About your text – Raimundas Malasauskas


by Raimundas Malasauskas

Dear reader, I’ve written your text in this book and you might have read it already. Did you like it? Regardless of whether you did or didn’t, please read this attempt to explain what was on my mind while I was in the mind of yours. It will take a shorter time than it takes for two flies to learn to fly together.

As you might have noticed your text in this book wasn’t signed or highlighted in any way – I chose to disseminate it in other articles throughout the book instead. That’s why you might have not noticed that you’ve been reading it – it is not so easy to recognize yourself in a mirror for cats or robots, right? Cats might not recognize themselves in the mirror for robots either, yet they know how to face the fact that a mirror could be the very robot we are talking about, or, to put it in other words, a sophisticated machine at the heart of the production of subjectivity, which is always an assemblage of trans-personal forces. I hear your smile now and it makes me smile too ‚Äì this is exactly what they call the trans-personal. 

I didn’t try to read your thoughts though. I was trying to write them, since I was convinced you would not write them yourself. Most of the users of culture are rather reluctant to complete (we can also call it “co-produce) the open-ended structures invented by the culture producers and thus join not only to the idea, but also the reality of the utopia-minded co-production. Contrary to the promises (and premises) of collaboration they often consider this type of activity a murky exploitation of their creativity and feel being ripped-off instead of being blessed. It reminds me of a situation in an experimental restaurant where in the midst of the dinner a chef suddenly asks you to scramble eggs for the Huevos a la Lester and you yell at him: “This was not on the menu!” Yet then you happily accept the choice of choosing 3 ingredients from the selection of 2 to be mixed with the eggs as a compensation for requesting too much of your creative effort. Indeed, the room for the celebration of the creativity of the customer is usually equipped only with the function of mixing, which in the post-productive culture maintains not only the illusion of choice, but also the illusion of subjectivity. So in order to avoid this frustrating situation (despite the vital link of mix with the bless of connectivity) I would rather yell at you back: “Go to another restaurant and never come back! But bring some food from there. And stay here even if you are not reading it.” 

I am sure you’ve probably met someone who claimed that text does not exist if it is not being read? A text definitely consists not only of the modes of thinking, writing and reading. Precisely the acts of make-think and make-believe (or non-thinking) can activate a piece, not to forget that forgetting, hiding and believing may also complete it in a successful way (whether it is piece of wood, services or intensities.) But have you ever seen a complete piece? Theoretically it is a paradox: the more different and possibly mutually exclusive descriptive systems you use to describe a certain object, the more of them you need to complement each new addition in order to follow at least one law which should be on the menu of each reader: The Principle of Complementarity by Niels Bohr. It states that at least two mutually exclusive systems of description should be used in describing any micro-phenomena (in his case wave and particle duality) to capture its wholeness. But let me come back to the idea of wholeness later, you probably want to know what made me to write your text on a first hand.

It was Gabriel Lester who sent me a letter one day asking to write an article on his work, which would not merely describe and analyse it, but would rather become an independent text reflecting the logic of Gabriel Lester’s artistic thinking. The idea that a text should reflect the logic of the piece it describes is quite popular among commentators and it means that if you write about a jazz tune it’s better to speak in a way which makes a reader feel the rhythmic jazziness of the description and experience the joy of synchronicities, which some people also call the truth of the moment. In a certain way this concept of the mirror is productive in the industry where articles about video or spatial structures often function as short, concentrated and easily accessible versions of a certain art-work for an audience which is more inclined to enjoy verbal guidance and stories rather than the experience of watching those films and stumbling through installations or streets where those films where shot. So here we have to do with the concept of adaptation, which states that any object gets more distinctive, clear and, most importantly, consumable through its description. But what happens if one describes a tune of jazz in the language of hip-hop or heavily broken beats? Or a mass of scratches? – Nothing extraordinary in the world of music where it takes place every day in the production of sounds. But what if words are involved? Perhaps the whole endeavour becomes more complex, opaque or sophisticated. Contrary to the idea of completing a piece in a mutual effort of the producer and the user resulting in the effect of wholeness, remixology speaks about a constant remodelling of sources and follow-ups in a continuous remix which in its essence also differs from the culture of mix whose most common manifestation is a moment choosing toppings of pizza in the restaurant. A continuous remix drives us back and forth in its flow together with the labyrinth of choices and consequences it entails including the tail of words. As Pedro Reyes recently reminded: “Art’s function is to sophisticate.” This idea implies that the function of sophistication is to produce art, whether it is an art of conversation, love, or art. And maybe a continuum of them in the format of life. 

Nevertheless this idea was not at all helpful to respond to the request of Gabriel Lester to create a parallel structure or his work in a several hundred of words. The sweet touch of impasse lasted until the moment when I came across the following quote by Lucy E. Smith in 4th issue of Amgazine in 2005: “Careful considerations of moments of choice and chaos lead Gabriel Lester through explorations of the production of making sense. He demonstrates how our ways of making sense and meaning are technologically based (I would add “biased” ‚Äì RM.) and how the function of Random and Arbitrary is inherent to those technologies.” 

Maybe I completely misunderstood what she wanted to say, but her insight helped me to arrive to the idea that the most appropriate way to reflect and to remix Gabriel Lester’s work is to create another text, which each of you individually would have to find in the texts of this book (using your faculties of guess, intuition or deductive analysis). – Your text, which you’ve already might have read and stored along other personal virtual discoveries. Instead of reflecting and repeating Gabriel Lester’s logic myself I found it much more interesting to think of you doing it and being a producer rather than a user. A particular emphasis in this text was paid not to Gabriel Lester’s work per se, but for the possible ways of reading it, especially if you see the work for a first or another time. A question of multiple entry points was also discussed, especially in relation to the concept of re-entry: you can constantly re-enter the same door through another room, right? Then I asked Vasif Kortun, Aaron Schuster and Sara Arhenius if they could possibly integrate that piece of writing to their texts seamlessly and without quoting to create something indistinctive, but integral like the smell of coffee in the vapour of the espresso machine. To my big delight not only all the three authors, but also Gabriel Lester agreed to proceed this way. 

The important thing is that this text ought to be read first in order to be written. So if you want to complete it please go to other pages of this book and enjoy the effects of wholeness ‚Äì who said we are not going to come back to this subject? And if coffee smells of an espresso machine, please be aware of yourself.
Raimundas Malasauskas