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Where Monday is on Sunday

11-18 November 2011

 


 
Stereo Stereo

Piotr Bosacki, "Utter Rubbish", animated film, 2011. Courtesy Galeria Stereo, Poznań.

Stereo

Piotr Bosacki

I will be talking here about my latest movies. I have the impression that even when I formulate some ‘serious utterance’ or ‘purely abstract’ construction, like it or not, I constantly crack jokes. (I say that totally seriously). I assume that spoken language (human speech) is the greatest evolutionary development of the animal kingdom, while a joke is a melting pot of the evolution of language itself. A joke is a joke because it originates from territories of language that I know nothing about. A joke is a sensible preposterousness, so to speak. I understand it and I don’t understand it in equal measure. If we wanted to build a machine that tells jokes, our common sense would tell us: ‘It’s not possible. If a joke by and large breaks the frames of its definition, how would we know how to programme this machine? What command would we use?’ But on the other hand, there is no doubt that a joke is a physical phenomenon. I observe jokes in a natural way, not in a supernatural way. The possibility must therefore exist of a physical system that could generate jokes. Theoretically, I could invent such a machine by accident and without thinking – in other words, not knowing what I was doing. If I was acting like a child that ‘thinks throughits deeds’, puts its hand into fire or checks whether a sieve floats – if I was putting together objects and functions without thinking, in a purely mechanical way, without a specific intention, and if I was checking ‘how things work’, only then I could create a machine with a potential that I haven’t dreamt of. This potential would be like a joke – it would come from an area of physics, the existence of which I have no idea about. The random interactions of bodies are a precondition for evolution. A work of art is such a machine with a potential that I haven’t dreamed of. The work of art (even a deadly serious one) always has something grammatically in common with a joke. From the above, it clearly appears that it is language itself that lies at the centre of my interests. The most important thing is that it is not just ‘the shape of the world’ that determines the form of our spoken sentences but also the form of our spoken sentences determines ‘the shape of the world’. This otherwise obvious motif appeared in Western European thought relatively recently (some one hundred years ago), though certain currents in Jewish mysticism have actually always discussed this. Rabbi Akiva used to say: ‘If it wasn’t clearly expressed in the writing, we wouldn’t be able to think it.’ Apart from the fact that this sounds like a joke, it also sounds very Wittgenstein-like. We could say that the literary aspect of my film triptych ‘Shekhinah’, ‘Dracula’ and ‘To Love Life’ is based on the rhetoric old Judaism. But this is not about my religious preferences (which do not exist). It is about the fact that the language of old Judaism seemsto me the most natural language for the description of the physical world (nothing more natural comes to mind, at least for the moment). While the movie ‘Total Rubbish’ is based on the principle: ‘Compose letters the way you like and you will see some kind of meaning emerging from the constellation because the constellation itself always has some meaning.’


Piotr Bosacki (b. 1977), lives and works in Poznan and Wroclaw