Friday, May 23, 2008

An Imagism

Some loose jottings.

I generally look for imagery. If appearances are the undetermined objects of empirical intuitions (Kant) and surfaces are the undetermined subjects of normative institutions (me), then the image is more radically undetermined. It indicates neither the subject nor the object of an experience.

Perceptions are grounded in the immediacy of empirical intuitions. I want to say that there are regularities (which are basically natural) that govern perception. Action is likewise governed by (cultural) regulations.

Now regulated subjects have "representation" in the political sense, while regular objects have "representation" in the scientific sense. Images have only their "presentation", "pure" presentation, we might say. Well, we just took the "re-" off the "representation" to get that.

So what's the root of "regular"? It turns out the "re-" isn't a prefix. (Would have been neat.) But I did find this in the OED: "L. regula straight stick, bar, ruler, pattern, etc." Images are governed by "rules" in the sense of lines or bars on a ruler, i.e., "patterns".

Now, a pattern has "resolution", we might say (in the digitial sense). Better: regulations (subjects), resolutions (images), and regularities (objects). And to "re-solve" is to "loosen back" (needs more work). Imagery is the locus of grammatical "tightness". Subjective and objective representation (regulations and regularities) are about grammatical "rightness".

Like I say, just jotting things down.

[I should acknowledge that this post at In the Ordinary Sense got me thinking about this again.]


Kirby Olson said...

I don't know if you had an overall point. I couldn't find it.

But I wanted to add that the word "canon" originally came from the word for a certain kind of reed that grew in ancient Greece and that was used as a standard measurement.

Also, Kant's notion of a regulative statement, would seem to feed back into your jazzy bits here regarding regulation, and standards.

Are you saying that we need universal standards?

That law is a kind of universal standard, that allows for civility, in the same way that grammar allows for another way of becoming mutually comprehensible?

Thomas Basbøll said...

For my purposes here, the image has primacy. The artist extricates the image from the the universal rule.

It is not universal, and yet not exactly particular.

It is not necessary but not really contingent either.

It is both urgent and useless.

The locus of all beautiful things.

(No overall point there either, don't worry.)

Thomas Basbøll said...

I just wrote a new post, which found a better word for me: futility:

It is both urgent and futile.

The locus of all beautiful things.

Kirby Olson said...


Presskorn said...

I should say that I have been wondering (too) about how to respond to this post of yours. But it is indeed a rather tricky subject. In any case, thank you for the acknowledgement/link. I might write a post on it one of these days.