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Preliminary Materials On The Concept of VOID in Postmodernity Collected/Authored by: John Stevens - - -


This is a collection of documents and images created and discovered in the preparation of an essay on a subject that does not (yet) exist. My goal: to say a lot about a subject without saying what it is; to suggest something new without fixing it by a concrete adaption to the known. A correlation exists between the non/subject and the methodology of this collection: relishing in the incapacity of these materials to collect into the positive figure of an analytical or historical subject, I also wish to resist the presumption of the authorial voice to speak about rather than ​with or even ​behind its subject. In a sense this is a collage assembled without glue, a scatter of fragments in the narrative of my intellectual and creative life, but it is also a testament to an object of study that itself ​cannot become. So let this line of thought point in all and every direction: discover it as a force not unlike gravity, ineluctable from the present moment, but gently pulling on the corporeal body in every direction like a slight but constant vacuum. I call it ​VOID and I have come to think of it as ​A Perfect Mirror​: a darkness we inhabit, an un/perception absent the flux of light or presence, a denial of material existence by an acceptance, finally, of its total and abject absence.


To bring some level of coherence to the following items, which are to be anything and everything found or created in relation to the subject I wish to develop afterwards, I have brought them together in a series of pamphlet-sized booklets. I am still very much open to a change of medium or format. The booklet that consists of pictures I think should be printed separately so that they can be handled individually, but everything else I imagine bound with staples. Within these different categories and their respective items I’ve made an attempt to use parenthesis to link items across the entire collection, creating a loose web of relation to suggest the intersections between the ideas, evidence, and images within. All of the writing excerpts are in progress, sketches, and some I imagine will be culled for the sake of focus and brevity or simply replaced with more unifying texts. - - In no particular order: 1. Introduction and Glossary of terms to assist in the dis/ambiguation of meanings. 2. An index of images. a. Images referenced by the text(s). b. Images created to express themes of the subject. c. Images collected to study the subject as it is deployed variously throughout everyday life. 3. A collection of analytical excerpts relating to the index and other subjects. 4. A list of quotations related to the subject or its themes. 5. Excerpts from my own diaries and journals.


Glossary UTOPIA n.an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.​Etymology:​ ​< ancient Greek ​ο ​not (see ​Oudemian ​adj.) + ​τόπος ​place​ (see ​topic ​adj.) 1A Uˈtopiaize v.] ​rare

​v.

[compare earlier ​utopianize

†​(a) trans. to make (a person) have

utopian thoughts (​obs.); FORMALISM n.​ ​excessive adherence to prescribed forms: academic dryness and formalism. INEFFABLE adj. too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words. GESTALT n. A ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’ which as an object of perception forms a specific whole or unity incapable of expression simply in terms of its parts (e.g. a melody in distinction from the notes that make it up) INELOQUENCE n. An inexpressible concept belonging to the ideological foundations of absence and​void​ in western subjectivity. Opposite of Ineffable. POLARITY n. ​the state of having two opposite or contradictory tendencies, opinions, or aspects. POLARIZE v. ​restrict the vibrations of (a transverse wave, especially light) wholly or partially to one direction. POSITIVISM n. Originally (now ​hist.): a philosophical system elaborated from the 1830s by the French thinker Auguste Comte (1798–1857), recognizing only observable phenomena and empirically verifiable scientific facts and laws, and rejecting inquiry into ultimate causes or


origins as belonging to outmoded metaphysical or theological stages of thought; a humanistic religion based on this system. In later use: any of various philosophical systems or views based on an empiricist understanding of science, particularly those associated with the belief that every cognitively meaningful proposition can be scientifically verified or falsified, and that the (chief) function of philosophy is the analysis of the language used to express such propositions. LOGICAL POSITIVISM â&#x20AC;&#x2039;n. the name given to the theories and doctrines of philosophers active in Vienna in the early 1930s (the Vienna Circle), which were aimed at evolving in the language of philosophy formal methods for the verification of empirical questions similar to those of the mathematical sciences, and which therefore eliminated metaphysical and other more speculative questions as being logically ill-founded.


INTRODUCTION