A reading method that I practice is to explain in my own words the texts I currently read. This slow and active approach to philosophical concepts helps me to understand the concepts better and creates a connection between theory and practice. When I give an account of a paradigm in my own words, I have taken the first step of finding my own expression for it, of braking it down into its units and making it accessible for me. Longhand writing supports this process immensely and slows it down even further. Connecting my own words to my praxis then is a natural step as the theory has already gone through my hands. I see it a bit like a digestive system. I take in lots of stuff, trust that my body and mind can deal with it and then give it a new expression.
One snippet of Guattari’s text really struck me. It seems important to my work, but I do not understand it and in order to get closer it, I paraphrase it. The quote is:
“I myself have come to regard the apprehension of a psychical fact as inseparable of enunciation that engendered it, both as fact and as expressive process. There is a kind of relationship of uncertainty between the apprehension [la saisie] of the object and the apprehension of the subject; so that, to articulate them both, one is compelled to make a pseudo-narrative detour through the annals of myth and ritual or through supposedly scientific accounts [descriptions] – all of which have as their ultimate goal a dis-positional mise en scène, a bringing-into-existence, that authorizes, ‘secondarily’, a discursive intelligibility” (p.37).
Accepting this ‘uncertainty’ opens a space for observation and a crack to dig my fingers in. I can try to elicit , put into words, what is in between object and subject:
The perception of a psychical fact is inseparable from an accumulation of expression that surrounds this fact. One cannot separate the perception of a psychical fact from the assemblage of expressions that surround it, “both as fact and as expressive process”. What does this part mean? It does not make sense to me.
To articulate object and subject one seems forced to look at myths and rituals which provide an almost-story. One can also try to legitimise one’s expressions through science. Both wish to create an authorisation of the expression of the difference between subject and object.
Each part of the conceptual toolbox needs further investigation and further exploration of the tools that I have begun to shape and use. Each part provided insights and thoughts around topics that are present in my artistic work and I hope to be able to connect them in a satisfying way. For now, I will observe the space and the objects around me, talk to them and listen.
(Félix Guattari, The Three Ecologies, London: Athlone Press, 2000.)