Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Lance Pearce, While You're On Your Way (installation view), 2019.
Photo courtesy of Sam Hartnett
Pearce, Lance. 2012. “Everything Moves so Swiftly: Sculptural Moments in the Life of Objects.” Master of Art and Design, Auckland University of Technology. http://hdl.handle.net/10292/4756.
If we consider my sculpture Everything All The Time, 2012, (oranges, sheet glass) what the spectator may sense during their encounter with the work is both a continuity and heterogeneity of fluid movement and temporalities. This movement, while related to the materiality of the sculpture itself, cannot be reduced to the physical qualities of the object alone. We might say that the sculpture registers a multiplicity of duration in terms of both its spoilage (changes to its surface, form and physicochemical properties) and in its relation to the existing contingencies of the exhibition venue. For instance, the spectator may experience an opening and unfolding of subtle visual/atmospheric ‘moments,’ in terms of: the sculpture, the daylight’s temporal framing of the work, various shadows, and even the strange luminous presence of light within shadow. Here, the outline of the sculpture becomes imprecise in relation to the contingencies of both available daylight and architectural space. The virtual seems perceptible in the temporal and qualitative aspects of both sculpture and its environs; this series of relations allows for an intuitive recognition of a multiplicity of duration (the implication of multiple durations in the simultaneity of fruit decay, change of light during the day, and grimed patina of the floor). Deleuze claims that the virtual is “a part of the real object – as though the object had one part of itself in the virtual into which it had plunged as though into an objective dimension” (as cited in O’Sullivan, 2008, p. 103). Furthermore, our encounter with the asignifying sculpture might then “involve intuition, an intuition incarnated in materials that takes us ‘beyond’ the actual, plunges us deep into the virtual, before returning with new actualizations” (O’Sullivan, 2008, p. 105). In this sense, a sculpture does not produce concepts but rather produces an experience of internal movement between durations. We might say that the spectator experiences the event of art as a “collection (ensemble) of time relations from which the present merely flows” (Pearson, 2000, p. 171). Pg 11
Deleuze argues that: only such a different kind of thought constitutes genuine thinking. To think differently, however, is in a sense to exceed our present thought, to go beyond what we know and hold certain. Only by injecting into thought something uncharted and incomprehensible, a pure Outside, can genuine thinking begin. (p. 125) pg 19
According to Simon O’Sullivan (2010) this is what Deleuze asserts is the significance of art, its ability to present not an “object of recognition” – through which our knowledge, beliefs and values are revalidated – but rather, the “object of an encounter” – a difference – which provokes a reorientation of thought and our habitual subjectivities (p. 1). However, this dislocation also produces an affirmative experience, “the affirmation of a new world, in fact a way of seeing and thinking this world differently ... Life, when it truly is lived, is a history of these encounters, which will always necessarily occur beyond representation” (O’Sullivan, 2010, p. 1). Pg 19/20
"Asignification is an interruption from within to the production of meaning; it is a stutter within language, a circuit breaker within an electrical flow, and abstraction within art."pg9
Simon O’Sullivan (2008) argues that representation positions art as a mirror: reflecting back “an apparently reassuring image of our own subjectivity” (p. 16).pg 9
Elizabeth A. Grosz (2008), also explicating Deleuze, claims that “[a]rt is the art of affect more than representation, a system of dynamized and impacting forces rather than a system of unique images that function under the regime of signs” (p.3). Asignification produces a crisis in representation. It is a constellation of ‘non-communication’ – unknown signs – beyond signification and meaning. pg 9-10
Affect (from Latin affectus or adfectus) is a concept, used in the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza and elaborated by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, that places emphasis on bodily or embodied experience. The word affect takes on a different meaning in psychology and other fields.
The intrigue of employing asignification as a sculptural approach or strategy is its capacity for elision (the process of joining together or merging things, especially abstract ideas) of all signifying conventions and the plentitude of new images and potentials which might surface through this elision. However, asignification coexists with a clamor of signs that adhere from the past.This project does not imagine that it can clear itself of signs, but instead, it attempts to make a clearing within the signs. A spectator may experience this clearing as a prolonging of the ‘half-second delay’ between their reception of an artwork and their formation of an interpretation (or representation). In this instance, the spectator may experience the (extended) interval between stimulus and response as an opportunity to escape from habit, and to creatively interact with the world.pg 10
For as Deleuze (1998) claims that “[t]o enlarge perception means to render sensible, sonorous (or visible), those forces that are ordinarily imperceptible” (p. 72).pg 13
"In order to discuss art, it (or our response to it) is generally translated into codes of representation. In contrast, the asignifying sculpture resists such translation, and eschews the conventional role of art as representing or referring to an external concept or thing. Instead, the asignifying artwork attempts to refer only to itself. As such, any meaning is opaque and immanent to the work." pg 14
As spectators we become accustomed to the art world’s re-presentation of art to us, by means of social, cultural and political categories. However, in viewing an asignifying sculpture we become active participants in the unfolding of an event that gives rise to previously unthought meanings. The capacity of the spectator/art encounter to produce meaning invites new ways of thinking about knowledge, and the ways in which art and knowledge can be connected together and rethought. The traditional view of knowledge entails an understanding of existential facts, truths or principles; value is placed upon verifiable and explicable concepts.pg14
According to Simon O’Sullivan (2010) this is what Deleuze asserts is the significance of art, its ability to present not an “object of recognition” – through which our
knowledge, beliefs and values are revalidated – but rather, the “object of an encounter” – a difference – which provokes a reorientation of thought and our habitual subjectivities (p. 1). However, this dislocation also produces an affirmative experience, “the affirmation of a new world, in fact a way of seeing and thinking this world differently ... Life, when it truly is lived, is a history of these encounters, which will always necessarily occur beyond representation” (O’Sullivan, 2010, p. 1).pg 19/20
Within my sculptural approach, things are not masterfully shaped and created from base matter, but rather, familiar objects are deployed, repurposed or combined together. Within this terrain, artists, me included, no longer wipe the slate clean and start again, but instead, we accumulate objects, move them around, turn them over, and ever-so- slightly set them off-kilter. There is some resonance between how some artists today carefully scrutinize and use objects and Bruno Latour’s claims concerning the contemporary significance of the word ‘design.’ Latour (2008) argues that there has been a general growing awareness of how issues – social, political and environmental – have become attached to our use of objects, such that “matters of fact” have now clearly become “matters of concern” (p. 2).pg 24