively imagined but practically experienced. In that sense, every property is a condensed story. To describe the properties of materials is to tell the stories of what happens to them as they flow, mix and mutate" (see "Materials against Materiality" in Archaeological Dialogues)


how do things make the presence of the holy possible? / the holy alive in material traces / a rehabilitation of the sensible / all things are in relation, all things have the potential in the world to transform others


trees and soil and stones and tokens - "Take this token and we will be with you" / not a clear separation between the saint and his traces / a web of relations - an extended organism / the Stylites / the saint as organism


the geological animation of the earth / in the life of St. Nikon (930-1000) a stone altered itself to become an icon of the saint / To what extent can the materials worked on and the actions of the technician transforming the raw materials shape and reshape our concepts of mature or of life itself?


Using Documents as an indicator of broader cultural current, one might argue that the new "art" worth experiencing and writing about in Paris around 1930 were not exclusively, or even primarily, works produced in accordance with European pictorial intelligence / Rather, artists and critics were drawn to an assortment of "things" - fetishes, effigies, natural oddities, abstract forms - that could produce dramatically cogent and intensely revelatory experiences.


coins formed from the dust and clay collected at the base of his column - minted on site 



what is today's modern eulogia? 


Martin Heidegger: "The Origin of the Work of Art" (1935-36) and "The Thing" (1950-51)

the activity of things in the world and also the shaping of the world in things

the stamp of Meletius - framed by its named blessing, this thing extends the power of the saint to wherever it impresses its design / while it may be materially humble, it circulates a powerful name



touch that transmits God's grace : THIGMOPHILIC : touch-loving things : relying on touch to navigate an environment / Pilgrimage objects bridged touch between a saint and a pilgrim and pilgrims expected the things they handled in veneration to touch back (EULOGIAE) / palm prints on tokens / cradling the token in your hand * in Byzantine understanding, dust was the building block of the human body :

the use of Symeon's dust to manufacture clay blessings in this form freed his body of locational and temporal restriction



boli an object in the Bamana (was a large west-african state, 1640-1861, now Mali) ontology - take form in a flow of energy known as nyama

Animism as it is normally defined by anthropology, is a paradigm imbuing objects with personal and subjective forces. Understanding animism in these terms entails a falsely animate world - one that is animated solely by the power of human psychology / objects become displaced actors : objects are conceived of as agents with ability to act in the world, but dependent on and deploying the activity of the human mind - the object is not conceived as able to act without human presence, without the animation of human psychology 

SURFACES - resisting naming, resists objectification - however solid or perfected we perceive a thing to be, its surfaces are permeable, transformable and fluid

Many objects, like boli, are created or made with thingness at the force of their existence in the world. Their surfaces are intended to magnify presence and to articulate agency beyond the human. The manipulation of materials to make objects intended to inhabit a liminal space of thingness, to use their properties in the service of making things extraordinary, is integral to many forms of making that we consider art / ATTESTING TO THE PERMEABLE NATURE OF SURFACE

the nkisi of Kongo (thingness also achieved and understood through its surfaces) / though these objects' arresting compositions emerge in a social web of relations (a successful nkisi accumulates a mass-like cloud of objects driven into its body, revealing the object's resourceful, cunning, sharp and decisive ability to handle human problems), the nkisi's ability to act in the world lies in the material properties that make up its sculptural form. The combination of materials is chosen for the unique attributes of each and the power it contributes in concert with the others to create a charged object that resides in a liminal space. 

the Dogon in Mali - Holding an animistic worldview, the Dogon express the mask as an interdependence of human and animal, and that activates life and things in the world. God here is conceived of as a thing - outside the reach of full human understanding, but recognized as an entity: it exists. 

the human not as a privileged position but a co-emergent thing (emergent? emerging?)

FACE (Gleen peers)

Christ's divine self-portrait - the Mandylion - christ pressed a cloth to his face, creating a miraculous image : this motivated a whole category of image relics in Christianity and Islam / seeing Christ is like facing a mirroring face, for his is the originary face, the face from which all faces are derived, as in a kind of mirror

the Mandylion as talking, moving, replicating and performing miracles 

that aspect - the face - that we take to be the most essential part of ourselves, our own hard-won sign of individuality, was, in fact, the sight of dividuation / our face is where humanity's relation to its creator is shown to be open-faced to him / the elimination of individuality from our understanding of face

the Mandylion determined an abstract system that included all faces in circulation and created a relation among all human creation and its creator : 






This book is about space, about language, and about death; it is about the act of seeing, the gaze. 

[moving between the language of constant visibility and the language of fantasy] / when was there a time when seeing and saying were one? / that full space in the hollow of which language assumes volume and size /

. . . .

Modern medicine has fixed its own date of birth as being in the last years of the eighteenth century / a return to the level of the perceived / the relation between the visible and invisible—which is necessary to all concrete knowledge—changed its structure / The gaze is no longer reductive, it is, rather, that which establishes the individual in his irreducible quality. And thus it becomes possible to organize a rational language around it.  

. . . 

Until recently, the history of ideas was only aware of two methods: the first, aesthetic method involved analogy, with diffuson charted in time (geneses, filiations, kinships, influences) or on the surface of a given historical space (the spirit of a period, its Weltanschauung, its fundamental categories, the organization of its sociocultural world). The second, which was a psychological method, involved a denial of contents (this or that century was not as rationalistic, or irrationalistic as was said or believed), from which there has since developed a sort of ‘psychoanalysis’ of thought, the results of which can quite legitimately be reversed—the nucleus of the nucleus being always its opposite. 

what is the matter with you / where does it hurt


The spatialization and distribution of disease / the old theory of sympathies: a vocabulary of correspondences, vicinities and homologies (how did these relate to cancer in the past, if at all) / the space of the configuration of the disease and the space of localization of illness in the bod have been superimposed only since the nineteenth-century and the development of pathological anatomy / the suzerainty of the gaze 

. . . .

Never treat a disease without first being sure of its species' / nosology : branch of medicine that deals with the classification of disease : the nosological picture involves a figure of the diseases that is neither the chain of causes - not just localization but a system of relations involving envelopments, subordinations, divisions and resemblances / a vertical (implications are drawn up ex. a fever occurring in one episode or several) and a horizontal (homologies are transferred / a deep space, anterior to all perceptions, and governing them from afar; it is on the basis of this space, the lines that it intersects, the masses that it distributes or hierarchizes, that disease, emerging beneath our gaze, becomes embodied in a living organism 

The principles of this configuration of disease (classification):

1. historical as opposed to philosophical knowledge : Knowledge is historical that circumscribes pleurisy by its four phenomena: fever, difficulty in breathing, coughing, and pains in the side. Knowledge would be philosophical that called into question the origin, the principle, the causes of the disease: cold, serous discharge, inflammation of the pleura / the attribution of related causes / The first structure provided by classificatory medicine is the flat surface of perpetual simultaneity. Table and picture.

2. a space in which analogies define essences / resemblance / sensitive only to surface divisions / vicinity - defined not by measurable distances, but by formal similarities

3. The form of the similarity uncovers the rational order of the diseases / follows a botanical model - turning the principle of the analogy of forms into the law of the production of essences / The rationality of life is identical with the rationality of that which threatens it Their relationship is not one of nature and counter- nature; but, in a natural order common to both, they fit into one another, one superimposed upon the other. In disease, one recognizes (reconnai^t) life because it is on the law of life that knowledge (connaissance) of the disease is also based.  

4. We are dealing with species that are both natural and ideal / In order to know the truth of the pathological fact, the doctor must abstract the patient: ‘He who describes a disease must take care to distinguish the symptoms that necessarily accompany it, and which are proper to it, from those that are only accidental and fortuitous, such as those that depend on the temperament and age of the patient’ / the patient is only an external fact : It is not the pathological that functions, in relation to life, as a counter-nature, but the patient in relation to the disease itself. / the doctor's intervention is an act of violence if it is not subjected strictly to the ordering of nosology

. . . .

Classifactory thought gives itself an essential space, which it proceeds to efface at each moment 



CHEMICAL WARFARE by Caitlin Murray

Chemical Warfare  (as weapon for War - ties to West Texas) - Chemical Warfare (as medical development from mustard gas - personal) - Chemical Warfare (as environmental issue - ties to West Texas)

Fort D.A. Russell. Originally named Camp Marfa, this installation began as a supply post for U. S. Army border patrol stations in 1911. It was a cavalry camp during the years of the Mexican Revolution. Renamed for Civil War general David Allen Russell, it became a permanent Army post in 1929. Deactivated at the end of 1933, it was reopened in 1935 with artillery units. During World War II Fort Russell became an army training camp, and was home to a chemical warfare battalion as well as German prisoners of war. The fort was officially closed in October 1946. (1989) #1978

[blue and gold on unit insignia indicate chemical warfare battalions]

LONN TAYLOR: FORT D.A. RUSSELL, MARFA [This text was first presented by historian Lonn Taylor as a lecture at the Chinati Foundation on May 1, 2011.]


The full impact of the war hit Fort D.A. Russell and Marfa in early 1942, when the 77th Field Artillery departed for an unknown location and five officers and 76 men from the 81st Chemical Warfare Battalion arrived from Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. A chemical warfare battalion was not as sinister as it sounds. It was essentially a mortar unit that fought with the infantry, but its mortars could fire not only conventional explosive shells but also phosphorous shells that would start fires and smoke shells that would lay down smokescreens, and so according to army logic it was part of the chemical corps rather the infantry.

The officers and men from Edgewood Arsenal who arrived at Fort D.A. Russell in April 1942 were charged with forming a new battalion. They were followed by 800 draftees, and it was their job to mold those men into a fighting battalion during the year that they were at Fort D.A. Russell. The 81st Chemical Warfare Battalion trained on the newly acquired artillery range and on adjoining ranches, including the slopes of Cathedral Mountain, which appeared along with the Lone Star of Texas on the shoulder patches they wore as their distinctive unit insignia. Marfa adopted the battalion in the same way that they had adopted the cavalrymen 20 years earlier. The 81st Chemical Warfare Battalion became Marfa’s own. Families adopted groups of enlisted men and served them Sunday dinners. On September 12, 1942, the men of Company D reciprocated with a reception and buffet dinner right here in Mess Hall #35, and PFC Maurice Aronson decorated these walls with cartoons depicting army life for that occasion. The cartoons, as you can see, are still here.

In April 1943 the 81st Chemical Warfare Battalion was shipped out to Camp Pickett, Virginia, and from there they were sent to England to prepare for D-Day. They were replaced by the 85th Chemical Warfare Battalion, which was under the command of  a colonel with the remarkable name of Napoleon Rainbolt.

In England, the 81st was attached to the V Corps of the First Army. They landed at Normandy, fought their way through the hedgerows, participated in the liberation of Paris and the Battle of Metz; and were in Austria when the war ended. The unit was awarded more than 500 decorations, including 353 Purple Hearts. The soldiers of the 81st corresponded with Marfa friends all through the war, and they were still wearing Cathedral Mountain on their shoulder patches when they were mustered out at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in September 1945.

81st CHEMICAL MORTAR BATTALION The 81st Chemical Battalion (Motorized) was constituted 12 March 1942 as an inactive unit and made active at Fort D. A. Russell, Texas, 25 April 1942 under the command of Lt Col Thoms James. Departed the New York Port of Embarkation 21 October 1943 and arrived in England 2 November 1943.Committed to combat in the European Theater of Operations and landed on Omaha Beach, France on 6 June 1944. Assigned to the First Army. Served in Belgium (date unknown) Redesignated 22 February 1945 as the 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion. The date the unit entered Germany is unknown. The unit was at Branau, Germany at the end of World War II (15 August 1945 location). Served in the Army of Occupation of Germany from 2 May-14 August 1945. Returned to the United States via the New York Port of Embarkation 2 September 1945. Inactivated 7 November 1945 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT Normandy (with arrowhead) Northern France Rhineland Ardennes-Alsace Central Europe DECORATIONS Distinguished Unit Citation (Unit cited for period 6-18 June 1944 per WD GO 73-1944) COAT OF ARMS SHIELD: Per bend or and azure, in chief a volcano peak sable erupting smoke throughout proper, in base a mullet argent. CREST: None. MOTTO: Equal to the Task. SYMBOLISM In the blue and yellow of the Chemical Warfare Services the volcano symbolizes the nearest approach in nature to modern chemical warfare agents, viz; smoke, incendiaries, harassing fumes and casualty producing gases; the lone star is symbolic of the state of Texas, in which the 81st Chemical Battalion was activated and served at its first permanent station. Photos and narratives of service are requested for this unit [from]

81st chemical warfare battalion (excerpt)

This booklet is dedicated to the forty-one officers and men of the Eighty-First Chemical Mortar Battalion who made the supreme sacrifice.

To give a thorough account of the accomplishments of the Eighty-First Chemical Mortar Battalion would take thousands of pages. To detail the heroic deeds and meritorious service of the gallant officers and men of the Eighty-First would take more thousands of pages. A booklet the size of this could be written about each enlisted man and each officer. It is believed the history is concise, yet shows the battalion to have lived up to its motto, "Equal To The Task."

Jack W. Lipphardt
Lt Col, CWS

The 81st was formed when the country was faced with the necessity of creating a highly trained, efficient army in a minimum of time.

The 81st Chemical Battalion (Motorized) was activated by GO #22, 25 April 1942, Hq Fort D.A. Russell, Texas, pursuant to GO #39, 14 April 1942, Hq Third Army, San Antonio, Texas, and War Department letter, 25 March 1942. Thus was born the 81st, without fanfare, but with quiet purpose. It was up to the battalion to write its own history and these pages will show how well the job was done.

Fort D.A. Russell, the birthplace of the 81st and where it experienced its growing pains, is situated just outside of Marfa, Texas, in the heart of the Big Bend Country. The fort was an old one, having been a cavalry post of the Border Patrol. Marfa itself was a little cattle town with a big sense of hospitality and a bit of Old Mexico. The Paisano Hotel, the Marfa Joy, the Crewes and Jimmy's Place will strike a familiar, pleasant note to all who experience their hospitality. Mexico wasn't many miles away and Ojinaga and Juarez drew many visitors from the 81st in search of Mexican atmosphere. The first impression of Fort D.A. Russell and the surrounding territory was that of vast waste and plenty of space, without a tree or a really green blade of grass for miles around, but soon the charms of the plains, the rugged beauty, mellow sunlight, and glorious nights won over. Surrounding the fort was a range of small mountains, the Smith Hills, and off in the distance could be seen the landmark of the country, Cathedral Mountain.

From activation until November of that year, the 81st Chemical Battalion was a battalion without mortars. Although it was discouraging not to have the basic weapons to work with, the time was well spent in physical conditioning, the school of the soldier, identification of chemical agents, field marches, field hygiene, small arms training, etc. Few will forget the obstacle course; but then also memorable were the swimming parties at Balmorhea and the company beer parties. Organized athletics were stressed in the battalion, and good-natured team rivalry was a high peak among the companies in baseball, basketball, football and track.

On April 2, 1943, the first contingent of the battalion left Fort D.A. Russell for Leesville, Louisiana, and on the following day the rest of the battalion followed. The grand send-off the people of Marfa gave will long be remembered by those present. They were truly sorry to see us go. The 81st had made a wonderful impression on them and had gained many friends. A military band from the airfield nearby serenaded the train as it left the station. The first phase of our military career was over, and ahead of us lay the task of preparing ourselves for combat by vigorous operations in the field.

Memorial: The Battalion placed a memorial monument to its men at Fort McClellan, Alabama on September 23, 1988. The Army closed that post on September 15, 1999, and all six (2nd, 3rd, 81st, 83rd, 86th, 91st) chemical mortar battalion monuments were moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, along with other Chemical Corps monuments including that of the 1st Gas Regiment. The monuments are now placed in a Memorial Park at Leonard Wood near the Chemical Corps Museum there. See photos of all memorial monuments at FLW.

FORT MCCLELLAN, ALABAMA - starting place of Donald Judd before arriving in Korea in 1946

Sandra Stewart Holyoak:  This begins an interview on February 9, 2004, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, with Charles Ralph Landback, Jr.  Mr. Landback, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.  To begin, could you tell me where and when you were born?

Charles R. Landback, Jr.:  I was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on July 5, 1918.


SH:  What were you doing there with the 81st?

CL:  Sometime between the wars, World War I and World War II, some person, some officer, in the Chemical Warfare Service, invented a mortar that was better than other mortars.  … Armies had been using mortars for thousands of years, I think.  This mortar was rifled and … you dropped the shell into the mouth of the mortar.  It would shoot out and go in a spiral, which meant it was more accurate.  … The base of the shell was like a clamshell thing.  When the propellant charge went off, the thing would flatten out and it would engage the rifling on the inside of the barrel of the mortar.  I don't know whether there were any fights, you know, in Washington or something, but it appeared to me as if the Chemical Warfare Service said, "We invented this mortar, we'll use it.  If you want … the mortar, we'll send you a battalion of them."  So, there were these chemical warfare mortar battalions.  We were equipped, I'm sure, in some warehouse someplace, there were poison gasses and mustard gas and so on, but we never experienced anything like that.  We had high explosive fillings for shells and white phosphorous, which made smoke.  So, we could lay down a smoke screen or we could drop high explosives in on the enemy.  … Every bit of our assignment, we were attached to an infantry group, … maybe because of these jealousies between the services; … I mean, this was a chemical warfare mortar, you know.  … "If you want the mortar, we'll get some guys, we'll train them up and we'll attach them to your unit," and so on, but, all the service that we had was in support of infantry.  The same way as artillery is in support of [infantry].

United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services
The Chemical Warfare Service: From Laboratory to Field by Leo P. Brophy, Wyndham D. Miles and Rexmond C. Cochrane (Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington D.C., 2010)

Rather belatedly, the United States Army in preparing for World War II investigated on an intensive and very large scale the chemical munitions that might be necessary or useful in fighting the Axis powers. This effort required the collaboration of a host of civilian scientists and research centers as well as a great expansion of the laboratories and proving grounds of the Chemical Warfare Service itself.

necessary, useful, expansion, preparation, investigation
proving ground

The manufacture of chemical munitions in quantity was possible only through a rapid expansion of private industry to support and supplement the work of the Army arsenals...problems of military procurement [Foreword, Warren H. Hoover, Colonel, USA, Acting Chief of Military History, Washington, D.C., 9 June 1959]

CH. 1 research and supply in world war II

Although armies have used crude chemical devices since ancient times, chemical warfare, as an applied science, is comparatively modern. Chemical warfare came along as a companion of modern chemistry, which itself dates from the late 1700's, when natural philosophers brought about a revolution in this science. As a result of this pioneer work, chemists uncovered a multitude of facts and conceived laws to hold these facts together. By the middle of the 19th century it was a simple matter for men with a knowledge of chemistry to visualize the application of toxic chemicals to warfare, and to suggest specific methods for using them.

During the Crimean War the British chemist Lyon Playfair proposed that a naval shell containing cacodyle cyanide, a toxic organic arsenic compound, be fired into Russian ships. In the same war Admiral Thomas Cochrane urged that an attempt be made to drive the Russians out of Sevastopol by burning huge quantities of sulphur dioxide gas into enemy positions. In the American Civil War, John W. Doughty of New York sent plans for a chlorine filled shell to the War Department, and Forrest Shepherd of New Haven recommended to President Lincoln that a cloud of Hydrogen chloride be use to drive the Confederates out of Petersburg. During the century several other men proposed the use of toxic chemicals in munitions.

Despite arguments that the use of chemicals in warfare was practical and that chemicals would cause less suffering than conventional weapons, national governments refused to test the ideas. Finally in 1915 Fritz Haber convinced the German Army that chlorine could force the Allies out of the trenches and he was given the responsibility of emplacing cylinders of gas in the front lines near Ypres. The first gas cloud attack, launched on a favorable breeze in the afternoon of 22 April, was a success. Allied troops were driven from their positions and only the failure of the German Army to exploit this advantage saved the Allies from a more serious setback.

Once the practicality of chemical warfare had been demonstrated the belligerents organized special units to employ military chemicals, and to conduct chemical and medical research. In the United States the War Department gave responsibility for designing protective equipment to the Medical Department in late 1915, but the Army did not set up combat chemical units or begin scientific investigations until mid-1917. (2)

. . .

The first American chemical warfare research was not carried out by the Army, but by the bureau of Mines (2)...As chemical warfare research expanded the volume of work became so great that the bureau needed a large central laboratory for co-ordinating university and industrial research, and for undertaking secret Army and Navy projects...Shortly after the research center opened at American University, it was organized into eight sections: Chemical Research, Physiological Research, Pyrotechnic Research, Chemical Manufacture, Mechanical Research, Submarine Gas, Dirigible and Balloon Gas, and Gas Mask Examination (6)

On 28 June 1918 President Wilson approved the creation of a unified chemical warfare organization by directing the War Department to establish the Chemical Warfare Service in the National Army (13)


Chemical warfare research and development dipped to its lowest point at the end of 1919. At this time the service was still a temporary wartime organization, with no guarantee that Congress would pass legislation making it a permanent branch of the Army (28)...In December 1920 a program was approved under which scientists of the Chemical Warfare Service were to concentrate on perfecting unsatisfactory wartime implements and then, as salvage operations were completed, to turn to the investigation of new items (31)...By the end of the fiscal year 1921 the salvage operations were largely completed and a number of new projects had been started (31)

During the period from 1920 to 1940 the CWS initiated approximately 700 projects for the Army, the Navy, and for civilian organizations. The military subjects encompassed gas masks, protective clothing, protective ointments, incendiary materials, mortars, airplane spray tanks, chemical cylinders, chemical artillery shells, colored smoke, chemical grenades, toxicological studies, meteorology, analytical methods, pilot plants, full-scale plants, filling plants and medical studies (32).

All research and development carried on by the CWS, whether for civilian or military purposes, and along chemical or mechanical lines, differed from academic research in that it aimed at definite, practical goals rather than the discovery of new scientific principles. In this sense it was akin to industrial research and development, which also sought the development of goods for a definite purpose, the consumer market. But even so the course of development followed by the CWS was painstaking and rigorous because it was directed toward the production of equipment upon which lives and battles might depend. The War Department, on the other hand, ordered the process to be carried out as expeditiously as possible: "The desire for perfection in any item of equipment must not delay the designation as standard type of at least one adopted type of every required article of equipment so that in any case of an emergency the procurement program may be launched without delay." In the laboratories and shops this was translated into the motto: "Strive for practicability rather than perfection." (34-5)

In the 1920s and 1930s the CWS had to creep along, but the outbreak of war in Europe changed matters. The Congressional appropriation jumped from approximately two million dollars in 1940 to more than sixty million in 1941. To handle the new problems that arose, the CWS scientific organization had to expand enormously (36).

In Cambridge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology erected a new building which the CWS leased as a development laboratory. The location was advantageous because it was in the center of an industrial and university area, and because the MIT faculty was at hand for consultation (37)...In New York City, Columbia University permitted the CWS to occupy laboratories in the Building of Mines early in 1942 (37).

Later in 1942 the development of a more compact laboratory unit, with new and improved materials, was turned over to the National Defense Research Committee, the CWS Development Laboratory at MIT and the Technical Devision at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland...In December 1943 the CWS began design of still another laboratory, this time a highly mobile unit for proposed laboratory teams accompanying task foreces in combat zones (38-9)

As with laboratory space, the CWS found itself in need of larger testing and proving grounds. Since 1921, when the CWS had given up Lakehurst Proving Ground, all testing and proofing had been done at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. The fields there, shared by the Chemical Warfare board and the Chemical Warfare School, and Ordnance Department's Aberdeen Proving Ground, were overcrowded, close to thickly populated areas, and too small to permit large-scale assessment of toxic agents (38).

The first new proving ground was set up in 1942, in the desert waste-land of Utah, and included part of Dugway Valley. Dugway Proving Ground became the major installation for the field testing, proof firing, and surveillance of chemical agents and munitions under temperate zone conditions. Here researchers carried out airplane spray tests of unthickened and thickened mustard at various altitudes to develop the technique of air-spraying; to determine the effect of the height and speed of the plane, as well as meteorological conditions of the atmosphere, upon the spray; and to evaluate agents and apparatus. Planes dropped incendiaries on facsimile German and Japanese buildings to enable investigators to learn what happened when bombs of certain types struck enemy structures. They also dropped phosgene, cyanogene chloride, and hydrogen cynide bombs ranging in size from 100 to 4,000 pounds from different altitudes under different meteorological conditions to test bombs and to estimate the quantity of munitions required to lay down a lethal concentration of gas upon a given area. Researchers determined firing tables for the 4.2 inch chemical mortar and for chemical rockets. They studied the behavior of gas and smoke clouds under different meteorological conditions. Smoke munitions were fired to permit a comparison of the effectiveness of different munitions, and to ascertain the relative merits of white phosphorus and plasticized white phosphorous. In 1945 the installation was the scene of a most unusual test, the SPHINX project, by means of which the CWS demonstrated to General Staff officers the potentialities of gas munitions against Japanese cave fortifications of the type that proved invulnerable to high explosives at Iwo Jima (39-40).

CH. 3 toxic agents

The Chemical Warfare Service came into existence because the armed forces needed a branch to deal with the problems arising from the use of poison gas, and although the service acquired the responsibility for other areas of warfare, such as incendiaries and smokes, its major concern during World War II remained the research, production, and neutralization of toxic agents. The first chemical used in World War I was chlorine, a heavy green gas. As the war progressed liquid and solid compounds were also used to launch chemical attacks (49)...During World War II the CWS devoted most of the time spend on the research and development of toxics to the standard agents (51):

Phosgene: Phosgene, or carbonyl chloride (CWS symbol, CG) is a colorless liquid, slightly denser than water. It boils at 47 degrees F. and hence in warm weather is in the form of vapor, unless under slight pressure as in a cylinder or shell. The vapor dissipates into the air in a few minutes, and for this reason CG is known as a nonpersistent agent. The vapor smells like green corn or new mown hay, and is extremely toxic. When inhaled, phosgene damages the capillaries in the lungs, allowing watery fluid to seep into the air cells. If the quantity inhaled is less than the lethal dose the injury is slight, the fluid is reabsorbed, the cell walls heal, and the patient eventually recovers; but if a large amount is inhaled, the air cells become flooded and the patient dies from lack of oxygen. It is difficult to estimate the severity of poisoning since the full effect is  usually not apparent until three or four hours after exposure.

Hydrogene Cyanide: At the battle of Somme in July 1916 French artillery fired shells filled with hydrogen cyanide (CWS symbol, AC). The compound has been familiar to chemists for a century but this was the first time it was used in warfare. It is a colorless liquid which evaporates quickly at room temperature and boils at 78 degrees F. The liquid and vapor interfere with normal processes in body cells, particularly in the respiratory center of the nervous system, and if present in more than a certain small concentration quickly causes death. But if cyanide is present in less than the lethal concentration the cells can convert it into a harmless compound and the body is uninjured. In this respect AC is different from phosgene, mustard, and other toxic agents which are harmful even when present in less than the lethal dose.

Cyanogen chloride: Cyanogen chloride (CWS symbol, CK) is a colorless liquid slightly denser than water. It boils at a temperature of 55° F., giving off a vapor which is approximately twice as dense as air and which irritates the eyes and nasal passages. When air containing a high concentration of the vapor is inhaled the compound quickly paralyzes the nervous system and causes death. When a low concentration is inhaled the reaction is not so rapid, but the compound accumulates in the body until a lethal concentration is reached.

Mustard Gas: In World War I the protection experts on each side tried to devise a mean of neutralizing enemy agents as soon as new agents appeared. Chlorine, the first gas used, was soon parried by an adequate mask. As new gases appeared, the masks were improved. Soon the mask furnished full protection and men were gassed only when they were careless, panicky, or caught by surprise. But in July 1917 the German Army brought out a new type of agent, mustard gas, that not only attacked the respiratory system but also the skin, soaking through clothes and shoes and raising painful blisters. It was almost impossible to shield soldiers completely against mustard. It became the king of battle gases and caused four hundred thousand casualties before the armistice. Crude mustard gas (CWS symbol, H) was a mixture of approximately 70 percent -dichloroethyl sulfide and 30 percent of sulphur and other sulphur compounds. It was an oily, brown liquid that evaporated slowly, giving off a vapor five times heavier than air. It was almost odorless in ordinary field concentrations but smelled like garlic or mustard in high concentrations—hence the name. It irritated and poisoned body cells, but generally several hours passed before symptoms appeared.

Mustard, in terms of the quantity that the CWS stockpiled, was the most important American toxic agent. The plants at the Edgewood, Hunstville, Pine Bluff and Rocky Mountain arsenals produced 174,610,000 pounds...Since mustard evaporated slowly and thus remained effective from several hours to several days, depending on weather and terrain, its use was indicated on strategic targets or on enemy positions that would not be taken immediately by American troops. Thus, it could be used to "seal off" an enemy area into which American troops were advancing and to hamper enemy lines of communication, airfields, landing beaches, artillery emplacements and observation points. In withdrawals it could be used to contaminate the routes of enemy advance.

Lewisite: In I9I8 a group of organic chemists headed by Dr. Winford Lee Lewis prepared a highly vesicant substance (blister agent), dichloro (2-chlorovinyl) arsine, which they named lewisite. The CWS leased the old Ben Hur Automobile Co. building at Willoughby, Ohio, installed equipment, and began to produce the agent.  A shipment was on the seas headed for Europe when the war ended. The CWS kept the existence of lewisite and the site of its manufacture a strict secret during the war, but later revealed the information in scientific journals.  After the armistice the service closed down the Willoughby plant and did not prepare the compound again except in laboratory quantities until 1941.

Nitrogen Mustards: In 1935 there appeared an article by Kyle Ward, Jr., describing the preparation of a new compound, 2,2',2" trichlorotriethylamine, and calling attention to its marked vesicant action. The CWS prepared and studied a sample of the substance, but found that it was less vesicant than mustard. Early in World War II the CWS learned through intelligence that the Germans were working with the same compound and with related compounds—which by now had gained the name of the "Nitrogen Mustards" because of their analogy to mustard gas.

Chloroacetophenone: Both sides used tear gas early in World War I to harass opposing troops. Troops exposed to tear gas had to wear masks for long periods of time and were very uncomfortable in the old-fashioned, heavy, bulky devices. During the war the French, Germans, and British introduced a greater
variety of tear gases than any other class of agents. After the United States entered the conflict, American chemists investigated chloroacetophenone (CWS symbol, CN) and found that it had the advantage of being cheaper and less corrosive to the inside of shells than other tear gases. The CWS developed methods of producing the agent, but the war ended before large-scale manufacture got underway.

After the armistice the service selected chloroacetophenone as the standard American tear gas. It erected a manufacturing plant at Edgewood Arsenal in 1922, and developed a number of munitions for dispersing solid
CN or solutions of CN in the field. The solid could be scattered from shells and grenades by means of high explosives, and volatilized from pots and candles by means of heat. Solutions of CN in chloroform (CNC),
with chloropicrin in chloroform (CNS), and in carbon tetrachloride and benzene (CNB) could be thrown out by grenades, shells, and high pressure cylinders.

Adamsite: The German Army introduced vomiting gases or sternutators into chemical warfare in July 1917, as an ingenious method of penetrating the canisters of Allied gas masks. They first used a solution of diphenylchloroarsine (CWS symbol, DA), which evaporated and left minute particles of DA floating in the air. The canisters at that time were able to trap true gases, the particles of which were molecular in size, but they could not retain the larger particles of DA, which were colloidal in size. Therefore the DA passed through the canister into the mask and was inhaled by the soldier. It irritated his eyes, nostrils, throat, and chest, causing nausea and vomiting. The victim had to tear off his mask, exposing himself to lethal gases fired at the same time.

After the United States entered the war, American chemists investigated the possibility of manufacturing DA. The German process proved to be complicated. Still, the CWS might have gone into production if chemists had not found a related compound that could be manufactured more easily. This was diphenylaminechloroarsine, which was named adamsite after the chemist Roger Adams. The United States did not produce vomiting gas in time for use by American troops.

Although the United States did not employ toxic agents during World War II, the money and time that went into the research, development, field tests, and production was not wasted. The armed forces had supplies of agents and equipment with which they could have waged warfare energetically if necessary. In this sense the work of the CWS was America's insurance against chemical warfare.

Contemporary: chemical corpS

The Chemical Corps regimental insignia was approved on 2 May 1986. The insignia consists of a 1.2 inch shield of gold and blue emblazoned with a dragon and a tree. The shield is enclosed on three sides by a blue ribbon with Elementis Regamus Proelium written around it in gold lettering. The phrase translates to: "Let us (or may we) rule the battle by means of the elements". The regimental insignia incorporates specific symbolism in its design. The colors, gold and blue, are the colors of the Chemical Corps, while the tree's trunk is battle scarred, a reference to the historical beginnings of U.S. chemical warfare, battered tree trunks were often the only reference points that chemical mortar teams had across no man's land during World War I. The tree design was taken from the coat of arms of the First Gas Regiment. The mythical chlorine breathing green dragon symbolizes the first use of chemical weapons in warfare (chlorine). Individual Chemical Corps soldiers are often referred to as "Dragon Soldiers."


Between 1960 and 1971, the Department of Defense funded non-consensual whole body radiation experiments on poor, black cancer patients, who were not told what was being done to them. Patients were told that they were receiving a "treatment" that might cure their cancer, but the Pentagon was trying to determine the effects of high levels of radiation on the human body. One of the doctors involved in the experiments, Robert Stone, was worried about litigation by the patients. He referred to them only by their initials on the medical reports. He did this so that, in his words, "there will be no means by which the patients can ever connect themselves up with the report", in order to prevent "either adverse publicity or litigation".

see "The Treatment"

TRISHA BROWN by Caitlin Murray


GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Maurice Berger

Man Walking Down the Side of a Building (April 1970)

"In a kind of parallel to Brown's gravity-bound, antisymbolic approach to the dancer's body, they [artists of the 1960s and '70s] relieved the art object of the task of representing other objects or things in the world, thus avoiding psychological or narrative references that would get in the way of the spectator's phenomenological exploration / Brown has always encourages this empathic relationship, eschewing the kind of stylized, theatrical movement that distances dancer from audience. She breathed new life and meaning into ordinary movements, turning simple actions like sitting, running, or putting on one's clothes into fluid, exuberant variations of a theme."

"To watch one of Brown's dances is to learn much about one's own body, to understand its energy, its expressive potential its limits. If the choreographer has created an aesthetic that allows her to explore the 'further access to her [own] physicality,' she has done so with the full intention of inviting her audience along for the ride."

"trillium"  / [first dance of her own that she performed solo in public]


"Her formal training in modern dance began in 1954, when she enrolled at Mills College in California. As her choreography has evolved over such a substantial span of time, it has coalesced into distinctive phases of work, each with similar compositional pursuits / Brown's formal training at Mills in a top art technique - that of Martha Graham and Graham's choreographic mentor, Louis Horst - led her initially to compose in that tradition."

[FROM THE BIOGRAPHY OF TRISHA BROWN] After graduating from Mills in 1958, Brown taught dance at Reed College in Portland Oregon before participating in a six-week workshop with Ann Halprin in the summer of 1960. Other participants in the workshop included Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti and June Eckman. Moving to New York City in 1961, Brown joined Robert Dunn's dance composition class at the Merce Cunningham studio. It was in Dunn's class that Brown learned about John Cage's chance procedures. Of this experience, Brown noted that she "understood for the first time, that the modern choreographer has the right to make up the WAY that he/she makes a dance" (see Brown's "How to Make a Modern Dance When the Sky's the Limit" in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).

"In the sixties, Brown experimented with non-formal movement and instinctive physical responses to Dunn's assignments, as well as a blend of the conceptual and physical . . ."

During the 1960s, Brown participated in other fields of experimental art, including music, poetry, and the visual arts. In the late 1960s, Brown began to make drawings, a practice she has continued.

In 1970, Brown founded the Trisha Brown Dance Company with Carmen Beuchat, Caroline Goodden and Penelope [Newcomb]. The Company toured the United States and Europe performing works such as Accumulation (1971), a signature solo piece for Brown in which she "unfolds increment by increment—from thumb to wrist, wrist to elbow, elbow to shoulder, shoulder to neck, hip to knee," exposing "the cognitive challenge of performing, showing the dancer and the body in the course of thinking, not merely gesturing in space, and offers the satisfaction of watching a composition materialize according to an indissoluble unity of intent and action: the body’s vocabulary as a movement language" (Susan Rosenberg, Accumulated Vision: Trisha Brown and the Visual Arts).

Brown regularly performed outside of traditional theater venues, choosing instead to perform in lofts, galleries and outdoor spaces, such as rooftops, parks, streets, churches, parking lots and plazas. When using conventional proscenium stages, Brown tried to disrupt the "window" or frame around the dancers and de-emphasize the customary hierarchical relationship of both the stage and the body, where the center is more important than the periphery. "Brown reinvents the body as a field of equal places, with varying centers. Actions can be initiated form any place at any time" (Marianne Goldberg, see Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).

In Son of Gone Fishin' (1981) and Newark (Niweweorce) (1987), Brown, in collaboration with Donald Judd, created works that decentralized the stage, developing allover compositions.


"Her dancing, from now on, in its rootedness in idiosyncratic personal/physical history, detachment from musical and narrative cues and refusal to conflate emotional expressivity with recognizable mimesis, would push her toward nothing less than rewriting the terms of choreographic expression and its previous manifestations." (see "A Fond Memoir with Sundry Reflections on a Friend and Her Art," by Yvonne Rainer in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).


"Trisha and her friends Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer were some of the few dancers I knew in those days who improvised. The rest of us tended to create structures in which our rigid legs and pointy toes were accepted as the natural way for a dancer to exist . . . What were they doing? They were constructing milliseconds with their sensations and their ideas in a heady mix which swirled through time catalyzed by our complicity, our viewing. We saw anew. What a relief . . . Trisha Brown's accomplishment is to express the new body, surmount the system, and beat the dictates of those who have no idea of their own body, or anyone's." (see "Brown in the New Body" by Steve Paxton in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001). 


"In Brown's collaborative process, she encourages and celebrates complexity, allowing for unpredictable events to surface. Each of these projects is a way towards making chaos visible."


"With the same collaborative spirit that marked her work from the moment of her arrival in New York in 1961, Brown embraced the theater as an interdisciplinary environment. Brown made dances that allowed, and even required, her dancers to talk; she unceremoniously broke the silence of the technicians of modern dance. Beginning in 1979, Brown's creative sensibility for dialogue expanded in a new way to the visual arts when she invited Robert Rauschenberg to design the set and costumes for Glacial Decoy . . . Inviting Rauchenberg and, later, other painters, sculptors, and stage designers - Fujiko Nakaya, Donald Judd, Nancy Graves, Roland Aeschlimann, and Terry Winters - to join her in collaborative creation of a work for the stage became a central feature of her practice" (see Introduction to Trisha Brown's Choreographies 1979-2001 by Hendel Teicher in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001). 


Son of Gone Fishin' (1981)

sonofgonefishin_ Photo © Jonathan Atkin .jpg

CYCLE: Unstable Molecular Structure
LENGTH: 25 minutes
MUSIC: Robert Ashley, "Atalanta"
MUSIC PERFORMANCE: Robert Ashley with Kurt Munkacsi; live only at first performance
SETS: a series of five drops upstage, moving through a variety of positions by Donald Judd
COSTUMES: Judith Shea, based the final color scheme of the costumes on on Donald Judd's green and blue set
LIGHTING: Beverly Emmons
ORIGINAL DANCERS: Eva Karczag, Lisa Kraus, Diane Madden, Stephen Petronio, Vicky Shick, Randy Warshaw

BAM Opera House, Brooklyn, NY, October 16, 1981

Festival d'Automne à Paris, Theatre de Paris, Paris, France, November 13, 1983

"The choreography was a 'doosey.' In it I reached the apogee of complexity in my work. The infrastructure of the piece was related to the cross-section of a tree trunk. ABC center CBA. Complex group-forms of six dancers were performed first in the normal direction and then in retrograde. Bob Ashley gave us a little library of different tapes to carry with us on tour. The dancers randomly chose which music we would use each performance. Something like having the band along with us" (Trisha Brown, see Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001)

"After working for a decade or so, I noticed that my dances tended to cluster together in cycles. I take a compositional subject that intrigues me, work on it over two or three pieces until I have my answers, and then I move on. The early sixties were about discovery in the realm of improvisation versus form. I cam back to that subject in the Unstable Molecular Structure cycle of work, Opal Loop/Cloud Installation #75203 (1980), Son of Gone Fishin' (1981), and Set and Reset (1983). All of these dances were created by the dancers through a complex process of improvisation, repetition, and memorization of the aleatoric enactment of phrases according to instructions provided by me. During the choreographic process, I stepped out of the dance to view the work as it evolved, to make editorial decisions" (see Brown's "How to Make a Modern Dance When the Sky's the Limit" in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).

Newark (Niweweorce) (1987)

CYLCLE: Valiant
LENGTH: 30 min.
MUSIC: Peter Zummo, from sound concept by Donald Judd
SETS: Donald Judd
COSTUMES: Gray unitards by Donald Judd
LIGHTING: Ken Tabachnick with Judd's directive to be "plotless"
ORIGINAL DANCERS: Jeffrey Axelrod, Lance Gries, Irene Hultman, Carolyn Lucas, Diane Madden, Lisa Schmidt, Shelley Senter

CNDC/Nouveau Theatre d'Angers, Angers, France, June 10, 1987

City Center, New York, NY, September 14, 1987

"During the making of this dance, one of Trisha Brown's production assistants would yell out 'new work!' to announce onstage rehearsal time for the yet untitled piece. Brown heard this prompt as 'Newark!' which she likened to the bellowing of a train conductor, and made it the main title of the new dance. She then looked up the word in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and found that the original name for Newark, England, was 'Niweweorce,' a term that was used around 1055 or earlier. Brown was taken by the words and sounds that could be found by extrapolating from this obsolete name - wow, wew, new, weorse [as in 'worse'], and so on. Niweweorce became the subtitle of the piece" (see Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001)

The set design for Newark (Niweweorce) was a further development of the stage design Judd created for Son of Gone Fishin' in 1981. Whereas the drops were used upstage in Son of Gone Fishin', in Newark they use the entire stage.

"During the ten years I danced with Trisha, I rarely repeated the same movement twice; a reference to another work was the exception to the rule. The rule being: explore new territory to create, beginning at the foundation - the movement. With a passion for geometry, respect for the body's organic function, and an acute attention to detail, Trisha Brown has pioneered her own movement vocabulary." (Carolyn Lucas, one of the original dancers in Newark (Niweweorce), see Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001)

"The second piece in this new cycle [The Valiant Cycle] was Newark (Niweweorce) (1987), with set, costumes, and music by Donald Judd, a sculptor I had collaborated with to make Son of Gone Fishin'. In both instances that we worked together, Judd brought his Minimalist aesthetic to my stage. A residency at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France, gave Don and me, plus Peter Zummo, music production, and Ken Tabachnick, lighting design, the crucial time on stage to choreograph with the set and lights every day, six days a week, for six weeks (see Brown's "How to Make a Modern Dance When the Sky's the Limit" in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).

"Don's stage design comprised five proscenium-size drops in the three primary colors plus brown and another shade of red. They split the stage into sections forming corridors, which could alternately block and reveal the dance. Don devised three separate mathematical systems to determine what drops, in what order, would come in where and for how long."

"The music which consisted of nonreferential sounds found by Peter Zummo, was on yet another system of all its own. I had unwittingly allowed Judd to usurp the choreographer's territory of time and space. He would cut off a dancer flung high in an arc, or confine us in a narrow strip on the downstage light line, five feet deep and forty wide. My choreographic solution was to visually design the dance into the motional elements of the set, albeit adapting a few aspects to my favor. Why did I put up with it? Too late to change for one, but remember that abstract modern dance, unfettered by story and music, is, necessarily, in search of a logic or rationale to reduce the proliferation of options that hang around winking at us. The Newark set did impose tough dialogues and severe internal limitations, but it also delivered a spatial and temporal score that forced invention and resulted in one of the most striking pieces in our repertory" (see Brown's "How to Make a Modern Dance When the Sky's the Limit" in Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001).


(Interview with Regina Wyrwoll, October 4-5, 1993, Chinati Foundation Newsletter, vol. 14)

"It was very difficult for me to get started with music. I was helped a little bit, or a lot, by a composer in New York named Peter Zummo, who has perfectly clear ideas of his own. he put away his ideas to help me with mine, which was very nice. He was working with Trisha Brown. What I needed were sounds—I just wanted sounds. I didn’t want them to be associated—I didn’t even want them to be from instruments, I didn’t want them to be natural—I just wanted a lot of sounds. and then a great range of volume, of density, of all the possibilities. And then I wanted to be able to cut it up into parts where you hear one, then one stops and you hear the other with lots of subdivisions"

"If you don’t want to embrace the proscenium stage, then why go along with the circumstances — this was a little bit of a Gesamtkunstwerk, actually. Why go along with the circumstances where the dancers have no reaction to the set, the set has no effect upon them? With the set I made, you would suddenly have a very shallow space for people on one side, and a very deep space with people on the other side, and all sorts of different circumstances — dancers would have to deal with that. or the players in a play."


C.S. PEIRCE by Caitlin Murray

Peirce prequel (from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) added on December 10th, 2014.

[First published Fri Jun 22, 2001; substantive revision Wed Nov 12, 2014 – The latest version of the entry “Charles Sanders Peirce” (substantive content change) is not yet archived and may change before it is archived in the Winter 2014 edition. You should, if possible, wait for the Winter 2014 archived edition of the Encyclopedia to cite this version. Fixed editions of the Encyclopedia are created and archived every three months, on the 21st of September (Fall), December (Winter), March (Spring), and June (Summer).]

An especially intriguing and curious twist in Peirce’s evolutionism is that in Peirce’s view evolution involves what he calls its “agapeism.” Peirce speaks of evolutionary love. According to Peirce, the most fundamental engine of the evolutionary process is not struggle, strife, greed, or competition. Rather it is nurturing love, in which an entity is prepared to sacrifice its own perfection for the sake of the wellbeing of its neighbor. This doctrine had a social significance for Peirce, who apparently had the intention of arguing against the morally repugnant but extremely popular socio-economic Darwinism of the late nineteenth century. The doctrine also had for Peirce a cosmic significance, which Peirce associated with the doctrine of the Gospel of John and with the mystical ideas of Swedenborg and Henry James. In Part IV of the third of Peirce’s six papers in Popular Science Monthly, entitled “The Doctrine of Chances,” Peirce even argued that simply being logical presupposes the ethics of self-sacrifice: “He who would not sacrifice his own soul to save the whole world, is, as it seems to me, illogical in all his inferences, collectively.” To social Darwinism, and to the related sort of thinking that constituted for Herbert Spencer and others a supposed justification for the more rapacious practices of unbridled capitalism, Peirce referred in disgust as “The Gospel of Greed.”]

“Concerning the Author” / C.S. Peirce

when: pure ratiocination is not everything, it is prudent to take every element into consideration

“I am saturated, through and through, with the spirit of the physical sciences”

The doctrine of the association of ideas, is to my thinking, the finest piece of philosophical work of the prescientific ages / J.S. Mill – Sensationalism: “Sensationalism,” the doctrine that all knowledge is derived from sensations, takes several closely related forms / sensationalism lacks a solid bottom

. . .

Duns Scotus / “The works of Duns Scotus have strongly influenced me” / Duns Scotus (c. 1266 – 8 November 1308) was given the medieval accolade Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Doctor) for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought / beatified by Pope John Paul II /

. . .

conjecture as to the constitution of the universe / The demonstrations of the metaphysicians is all moonshine /when the probably errors are too vast to estimate

- “I am a man who critics have never found anything good to say” – “I decline to serve as bellwether”

fallibilism – indeed the first step to finding out is to acknowledge that you do not know already / Indeed, out of a contrite fallisbilism, combined with a high faith in the reality of knowledge, and an intense desire to find things out, all my philosophy has always seemed to me to grow. . .

[Introduction to the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce]

Peirce’s literary activity began in 1867 and continued almost unceasingly until a few years before his death in 1914 / Upon a synthesis of whatever healthful strains he detected in sensationalism with the older British tradition, Kantism, and the logic of science, he constructed his own empiricism, in which fallibilism replaces scepticism and pragmatism replaces positivism.

. . .

Among thinkers of the first rank, few have in their lifetime addressed so small a public as Peirce / The pages of Peirce vibrate with the effort to place philosophy on a scientific basis / To Peirce the phrase [scientific philosophy] had a perfectly literal implication, at once faithful to the method of science and the scope of philosophic tradition, namely, that the broadest speculative theories should be experimentally verifiable / Philosophy as a branch of progressive inquiry rather than a species of art {what if progressive inquiry was practiced as a species of art?}  / What distinguishes it from all other methods of inquiry is its cooperative factor inviting universal examination and compelling ultimate unanimity; it conceives of its results as essentially provisional or corrigible; and for these reasons it ensures measurable progress

. . .

power of the scientific method (not a royal road): in the capacity, through constant modification of its own conclusions, to approximate indefinitely to the truth

. . .

Pragmatisim: whereas popular pragmatisim is an anti-intellectualist revolt, an embrace of the “will to believe” pathetic in its methodological feebleness, Peircean pragmatism (pragmaticism), demonstrating the fatuity of an emphasis on mere volition or sensation, is precisely intellectualistic / pragmatism is a step forward in the history of empiricism – It differs from Kant’s anti-metaphysical scepticism and from positivism in that it introduces the concept of meaning into empiricist methodology / a theory of meaning

. . .

Peirce maintains that in so far as thought is cognitive it must be linguistic or symbolical in character, that is, it must presuppose communication / Communication takes place by means of signs, and Peirce’s theory, in its investigation of the nature and conditions of the sign-relation, endows with a new and vital significance the old truth that man is a social animal.

Thought is inferential, expectative or predicative, and therefore always in some degree general. It is not a granular succession, but a web of continuously related signs. This is the heart of fallibilism.


logic as the philosophy of communication or theory of signs


Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness

. . .


. . .

drawing inferences, not so much a gift but a long and difficult art

Schoolboy logic – all knowledge either rests on authority or reason, but that whatever is deduced by reason depends ultimately on a premiss derived from authority (Aristotle’s term logic/the syllogistic procedure: two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true – the combination of a general statement (the major premise) and a specific statement (the minor premise), a conclusion is deduced. For example, knowing that all men are mortal (major premise) and that Socrates is a man (minor premise), we may validly conclude that Socrates is mortal.

All men are mortal.

Socrates is a man.

Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

The word “therefore” can be represented by the symbol “∴”

. . .

Roger Bacon (Doctor Mirabilis – “wonderful teacher”) / “He saw that experience alone teaches anything – a proposition which to us seems easy to understand, because a distinct conception of experience has been handed down to us from former generation…Of all kinds of experience, the best, he thought, was interior illumination, which teaches many things about Nature which the external senses could never discover, such as the transubstantiation of bread.”

Novum Organum and the Baconian Method – reduction and the use of inductive reasoning. If one wants to find the cause of heat, list all the situations in which heat is found. Then list all situations similar to those of the first except for the lack of heat. The third lists situations where heat can vary. The ‘form nature’, or cause, of heat must be that which is common to all instances in the first table, is lacking from all instances of the second table and varies by degree in instances of the third table.



Multi pertransibunt & augebitur scientia {Daniel 12:4. It means: “Many will travel and knowledge will be increased”.}

Bacon’s inadequate scientific procedure / the early scientists, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Harvey, and Gilbert, have methods more like those of their modern brethren.

Kepler’s curve through the places of mars (22 hypothesis) – inductive reasoning.

“Lege, lege lege, labora, ora, et relege” / Read, read, read, find, pray, reread

. . .

The object of reasoning is to find out, from the consideration of what we already know, something else which we do not know. Consequently, reasoning is good if it be such as to give a true conclusion from true premises, and not otherwise / I is true that we do generally reason correctly by nature. But that is an accident; the true conclusion would remain true if we had no impulse to accept it; and the false one would remain false, though we could not resist the tendency to believe it.

Most of us, for example, are naturally more sanguine and hopeful than logic would justify.

That which determines us, from given premisses, to draw once inference rather than another, is some habit of mind, whether it be constitutional or acquired.

guiding principle of inference: Suppose, for example, that we observe that a rotating disk of copper quickly comes to rest when placed between the poles of a magnet, and we infer that this will happen with every disk of copper. The guiding principle is, that what is true of one piece of copper is true of another / A person in an unfamiliar field may behave like a ship in the open sea, with no one on board who understands the rules of navigation.

Almost any fact may serve as a guiding principle – so the subject must be limited / there are many facts that are assumed / In point of fact, the importance of what may be deduced from the assumptions involved in the logical question turns out to be greater than might be supposed – conceptions which are really products of logical reflection, without being readily seen to be so, mingle with our ordinary thoughts, and are frequently the the causes of great confusion

|    |     |

Ex. the conception of quality = A quality, as such, is never an object of observation. We can see that a thing is blue or green, but the quality of being blue and the quality of being green are not things which we see; they are products of logical reflection.

common-senese or thought is often imbued with that bad epithet metaphysical [metaphysics, a placement of texts – the books that come after the books on physics, a misreading/a misunderstanding, the science beyond the physical/the science of the immaterial (Andronicus of Rhodes/the eleventh scholar of the Peripatetic School- did Aristotle always walk as he taught?)]

. . .

belief and doubt

a dissimilarity between the sensation of doubting and the sensation of believing / what distinguishes doubt from belief? /Out beliefs guide our desires and shape our actions [the Old Man of the Mountain – Isma’ilism] / The feeling of believing is a more or less sure indication of there being established in our nature some habit which will determine our actions. Doubt never has such an effect.

doubt is an uneasy and dissatisfied state / belief is a calm and satisfactory state – we cling tenaciously, not merely to believing, but to believing just what we do believe – both belief and doubt have positive effects

The irritation of doubt causes a struggle to attain a state of belief. I shall term this struggle Inquiry.

We may believe that we want more than an opinion, but a true opinion, but as soon as a firm belief is reached we are entirely satisfied, whether the belief be true or false. We seek for a belief that we think to be true.

That the settlement of opinion is the sole end of inquiry is a very important proposition. It sweeps away at once various vague and erroneous conceptions of proof.

The mere putting of a proposition into the interrogative form does not stimulate the mind to any struggle after belief. There must be a real and living doubt, and without this all discussion is idle.

the method of tenacity – a person may go through life, systematically keeping out of view all that might cause a change in his opinions – but this method will be unable to hold its ground in practice

Unless we make ourselves hermits, we shall necessarily influence each others opinions; so that the problem becomes how to fix belief, not in the individual, but in the community.

the consequences of allowing the will of the state or an institution to act instead of that of the individual (a historical method of upholding correct theological or political doctrines) / cruelties always accompany this system; and when it is consistently carried out, they become atrocities of the most horrible kind in the eyes of any rational man / the method of authority

. . .

a different new method / the action of natural preferences / propositions which are “agreeable to reason” – This is an apt expression; it does not mean that which agrees with experience, but that which we find ourselves inclined to believe / “Plato, for example, finds it agreeable to reason that the distances of the celestial spheres from one another should be proportional to the different lengths of strings which produce harmonious chords.” / agreeability is not a developed form of logic


[descartes: he is aiming at a kid of truth which saying so can make to be so. he makes God easier to know than anything else; for whatever we think He is, He is. he fails to remark that this is precisely the definition of a figment.]

[kant: geometrical propositions are held to be universally true. hence, they are not given by experience. consequently, it must be owing to an inward necessity of man’s nature that he sees everything in space. Ergo, the sum of the angles of a triangle will be equal to two right angles for all the objects of our vision – this is merely accepting without question a belief as soon as it is shown to please a great many people very much]

[hegel: He simply launches his boat into the current of thoughts and allows himself to be carried wherever the current leads. dialectic – a frank discussion of the difficulties to which any opinion spontaneously gives rise will lead to modification after modification until a tenable position is attained – a distinct profession of faith in the method of inclinations]

inquiry is not to be confused with the development of taste (the a priori method) – this method does not differ in a very essential way from that of authority.
. . .

To satisfy our doubts it is necessary that a method should be found by which our beliefs may be determined by nothing human, but by some external permanency – by something upon which our thinking has no effect. / Cannot just be individual – this is where science comes in.

the fundamental hypothesis of science: there are real things, whose character are entirely independent of our opinions about them; those Reals affect our senses according to regular laws, and, though our sensations are as different as are our relations to the objects, yet, by taking advantage of the laws of perception, we can ascertain by reasoning how things really and truly are; and any man, if he have sufficient experience and he reason enough about it, will be led to the one True conclusion. (reality – how do we know that there are any Reals?)

To describe the method of scientific investigation is the object of this series of papers. The contrast between it an other methods of fixing belief / a right and wrong way – I may start with known and observed facts to proceed to the unknown. . .the test of whether I am truly following the method is not an immediate appeal to my feelings and purposes, but, on the contrary, itself involves the application of the method. Hence it is that bad reasoning as well as good reasoning is possible; and this fact is the foundation of the practical side of logic.

[If liberty of speech is to be untrammelled from the grosser forms of constraint, then uniformity of opinion will be secured by a moral terrorism to which the respectability of society will give its thorough approval – Certain non-conformities are permitted; certain others (considered unsafe) are forbidden. These are different in different countries and in different ages; but, wherever you are, let it be known that you seriously hold a tabooed belief, and you may be perfectly sure of being treated with a cruelty less brutal but more refined than hunting you like a wolf] [It is impossible not to envy the man who can dismiss reason, although we know how it must turn out at last]

. . .

The genius of man’s logical method should be loved and reverenced as his bride, whom he has chosen from all the world.

. . .


. . .

clear and obscure conceptions / distinct and confused conceptions

(unimproved and unmodified for two centuries)


A CLEAR IDEA: one which is so apprehended that it will be recognized wherever it is met with, and so that no other will be mistaken for it / familiarity with an idea.

A DISTINCT IDEA: defined as one which contains nothing which is not clear / an idea is distinctly apprehended when we can give a precise definition of it, in abstract terms.

[It is easy to show that the doctrine that familiar use and abstract distinctness make the perfection of apprehension has its only true place in philosophies which have long been extinct; and it is now time to formulate the method of attaining to a more perfect clearness of thought, such as we see and admire in thinkers of out own time]

. . .

Descartes: permit skepticism, discard authority as the ultimate source of truth / passed from the method of authority to apriority (the human mind) / self-consciousness was to furnish us with our fundamental truths / ideas must seem clear at the outset and that a discussion must never make them more obscure

Leibniz: never understood that the machinery of the mind can only transform knowledge, but never originate it, unless it be fed with the facts of observation

(The most essential point of Cartesian philosophy: to accept propositions which seem perfectly evident to us is such a thing which, whether it be logical or illogical, we cannot help doing).

It was quite natural that on observing that the method of Descartes labored under the difficulty that we may seem to ourselves to have clear apprehensions of ideas which in truth are very hazy, no better remedy occurred to him than to require an abstract definition of every important term.

[It may be acknowledges, that the books are right in making familiarity with a notion the first step toward clearness of apprehension, and the defining of it the second. But in omitting all mention of any higher perspicuity of thought, they simply mirror a philosophy which was exploded a hundred years ago]

. . .

For an individual, there can be no question that a few clear ideas are worth more than many confused ones / It is terrible to see how a single unclear idea, a single formula without meaning, lurking in a young man’s head, will sometimes act like an obstruction of inert matter in an artery, hindering the nutrition of the brain, and condemning its victim to pine away in the fulness of his intellectual vigour and in the midst of intellectual plenty / an idea vanished –  like Melusina [a figure of European folklore, a feminine spirit of fresh waters in sacred springs and rivers / spinning yarns /


Remember: the action of thought is excited by the irritation of doubt, and ceases when belief is attained; so that the production of belief is the sole function of thought. Doubt and belief are the start of any question, no matter how small or how great, and the resolution of it.

Feigned hesitancy, whether feigned for mere amusement or with a lofty purpose, plays a great part in the production of scientific inquiry.

Two sorts of objects, what we are immediately conscious of and what we are mediately conscious of, are found in all consciousness. Some elements (the sensations) are completely present at every instant so long as they last, while others (like thought) are actions having beginning, middle, and end, and consist in a congruence of the succession of sensations which flow though the mind / Thought is a thread of melody running through the succession of our sensations.

Thought in action has for its only possible motive the attainment of thought at rest; and whatever does not refer to belief is no part of the thought itself.

BELIEF: has three properties 1. it is something we are aware of; 2. it appeases the irritation of doubt; 3. it involves the establishment in our nature of a rule of action, or a habit / belief as thought at rest

Imaginary distinctions are often drawn between beliefs which differ only in their mode of expression.


ex. to mistake the sensation produced by our own unclearness of thought for a character of the object we are thinking / instead of perceiving that the obscurity is purely subjective, we fancy that we contemplate a quality of the object which is essentially mysterious

ex. to mistake a mere difference in the grammatical construction of two words for a distinction between the ideas they express

. . .

the whole function of thought, again, is to produce habits of action / the identity of habit depends on how it might lead us to act – what the habit is depends on when and how it causes us to act (when – every stimulus to action is derived from perception / how – every purpose of action is to produce some sensible result)

transubstantiation of wine: I desire to point out how impossible it is that we should have an idea in our minds which relates to anything but conceived sensible effects of things / Our idea of anything is our idea of its sensible effects; and if we fancy that we have any other we deceive ourselves, and mistake a mere sensation accompanying the thought for a part of the thought itself.

ANOTHER RULE: Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.

ex. what do we mean when we call a thing hard? – that it will not be scratched by many other substances / the whole conception of this quality, as of every other, lies in its conceived effects

Weight and Force

THE IDEA OF FORCE IN GENERAL: This is the greatest conception which, developed in the early part of the seventeenth century from the rude idea of a cause, and constantly improved upon since, has shown us how to explain all the changes of motion which bodies experience, and how to think about all physical phenomena; which has given birth to modern science, and changed the face of the globe; and which, aside from its more special uses, has played a principle part in directing the course of modern thought, and in furthering modern social development. It is therefore worth some pains to comprehend it.

the path: equal or added

the parallelogram of forces: a method for solving (or visualizing) the results of applying two forces to an object – a rule for compounding accelerations – represent the accelerations by paths and then to geometrically add the paths


. . .

Reality and Fiction

THE REAL: that whose characters are independent of what anybody may think them to be.

The only effect which real things have is to cause belief – how is true belief (belief in the real) distinguished from false belief (or belief in fiction)?

So deeply has the idea of loyalty replaced that of truthseeking / sometimes philosophers have been less intent on finding out what the facts are, than on inquiring what belief is most in harmony with their system / in contenting themselves with fixing their own opinions by a method which would lead another man to a different result, they betray their feeble hold of the conception of what truth is.

The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is real.


“Truth crashed to earth shall rise again”

Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness in the desert air.

[Elegy written in a country churchyard – Thomas Gray]

Do these things not really exist because they are hopelessly beyond the reach of our knowledge? And then, after the universe is dead (according to the prediction of some scientists), and all life has ceased forever, will not the shock of atoms continue though there be no mind to know it? To this I reply that, though in no possible state of knowledge can any number be great enough to express the relation between the amount of what rests unknown to the amount of the known, yet it is unphilosophical to suppose that, with regard to any given question (which has any clear meaning), investigation would not bring forth a solution of it, if it were carried far enough. Who would have said a few years ago, that we could ever know of what substances stars are made whose light may have been longer in reaching us than the human race has existed? Who can be sure of what we shall not know in a few hundred years? Who can guess what would be the result of continuing the pursuit of science for ten thousand years, with the activity of the last hundred? And if it were to go on for a million, a billion, or any number of years you please, how is it possible to say that there is any question which might not ultimately be solved?



How to give birth vital and procreative ideas which multiply into a thousand forms and diffuse themselves everywhere, advancing civilization and making the dignity of man, is an art not reduced to rules, but of the secret of which the history of science affords some hints

. . .


. . .

Three types of people – those for whom the chief thing is: art, power, reason / “For men of the first class, nature is a picture; for men of the second class, it is an opportunity; for men of the third class, it is a cosmos, so admirable, that to penetrate to its ways seems to them the only thing that makes life worth living.”

the pursuit of science – it does not consist so much in knowing, nor even in “organized knowledge,” as it does in diligent inquiry into truth for truth’s sake, without any sort of axe to grind, nor for the sake of the delight of contemplating it, but from an impulse to penetrate into the reason of things. This is sense in which this book is entitled a History of Science. Science and philosophy seem to have been changed in their cradles. For it is not knowing, but the love of learning, that characterizes the scientific man; while the “philosopher” is a man with a system which he thinks embodies all that is best worth knowing.

. . .

When a man desires ardently to know the truth, his first effort will be to imagine what that truth can be  / it remains true that there is, after all, nothing but imagination that can ever supply an inkling of truth / the science of the imagination

the exaggerated regard for morality

Wherever there is a large class of academic professors who are provided with good incomes and looked up to as gentleman, scientific inquiry must languish. Wherever the bureaucrats are the more learned class, the case will be still worse.

. . .

The first questions which men ask about the universe are naturally the most general and abstract ones. Nor is it true, as has so often been asserted, that these are the most difficult questions to answer (a problem caused by Francis Bacon)

Mathematics – the most abstract of the sciences / no care for the truth of the postulate / mathematics created a confidence altogether unfounded in man’s power of eliciting truth by inward meditation without any aid from experience

confusion of a prior reason with conscience (ideas of right and wrong) – looking to science for a practical end – no reasoning required – no room for doubt which paralyzes action / “But the scientific spirit requires a man to be at all times ready to dump his whole cartload of beliefs, the moment experience is against them.” / Positive science can only rest on experience; and experience can never result in absolute certainty, exactitude, necessity, or universality. But it is precisely with the universal and necessary, that is, with Law, that [con]science concerns itself / Science is destroyed when made an adjunct of conduct

. . .

As morality supposes self-control, men learn that they must not surrender themselves unreservedly to any method, without considering to what conclusions it will lead them / But this is utterly contrary to the single-mindedness that is requisite in science.

The effect of this shamming is that men come to look upon reasoning as mainly decorative, or at most, as a secondary aid in minor matters – a view not together unjust, if questions of conduct are alone to interest us. They, therefore, demand that it shall be plain and facile. If in special cases, complicated reasoning is indispensable, they hire a professional to perform it. The result of this state of things is, of course, a rapid deterioration of intellectual vigour, very perceptible from one generation to the next. This is just what is taking place among us before our eyes; and to judge from the history of Constantinople, it is likely to go on until the race comes to a despicable end.

. . .

Kepler making Newton possible, differential calculus making Kepler possible and so on / True science is distinctively the study of useless things. For the useful things will get studied without the aid of scientific men. To employ these rare minds on such work is like running a steam engine by burning diamonds.

. . .

evolutionary theory : Darwin (changes in reproduction), Lamarck (changes not in reproduction – not fortuitous, but based on strivings of the individual), cataclysmal evolution (sudden changes in the environment occurring from time to time) / it is probably that all of these modes of evolution have acted  and they have parallels in other departments.

Examples of the Darwinian and Lamarckan methods / But this is not the way in which science mainly progresses / It advances by leaps; and the impulse for each leap is either some new observational resource, or some novel way of reasoning about the observations / ex. Pasteur – at the time of Pasteur, the medical world was dominated by Claude Bernard’s dictum that a disease is not an entity but merely a sum of symptoms / Scientific evolution does not occur from insensible steps

. . .

. . .

Our science is altogether middle-sized and mediocre. Its insignificance compared with the universe cannot be exaggerated.

. . .

Upon this first, and in one sense sole, rule of reason, that in order to learn you must desire to learn, and in so desiring not be satisfied with what you already incline to think, there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be inscribed upon every wall in the city of philosophy:

Do not block the way of inquiry

Four familiar shapes in which this act occurs (often in metaphysics):

 1. The shape of absolute assertion [that we can be sure of nothing in science is an ancient truth] / Science has been infested with overconfident assertion, especially on the part of the third-rate and fourth-rate men, who have been more concerned with teaching than with learning

2. Maintaining that this, that, and the other thing can never be known / And when it comes to positive assertion that the truth never will be found out, that, in the light of the history of our time, seems to me more hazardous than the venture of Andree [remember: Dinner with Carl Andre]

3. Maintaining that this, that, or the other element of science is basic, ultimate, independent of aught else, and utterly inexplicable – not so much from any defect in our knowing as because there is nothing beneath it to know.

4. The holding that this or that law or truth has found its last and perfect formulation – and especially that the ordinary and usual course of nature never can be broken through. “Stones do not gall from heaven” – Laplace

. . .

All positive reasoning is the nature of judging the proportion of something in a whole collection by the proportion found in a sample / Accordingly, there are three things to which we can never hope to attain by reasoning, namely, absolute certainty, absolute exactitude, absolute universality.

. . .

the cases in which it is argued that there are other means to certainty outside of reasoning: of revelations, of the laws which are known to us a priori and the case of direct experience

On the whole, then, we cannot in any way reach perfect certitude nor exactitude. We never can be absolutely sure of anything, not can we with any probability ascertain the exact value of any measure or general ratio / THE DOCTRINE OF FALLIBILISM

a radicalism that tries experiments

It is a matter of real fact to say that in a certain room there are two persons. It is a matter of fact to say that each person has two eyes. It is a matter of fact to day that there are four eyes in the room. But to say that if there are two persons and each person has two eyes there will be four eyes is not a statement of fact, but a statement about the system of numbers which is our own creation.

. . .


. . .

Comte’s classification: once science depends upon another for fundamental principles, but does not furnish such principles to the other.

All science is either:

[two branches of science: Theoretical (whose purpose is simply and solely knowledge of God’s truth) and Practical (for the uses of life). Theoretical has two sub-branches, of which the science of discovery is one of them (which has three classes – Mathematics, Philosophy and Metaphysics – all resting on observation, but being observational in very different senses)

A. Science of Discovery:

1. Mathematics / studies what is and what is not logically possible / does not seeks to ascertain any matter of fact whatever, but merely posits hypothesis and traces out their consequences / it is observational in that it makes constructions in the imagination according to abstract precepts and then observes these imaginary objects, finding in them relations of parts not specified in the precept of construction / meddles with every other science without exception / There is no science whatever to which is not attached an application of mathematics / This is not true of any other science, since pure mathematics has no interest in whether a proposition is existentially true or not

a. the Mathematics of Logic

b. the Mathematics of a Discrete Series

c. the Mathematics of Continua and Psuedo-continua

2. Philosophy: is a positive science, in the sense of discovering what is really true (which can be inferred from common experience) / Bentham calls this class cenoscopic / observations from the range of every many’s normal experience / has its application in every other science / theoretic science

a. Phenomenology: ascertains and studies the kinds of elements universally present in phenomena, the phenomenon being whatever is present at any time to the mind in any way / the Doctrine of Categories / whose business it is to unravel the tangled skein of all that in any sense appears and wind it into distinct forms – to make the ultimate analysis of all experiences the first task which philosophy has to apply itself/ the ability to seize clouds, vast and intangible, to set them in orderly array, to put them through their exercises /

b. Normative Science: distinguished what ought to be from what ought not to be – a dualistic distinction / closely related to the fine art, the conduct of life, and the art of reasoning / what does normative mean in this instance – although these sciences study what out to be, i.e. ideals, they are theoretical / “La vraie morale se moque de la morale” (Pascal – True morality mocks morality) /

i. Esthetics: the science of ideals or of that which is objectively admirable without any ulterior reason

ii. Ethics: the science of right and wrong, determining the summum bonum (“the highest good”, which was introduced by Cicero) / self-controlled, deliberate conduct

iii. Logic: the theory of self-controlled, deliberate thought / all thought being performed by means of signs, logic may be regarded as the science of the general laws of signs.

aa. Speculative Grammar: the general theory of the nature and meaning of signs, whether they be icons, indices, or symbols.

bb. Critic: classifies arguments and determines the validity and degree force of each kind

cc. Methodeutic: which studies the methods that ought to be pursued in the investigation, in the exposition, and in the application of truth.

c. Metaphysics: seeks to give an account of the universe of the mind and matter / this attitude toward the universe is nearly that of the special sciences (anciently, physical was its designation) / confines itself to parts pf physics and psychics as can be established without special means of observation

i. General metaphysics or ontology

ii. Psychical or Religious metaphysics: concerned chiefly with the questions of God, Freedom, and Immortality

iii. Physical Metaphysics: discusses the real nature of time, space, laws of nature, matter, etc.

3. Idioscopy / the special sciences, about special classes of positive phenomena, and settling theoretical issues by special experiences or experiments / the accumulation of new facts / another term of Bentham’s / depend of special observation ex. travel or other exploration or some assistance to the senses either instrumental or given by training power / Every department of idioscopy is based upon special observation, and only resorts to philosophy in order that certain obstacles to its proper special observational inquiries may be cleared out of the way

a. the Physical Sciences (physiognosy) : physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geognosy / efficient causation /

b. the Psychical or Human Sciences (psychognosy) : psychology, linguistics, ethnology, sociology, history, etc. / final causation

i. Nomological Psychics or Psychology: discovers the general elements and laws of mental phenomenon

ii. Classificatory Psychics or Ethnology: classifies products of mind and endeavors to explain them on psychological principles

iii. Descriptive Psychics or History: describes individual manifestations of mind, whether they be permanent works or actions

B. Science of Review: the business of those who occupy themselves with arranging the results of discovery – forming a philosophy of science, perhaps

c. Practical Science

. . .

How do we classify the sciences of the remote future?

. . .

[Aristotle and Causation: In several places Aristotle distinguishes four types of cause, or explanation. First, he says, there is that of which and out of which a thing is made, such as the bronze of a statue. This is called the material cause. Second, there is the form or pattern of a thing, which may be expressed in its definition; Aristotle’s example is the proportion of the length of two strings in a lyre, which is the formal cause of one note’s being the octave of another. The third type of cause is the origin of a change or state of rest in something; this is often called the “efficient cause.” Aristotle gives as examples a person reaching a decision, a father begetting a child, a sculptor carving a statue, and a doctor healing a patient. The fourth and last type of cause is the end or goal of a thing—that for the sake of which a thing is done. This is known as the “final cause.”]

For Aristotle all causation divides into two grand branches, the efficient or forceful and the idea or final

. . .

CONFUSION: classes, natural classes,  etc [pp 63-64]

. . .

The sciences are, in part, produced each from others, but this is not the whole genesis of the science, it has its own peculiar problem springing from an idea / ex. That geometry derived its birth from land surveying is the tradition, which is borne out by the tradition that it took its origin in Egypt where the yearly floods must have rendered accurate surveying of special importance

All natural classification is then essentially, we may almost say, an attempt to find out the true genesis of the objects classified / Genesis is production from ideas / A science is defined by its problem; and its problem is clearly formulated on the basis of abstractor science

. . .

observation and observational

. . .

“Is physical space hyperbolic, that is, infinite and limited, or is is elliptic, that is finite and unlimited? Only the exact measurements of the start can decide. Yet even with them the question cannot be answered without recourse to philosophy.”

. . .

Kant’s parallel between philosophy and architecture

Wherever the arbitrary and the individualistic is particularly prejudicial, there logical deliberation, or discourse of reason, must be allowed as much play as possible

. . .


How many people have thought about what’s next? / There is no future, there’s no past, and maybe there’s no present either / Just as dignity is a quality made by individuals, so is presentness / No one agrees, except on the status quo, and they are not going to think enough even to intelligently disagree, much less agree on something new and constructive (Judd, “In addition”)

Other fragments:

They’re a rowboat under the superstructure of an aircraft carrier / a substitute society / the animal should thank the butcher for the axe



By the term architectonic I mean the art of constructing a system. Without systematic unity, our knowledge cannot become science; it will be an aggregate, and not a system. Thus architectonic is the doctrine of the scientific in cognition, and therefore necessarily forms part of our methodology.

Reason cannot permit our knowledge to remain in an unconnected and rhapsodistic state, but requires that the sum of our cognitions should constitute a system (various cognitions under one idea).

THE RELATIONSHIP OF PARTS TO A WHOLE: The unity of the end, to which all the parts of the system relate, and through which all have a relation to each other, communicates unity to the whole system, so that the absence of any part can be immediately detected from our knowledge of the rest / It is, thus, like an animal body, the growth of which does not add any limb, but, without changing their proportions, makes each in its sphere stronger and more active.

. . .


. . .

I. The domain of Phenomenology

Phaneroscopy [or Phenomenology] is the description of the phaneron; and by the phaneron I mean the collective total of all that is in any way or in any sense present to the mind, quite regardless of whether it corresponds to any real thing or not / English philosophers have quite commonly used the word idea in a sense approaching to that which I give to the phaneron. But in various ways they have restricted the meaning of it too much to cover my conception

phaneros “visible, showable”

Phaneroscopy signalizes very broad classes of phanerons, describes the features of each, shows that although they are so inextricably mixed together that no one can be isolated, yet it is manifest that their characters are quite disparate, proves that a short list comprises the broadest categories of phanerons that there are, and then enumerates the principle subdivisions of these categories

[The student’s great effort is not to be influenced by any such tradition, any authority, any reasons for supposing that such and such ought to be the facts, or any fancies of any kind, and to confine himself to honest, single-minded observation of the appearances. The reader, upon his side, must repeat the author’s observations for himself, and decide from his own observations whether the author’s account of the appearances is correct or not.]

2. The Categories: Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness

My view is that there are three modes of being.

What is actuality? / then and there? / the actuality of an event seems to lie in its relations to the universe of other existents / actuality if brute – there is no reason in it / On the whole, I think that we have a mode of being of one thing which consists in how a second object is.

sui generis : unique

Firstness: the mode of being which consists in its subject’s being positively such as it is regardless of aught else. That can only be a possibility [firstness is only a possibility] – For as long as things do not act upon one another there is no sense or meaning in saying that they have any being, unless it be that they are such in themselves that they may perhaps come in relation with others. Comprises the quality of phenomena:

[red, bitter, tedious, hard, heartrending, noble]

things or sensations?

Wherever there is a phenomenon there is a quality / single but partial determinations

Secondness: the actual facts / the qualities (their firstness), in so far as they are general, are somewhat vague and potential. But an occurrence is perfectly individual [a perfectly individual occurrence – not just red, but the red of your sweater] /  facts resist our will, that is why we describe them as brutal – mere qualities, unmaterialized, cannot actually react or cause a sensation / we only know the potential through the actual an only infer qualities by generalization from what we perceive in matter : quality is one element of phenomena, and fact action, actuality is another

Thirdnessthe predictive nature of life / a rule to which future events tend to conform / the mode of being which consists in the fact that future facts of Secondness will take on a determinate general  character, I call a Thirdness : a law or a thought, or neither : this third category of phenomena consists of what we call laws when we contemplate them from the outside only, but which when we see both sides of the shield we call thoughts / thoughts are neither qualities nor facts (not qualities because they can be produced and grow, while a quality is eternal, independent of time and of any realization – thoughts have reason)

3. The Manifestations of the Categories

The idea of First is predominant in the ideas of freshness, life and freedom / the first is predominant in feeling, as distinctive from objective perception, will and thought

The idea of second is predominant in the ideas of causation and of statistical force / in the idea of reality, secondness is predominant; for the real is that which insists upon forcing its way to recognition as something other  than the mind's creation [Remember that before the French word, second, was adopted into out language, other was merely the ordinal numeral corresponding to two] / The real is active; we acknowledge it, in calling it actual.

By the third, I mean the medium or connecting bond between the absolute first and last / a fork in the road is a third, it supposes three ways; a straight road is a second, but so far as it implies passing through intermediate places it is third / Action is second but conduct is third / sympathy, flesh and blood, that by which I feel my neighbor's feelings, is third [a sign stands for something to the idea which it produces, or modifies. Or, it is a vehicle conveying to the mind something from without.

the elements of phenonomena are of three categories: quality, fact, and thought

4. Firstness

Among phanerons there are certain qualities of feeling (ex. the color green) / A quality of feeling can be imagined to be without any occurrence (ex. a stink of rotten cabbage). It's mere may-being gets along without any realization at all.

feeling: an instance of that kind of consciousness which involves no analysis, comparison or process whatsoever; has its own positive quality which consists in nothing else; which is of itself all that it is - an instance of that sort of element of consciousness which is all that it is positively, in itself, regardless of anything else / a feeling is a quality of immediate consciousness

all that is immediately present to a man is what is in his mind in the present instant / his whole life is in the present - but when he asks what is the content of the present instant, his question always comes too late - the present is gone and what remains is greatly metamorphosed.

what is a quality : it is not dependent upon mind, not dependent on being, it is not dependent on sense / a quality is a mere abstract potentiality - the error of the nominalists is maintaining that the potential or possible, is nothing but what the actual makes it to be . it is impossible to hold consistently that a quality only exists when it adheres to a body / the idea of a quality is the idea of a phenomenon or partial phenomenon considered a monad, without reference to its parts or components and without reference to anything else

[Experience is the course of life. The world is that which experience inculcates. Quality is the monadic element of the world. Anything whatever, however complex and heterogeneous, has its quality sui generis, its possibility of sensation, would our sense respond to it.

5. Secondness

We call the world of fancy the internal world and the world of fact the external world - man defends himself from the angles of hard fact by clothing himself with a garment of contentment and habituation - Were it not for this garment, he would every now and then find his internal world rudely disturbed and his fiats set at naught by brutal inroads of ideas from without -  I call such forcible modification of out ways of thinking the influence of the world of fact or experience.

the difference between perception and experience / it is the special field of experience to acquaint us with events, with changes of perception / it is more to changes and contrasts of perception that we apply the world "experience" / It is in the compulsion, the absolute constraint upon us to think otherwise than we have been thinking that constitutes experience - constraint and compulsion cannot exists without resistance, and resistance is effort opposing change, therefore there must be an element of effort in experience

have your necessitarianism if you approve of it; but still I think you must admit that no law of nature makes a stone fall, or a Leyden jar to discharge, or a steam engine to work

what is a fact : the general is excluded from the category of fact - generality is wither of that negative sort which belongs to the merely potential, as such, and this is peculiar to the category of quality; or it is of that positive kind which belongs to conditional necessity, and this is peculiar to the category of law / fact - the contingent, the accidentally actual and brute force (???)

6. Thirdness

means and meaning : In truth the only difference is that when a person mean to do anything he is in some state in consequence of which the brute reactions between things will be moulded to conformity to the form to which the man's mind is itself moulded, while the meaning of a world really lies in the way in which it might tend to mould the conduct of a person into conformity to that to which it is itself moulded

thirdness is that which what it is by virtue of imparting a quality to reactions in the future

7. The Categories in Consciousness

Kant's three departments of the mind: Feeling (pleasure and pain), Knowing, and Will

It seems that the true categories of consciousness are: first, feeling, the consciousness which can be included with an instant of time, passive consciousness of quality, without recognition or analysis; second, consciousness of an interruption into the field of consciousness, sense of resistance, of an external fact, of another something; third, external consciousness, binding time together, sense of learning, thought.

the consciousness of process - the consciousness of synthesis - Immediate feeling is the concsiousness of the first, the polar sense is the consciousness of the second; and synthetical consciousness is the consciousness of the third or medium

8. The Interrelationship of the Categories

dissociation :  we can imagine sound without melody but not melody without sound
prescission : we can suppose uncolored space, though we cannot dissociate space from color
distinction :we can neither imagine nor suppose a taller without a shorter, yet we can distinguish the taller from the shorter

. . .

[Logic as semiotic: The THEORY OF SIGNS]

Logic is another name for semiotic - the doctrine of signs / a sign or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity - It addresses somebody, that is, creates in the mind of that person an equivalent sign, or perhaps a more developed sign - that sign which it creates I call the interpretant of the first sign - the sign stands for something, its object - It stands for that object, not in all respects, but in reference to a sort of idea, which I sometimes called the ground of the representamen / every representamen is connected with three things: the ground, the object, and the interpretant

science of semiotic has three branches:

1. Pure Grammar - what must be true of the representamen that it may embody meaning
2. Logic proper - the conditions of the truth of represenation
3. Pure rhetoric - the laws by which one sign gives birth to another - one thought brings forth another

Triadic relationship of: First (SIgn/Representamen), Second (Object), Third (interpretant)

a sign must relate to an object

"That vessel there carries no freight at all, but only passengers."

II. Three Trichotomies of SIgns

Qualisign (a quality which is a sign), Sinsign (single - an actual existent thing or event which is a sign) Legisign (a law that is a sign - ex. the word "the" will occur from fifteen to twenty-five times on a page - it is in all these occurences one and the same word, the same legisign - each instance is a replica)

According to the second trichotomy, a Sign may be termed an Icon, Index, or Symbol

Icon: a sign which refers to the Object that it denotes merely by virtue of characters of its own, and which it possesses, just the same, whether any such Object actually exists or not

Index: a sign which refers to the Object that it denotes by virtue of really being affected by that Object

Symbol: a sign which refers to the Object that it denotes by virtue of a law, usually an association of general ideas, which operates to cause the Symbol to be interpreted as referring to that Object

According to the third trichotomy, a Sign may be termed an Rheme, Dicisign or Dicent Sign, or an Argument

Rheme: a sign, which, for its interpretant, is a Sign of qualitative possibility, that is, is understood as representing such and such a kind of possible Object

Dicent Sign: a sign, which, for its interpretant, is a sign of actual existence

Argument: a sign, which, for its interpretant, is a sign of law

(a judgment: the mental act by which the judger sees to impress upon himself the truth of a proposition)

III. Icon, Index, and Symbol

A sign is either a Icon, Index, and Symbol

Icon: a sign which would possess the character which renders it significant, even though its object had no existence ex. such as a lead-pencil streak as representing a geometrical line

  • a possibility alone is an Icon purely by virtue of its quality; and its object can only be a Firstness
  • any material image, as a painting, is largely conventional in its mode of representation; but in itself, without legend or label it may be called a hypoicon (types: images, diagrams, metaphors)
  • the only way of directly communicating an idea is by means of an icon / the idea which the set of icons contained in an assertion signifies may be termed the predicate of the assertion
  • a great distinguishing property of the icon is that by direct observation of it other truths concerning its object can be distinguished ex. by means of two photographs a map can be drawn
  • the question of likeness, photography, and algebra

Index: a sign which would, at once, lose the character which makes it a sign if its object were removed, but would not lose that character if there were no interpretant ex. such, for instance, is a piece of mould with a bullethole in it as a sign of a shot; for without the shot there would have been no hole; but there is a hole there, whether anybody has the sense to attribute it to a shot or not.

  • in dynamical connection both with the individual object and with the senses or memory of the person for who it serves as a sign, on the other hand ex. demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns are "genuine indices"
  • indices 1. have no significant resemblance to their objects, 2. they refer to single units, single collections of units, etc. 3. they direct attention to their objects by blind compulsion
  • "a rap on the door is an index" "anything which focuses the attention is an index" "anything which startles us is an index" "a low barometer with a moist air is an index of rain"
  • the demonstrative pronouns "this" and "that" are indices

Symbol: a sign which would lose its character which renders it a sign if there were no interpretant ex. such is any utterance of speech which signifies what it does by virtue of being understood to have that signification




Hildegard of Bingen: A Visionary Life

Benedictine / ORA ET LABORA (pray and work) / CONSERVATIO MORUM


And it came to pass in the eleven hundred and forty-first year of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Son of God, when I forty-two years and seven months old, that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain. And so it kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame not burning but warming…and suddenly I understood the meaning of the expositions of the books, that is to say of the psalter, the evangelists, and other catholic books of the Old and New testaments.

Music – “to give a sense of corporate identity”

LINGUA IGNOTA : an unknown language, a series of invented words corresponding to an eclectic list of nouns / and / LITTERAW IGNOTAE : an alternative alphabet – perhaps a secret code “if indeed they were anything more than an intellectual diversion on a level with crossword puzzles.”

METEOROLOGICAL PRODIGIES (an amazing or unusual thing, especially one out of the ordinary course of nature) – (both in and out of nature?)

Indulgence – “put off the old man and put on the new” / forming the single mystical person – breaking the attachment to creatures

the prophetic mould /  a mouthpiece / prophesy (past, present, future)

[Hortus Deliciarum (Gardens of Delights) – medieval manuscript / Herrad of Landsburg / the first encyclopedia that was written by a woman / 1185 / in 1870, the manuscript was burnt and destroyed when the library housing it in Strasbourg was bombed during a siege on the city (Franco-Prussian War) / one of the first sources of polyphony from a convent

female prophet : “God might specifically choose the weak and despised to confound the strong”

ANCHORITE / ἀναχωρητής / : “I withdraw, retire” – consecration, dead to the world / the cell of the anchorite – isolation tactics : walls, ditches, barred windows, the fenestra versatilis (a revolving hatch so that the nuns could not see who passed through provisions)

opus dei / vigils : A typical winter’s day would begin at about 2 a.m. when all (monks and oblates) alike) rose for the office of matins. This was the longest and most complicated of the offices and was meant to accommodate an entire repetition of the 150 psalms of the psalter each week. After matins there was a short interval before lauds, recited at first light, followed by prime at sunrise. The day offices were shorter than those of the night and were held at the first, third, sixth, and ninth hours, hence the names: prime, terce, sext, none. The evening office, vespers, was meant to be held while it was still light, and the day ended at sunset with compline.

Benedictine Meals [single meal in the winter and two in summer, consisting of two cooked vegetables or fruit and bread / no meat from four-footed animals was to be eaten, except by the very sick or very weak / the cooked dishes were generally concocted from beans, eggs, fish or cheese]

an inchoate light

[who are Abelard and Heloise] [their son ASTROLAB]

[kinds of reading : moral or tropological, the allegorical or mystical, analogical]

“The word of God was given her not in a nocturnal vision, but by an infilling of her reason, instructing that she should declare the things which were revealed to her from Heaven in writing and give them to the Church to read.”

. . .

THREE MAJOR VISIONARY WORKS: 1. Scivias; 2. Liber vitae meritorum (Book of Life’s Merits); 3. Liber divinorum operum (Book of the Divine Works)  - writing life spanning from c.1140-74 or 75.

150,000 words or 600 printed pages of text


a way of grappling with the problem of how people should best live their life in order to reach the Heavenly City


Let whoever has sharp ears of interior understanding pant after my words in the burning love of my mirror and inscribe them in his soul’s inner comprehension"

“I heard again a similar voice from heaven speaking to me”

“And again I heard a voice from the heavenly heights speaking to me”

“And I heard that light who sat on the throne speaking”

the use of architectural imagery / floriditas "floweriness"

“But if you, O man, in the instability of your heart say to yourself, how does the offering on the altar become the body and blood of my Son, then I shall reply to you: ‘Why, O man, do you ask this, and why do you examine these things? Do I ask this of you – that you should pry into my secrets concerning the body and blood of my son? These are not required of you but rather that you, receiving them in great fear and veneration, carefully conserve them and cease to worry about the mystery” (Sc., 2, vis. 6, ch. 60)

Liber vitae meritorum

a farther and deeper exploration of the themes of Scivias / deals with the vices that beset mankind on his journey / treats the corresponding virtues, but more as a way of defining and describing the vices themselves

six visions / moving from one point of the compass to the other / correspondences /virtue and vice

Physica and Causae et curae

Physica  consists of nine books or sections, the first and most bulky of which is a collection of over 200 short chapters on plants. There follow books devoted to the elements (earth, water and air, but not fire), trees, jewels and precious stones, fish, birds, animals, reptiles and metals.

Since the balance of elements and their corresponding humours was what determined good or bad health in man, it was important to know the elemental qualities of plants / One could then determine their effect on persons who ate or used them, according to whether their effect on the persons were themselves in or our of humour – that is, in a balanced or unbalanced state.

hot cold dry moist

. . .

the eagle is too hot because of its affinity for the sun

. . .


. . .


Hildegard's cycle of over seventy songs and a musical play (Ordo virtutum - Play of Virtues)

antiphons /  responsories / sequences / hymns : liturgical songs performed for the opus dei

[antiphon: (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") in Christian music and ritual is a responsory by a choir or congregation, usually in the form of a Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work / call and response, i.e. kirtan (India) or sea shanty / music that is performed by two semi-independent choirs in interaction, often singing alternate musical phrases / "oh happy days, oh happy days"]

[responsory: any psalm, canticle, or other sacred musical work sung responsorially, that is, with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain]

As an example, here is the responsory Aspiciebam, which in the Sarum Rite (the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral in England) followed the second reading, which was from the first chapter of the Book of Isaiah, at the night office (Matins) on the first Sunday of Advent:

Respond: (started by the cantor and continued by the whole choir) Aspiciebam in visu noctis, et ecce in nubibus caeli Filius hominis veniebat: et datum est ei regnum, et honor: * Et omnis populus, tribus, et linguae servient ei. (I saw in a night-vision, and behold, the Son of Man was coming on the clouds of heaven: and sovereignty and honor were given him: and every people and tribe, and all languages shall serve him.)

Verse: (sung by the cantor) Potestas eius, potestas aeterna, quae non auferetur: et regnum eius, quod non corrumpetur. (His might is an everlasting might which will not be taken away; and his reign is an everlasting reign, which shall not be broken.)

Partial respond: (sung by the choir) Et omnis populus, tribus, et linguae servient ei. (And every people and tribe, and all languages shall serve him.)

Gregorian or plainchant/plainsong : monophonic, consisting of a single, unaccompanied melodic line. Its rhythm is generally freer than the metered rhythm of later Western music.

Gregorian chant is a variety of plainsong named after Pope Gregory I (6th century A.D.), although Gregory himself did not invent the chant.

. . .

[sequence: In music, a sequence is the immediate restatement of a motif or longer melodic (or harmonic) passage at a higher or lower pitch in the same voice. It is one of the most common and simple methods of elaborating a melody in eighteenth and nineteenth century classical music]



[Chapter 1: Philosophy and it’s Critics]

The principles of explanation that underlie all things without exception, the elements common to gods and men and animals and stones, the first whence
and the last whither of the whole cosmic procession, the conditions of all knowing, and the most general rules of human action these furnish the problems commonly deemed philosophic par excellence; and the philosopher is the man who finds the most to say about them.

. . .

explanation not description

. . .

Philosophy, beginning in wonder, as Plato and Aristotle said, is able to fancy everything different from what it is…It can take things up and lay then down again.

. . .

the doctrine of signatures [+ signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. ] [ep 3, Ulysses]

. . .

the lodestone and the peacock


the proportionality of v to t and to t.

[Precious or beautiful things had exceptional properties. Peacock’s flesh resisted putrefaction. The lodestone would drop the iron which it held if the superiorly powerful diamond was brought near, etc. — and then Galileo]

. . .

There was no question of agencies, nothing animistic or sympathetic in this new way of taking nature. It was description only, of concomitant variations, after the particular quantities that varied had been successfully abstracted out. The result soon showed itself in a differentiation of human knowledge into two spheres, one called Science, within which the more definite laws apply, the other General Philosophy/ in which they do not. The state of mind called positivistic is the result.

. . .

To assume…that the only possible philosophy must be mechanical and mathematical, and to disparage all enquiry into the other sorts of question, is to forget the extreme diversity of aspects under which reality undoubtedly exists.

. . .

hypothesis and verification

. . .

[Chapter 2: The Problems of Metaphysics]

It means the discussion of various obscure, abstract, and universal questions which the sciences and life in general suggest but do not solve; questions left over, as it were; questions, all of them very broad and deep, and relating to the whole of things, or to the ultimate elements thereof.


left                                                 over

what can I know? what should I do? what may I hope?   [kant’s three essential metaphysical questions – what metaphysics answers]

. . .

a very tender section: This book proposes to handle only a few separate problems, leaving others untouched. These problems are for the most part real;
that is, but few of them result from a misuse of terms in stating them. Things for example, are or are not composed of one stuff ; they either have or have
not a single origin; they either are or are not completely predetermined, etc. Such alternatives may indeed be impossible of decision; but until this is conclusively proved of them, they confront us legitimately, and some one must take charge of them and keep account of the solutions that are proposed, even if he does not himself add new ones. The opinions of the learned regarding them must, in short, be classified and responsibly discussed.

. . .


. . .

[Chapter 3: The Problem of Being]


. . .

“The philosophic wonder thus becomes a sad astonishment, and like the overture to Don Giovanni, philosophy begins with a minor chord.” – Schopenhauer

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. . .

from nothing to being there is no logical bridge…the absolute first…the question of being is the darkest in all philosophy (pp 46)

. . .

[Chapter 4: Percept and Concept – The Import of Concepts]

the difference between thought and things (things are known to us by our senses {presentations/percept}, thoughts or ideas are {representations/concept}

“I myself have grown accustomed to the words percept and concept in treating of the contrast, but concepts flow out of percepts and into them again, they are so interlaced, and our life rests on them so interchangeably and undiscriminatingly, that it is often difficult to impart quickly to beginners a clear notion of the difference meant. Sensation and thought in man are mingled, but they vary independently.” pp 47

percepts are CONTINUOUS [many parts with an unbroken unity], concepts are DISCRETE  [the cuts we make are purely ideal]- “Not discrete in their being, for conception as an act is part of the flux of feeling, but discrete from each other in their several meanings…The perceptual flux as such, on the contrary, means nothing, and is but what it immediately is.”

“The intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his substitution of a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which his experience originally comes.”

our legs to walk with


the platonic view: “every delightful thing is like a rift in the clouds, through which we catch a glimpse of our native heaven” —- ” Such concepts as God, perfection, eternity, infinity, immutability, identity, absolute beauty, truth, justice, necessity, freedom, duty, worth, etc., and the part they play in our mind, are, it was supposed, impossible to explain as results of practical experience [RATIONALISM]

. . .

self-sufficing revelations, universals


the significance of concepts consists always in their relation to perceptual particulars – the concept coalescing with the percept


“It is possible therefore, to join the rationalists in allowing conceptual knowledge to be self-sufficing, while at the same time one joins the empiricists in maintaining that the full value of such knowledge is got only by combining it with perceptual reality again.” (pp 58)

. . .

concepts: function vs content

THE PRAGMATIC RULE: “The pragmatic rule is that the meaning of a concept may always be found, if not in some sensible particular which it directly designates, then in some particular difference in the course of human experience which its being true will make. Test every concept by the question
What sensible difference to anybody will its truth make? and you are in the best possible position for understanding what it means and for discussing its importance…So many disputes in philosophy hinge upon ill-defined words and ideas, each side claiming its own word or idea to be true, that any accepted method of making meanings clear must be of great utility. No method can be handier of application than our pragmatic rule.”

“If you claim that any idea is true, assign at the same time some difference that its being true will make in some possible person’s history, and we shall know not only just what you are really claiming but also how important an issue it is, and how to go to work to verify the claim.” [FUNCTION]

“particular consequences are the only criterion of a concept s meaning, and the only test of its truth.”

{infinite : as many units in the part as in the whole / God: you can dismiss certain kinds of fear}

. . .

“With concepts we go in quest of the absent, meet the remote, actively turn this way or that, bend our experience, and make it tell us whither it is bound. We change its order, run it backwards, bring far bits together and separate near bits, jump about over its surface instead of plowing through its continuity, string its items on as many ideal diagrams as our mind can frame. All these are ways of handling the perceptual flux and meeting distant parts of it.” (pp 64)

harnessing perceptual reality in our concepts in order to drive it better to our ends

. . .

the necessary cat (look at the causes) / a topographic system, a system of the distribution of things

. . .

a theoretic conquest over the order in which nature originally comes – the exaltation of conception

“poor scraps, mere crumbling successes” /  the ideal vs the particular (the sordid particulars)

What do concepts do?:

1. They steer us practically every day, and provide an immense map of relations among the elements of things, which, though not now,
yet on some possible future occasion, may help to steer us practically;

2. They bring new values into our perceptual life, they reanimate our wills, and make our action turn upon new points of emphasis ;

3. The map which the mind frames out of them is an object which possesses, when once it has been framed, an independent existence. It suffices all by itself for purposes of study. The eternal truths it contains would have to be acknowledged even were the world of sense annihilated.

[what is better to live or to understand life][We must do both alternately, and a man can no more limit him self to either than a pair of scissors can cut with
a single one of its blades.]

. . .

[Chapter 5: Percept and Concept – The Abuse of Concepts]

the senses (organs of wavering illusion) / the insuperability of sensation

. . .

All conceptual content is borrowed: to know what the concept color means you must have seen red or blue, or green.

Rationalism assumes a static reality.

. . .

Many physicists now think that the concepts of matter, mass, atom, ether, inertia, force, etc. are not so much duplicates of hidden realities in nature as mental instruments to handle nature by after-substitution of their scheme. They are considered, like the kilogram or the imperial yard, ‘artefacts,’ not revelations.

Use concepts when they help, and drop them when they hinder understanding; and take reality bodily and integrally up into philosophy in exactly the perceptual shape in which it comes. pp 95

The deeper features of reality are found only in perceptual experience. Here alone do we acquaint ourselves with continuity, or the immersion of one thing in another, here alone with self, with substance, with qualities, with activity in its various modes, with time, with cause, with change, with novelty, with tendency, and with freedom.

. . .

[Chapter 6: Percept and Concept – Some Corollaries]

Empiricism proceeds from parts to wholes – each part fundamental to the order of being and the order of knowledge – parts are percepts built into wholes by conceptual additions. Percepts are constantly changing – always in flux – concrete novelty. This novelty cannot be described conceptually because concepts deal with what has already been seen or given – actual novelty therefore escapes conceptual treatment  (post-mortem preparation) altogether.

. . .

Empiricist philosophy renounces the pretension to an all-inclusive vision – it stays inside the flux of life expectantly, recording facts, not formulating laws, and never pretending that man’s relation to the totality of things as a philosopher is essentially different from his relation to the parts of things as a daily patient or agent in the practical current of events. Philosophy, like life, must keep the doors and windows open.

Reality is created temporally day by day / What is it to be “real”? / anything is real of which we find ourselves obliged to take account in any way / Concepts are thus as real as percepts, for we cannot live a moment without taking account of them. But the eternal kind of being which they enjoy is inferior to the temporal kind, because it is so static and schematic and lacks so many characters which temporal reality possesses.

Many realms of mutually interpenetrating realities.

The world we practically live in is one in which it is impossible, except by theoretic retrospection, to disentangle the contributions of intellect from those of sense.

. . .

[Chapter 7: The One and the Many]

This doctrine rationalism opposes, contending that the whole is fundamental, that the parts derive from it and all belong with one another, that the separations we uncritically accept are illusory, and that the entire universe, instead of being a sum, is the only genuine unit in existence, constituting (in the words often quoted from d Alembert) un seul fait et une grande verite.

pluralism (distributive) vs. monism (collective): Monism must mean that all such apparent disconnections
are bridged over by some deeper absolute union in which it believes, and this union must in some way be more real than the practical separations that appear upon the surface.

mysticism vs. substance

Suppose there is a oneness in things, what may it be known-as? What differences to you and me will it make? -We must seek something better in the way of oneness than this susceptibility of being mentally considered together, and named by a collective noun. What connections may be perceived concretely or in point of fact, among the parts of the collection abstractly designated as our world ?

. . .

Kinds of oneness

Total unity – the sum of many partial unities – the world is “one” in some respects and “many” in others

. . .

[Chapter 8: The One and the Many – Values and Defects]

Problems with absolute idealism: it does not account for our finite consciousness; it creates a problem of evil (if perfection is the source, how is there imperfection?); contradicts reality as perceptually experienced; it is fatalistic.

free will means nothing more than real novelty

But pluralism, accepting a universe unfinished, with doors and windows open to possibilities uncontrollable in advance, gives us less religious certainty than monism, with its absolutely closed-in world. pp 141

. . .

Pluralism, on the other hand, is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but melioristic, rather.

. . .

The advantages of pluralism: it is more scientific; it agrees with the moral and dramatic expressiveness of life; it is very hard to prove monism.

[Chapter 9: The Problem of Novelty]

considering the parts rather than the whole

an originality exist? / “The same returns not, save to bring the different” – Time keeps budding into new moments, every one of which presents a content which in its individuality never was before and never will be again.

. . .

Can our earth ever cover itself again with those gigantic ferns, those immense equisetaceans, in the midst of which the same antediluvian monsters will crawl and wallow as they did of yore? (J. Delbceuf: Revue Philosophique, vol. ix, p. 138 (1880).

. . .

New men and women, books, accidents, events, inventions, enterprises, burst unceasingly upon the world.

. . .

the possibility of novelty the question of the infinite

. . .

[Chapter 10: Novelty and the Infinite – The Conceptual View]

discontinuity theory: the law of the “threshold” /experience – no content, no change or content and change / experience in buds and drops of perception

the problem of the infinite: how can the finite know the infinite? Zeno’s Paradox – If a flying arrow occupies at each point of time a determinate point of space its motion becomes nothing but a sum of rests, for it exists not, out of any point; and in the point it doesn’t move. Motion cannot truly occur as thus discretely constituted. Achilles Paradox – Suppose Achilles to racewith a tortoise, and to move twice as fast as his rival, to whom he gives an inch of headstart. By the time he has completed that inch,or in other words advanced to the tortoise’s starting point, the tortoise is half an inch ahead of him. While Achilles is traversing that half inch, the tortoise is traversing a quarter of an inch, etc. So that the successive points occupied by the runners simultaneously form a convergent series of distances
from the starting point of Achilles. Each time that Achilles gets to the tortoise s last point it is but to find that the tortoise has already moved to a further point; and although the interval between the points quickly grows infinitesimal, it is mathematically impossible that the two racers should reach any one point at the same moment.

Kant – Any existent reality is countable, a definite number is applicable / infinity is that which defies complete enumeration / if an effect be given (ex. a certain date), then the whole series of causes must have been given (ex. the previous dates before the given date).

Renouvier – absolute novelties, unmediated beginnings, gifts, chance, freedom and acts of faith.

. . .

[Chapter 12: Novelty and Causation – The Conceptual View]


the principle of causality : the effect always exists in the cause, therefore the effect cannot be absolutely novel

the first definite inquiry into causes was made by Aristotle – the why of anything is furnished by four principles: 1. the material cause of it (when bronze makes a statue); 2. the formal cause (when the ratio of two to one makes an octave); 3. the efficient cause (as when a father makes a child); 4. the final cause (as when one exercises for health).

the efficient cause : that which produces something else by a real activity proceeding from itself – the view of common sense : 1. no effect can come into being without a cause; 2.the effect is always proportionate to the cause, and the cause to the effect; 3. whatever is in the effect must in some way, whether formally (cause resembles the effect), virtually (the cause involves the effect but does not resemble it – “as when an artist causes a statue but possesses not himself its beauty), or eminently (the cause, though unlike the effect is superior to it in perfection “as when a man overcomes a lion’s strength by cunning), have been also in the cause

Nemo dat quod non habet, literally meaning “no one gives what he doesn’t have”

Each moment in its totality causes the next moment – if successive moments of the universe be causally connected, no genuine novelty leaks in

. . .

occasionalism / descartes (mental and physical substance, the one consisting purely of thought, the other purely of extension, were absolutely dissimilar. Any such causal intercourse between mind and body is irrational.

“For thinkers of that age, ‘God’ was the great solvent of absurdities.” / Leibnitz freed God from the duty of lending all this hourly assistance.

. . .

[Chapter 13: Novelty and Causation – The Perceptual View]

In nature’s numerous successions so many links are hidden, that we seldom know exactly which antecedent is unconditional or which is close. Often the cause which we name only fits some other cause for producing the phenomenon.