Mathematician Georg Cantor realized that there could be small or large infinities. He invented a way to demonstrate that the infinity made up of real numbers (which are uncountable) are larger than the infinity made up of natural numbers.
Let us imagine a small infinity enframed by a larger infinity. Within this frame, the smaller infinity pours out an infinity that seems as expansive as the larger one. What is the perceptible threshold to recognize the difference between two horizonless expanses?
Mise en abyme
The image framed out of the totality of things is delineated by an artist’s subjectivity. A painting’s frame or a camera frame or a time frame is each a delimitation of the world, a delimitation which contain within it the possibility of infinite recursions, a small infinity. The universe frames human history, which frames a subjective experience, which, in turn, frames an artist’s work. Within each graded step of nested framing there exists their respective graded infinities which ripple out boundlessly, each infinity as robust as the next. We adopt a deliberate myopia in order to delineate the frame. At times, however, this myopia blurs out the recursive expansiveness of what is inside and outside of the frame, and we forget.
Who’s afraid of eternity? It’s always been here. Don’t worry about it.
Dineo Seshee Bopape
One thing could be two things at the same time, and then it could be many more things. The art work is generative, and is not bounded by the organizational principle, which is more effective when taxonomic, and otherwise it’s arbitrary – which does not imply irrelevance, but rather as valid as any other point of entry, or framework. As such, issues regarding instrumentalization are at best optimistic, at worst paranoiac. This might seem to legitimize or advocate the notion of the work’s indeterminacy, which could appear to be permission for further complicity in this post-integrity moment, if there is even room for further collusion. But the supposed indeterminacy is not neutral and neither is the organizational principle, as such it remains political. The politics is rehearsed in this constitution, with its passionate neutrality and practiced inconsequentiality. Yet what remains out of the realm of instrumentalization within these prescribed boundaries, is functional design and propaganda. The artwork politicizes the notion of the universal after globalization. This includes a moment of strategic and reflexive post-identity, one that is not essentialist on the one hand and is restrained on the other; it includes a materiality that engages with the stuff of the culture and commodity; it includes virtuosity after deskilling; that does not dismiss of class consciousness for kitsch futurity. The notions of image saturation, of visual overabundance, of our digital overload, post-internet all sound tedious and lazy as it merely echoes the years before the turn of millennium. Yes, all of this happened, Debord’s worst nightmares are reality and there’s no reason to rub it in any further. We need to celebrate the dawn of a new visual literacy. Boring is also the self-congratulatory reflexive clever complicity, as it stinks of affect and privilege. A certain internal dialectic that might sound cliché at this point is paired with specificity with relation to medium, and is then bifurcated; the index is a decoy, identity is material, context is contingent. We need to do at least two things at the same time, as one at a time is not enough. The aesthete’s radicalism, Sontag writes, is “to be multiple, to make multiple identifications…”