FRONT DESK APPARATUS
Jacob Kassay : No Goal Publication
Parts and Wholes and holes and Parts
objects all hold the endless capacity to estrange us from the comfort of the given; to evoke what remains unseen, or previously unthought. an object can do this on its own, but it can also do it as a series working together. there is of course the exhibition and then there are the artworks that comprise the exhibition. the exhibition does not exist without the artworks, nevertheless, an artwork on its own does not make the same exhibition. It is like divorcing an organ from the body. there is an autonomy to this organ as flesh, but a particular set of its functions are contingent upon being in a body, functioning together with other organs, receiving blood and doing its part in the constant upkeep of living. the artwork, is in a sense an object within a larger object, just like a person can exist on his or her own, but when a mass of people begin to form, a different mentality emerges altogether. the movement, the feeling, and the ardor of the mass sings a different song from the single person. the mass can envelope you; the person can face you. the song can wash over you; the note can strike you. a room of begonias overwhelms you, a single display endears you. each has its own particular cadence, resulting from the separateness of each, albeit with rather blurry borders.
one might focus on these borders to suggest that there is no object, only a convenient fiction of the mind. Close inquiry at the edge of an object reveals that its solidity is fabricated; that the object is instead a radical fraying: porous, trembling, a dynamic glut of flux. Implicit in this perspective is an effective atomi- zation of the world, where one can always look closer and see that things are not what they seem. how- ever, we do not find out how organs work based on their quantum jitters, nor do we understand a country’s dynamics by looking at protons and neutrons. to reduce objects and phenomena to a final substrate nar- rows our reality so that meaning is lost. rather, one should preserve objecthood at all levels of scale to understand the power of each register.
Implied in this atomization is the belief that the world is governed by forces existent before matter has anything to say. therefore non-material forces engender all the world’s complexity, giving life to mat- ter. this, however, would get us into the tricky divide between dead and living matter. rather than trying to find a complicated solution, let’s embrace the simplest. Instead of force begetting object, object begets force. thus, there is no magnetic field without a conductive metal, no gravity without a mass, no violence without warring fronts. there is no range of forces, no range of meanings without the object. one might look to the color theory of Matisse for a strange but welcome fellow traveler. Matisse knew that a red patch is a far cry from a red banner, that a red rooibos stain remains merely polite in comparison to red oil paint slathered on canvas. It might be then assumed that the force of an object is entirely based on its rela- tions: no inherent force of the object without light, without a spectator, without someone comparing and contrasting. Certainly no object exists within a vacuum, but no object can be fully revealed in its relations. no amount of probing or prying, copying or recreating will exhaust the object. It always has some hidden reserve. Without such a reserve, the relations between objects could not continue to surprise. We are on occasion held in a trance by such a selection of things. For sometimes objects conspire to expand and con- tract space and vision, doing so by relying on both the apparent features of each individual object, and the more transcendent features of the experience of the whole.
— An excerpt from appoggiatura by Jacob Kassay and Ajay Kurian.