" ' Who are YOU ? '

                       said the caterpillar. "

 

THE FOLLOWING EXPERIMENTAL WRITING, CONSIDERS THE EVOLUTION OF THE WORK OF
ISABELLE DELMOTTE, AN ARTIST WITH TEMPORAL LOBE EPILEPSY.
AN EXHIBITION OF HER WORK WAS HELD AT ARTSPACE, SYDNEY, DURING NOVEMBER 1995.

*

Isabelle Delmotte with fanning trumpet vision, strides forward and
takes all-in, in a one hundred and eighty degree wide view:

A QUADRANT , OF THE HEMISPHERE DEFINED BY THE OXYGEN BOWL ABOUT US, IS FLIPPED AT RANDOM AND SHE IS LEFT TO RECONSTRUCT THE VISTA. LYING ALONE ON THE FLOOR OF AN EMPTY PUBLIC-TRANSPORT 'BUS, PARKED CATTY-CORNER ACROSS THE INTERSECTION SHE RECOGNISES THE OTHER EVACUATED PASSENGERS, PREVIOUSLY HER COLLEAGUES IN DISCOMFIT, STANDING ACROSS THE ROAD. THEY MARK THEIR NERVOUS FRUSTRATION IN FEAR AND DERISION, AND ATTEMPT TO ORDER
THEIR CONFUSION IN ANGRY COMPLAINT.                                 
                                     OUTSIDE THE ‘BUS - THEY. INSIDE THE ‘BUS - SHE .

                                     SHE SLOWLY RECONSTRUCTS A LANGUAGE AND A REALITY TO FIT. SHE FEELS PAIN BUT SENSES IT THOUGH, 'WITHIN THE GREY BRAWN THAT WE FROM CIRCLE ONE UNFEELINGLY CALL PAIN-FREE. AND THOSE OF CIRCLE TWO CALL NO-THING:

•                         Taking two circles: one representing the ordered Crescent of Pragmatism, which might for argument contain both medicine and science; the other the Moon of Ontology. Let the two circles overlap, by a half, by a third, by a sliver.
•                          Where these circles overlap - let us decide that there Is space for art, an arena for speculative engagement. . . place for a pause for thought.

How do we know what we know?

a     r     t     s     p     a     c     e
                                     For one sure moment the name means what it says.
Though we can differ on the fine points, we reach a shaky stasis.

                                     C.P. Snow ill-decided, chose to separate and thus by inference to striate, the separation into fields, of science and art. He betted hedges. At that time too we were stuck with an unfortunate, inopportune reification of the Bohemian attitude through Joyce Cary and his hero Gully Jimson from "the Horses Mouth.". The film version modeled the hero's cevre upon the work of real live bohemian, previous Royal College of Art student John Bratby. The scars of the fallacy born of those issues snare and inhibit even the lightest of whimsy-in- science, or pragmatism-in-art to this day. And the inevitable implied hegemony argues angel feet on pin-heads, while it constructs hyperbolic bridges across flat planes, in order to save time  in misunderstood geometrids of political geographies. Or it mutely castigates inhuman mis-understandings, immutably
forged through vain ignorance. Thus conferences and careers are born again-again. And another plural-reification blocks the potential of a vision, and discredits the vision of even Einstein.

                                     Unhappily he looms, unhappily large over the mushroomed industry of science-for-war. Mushroomed to obliterate even a glimpse of any other Science. Science-for-war-for-peace, As they would have it. The only science. To Prepare/or Peace - Prepare/or War. ' Remember the bumper sticker? "There is many a grain of truism in a good bumper sticker.' But - Science - now, means science-for-war. Just as the recession means another label to disguise the extermination of slower-returning public sectors which especially begin to empower lesser-scale interest groups.

                                     Isabelle Delmotte flies by the seat. She forces hervision. The match-sticks under her eye-lids keep her from blinking, as the micro- world of neurological engagement winces and burns across an un-anaesthetised tissue of recognition. Electronic discharge and chemical ooze spatters across synapses and leaps crazily across chasms of mu space. Her brain hurts. Her own virtual reality - Victoria Regina - has her bleeding at the knees.

•                                    The first circle of our confusion argues against all these sensations. Denies the pain. Denies the aching split. The merciful fade-tp-dark. Becomes the body-articulate. Preserves its prime function of protection for its electro-chemically galvanised meat-mass. From Aristophanes to Galvan in one frog-twitch. Not a bridge . Not the momma, but a froggy-leap of faith. A convenient hide in that common fade-to-dark wherein a painless lie is laid. Truth seers much more. Truth hurts while it illuminates. A blue acetylene glare. Moves through the space too. Fly-through. Lots of memory storage required. A reservoir of experience-into-knowledge.

*

                                     " ( Besides, if I'm only a sort of thing in his
dream, what are you, I should like to know? '


                         ' Ditto, ' said Tweedledum.
                         ‘ Ditto, ditto! * cried Tweedledee. "

                                     The particular subjective forays upon which Isabelle Delmotte sets out, with graphic athleticism - with athletic graphics, like Tenniel on roller-blades, serve more than those afflicted or blessed, who identify through family recognitions. For all children are served by the sceptical wisdom of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Not just the FatBoys of Bomber-command being sole mid-wife of destruction. But also the rest of us thin-lizzies, straight-arrows, and absent-minded/sans-coeurs professors, minus-space. Buoyed up by the flatulence of decrepitude. The bloated corpses float upon the flood plain of corruption. Roll over Jack London. Showy bridges are no more than show, when it is revealed through subtle truths that tunnels already permeate, breathe-through the sensate striate and subsume the clockwork cant. Quite sublimely.
                                     Isabelle makes clichés happen and then self-destruct. The personal is ineluctably political. The selfish worlds of maladie, which carve out distinctions between them and us, are hewn back toward new revelations of sublime felicity. There was Jennifer Hall, there was Char Davis and Soft-Image: the way and the means, and support, there was an other to be addressed, there was all-ways Isabelle Delmotte.

                              Round a bout,

                                     it said on the highway sign. Truly.

                                     Welcome to Art Space, and the manifest worlds o all our unconscious vision, petits-mals , little-deaths, and Strengths in Life. These we by definition share, and the outsider in each of us which is the outsider in all tribes of meaning, inevitably becomes each another of us.
                                     In that: each other must discover that aggravating other fragment which instantly mirrors our comfy habituated perspective, defines and stays that shared pain, in which we each, individually persist in believing, with unanimity: that we each may be unique. The paradox contained in the relationship of two words: individual and community.

Acknowledgments. To Charles Lutwidge Dodgson the renowned mathematician as Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, London, Oxford University Press, London
and Toronto, 1071.

Essay © Adrian Hall, Sydney, September 1995

 

The world of > Synapse < allows for speculation of all kinds

 

 

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