Istanbul Charter Critical Forewords

The creation of artwork-concepts reaches out to a future form. It seeks for a territory and for characters that don’t yet exist because they are still being formed. We certainly don’t want for communication, as we already have too much of that. What we lack is resistance to the present. Democracies are made by majorities, but that which is becoming is by its nature that which is not part of the majority.
Majorities have opinions.
An opinion is a thought that builds itself as the image of contemplation, of a reflection and communication that is always “orthodox.” In other words, an opinion is true when it can be upheld upon contact with the group to which it belongs or wants to belong. Man, as a social animal, obtains his position in the group when he says the same thing as the majority – or in fact speaks in the name of the majority.
The philosophy of communication exhausts itself in the quest for consensus through a free universal opinion, under which can be found the cynical perceptions and affectations of the capitalist in person. For this reason the conceptual character of an artist imagining a Hybrid Constitution belongs to the psychosocial type known as the subversive. We have to educate ourselves to break with our habits, to break with received wisdoms and schemes, we have to teach ourselves to “resist the objective,” to resist the knowledge of the majority. That means taking up the position of the idiot, thinking for one’s self, and looking beyond.

The New Media artist must occupy an ambiguous position as regards democracy. Giovanni Gentile was a fascist, and so? He was a man and educator who founded a powerful pedagogical theory, his “fascism” and condemnation kept that from being popularized. Nietzsche and Heidegger in fact were relocated within Nazism, hence worthy of blame, while Crizia was defined by Karl Popper as the first great criminal in history. Nietzsche arrived at the Greeks through the Germans – and what could be worse than finding oneself in front of a German when one was waiting for a Greek?
In the new millennium we have to write for animal, speak with plants, and think up rights for technology. And what do we mean by “for”? Not “in favor of” or “on behalf of” or “in the place of,” but rather “in front of” or “next to.” It’s a question of the plane of immanence. Today, we have on the one side “nature” with its kingdoms and phyla, and on the other “machines” with their machinery, their technology, and their Epiphilogenesiss of memory – these are in front of and next to us, they share our territory, and we have to move from an egocentric anthropocentrism to a real ecocentrism. One becomes an animal or machine because even the animal or machine becomes something else.
The absolute inferno that science and the laboratory have imposed on animals, the agony of the animal as prey, will remain forever in our thinking – not out of piety or mercy, but as a zone of exchange between man and animal, in which qualities of the one pass to the other. The abandoned machine, with all its accumulated experience, with its rusty gears and circuits, will remain in our thinking like a Shintoist Suiseki, again not out of piety or mercy but as a zone of exchange between man and the world.
As Michel Foucault argued in his late work “Souci de soi” (1984), the cure establishes – in the sense of stabilizing – the real. What exists is what we hold close and focus on, what exists is what we take care of. In French, the etymological root of “cure” is linked to that of “curiosity,” and it is curiosity that makes us take care of a being or a mechanism. Moreover, curiosity turns into a cure, and the cure turns into reality, into the plane of immanence. We are talking here about curiosity in knowing, not the object. This way of thinking, writing and taking care of animals, plants and machines is the constituting rapport of knowledge and non-knowledge.
Humanity has the duty of “taking care of” otherness, not in the ethical sense but as a founding act of his existence, of human knowledge, insofar as man is obliged by himself to know. The process of becoming is always a double link, be it positive or negative, and it is this double-becoming that constitutes the future people and the new territoriality. We have to let new conceptual characters take form. We don’t need to look for or produce new heteromorphic TIFONE, ANUBI or Pan, but rather a new population of animals, plants, natural objects and machines. For this reason, the artist must be subversive, because the artist must become a non-artist in order that non-art becomes the land and the people of art.
The “people” is internal to any thinker because the thinker is always a “people-in-the-process-of-becoming. Further research reveals that maps and the territories of the sense are also always inside the thinker – this is the characteristic of man, that of living in “mobile territories” and in “overlapped cartographies of the senses” that serially unfold themselves in our mind. The act of recalling them again is subversive, as it moves what is low up high, and vice versa, in an infinite act of exploring and creative entanglement. In this sense the artist and the philosopher are unable to create a people and can only invoke one with all their effort.
Subversity deterritorializes, because it changes the territories on which the artist moves and interacts with conceptual characters and psychosocial types. Deterritorialization and reterritorialization meet up in the double-becoming of a new plane of immanence. At that point, the autochthonous cannot be distinguished from the other, nor identity from otherness. Identity reterritorializes itself in otherness, the subject becomes a stranger to itself, to its own language, its own culture and its own society. Subversity denies Hume’s habit and agrees with the process of becoming – subversity is founded on enthusiasm, on confidence in the syncretic dialectic. That’s why to create is to be subversive.
To think is to experiment, but experimentation is always what one is doing – the new, the extraordinary, the interesting.
The territories on which we move when we introduced ourselves do not remain.

II. Interactivity

The interactivity of The Hybrid Constitution is intrinsic to the work itself, made of principles that interact between themselves, and with various publics, in the activation of mental heuristics and processes aimed at realizing a new ecological vision that widens the borders of the concept of standings.
That’s why the interactivity is not in the display but is embedded in the meaning of the work itself, which is interactive in an absolute sense. In fact, the Charter of Constitutional Principles is an interactive system that generates signs by way of nexuses, a system based on a network of necessary concept-notes that in turn activate signifying heuristics.
The Hybrid Constitution can thus be assimilated to an interactive network comprising a bunch of simple interconnected concept-nodes, which are signs for the nexuses. These interconnections interact with each other in a complex and nonlinear way. The Hybrid Constitution can be visualized as a network of interconnected signs where every interconnection-nexus has a certain force or weight. The behavior of the interconnections is determined by the value of these forces and/or weights. This value can vary, and this variation is determined by simple rules based only on information that is available locally at the level of the nexuses involved. A rule of words would be that the value of a nexus grows if both the signs it interconnects are active. In this way the Hybrid Constitution can develop configurations of activity based on the dynamic of interconnections.
If the value is significant, in the sense that it recurs often, the correspondening configuration will be strengthened each time the event repeats itself. The introduction of a new idea and/or technology (i.e. an idea as the fruit of a mnemonic XX retention) that becomes an event creates a new configuration, which in turn is perceived and elaborated at the Constitutional level of the Network itself in an interactive manner.
The model of the Hybrid Constitution can be made more complex by imposing modulations on the principles. The volume of the modulations has important effects; if they are too simple, the network becomes too stable and therefore the knowledge will be false. If they are too complicated, the system will get chaotic and hence unmanageable.
The Hybrid Constitution is a self-organizing criticality. It is based on a critical dialectic that continues to work for the destabilization of the Artwork itself. The result is a continual increase in complexity, but the system must itself immediately seek to limit this complexity by way of its own norms in a homeostatic process of knowing. In fact, systems of knowing that have too many norms produce only stability, and so falsify knowledge, whereas systems of knowing that have no norms dissolve in excessive complexity. But this tendency is an intrinsic characteristic of complex systems: once a system acquires the ability to organize itself, a natural tendency emerges to optimize the organization. The critical state of a system is often referred to as being “on the edge” of chaos. Ion order to function, to produce new knowledge, the artwork has to be on the edge of chaos. Therefore, the Hybrid Constitution has to be placed in this situation of chaotic stability.
The creation of artwork-concepts appeals to a future form. It seeks for a territory and for characters that don’t yet exist because they are still being formed.
The Hybrid Constitution sees art as encompassing a system of self-organizing criticality that continues to oscillate between definitions and concepts that act as attractors, and chaotic forms of new experience that tend to dissolve the relations and weights of those very attractors, thereby producing new knowledge.
Human culture must by nature explore and produce mobile states of observation. In doing so it is merely referring to objectively shared nexuses and thus to the past.
The needs of poets, musicians and artists for ever-new means of probing and exploring experience sends them back over and over to the rag-and-bone shop of abandoned cliche. It’s the same way with the senses: One hears what is said, and likewise one values as truth only that which one shares. In other words, one values as real only that which one shares, and therefore only shared experiences constitute real experience. So truth and reality are the product of a convention made, from a pragmatic point of view, by a never-ending “balancing” of feedbacks which produce a rule-bound system that pushes towards the recognition and emergence of “selective forgetfulness” according to the rules of neural networks and the complexity of configurations, patterns and melodies that are always already tied to the past.
That is why man looks at the world through a rear-view mirror. It is not simply a matter of hauling the old thing back onto the stage, holus-bolus. Some translation or metamorphosis is necessary to place it into relation to the new ground.

III – The Unique Work

The work implies a precious effort and recovers the concept of uniqueness. In fact it produces “mono-types d’auteur” whose value derives from the concepts and subversive provocations that they channel, single piece by single piece, concept by concept. That is how they restore the uniqueness of the thought-object itself.

Francesco Monico – Istanbul 4 November 2011