Introduction “We make doors and windows for a room; But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable. Thus while the tangible has advantages It is the intangible that makes it useful” 1 This publication is part of the second LYDHØRT 2 exhibition at Lydgalleriet, titled Room Tone. The development of the exhibition discussed a variety of ideas with the artists involved in it, relating to absence of the human body, empty rooms, silence, verbal overshadowing, speculative realism, psychic experiences, room and object presence. We had an urge to expand on these ideas, at the same time taking a lot of attention to the actual space where it was to be: the gallery space, then also through the alternative space of this publication. It can be viewed more as a background study and a collection of various ideas expressed through different voices. As a point of departure the exhibition Room Tone has been concerned with appropriating the spacial awkwardness of the room. The word lydhør translates into a state of attentive- and responsiveness, consisting of both lyd- (sound) and -hørt (heard); linguistically both relating to an audible perception. Though when we are in a state of lydhørt-ness,– it often implies a state of a deeper kind of listening, which goes beyond only the audible. In an awareness of the surroundings that we find ourselves in, the phenomenological, internal and often intangible are qualities from which we define our reality. An urge towards experiencing these elements in a given space is the main concern in the making of Room Tone. It makes an enquiry into the space it is situated. It refers to a presence of the “silence” that is recorded at a location when no dialogue is spoken. In Room Tone the condition of the room has resulted in an installation reinforcing a sense of the space, by artists Victoria Skogsberg and Magnus Oledal. They have both also contributed to this publication, together with philosopher Liam Sprod’s commissioned essay “Impossiblities of Space” and a conversation between Liv Bugge and Julie Lillelien Porter about the videowork “54 Questions to a Dead Magician”.
1 Lao, Tzu, Tao Teh Ching, ch.ii (St. John’s University Press, Brooklyn, NY, 1961 2 LYDHØRT is a series of four projects developed for Lydgalleriet in Bergen in 2014–2015 by Signe Lidén, Julie Lillelien Porter, Daniela Cascella and Rune Søchting. Each project is independently devised by each of the participants and developed from collective activities and from an ongoing dialogue. The artitst and activities presented within LYDHØRT pertain to a wide range of languages and formats, from objects to texts, installations to performances, readings and events. This project brings them together through an attention to the sonic medium, because of its ability to create territories, to evoke memories, and to establish connections between individuals, across and in spite of given formats and disciplines. It is not just the material or sensorial aspect of sound that is in focus, but sound as a complex social, communicative phenomenon. Sound happens “in-between” and involves various types of processes. The projects in LYDHØRT artistically explore process of translation, transformation, resonance and interference.
mic. The video is shot realtime, so there was no need for any capture of tone, very low key all in all. I guess the tone outside is filled with more life, birdsong, wind blowing, whilst inside Sameti there is a lack of tone. As if the cabin refuses to say anything, it is somehow a dead soundscape. JLP: Would it be correct to entitle Marcello Haugen the main protagonist in this work?
There was what I would call temperature and smell. Marcello Haugen (1878-1967) is the only really known Norwegian who has practiced white witchcraft in recent times, and the video piece 54 spørsmål til en død magiker (“54 Questions for a Dead Magician”) was made as a site-specific work for Harpefoss Hotell in 2011. Artist Liv Bugge wanted to make a tribute to him and go on a pilgrimage to his cabin on the mountain Thokampen in Gudbrandsdalen. Haugen was given the piece of land by a farmer whose life he rescued from a wild horse. He erected a small cabin, Sameti (“I thirst” in Hebrew, “meeting place” in Hindi), a place for contemplation and meditation. The key still hangs on the outside wall, giving visitors the opportunity to spend some hours or a night there with some of Haugen’s left belongings. 54 spørsmål til en død magiker consists of a conversation Liv had through the cards with Marcello Haugen’s hat and coat. Julie Lillelien Porter: One of your questions in the card reading is “Are we finished with rationality?”The card answers yes, to which you respond positively. Liv Bugge: Whilst working with this piece I was reading Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. She describes how the witch-hunts were precursors for the economical shift between a medieval feudal society and the industrial, capitalist Europe. Federici tells a story of the violent accumulation of the female body, the commons (which where women’s arenas) and an animist conception of reality – where the soul was moving through everything: human, nonhuman, woman and man. The story stretches from medieval Europe and all over the globe. Federici explains how the division between body and mind was necessary to create the working class body and the ruling intellectual mind. Rationality and reason as we know the terms came from this process in the Middle Ages, and joins the duality of the rational mind and the irrational body. Federici shows how the capitalist reason is always accumulating bodies and land for its survival. As a consequence, rationality has been a tool of the ruling white Western male, causing immense violence and still being used in order to exploit the world and its people. What made you think of this work in relation to sound? JLP: I am not that interested in what “typical”sound art is, and started remembering pieces which somehow had to do with the idea of what sound can be in a broader sense. Very intuitively I was interested in an internal dialogue which we can not hear, and the way this dialogue is treated artistically. In 54 spørsmål til en død magiker there is a connection between the place you are sitting, your own mental state, the sound and perception of the place and your own vocal activity. The room tone in 54 spørsmål til en død magiker is at its most clear in the beginning of the video, where we view a shot from the cabin and out into the surrounding natural space. What was your experience of the room tone in the cabin, whilst you stayed there? LB: I haven’t really thought about that before. What I did think about and feel was that there was a presence of the place itself. I don’t know if the sound or tone was interfering with that, but there was certainly a presence. There was what I would call temperature and smell. Certainly a touch of Marcello Haugen. All of his books are there, so Sameti is like a memorial. I felt quite uneasy about spending the night there. We shot the video with a small HD Panasonic Lumix pocket camera and no external 6
LB: In many ways you could say Haugen is the main protagonist, he is the mystified figure picked up from the past, but I am also using him to my purpose. In this way it is more like a conversation. The work is also in dialogue with the place itself. I have gradually become more interested in making works that do not necessarily act as monologues, neither by the protagonist nor myself. I am interested in dialogue, and in this case the interaction with the place. JLP: There seem to be points in the video where you feel you are in contact with Haugen through the card reading. I am interested in the duality between the idea of the card reading (a physical and vocal act), and what actually takes place, which seems to be a meaningful psychic narrative. How would you explain the experience? LB: Well, the idea of the card reading is quite superficial in a way. It taps into a street tradition of dealing with the occult, memories, magic and clairvoyance. Like spiritism, palm readings, astrology, and so on, its everyday appearance is shallowly availed by paying for a reading from a vending machine for 1 Euro. This knowledge is usually ridiculed and not taken seriously, often practiced by people that are somewhat marginalized who are not exactly the white male. Marcello Haugen himself was of unknown descent – some say Gypsy, some say Italian. The card reading is a way to relate to the narration of history. Having a conversation with a pretty recent historical person who tapped into a tradition and way of life that was banned in the Middle Ages and in many ways, still is now. As we can sense a coming economical shift on the horizon as capitalism is failing, it is interesting how we can start to relate to the world in a different way, – away from the social, economical and political crisis we are now experiencing in Europe and the rest of the Western world. Dealing with a historical person is always tricky. Like the Swedish architect Katarina Bonnevier pointed out to me when we recently had a conversation in the book Voluspå with my collaboration FRANK1, it makes most sense when you think about the work you do with the dead person as a collaborator. There are things you do and do not do in a collaboration. But what if you are not sure if you like the person you are dealing with, or the history he or she represents? These are questions I am interested in. How to make works of art involving people who are not here to defend themselves or tell their own story. What do you mean by “psychic narrative”? JLP: With psychic narrative, I am thinking of the inner narrative, or experience, of the card reading—in one sense only with myself, and in another as myself with Marcello Haugen, depending on which way one interprets it. I agree with you that there is a very interesting ambiguity concerning this in the piece, because what you say that you don’t believe in card readings, but some of your reactions to the answers you receive contradict this. Whilst thinking about my direction of how to work with the sonic I very became aware of the term “psychic sound”, sound that comes from our selves, our bodies and psyche, and at the same time conveyed through these “filters”. LB: I think deep listening is close to meditation, and guess you are acquainted with the work of composer Pauline Oliveros on deep listening and sonic awareness? JLP: Yes, definitely. I remember a friend of mine told me that she had seen Oliveros play the accordian live in London, with mice running around her feet. For me this certainly relates to her whole philosophy 1 FRANK is an Oslo based platform, established to nurture art and critical discourse revolving around gender issues, desire and sexuality. The platform operates in different locations and with various co-curators. Our aim is to build a community and create discussions that address the hegemonic structures in society. Liv Bugge and Sille Storihle run FRANK. 7
of deep listening, as deep listening is about a physical and mental awareness. LB: Basically deep listening, as developed by Oliveros, explores the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature— exclusive and inclusive—of listening. It involves all kinds of listening—with your body, your dreams and so on. She brings the environmental sounds into her compositions; in a way she performs democracy in the sonic scape.“Sonic awareness is a synthesis of the psychology of consciousness, the physiology of the martial arts, and the sociology of the feminist movement”, Oliveros writes. I particularly like an early piece of Oliveros that clearly explains where she is coming from and what she is interested in, in terms of aesthetics and what her practice can do. The piece is called To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation (1970), and performing the score is a political exercise for the musicians, where one instrument or sound never outplays the others, – promoting an understanding between community and individual. In a little leap this brings me back to Marcello Haugen. According to the story told, he started practicing his “inner visual listening” because he was such a nosy child. He would stand in the next room peeping into the room where his parents were talking at night. Because of the airflow through the keyhole he got an infection in the eye, causing his eyelid to hang for the rest of his life. Peculiar about his looks, Haugen would develop a method for greeting people, he would shortly glance at them and then keep his eyes down, and so no one could see his distorted eye. He would construct a perfect inner image of the person, and by doing this he could after a while actually listen or see things about this person, horse or mountain. In dealing with art in general I think this is an interesting parallel, an exercise of sensitivity and community with all things, also “non-living” things like rocks and air, as well as the past and the present. Sitting there in Marcello’s cabin, my exercise was somehow to merge Oliveros’ practice of levelling between community, space and individual, history and present, with the more common practice of card readings. I did the card reading very early in the morning, after a night of uncomfortable sleep. Our bodies had already been listening to the cabin for many hours, I was a bit tired, and my voice slightly cracks. I think it was a good moment to do the reading, having been there already for a while, and the memory of the outside reality fading just a little. JLP: I have been discussing a lot with Victoria Skogsberg, who exhibits in Room Tone, the puzzle in your piece. She has a question: spending time in Marcello Haugen’s cabin, to him a sacred and special space, which according to the card reading, he did not want you to be in, what was it like sitting on this dead man’s chair? LB: I don’t believe in card readings with my logically trained mind. But somehow stirring this negation, the card reading made it possible to activate Marcello Haugen, and actually enter into conversation with him as a historical person. The question posed relates to the narration of history and capitalism in relation to animism and witchcraft, also flipping over to my personal concerns, in a way shifting between the communal space and the individual. It scared me that the first four cards were aces, the strongest cards in the deck. It made me nervous about if it was only me acting out the conversation or not. Marcello Haugen was deeply religious, and I felt uncomfortable with the Bible open next to where I had slept. Somehow I was not sure whether he was the homophobic patriarch I am resisting or the magician practicing a way of life we can learn from. I still don’t know, and perhaps this ambiguity is what leaves us a little unsettled in watching the work.
I went down alone one evening. Put my head behind that hatch for a long time. Watched the imaginary movie of past events inside the boiler. The bird got stuck in the pipe, fell down into the boiler tank. The flies found the bird; flourished. The mould sucked out the last energy.
After spending several days at an abandoned area, where I solely metÂ drug dealers, addicts and graffiti artists, I built this stack of bricks.
The same place two years later.
Impossibilities of Space Liam Sprod1 It is impossible for one to stand in an empty room. This is because by the very act of standing there the room is no longer empty. Its space is now partially filled, and, more importantly, the very possibility of any experience of that space is oriented by that very body standing there, such space now acquires an up and a down, a left and a right, in front and behind. In a specific philosophical language it can be said that the space of the empty room is in fact first and foremost a place, orienting and oriented by the subject—and especially the body—that encounters it, and in turn making possible the experiences of that room by the subject. The possibilities of place, experience and subjectivity are all bound up together in the impossibility of standing in a room that is no longer empty. And yet, this particular move merely does away with the impossibility first encountered, the room is simply not empty. But what if there is something of the initial impossibility that can be maintained? What if rather than the emptiness of the room that is impossible, it is the there-ness of the subject and experience that is some way itself made impossible by the emptiness of the space? The impossible possibilities of both the subject and the space are somehow maintained in the encounter of the place of the room. And thus the emptiness of space, or even spatiality itself, becomes a disruptive element, a shard of impossibility concealed in the heart of any possible experience. This suggestion that spatiality may be an unsettling element within the experience of place requires some unpacking in terms of a set of specific philosophical positions and manoeuvres. At first glance this claim may seem strange to those familiar with these debates, for the claim put forward above—that place is primary and space is somehow either derivative and/or disruptive—is contrary to the accepted position put forward throughout the history of philosophy, which has developed in terms of a prioritisation of space as an homogenous and empty extension and the exclusion or suppression of discourses concerning the specificity, or specifications of place. This exclusion is noted by Ed Casey in his survey of this history The Fate of Place, where he observes that, “place has been subordinated to other terms taken as putative absolutes: most notably, Space and Time.”2 The identification of space and time in particular will become important in tracing out the former as a disruptive element, but for now it is necessary to first further qualify and elaborate the above emphasis on place that is contrary to this accepted historical progression. The distinction between place and space is not a simple one, as each infect and are confused with the other, meaning that neither can be simply extracted and examined alone. Due to its dominance space is perhaps the easier one to grasp, and yet this apparent simplicity also hides much of its complexity. The simple conception and understanding of space is as the empty homogeneousness of pure extension—the void that contains the objective dimensionality of physical objects. Already the intertwining between this notion and that of place begins to appear, for any definition of place must itself include in some way the idea of extension. This suggests the somewhat simplified idea that place is merely a specific or defined area of space, a site, position or location within the larger domain of extension. And yet this alone is not enough to define place, for as much as a place is somewhere in space it also somehow opens up a space (evident 1 Thanks must go to the Treignac Projet for providing the residency during which this article was written. 2 E. Casey, The Fate of Place. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). p. x.
in the sense of ‘place’ as an open square or area within a city or town), and provides the conditions under which extension itself is apparent, it is the something that can be measured, even the conditions for measuring, rather than the measurement itself. This is also clear in the German word for space—Raum—which returns to the English room, the specific boundedness of a place that cannot be represented in objective unrestricted space, and also to the impossibility of standing in an empty room, in empty space.3 It is the close connection between the places of the world as they are encountered and experienced and the objective space they reveal in their dimensionality, that leads to the subordination of place by space, as the objectivity of the latter promises a path to the absolute and the revelation of the truth of the world independent of any particular experience of that world.4 However, insofar as space and place can be separated in the way that this path to the objective and absolute attempts, the latter—place—must also in some way precede the former, as it is always through being in a place that space is opened up—only by having something to measure is abstract measurement itself possible.5 Some care is needed here so that the oppositions developed do not become absolute binaries. This is required to prevent the simple move that might begin to understand place as merely a subjective space located within wider set of co-ordinates of objective space and that is itself the privileged experience of spatiality. This would simply result in a subjective idealism that would preclude any possibility of objective space and indeed objectivity at all. Instead, it is the possibility of being in place that grounds both subjective and objective space as well as subjectivity and objectivity themselves. As Jeff Malpas elaborates: Rather, as I have emphasised already, the structure [of place] at issue encompasses the experiencing creature itself and so the structure of subjectivity is given in and through the structure of place. Something similar might be said of the idea of objectivity also – at least inasmuch as the idea of objectivity is understood as referring to that which can be present to a subject, rather than to mere physical existence.6 As Malpas immediately recognises in a footnote appended to this section, this entails that the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity presented here are correlative; and that this means that the sense of objectivity involved cannot “be taken to designate exclusively those features of the world as given within a purely physicalist analysis.”7 It is this reconfiguration of the sense of objectivity involved here, where it is bound within a structure including subjectivity, which reinforces the impossibility of standing in an empty room, as even the empty objectivity of the room must be bound to the presence of a subject; but, the connection between objectivity and spatiality, and the problems that begin to appear as they are intimately tied to subjectivity, is also the critical point where space becomes a disruptive element in in both subjectivity and experience, and the impossibilities of empty space can be identified and clarified. Recently, in his book After Finitude, Quentin Meillassoux has sought to problematise the binding together of subject and object—such as that developed in the structure of place above—in the philosophical tendency he (polemically) terms correlationism.8 For 3 For a much more in depth examination of the subtleties of the distinctions of place and space see Jeff Malpas, Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Especially Chapters 1 and 2. 4 Rosalind Krauss in her essay ‘Grids’, October, Vol. 9 (Summer 1979) pp. 50-64, suggests that the (re)presentation of objective space in modern art through paintings of grids is “a staircase to the Universal, and [is] not interested in what happens below in the Concrete” (p. 52). Interestingly, she traces the origin of artistic presentations of grids to paintings of rooms, and especially rooms that look outward through windows, which in the organisation of the panes of glass and their mullions creates a grid (pp. 58-9). The play between the inner and outer and the mediating role of spatiality as objective grid-like homogenous extension—somewhat literally in Krauss’s case as the spatiality of the grid in the form of the window is literally between the perception of the inner (the inside of the room) and the outer of some outside—is the important conjunction examined in the present essay. The disruptive nature of space that is developed thus stands in contrast to Krauss’s claim that “the grid announces, among other things, modern art’s will to silence, its hostility to literature, to narrative, to discourse” (p. 50), instead suggesting a dynamic understanding of the impossibilities of spatiality and the grid, which in fact makes such discourses possible, along with experience and cognition in general. 5 On this point see especially Malpas The Experience of Place, pp. 29-30. 6 Malpas, The Experience of Place, p. 36. 7 Malpas, The Experience of Place, p. 36 n.45. 8 Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier (trans.) After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of
Meillassoux, this tendency in philosophy is problematic because it makes it impossible to think the world without always thinking it in relation to the subject, which limits the possibility of the existence of the world to that as it is thought by human subjects and must result in a form of subjective idealism. This is problematic for him, so much so that he explicitly condemns and rejects these forms of philosophical thought as false, because he wants to find a way to discuss, analyse and indeed think the world as it is, separate from the subject that thinks it, that is, objectively and absolutely. The aim here is not to side with either position in this debate, but rather to examine how this analysis plays out in terms of the place and problems of spatiality. Meillassoux’s description of what is ‘lost’ in correlationism, and what he aims to ‘carve out a path towards’ is particularly interesting with regard to this issue of spatiality. He writes: “contemporary philosophers have lost the great outdoors, the absolute outside of pre-critical thinkers: that outside which was not relative to us, and which was given as indifferent to its own givenness to be what it is, existing in itself regardless of whether we are thinking of it or not; that outside which thought could explore with the legitimate feeling of being on foreign territory – of being entirely elsewhere.9” Here, the absolute of the world as it is without human subjectivity is explicitly connected to and conceived of as an ‘outside’, which in one sense is the world outside the mind of the subject, and yet importantly this outside is explicitly something spatial, even space itself. It is unsurprising then, when later in the book Meillassoux describes the independent world revealed by science, the absolute ‘great outdoors’ that he aims to retrieve, as one of pure Cartesian extension, and, more tellingly, “a world in which there is no longer any up or down, centre or periphery, nor anything else that might make of it a world designed for humans.”10 In short, what made the world one ‘designed’ for humans was exactly the sort of orientation involved in the experience of place. Meillassoux wants to find a path to the objectivity of homogenous space without the orientation or opening up of that space provided through place. In turn, this suggests that the world of objective space, of homogenous and quantifiable extension, is one that explicitly excludes the human. Returning to the opening statement of this essay, this time the impossibility of standing in the empty room emphasises the impossibility of any subject, or any subjective orientation, within the space of emptiness. But the aim of this essay has never been to dismiss this impossibility from either side of the issue, never to emphasise the dominance of the subject nor that of objective spatiality, rather it has been to maintain the impossibility; and for this it is necessary to retreat back to the heart of the issue in the work of Immanuel Kant. In some ways Kant has been hidden within the arguments presented so far. Meillassoux identifies Kant as the source of the correlationist tendency in philosophy—the first who, with his Copernican revolution, connected subject and object and cut off access to the thing-in-itself. Similarly, if somewhat confusingly as it opposes the claims of Meillassoux, it is in the thought of Kant that Casey argues that the subordination of place to the absolutes of space and time—and especially the latter with what he terms ‘temporocentrism’—reaches its most commanding form.11 Kant, thus, appears as the target on either side of the impossibility of standing in an empty room, and, appropriately enough given this position between the two arguments, it is through his thought that the maintenance of that impossibility is both possible and articulated. Casey, with his charge of temporocentrism that is the result of the Kantian position, has in fact somewhat obliquely identified the key point in Kant’s thought.12 It is in the relation of time and space, the elements with which Kant effaces place, and their interrelation, resulting in the further subordination of space as the form of ‘outer sense’ to time determination and the problems that this relation entails—what Garth Green in his book of the same name calls ‘the aporia of inner sense’—that the impossibility Contingency. (London: Continuum, 2008). p. 5. This is not to suggest that the full structure of place developed by Malpas later in Place and Experience, or indeed other philosophies of place, falls into the simplistic diagnosis of correlationism. Unfortunately, there is not enough space here to fully develop or follow this conjunction or confrontation. 9 Meillassoux, After Finitude, p. 7. 10 Meillassoux, After Finitude, p. 115. 11 Casey, The Fate of Place, p. x. 12 Similarly, Meillassoux’s interrogation of the problem of induction and his proposed ‘solution’ of time as hyper-chaos, also suggests an important temporal element to his arguments with and analyses of Kant.
of standing in an empty room is maintained.13 The aporia of inner sense is structured around the distinction that Kant makes between outer sense, whereby objects outside the subject and in space are represented, and inner sense, according to which the inner determinations of the subject are represented through their relations in time. Importantly, these two senses are separate and heterogeneous, Kant writes that, “Time can no more be intuited externally than space can be intuited as something in us” (A23/B37).14 However, he soon backs away from this strict heterogeneity and begins to develop the temporocentrism that Casey identifies, he writes: “Time is the a priori formal condition of all appearances in general. Space, as the pure form of all outer intuitions, is limited as an a priori condition merely to outer intuitions” (A34/B50). Consequently, as all appearances must be determined through time, the question of the conditions of possibility for experience and knowledge, i.e., the central question of the Critique of Pure Reason, comes down to how it is that the disparate intuitions presented through sensibility can be determined in time. Ultimately, this determination is organised through the logical a priori structure presented in the table of categories and especially the category of relation, which results in the three temporal modes of persistence, succession and simultaneity (A177/B219). However, already the contradictions that make up the aporia are beginning to develop. The aporia operates around the contradiction between the heterogeneity of inner and outer sense and the amplification of inner sense necessary to encompass outer sense and determine all appearances temporally. This latter point also contradicts the nature of time itself as Kant presents it early in the Critique and in turn highlights the importance of space, which now begins to emerge as something disruptive and yet necessary. The amplification of inner sense extends from the earlier insight that time is the formal condition of all appearances, and develops this with explicit reference to the internality of time as inner sense, Kant writes in an important passage: Wherever our representations may arise, whether through the influence of external things or as the effect of inner causes, whether they have originated a priori or empirically as appearances – as modifications of the mind they belong to inner sense, and as such all of our cognitions are in the end subjected to the formal condition of inner sense, namely time, as that in which they must all be ordered, connected and brought into relations (A98-9). In this quote, Kant makes the explicit connection between the mind and representations—appearances—thus highlighting the importance of the form of inner sense, i.e., time, as the determining factor in uniting all such representations into objective experience and knowledge. This is in clear violation of the heterogeneity of inner and outer sense, as the domain of inner sense is now expanded to be of primary importance for the cognition of external things, what strictly should be the objects of outer sense. Following this line of argumentation the appearances of external objects in space beyond the subject that perceives them, can actually only be thought through their determination in time through inner sense, i.e., by bridging the heterogeneity of the two forms of sense and presenting outer sense internally within the subject. The internality at work here supports Meillassoux’s claim that Kant cuts off the ‘great outdoors’ of the external world. This is further supported by Kant’s argument that the possibility of the time determination required to establish the necessary relations between appearances is grounded in the unity of transcendental apperception, the consciousness of the unity of the conscious self that is unchanging across all possible changing appearances and can thus determine their relations. The amplification of inner sense, the interiority that it implies, the ability of this form of sense to determine time, and consequently the possibility of objective experience and knowledge of the world, is in contrast with statements Kant makes about time and inner sense elsewhere in the Critique. At several places he repeats and reinforces that “inner intuition yields no shape” (A33/B50) because, “everything that is in inner sense constantly flows” (B291), and thus “time … has in it nothing abiding, and hence gives 13 Garth W. Green, The Aporia of Inner Sense: The Self-Knowledge of Reason and the Critique of Metaphysics in Kant. (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2010). The following analysis of Kant, and in particular the issue of time determination, also draws on Paul Guyer’s Kant and the Claims of Knowledge. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). 14 Immanuel Kant, Paul Guyer & Allen W. Wood (trans.), Critique of Pure Reason. (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1998). Further references will be given in the text using the convention of page numbers from the original German A- and/or B-Editions.
cognition only a change of determinations, but not the determinable object. For in that which we call the soul [human subjectivity], everything is in continual flux” (A381). The constant change of the flow of time does not itself allow anything against which it could be compared, there is no point of reference from which or with which any relation can be determined. Here is the full articulation of the aporia of inner sense, that at the same time inner sense is supposed to provide the determinations of time necessary for cognition, experience and knowledge and also the impossibility of inner sense to provide any such determinations. In part the aim of this restriction on inner sense due to the nature of time, is to restrict the possibility of any pure self-knowledge, which runs the risk of subjective idealism, where the self is known absolutely and from that absolute ground the world is determined. Instead, this restriction on self-knowledge precludes the possibility of any purely intellectual intuition of the world via the centrality and certainty of the self. This argument against both idealism and rationalism turns upon the importance of space, which lies hidden behind the more obvious temporocentrism of Kant. In examining the flip side of the aporia of inner sense the until-now-concealed importance of outer sense and space or spatiality as a disruptive element within Kant’s system comes to light. Kant himself clearly recognises that the limitation of inner sense is connected to the possibilities of outer sense and space. He writes, “And just because this inner intuition yields no shape we also attempt to remedy this lack through analogies, and represent the temporal sequence through a line progressing to infinity” (A33/B50). In other words, the only way in which time can take on a determinate shape is by representing it in the spatial metaphor through the appropriation of the form of outer sense. Already this disrupts (in advance) the priority that Kant will ascribe to inner sense and the possibility of time determination; and, indeed, the conclusion that he will come to is that despite the amplification of inner sense that he pursues through the transcendental unity of apperception, ultimately the issue of time determination will come to rest upon outer sense and the objects of the external, spatial world. The fully developed argument appears in a section added to the Critique in the 1787 B-Edition titled ‘Refutation of Idealism’.15 In this section Kant aims to disprove idealism, which in this case is a reworked form of Cartesian scepticism, by demonstrating how self-consciousness itself “proves the existence of objects in space outside me” (B275). The argument he presents turns explicitly on the inability of inner sense alone to determine things, including the self, in time. He writes: All time determination presupposes something persistent in perception. [This persistent thing, however, cannot be an intuition in me. For all grounds of determination of my existence that can be encountered in me are representations, and as such require something persistent that is distinct even from them, in relation to which their change, thus my existence in the time in which they change, can be determined.] Thus the perception of this persistent thing is possible only through a thing outside me and not through the mere representation of a thing outside me. Consequently, the determination of my existence in time is possible only by means of the existence of actual things that I perceive outside myself (B275).16 This extends the mere analogy or metaphor of the spatial straight line that was used earlier to represent time as something persistent against which its relationships could be determined. In this case, it is the actual definite existence of some persistent thing that must be outside the subject, in space, and which is represented to the subject through the form of outer sense. As Kant explicitly puts it a few pages later “space alone persistently determines” (B291). The emphasis on space found in the Refutation amounts to a reversal of the prioritisation of inner sense and the self-perception of apperception, which through their own entanglement and confusion found the conditions for time determination—and hence cognition—wholly within the subject. Instead, that subject, through the flux and indeterminacy of time, is no longer capable of providing the conditions for objective cognition, it is only through the intuition of outer sense and the persistence of spatial things outside of the subject that time determination is possible. Just as inner sense becomes problematic and aporetic, outer sense becomes its 15 This section is in fact a reworked version of the argument presented in the 1781 A-Edition as the Fourth Paralogism. 16 The sentence in square brackets is the amendment to this section that Kant sets out in the Preface at Bxxxix.
disruptive double, which is necessary for the determinations of subjective experience, and at the same time makes impossible the self sufficiency of that inner experience, always rupturing it and opening it to something other beyond itself that makes it impossible. The disruptive spatiality that works in parallel with the aporetic self-consciousness of inner sense can now be read back against Meillassoux’s claim that after Kant philosophers have lost access to the great outdoors. This claim only holds if Kant’s position is articulated merely from the side of inner sense, apperception, and temporocentrism.17 However, if this position is examined more closely, then the aporia of inner sense begins to appear and with it the disruptive nature of spatiality, which invades this untenable subject, opening it up to the spatial field of the ‘great outdoors’. In turn, this reconfigures the relation between subjectivity and objectivity, as it is the disruptive nature of space that now becomes a force for objectivity, not as something that must be subsumed within and made dependent upon the subject, but rather as an invasive negating force that reveals the impossibility of any self-sufficient subjectivity. Revealed within this reconfiguration is an equivocation that Kant makes in his use of the term ‘outer’ whereby he vacillates between the two potential meanings: ‘spatial’ and ‘objective’.18 However, the disruptive nature of space can now be used against the correlationist entanglement of subject and object, now spatiality and objectivity are necessary elements of the experience of place, yet ones which both rupture the subject and also through that rupture makes the very self-consciousness of the subject possible, making it both impossible and capable of objective, absolute thought. Rather than the philosopher having to find a way to access the external ‘great outdoors’, now the experience of spatiality and externality opens up the philosopher—tearing or rupturing that merely subjective experience—to the possibility of objective thought. As the spatiality that is inherent within any experience of place, the absolute enters the experience of place and subjectivity itself must open up to the objective. In terms of the relation between place and space and the contentious history of suppression or prioritisation, the reconfiguration of objective spatiality as a disruptive element within the experience of place moves away from the characterisation of space as a flattening and silencing element that philosophers of place have given. It means that a philosophy that emphasises the importance of spatiality does not immediately fall into a physicalism that asserts the existence of extended matter alone. Although, the objectivity that is tied up with spatiality, evident in the equivocation on the word ‘outer’, is a necessary condition for any physicalist theory, and as such, no physicalist theory can develop without first encountering spatiality through the experience of place made possible by that spatiality. The objectivity of spatiality that is undoubtedly an element within the experience of place—and also is only ever revealed by that experience—is in fact the very condition that makes possible the reduction of that particular place to a series of physical locations in objective space; and hence, while objective spatiality makes experience possible, this also includes the experience that reveals objective spatiality itself, which in turn can disrupt that experience reducing it to mere extension. Which returns to the impossibility of standing in empty room. Now, the emptiness of the space is constitutive of the very subject standing there, revealing the spatiality of the place it experiences, which reveals its own emptiness and its own impossibility. Emptiness is always there with and within the subject in experience itself. Here, space both makes its own experience possible and impossible, the world of objects collapses into a world of objectivity necessary for those objects to appear in the first place. It is impossible to stand there not only because the space is filled by the standing subject and experienced as place, but also because the experience of standing there is itself made possible by that impossibly empty space in which the subject impossibly stands.
17 Following from this insight, Meillassoux’s own temporocentrism must now become problematic within his own system. 18 This is noted in Malpas, Place and Experience, pp. 115-6. Peter Strawson examines this connection between spatiality and objectivity with direct influence from Kant in Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. (London: Routledge, 1996). pp. 61-3. Interestingly, the hypothetical ‘no-space world’ that Strawson presents as a thought experiment to test this connection is a purely auditory world. Such a connection between pure sound and a lack of spatiality seems peculiar when the role of reflection in hearing is considered, especially in relation to the specifically spatial and sonic perception of echoes and echolocation.
Sometimes it’s just silent… No sound at all. It’s like something’s waiting.
What is not visible in the picture is in the negative space, outside the edge of the picture.
clos i but always in perfect relation to the mental state of the individual. ng,
The form of a thing also exerts an external effect. It radiates as it were into the environment, takes away the homogeneity of the surrounding space and fills it with tensions and suggestions of movement.
The visual impressions, interiors and objects, are also thought to be stimuli for the experience. Reflective surfaces (mirrors and windows) as well as pictures or images of people, are often involved in the experience.
The interior details, materials, colours and light, evokes similar feelings within us.
Sometimes this room tone can change quite dramatically without you even noticing it.
Human space is limits, most clearly when it makes an angle, when it stops. There is nothing ghostly about space, it has edges.
Man is always explicitly absent, but the environments still keeps traces of a sort of past â€” or possibly future â€” activity.
is there? e sound? Who als, th e ad m t ha gn W s to distant si The ear attune on ghosts and their g in eavesdropp chatter.
22 Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves (Toronto: Pantheon Books, 2000), 9. 22 ”Bildutsnitt”, Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, accessed June 20, 2014, www.sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildutsnitt 23 Danielewski, House of Leaves, 165. 26 Gernot Böhme, “Atmosphere as the Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics”, Thesis Eleven Number 36 (1993): 121, accessed June 10, 2012, DOI: 10.1177/072551369303600107 27 “Room Tone = Emotional Tone: The Importance of Hearing Ambience”, Designing Sound, accessed May 2014, www.designingsound.org/2012/11/room-tone-emotional-tone-the-importance-of-hear ing-ambience/ 27 Sara K. Dupplis, Hemsökta plaster? En religionspsykologisk tolkning av platsbunden entitetkontinuitet (Uppsala: Universitetstryckeriet, 2010), 42. 30 Inger Bergström, “Rummet och människans rörelser” (PhD diss., Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, 1996), 82. 31 “Atmosphere (architecture and spatial design)”, Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, accessed July 20, 2012, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_(architecture_and_spatial_design) 31 “What is Room Tone?”, Lights Film School, accessed May 18, 2014, www.lightsfilmschool.com/articles/room_tone/index.html 32 Hans Carlsson, edit., Where Did She Go? Stockholm Music & Arts (Stockholm: Tensta Konsthall, 2013), 16. 33 Francesca Bacci, David Melcher, edit., Art & The Senses, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 571. 33 David Toop, Sinister Resonance The Mediumship of the Listener, (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011), VII.
Victoria Skogsberg lives and works in Stockholm. Her art practice is based around her interest in existential, spiritual and psychical experiences, in relation to atmosphere, spatiality and the psychology of space. Skogsberg’s particular interest is in the notion of ‘the empty room’, negative space, absence and presence, and the possibility of rooms and interiors communicating these feelings and ideas to us. Through experimenting with materials from captured experiences of spaces, moods and extraordinary events, she develops atmospheric, investigatory film and installation works. Magnus Oledal lives and works in Oslo. He works mainly with sculpture. One of his main concerns is to create encounters that highten the viewer’s awareness of her own body and the cognitive functions that enable and produce this encounter. He has been involved in the collaborative art project Tomma Rum (Empty Rooms) since its inception in 2003. Liv Bugge lives and works in Oslo. Her artistic practice incorporates a variety of media, with an emphasis on video. Bugge is interested in aggression as both a constructive and destructive force in the community. A lot of works disturb a boundary between the past and the present, the offender and the victim, and between fact and fiction. She is currently a research fellow at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo. Liam Sprod is a philosopher and writer. He is currently a Doctoral Research Student at the London Graduate School working on the debate between realism and idealism through the asymmetry of space and time in the work of Immanuel Kant and his philosophical legacy. His most recent book is Nuclear Futurism: The work of art in the age of remainderless destruction (Zero Books, 2012). He has also collaborated on a series of ongoing projects concerned with futurity, fragments, ruins and technology with artist Linda Persson. Additional research interests include: the ontology of hauntology; the philosophy of art theory; the futural temporality of the nuclear age; and, objectness and art at the end of history. Julie Lillelien Porter is an artist and a curator based in Bergen.
LYDHØRT II: Room Tone, curated by Julie Lillelien Porter The exhibition was shown at Lydgalleriet 5th–28th September, 2014 Publication design and layout: Mario Urban Printed by Molvik Paper kindly given and driven by Berg-Andersen Font: Garamond Regular/Bold/Italic 9/10 and 10/10. Images p. 2&39: Liv Bugge, p. 10–15: Magnus Oledal, p. 24-25, 28-29 and 30-31: Victoria Skogsberg Proofreading: Julie Lillelien Porter and Anngjerd Rustand Copyright the artists. Thanks to: Mei Szetu, Asle Bakke Brodin, Rikke Helgesen, BEK, Bjørn Mortensen and Treignac Projet LYDHØRT II: Room Tone was kindly supported by Bergen Kommune and Norsk kulturråd 36
LydhĂ¸rt / Lydgalleriet 2014
Publication made for the exhibition Room Tone at Lydgalleriet, Bergen, 5.9–28.9.2014. With Victoria Skogsberg, Magnus Oledal, Liam Sprod, Li...