Dialogue between two
- 'I'll put down a line.'
- 'Here, from here.'
- 'To where?'
- 'To there. From A
- 'A straight line?'
- 'Possibly. Or any
other line. Or rather: any possible collection of possible points that
linked together constitute a line between A and B.'
- 'Isn't that rather
a lot? How do you select?'
- 'Yes and no. It is
a lot, and I don't select. I follow any impulse. I have a lot of pictures
in my head, you must know.'
- 'And you want to show
- 'Not necessarily.
For me the pictures are not the matter, but the connections between them.
Correction: the possible connections.'
- 'Say you have two
pictures. What is the connection between those two? When you set out the
way you do, there must be an infinite number of possibilities!'
- 'Do you want to portray
- 'Infinity exists.
There isn't much to portray about that.'
- 'A reflection then,
in the platonic sense maybe?'
- 'Well. If you set
out the way you suggest, by portraying some possibilities, you will indicate
the range of possibilities. A dozen drawings, a hundred if you insist,
will suffice to give an idea of the infinite collection...'
- 'If you know how they
are made, as an arbitrary combination of elements from the collection of
pictures I have in my head, one drawing should be enough. In principle
you could derive all the others from that one.'
- 'How could I? I don't
know which pictures you have in your head! And even if I did, I doubt you
could summarize all your pictures in one drawing!'
- 'That is not my intention
at all. I said: derive, not summarize. It's a matter of me drawing a line,
not of what it looks like, or which examples lead to its form.'
- 'Then I should not
have asked you 'where?', but 'why?''
- 'It is an impulse.
Like eating, or sleeping, or even better, like breathing.'
- 'You can explain the
need for eating and sleeping and certainly for breathing quite precisely.
I don't see why you should die if you don't draw your line.'
- 'It is my raison
d'être. If I don't breathe, I am not. If I don't draw, I am someone
else. Which amounts to the same thing.'
- 'That is true. But
again: why not just make that one drawing from which all the others can
be derived? It would be the ultimate work of art, one comprising all that
preceded it as well as all the one that will follow! Anyway: if it is like
you say, every drawing made by anyone would suffice...'
- 'In a certain sense
that is a correct interpretation: what I have in my head could lead to
a picture which could have been designed by Leonardo. Or by someone else.
The difference is not in the picture but in the method. The result is of
- 'So why draw it? You
could be contented with a description of the method then...'
- 'If the method would
be independent of the result, and would only refer to itself - if it would
equal itself - I would not contradict you. But as it is a method of conceiving
pictures, it strikes me as pointless to show the method and not the pictures.
Just as pointless as explaining someone how to bake a bread, without anyone
actually baking it, and eating it.'
- 'Well, yes, the proof
of the pudding is in the eating etcetera...'
- 'Look: why should
I draw lines that can't be seen?'
- 'For the same reason
you breath without having to blow into someone's face.'
- 'It's a matter of
visibility. My method is aimed at generating visibility. For me or for
someone else, that's more or less the same to me...'
- 'What's the aim?'
- 'Would you dare to
ask me the purpose of life? The question is a tautology, something like
"breath of life". As I said: I am not really interested in visibility as
much as in generating it. That means: under which conditions does something
become visible, meaning, significant? I do what all artists have done before
me and will probably continue to do after me: I know that the connection
between things (visible and invisible) is implicit in it's very possibility.
That's what I visualize: possible connections. What is the aim of that?
None other than to show the possibilities of connections.'
- 'Very well. You draw
a line from A to B. You could also say: you fill an area between or around
A and B, because there is an infinite number of possible permutations of
your line. The only limit to the drawing is the surface on which it is
made. Your drawing could consist of one point - if A and B coincided -
or of a black surface, and everything is possible in between...'
- 'As good as everything.'
- 'And every time you
have filled an area, you have visualized the possibility of that surface.'
- 'And every time you
have made a possible surface visible, you have also provided a possible
connection between the pictures in your head.'
- 'And a possible connection
between this surface and all others.'
- 'As a result of which
you make visible a connection of connected possibilities, which can be
pursued to infinity.'
- 'But, my dear friend,
surely that is not a connection anymore! It would boil down to the connection
of everything with everything, on the ground of the fact that everything
can eventually be reduced to molecules, or to quarks, or whatever those
things are called these days! On the basis of such "connections" it is
impossible to make any sensible distinction between what is connected to
what, and why, or not...'
- 'Again, yes and no.
Any meaningful distinction between an umbrella, a sewing machine and an
operating table seems to vanish when the only criterion for it has to be
derived from elementary physics. But beware: it seems to! For aren't
the obvious differences between those three configurations of elementary
particles the most eloquent proof that everything is as much connected
to everything else as it is different?! The same can be said of my drawings:
they are unique moments from infinity. They are not "pictures of" it any
more than they are "unlike" it.'
- 'So, after all: a
portrayal, a reflection, a "generation of the Idea"!'
- 'None of those - they
- 'Like life itself?'
- 'More or less like
life itself - only slightly more artificial.'
Introduction to a booklet
a computer program by Remko Scha that generates random pictures. The catalogue
in which this article appeared was published on the occasion of the first
exhibition of Artificial-output at Van Rijsbergen Gallery, Rotterdam, The
Netherlands, October 17 - November 14, 1993