"Excuse errors and feel free to ask for explanations of my explications:\
Dear Daniel: my work on both Warhol and Johnson converges, so needs correlations of Johnsonian values with Warholvian values, a slow process. Now experiencing images of tape on this computer screen, the screened images are a radically different experience of meanings and of values from touching the dry side of viscous tape. I am fearful of the thinness of my sensory visual evidence to support the burden of my over-readings. But if my thoughts stand up under the constructions I build upon them, the more secure they will become. The events of tapes go toward the truth of materials, in itself an unreachable truth, yet approachable. The approach toward the materiality which resists aesthetic illusions is the truth of approach toward the truth of materials like tape. I can have ideas about the images of tape on this screen, which is not the tape itself, but tape mediated. I am not experiencing your challenge of aesthetic illusions in a gallery for art, so I am but speculating. However you have sent me an image of tape as seen behind the glass of the window to the street, so also something between the viewer and the tape. The curvilinear frosting on the glass interferes with the view of the tangible tape within or behind the window. That seductive curve on the glass contrasts with the rectilinear squares of the checker-boarded tape. The factual pattern of a large rectangle of tape, un-concealed tape which becomes weighty, doesn’t do much to seduce visually. The merely translucent tape contrasts with the transparent glass, so that “seeing through” becomes thematic. Then questions arise of whether the artist is answerable to transparency or is answerable to translucency. This Gallery, aspiring to permanence, visually seduces with the glamour of the smooth glass shaped into a frosted curved window. Such glamour contrasts with the cracks and scratches of the impermanent tape which is useful but once. As the “face” of the gallery, this urbane glass is purposefully constructed into a window which serves practical purposes through the seasons. In contrast, this tape has been arranged to adhere only to other tape, not to serve a practical purpose such as tape is manufactured to serve. A theme of this art in this gallery is in the difference between a woman’s seduction of a man and a man’s seduction of a woman. Roughly, a woman seduces a man into the imaginative, a poetics of love, with symbols and with metaphors, with everything which would be raw in seduction cooked into delicious dishes. Roughly, a man seduces with raw facts and with materialities which limit the imagination. See my story “anthropology,” wherein a Parisian woman seduces a man native to the forest – teasing Claude Levi-Strauss while taking his ideas. Your tape bears on these images as the tape declines an engagement to traditional modes of life, and as it refuses a marriage to existence as a permanent relationship. Tape does not marry two surfaces; it allows a brief engagement which will be broken. This specific tape seen through the window has been purposeful, but the purposeless tape has been composed into a construction of rectangles alternating between positive and negative. The tape, representing practical purposes, is viscous, which means that the tape could be used to close down over a person just as quicksand could close down over a person sinking into it. Experience of the tape is experience of the dangers of viscosity which could close over the freedom of a person, much the way a system of technology could close over a person, and close down over itself in consistency which allows no inconsistency. Rectangles are not found within or drawn from within experience. Rectangles are imposed upon the flow of experiences. What is to be done with the figures of geometry imposed upon the flux? The tape, having become purposeless tape within a purposeless aesthetic experience, is inconsistent with the purposes of tape in practical technological uses. In this significant contrast, the purposeful pattern imposed on the tape does not fulfill or serve the practical purposes of tape. The flat factual tape has become an image conveying ideas about itself and its possibilities as a material with its own qualities, expressing its own meanings. The tape for practical uses serving practical purposes is being used for purposes which have no necessity. The pattern has its own internal necessity, a pattern which with skill and discipline has been imposed upon the tape as structure and as order which does not serve necessities. Such order becomes an effervescence as an emancipation from serving necessities. The purposeful tape has been diverted from ordinary functions and practical purposes, whereupon the tape, aestheticized against conventional aesthetics, develops an interior tremble as its identity becomes a problem to itself. An adjustment of visions among values occurs when the tape is not used for the purposes which industrial technology has manufactured it for. Tape is laborious, but here tape is free, well ordered, but puzzled about its reclassification within art in a gallery for art. Such tape, not used for practical purposes, is alleviated, at rest from the purposefulness of technological labor. The theme of an aesthetic truancy from humorless labor becomes visible in an image of resting from labor in a hammock. The man in the hammock of tape is sufficiently horizontal, but is alertly attentive. One function of a purposeful hammock is as a place to sleep, but he is not sleeping. A hammock is not a four-poster bed. Any bed immediately summons the bed which Odysseus made for him and his bride. He used a growing tree as one of four bedposts, thus a bed which is 3/4ths culture to ¼ nature. The bed is a precise image of the proportions of culture to nature in the amorous love of Odysseus and Penelope. However Odysseus is no Neo-Platonist. The ideal of a bed as the pure platonic Form of a bed is a divine idea in the mind of the God of Neo-Platonists. An idea of a bed in the mind of an ideal carpenter is an ideal Form of a bed. An ideal of a bed is a criterion used to criticize actual beds on behalf of that Ideal Form. An analogy is that an ideal square is used to criticize actual squares, like the positive and the negative squares in that patch-work of tape visible through the glass. Those squares are other than the ideal of Euclidean geometry, yet they are also more than ideal, demonstrating a relation between the ideal and the actual, as the relations between the idea and the materials, in 2015, after the disenchantments with the ideals which couldn’t find their foundations, and with the logic which could no longer claim to be universal. European thought has criticized the actual on behalf of the ideal. The bed of the Kaiser can set in motion toward an Ideal Form of a platonic bed, with a bed as an outward and visible sign of power and of glory. Thus, in a contrast with the ideal criticizing the actual, a hammock constructed of tape criticizes the ideal on behalf of the actual. A hammock satirizes a bed. The hammock of tape is not a necessity, it is a possibility as a place to lie down. A domestic advertised bed constructed for a good burgher would have been built upon a foundational idea of a bed, with the bed itself a comfortable foundation for an amorous couple. Goethe, Elective Affinities, worries the image of foundations, as one might build on sand, on earth or on granite. An Austro-Hungarian idea of a bed is an image of a foundation constructed before a structure is built upon it. The error of European thought has been a nostalgia for foundations, and, aligning with Hegel, a nostalgia for a time of authentic nostalgia for foundations. Europe has put itself to bed with false consolations. Images of foundations have conveyed ideas of foundations which are constructed prior to the structures which are built upon the foundations. The foundation which is granite or like granite is not elastic. However, elasticity as a quality of value in materials became a value in ideas (see the mathematical physics of Sophie Germaine, who needed a more elastic social world, meditating on elasticity). Picasso extrapolated from the tangible actual qualities of his elastic penis to other elasticities, constructing art on behalf of mental and bodily elasticity, like acrobats engaged in acrobatic erotics. He credited his wife, as a dancer, with more emotional elasticity than she was capable of. Elasticity is not a traditional quality desired for a foundation. However with his elasticity of mind, Marc Brunel constructed a “caisson” with no prior foundation, then allowed it to sink itself with its own weight until finding and founding its own foundation. A foundation can be constructed by and strengthened by structures which bear their weight on it. The Hong Kong Airport was constructed as a human-made island which, across a few decades, would sink into foundational security from its own weight and the weight of the structures built upon it. With foundations of buildings and of thoughts, a man proposes, but a structure disposes. Foundations are always yet become certainties. Foundations realize decisions which are never absolutely decided. In Pisa, men constructed a Tower upon a foundation. But then the Tower constructed its own foundation. The principles for me are manifest in the logic of Kurt Friedrich Gödel, but I have no foundation in mathematics qualifying me to interpret his theorems. I dare not suggest that Jacques Derrida “mis-interprets” Gödel, because there is no foundation to be interpreted with decisions which can be certain. However I do allow myself to say that he uses his interpretation differently from my use, which goes through correlatives and analogies to render ideas of foundations rather uncertain. A bed and a hammock take different relations to foundations, decisions and certainties. An upright beam in a gallery can become a structure sustaining an improvised use to hold up a hammock which holds itself in position by its own weight. Any such spontaneous, unrehearsed, unscripted use of a structural pole to hold up a structure hanging from it differs from a foundation which is below the structure which it holds up. The beam as a “found object” is a ready-made, assigned a purpose which represents no original intended purpose of the beam. For me, Gödel as I interpret his theorems is the key to understanding decisions about foundations and to understanding the foundations of decisions. Foundations are retroactions. A structure which secures its foundation beneath itself is also being held in position by the structures constructed above it. The structure which is rendering its foundation more certain is itself secured in its position by the structures which it supports. The ideas built upon an idea strain its structure as a provisional foundation. If the idea doesn’t collapse under the weight of the ideas built upon it, it is strengthened as a foundation, being held in place as a foundation by that which it is supporting. The word “hammock” arrived in Indo-European languages like German from Haiti, and is not within the foundations of European languages. The word “hammock” floats. The weight of a body in a hammock can tighten the lines which connect it to the beam which, serving an unanticipated purpose, will never become a certain foundation decided upon once and for all. That building could collapse. The theme is within ideas and images of decisions of granite certainties such as Goethe, wavering with desires, hoped for. However he so understood granite the he comprehended the value of his elastic desires:
Knaben liebt ich wohl auch
Doch lieber sind mir die Mädchen
Hab ich als Mädchen sie satt,
Dient sie als Knabe mir noch.
Our story so far: a hammock has been made of tape in the Germany of 2015. A son of his father reclines in a construction of his own, with a structure exemplifying his values. A hammock of tape manifests ideas of how a German man, just more than fifty years of age, can find rest after the disenchantments with foundations, and after the disillusionments with illusions -- even with the non-material intangible weightless aesthetic illusions. For decades, artists have been using materials to challenge aesthetic illusions: paint as paint, tape as tape. Tape qua tape can be composed into images which convey ideas which are in-dissociable from and inseparable from the materiality of the tape. Aesthetic illusions float above the materials as a focal plane of the eye-mind. In contrast, an illusion does not float above the material surfaces of tape. A man whose forefathers might have floated in a dreamy feather-bed, inherited across the years, is not going to float in a hammock which the weight of his body gives shape to. A man lies in a hammock as a weight manifesting the gravitational force which materials are subject to, but which aesthetic illusions are not subject to. For more than a century, in the tensions between the mental and the material, visual and verbal artists have used the materialities of language and of supplies for art to scratch the surfaces of aesthetic illusions. Eva Hesse, born in Hamburg, is an example of a woman disenchanted with non-material ideals and disillusioned even with aesthetic illusions. She returned to Germany when Germany at last found a man to be an ambassador to Israel, a general who scratched the surface of the illusion of an ideal man because he had had an arm amputated. Eva rendered ideas and values answerable to materials, constructing a model of the relations between ideals and the material facts of her material life (I saw her sister a few months ago; we understand each other without words). In his interpretation of the spirit of the times, Robert Rauschenberg spoke with the image of a gap between art and life (experience). No such gap can exist because of differences in modes of existence. Categorical irreversible actual experiences of “life,” within gravity, are on a different plane of existence from weightless aesthetic illusions. Robert Rauschenberg didn’t close any gap with his construction, “Canyon.” He included a pillow illustrating or demonstrating the effects of gravity. The pillow is as though falling, visibly pulling down the string, a visual weightiness which scratches the surface of any aesthetic illusion which proposes itself as the “art” of the museums. He deployed an eagle as an organism which works within gravity, able to ride the wind with the use of wings with feathers which have evolved in the same force-field as himself. Rauschenberg didn’t close a gap, he played with tensions between art as aesthetic illusion and art as materiality. (“Canyon” is named – is also named -- for Steve Canyon, a military pilot in a comic-strip, himself named for Guan Yin, god then goddess of Compassion, known as Kuan Yin and Cannon.) Rauschenberg’s pillow is identical in meaning with the only apparently different hammock – shaped within and by gravity. I have written about Eva with the image of her on the threshold of aesthetic illusion and its misleading consolations. Ray Johnson developed as he worked within his own need for his own specific “anti-illusion,” not identical with the art and the ideas in a show called “Anti-illusion.” He didn’t close a gap; he pricked illusions with tangible materials and with his contingent touch. He worked to get the identical values and even the same images to function both in his life and in his verbal and visual art. He worked to experience the same values and qualities in the concrete aesthetic images of his art – and in his experiences of his life as ideas and images. He glued a tessera upon a tessera, with sharp-focus edges and with shadows, to call attention to the physicality of paper objects which would not merge seamlessly on one focal plane as an aesthetic illusion floating above the materials. He pivoted both his life and his art toward experiencing the same relations between mind and matter. These themes are manifest in a man reclining in a hammock, suspended within gravity, as a display of the way we can live now, with beliefs about the constructions which we make to support us, thus making decisions with awareness of the uncertainties. Resting in a hammock is a motif on the same themes as the motif of floating in a canoe. The way the word “hammock” would float in the German language is an analogy to the way a hammock of tape would float in a traditional German society. The themes are manifest in the confluence of several streams of ideas in the image of a hammock. A hammock evokes the emancipatory themes of the Romantic period and of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on display in my short story, “anthropology: what is lost in rotation,” my rude satire on Claude Levi-Strauss, without whom I am worse than nothing, I am almost nothing. One hammock in Hamburg participates in the values which entered Europe with the introduction of rubber as the introduction of elasticity as a quality of materials and as a quality of thoughts. Ideas and ideals of materials became elasticized when rubber balls were introduced as elastic objects. Then chemists could work with elasticities of mind in order to synthesize plastics and elastics. Within an aggrieved European history of decisions about certainties, one hammock in Hamburg is an illumination into viable modes of thought and decisions about values in 2015. The elastic thoughts and elastic values which emerged within the later 17th century were transmitted to Sophie Germaine. She had the courage of her elasticity to present herself as a man, “Monsieur Blanc.” Louis XV had been imagined to image a “deluge” which would come after him, an elastic deluge after any rigid divine right of kings. In the Romantic period, many notions of Euro-Christian certainties about amorous love were put to bed. Thus aligned with the horizontal values among the immanences of 2015, you have constructed with tape as a precise image of the way we can live toward truth nowadays, yet with the unexpected strength of the true possibilities of an impermanent material like tape. The truth of this hammock of tape is the truth of life. Within the uncertainties, within the unfounded decisions, while being floated on a hammock of tape, you are able to hold your head up. The ideal of an absolutely certain foundation, decided upon prior to construction, is no longer possible. No foundation for an interpretations allows that an interpretation can be certain and have decisions constructed upon it. My interpretation is but one among other interpretations. An interpretation no more adheres permanently and exclusively to the surface of a work of art than transparent tape sticks permanently to a surface, or maintains its transparency permanently. However, your tape participates in the Modernism as I understand it. That is, as a confluence of many constructivisms, with non sequiturs, resolved not to punish the finite for not being infinite, and not to take revenge on time for not being eternity. I realize that my notes swirl and repeat, with concepts for which I don’t provide foundations. You don’t tell much – every detail of the gallery is a meaning which would affect the other meanings. And did you install tape in the toilet? Bill