"There are 2 types of institutional collection; the indexical collection and the museum collection. This distinction hinges upon an understanding of 'whole' and 'fragment'. Within the indexical collection, items that together compromise the collection as 'whole', are 'fragments' of that collection. Within the museum the same items become 'whole' though an act of presentation that serves to isolate the item as a distinct object, removing it from an archival space where it would have existed within an array of similar objects descriptively understood as a class within a general taxonomy, to become a proper name."
(Simon Neville, p. 34)
Inventory : Collected, Vol. 2, No. 2 Simon Neville, 1997. 'The world according to Dewey'.
David Frampton (Griffith University, Australia)
An influential philosophical perception of western civilisation in the late modern era has emphasised its cumulative continuity and directionality, expressed most forcibly perhaps through science and technology, but equally through other mechanisms for the transmission of knowledge. There has been a current of thought interpreting this characteristic as the imposition of a fundamentally arbitrary logic on the world and human order. Thus Reiss (1982) writes: 'a discursive order is achieved on the premise that the 'syntactic' order of semiotic systems (particularly language) is coincident both with the logical ordering of 'reason' and with the structural organisation of a world given as exterior to both orders' (p. 31). Similarly, information, in Koch's (1987) view, is 'the mark of a logical ordering imposed on the world'. As arbitrary, this perceived imposition of a linear syntax on objective reality has been seen as oppressive or 'logocentric', and a series of writers has both heralded and encouraged its fragmentation into multiple, heterogeneous and autonomous perspectives.
Reiss, T. J. (1982). The discourse of modernism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Koch, C. (1987). The being of idea: The relationship of the physical and the non-physical in the concept of the formal sign. Semiotica, 66(4), 345-357.
"Real - the installation - consists of a database of images. Images were chosen that had the potential to raise issues of mediation and authenticity - details from postcards, signage and survey forms, street scenes, museum displays and advertising. The images are categorised according to terms such as nature, prosthesis and body – terms that reveal something of the practices, often implicit, that are at play in the interpretation of contemporary environments. The digital medium allowed us to construct and explore a matrix of associations between images and categories in the database. Sequences of images relevant to a category are displayed over multiple monitors. Through the juxtaposition of images with images, and images with categories, shifts in understanding occur. Assumptions about the real are brought into play.
The project grew out of an interest in two bodies of work The first, the work of the Situationist International with their focus on the social and cultural mediation that occurs in urban environments. We were particularly interested in the Situationist strategy of the dérive (drift) as a means of renegotiating and reconceptualising encounters with lived environments. The second body of work was that of writers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Wittgenstein and Foucault. We were interested in the metaphors that they explored in articulating alternatives to metaphysical concepts of interpretation, truth, language and representation. In particular we were interested in developing a visual and physical response to the insight that we are always already located within constellations of practice. All perception is mediated by prior understanding. All experience is interpretation.
We were also interested in developing modes of expression that draw on specific qualities of digital media. Processes of classification and random combination lie at the heart of the work. These are supported through the use of a database and random generation algorithms. Combinations of images and categories that might not otherwise come to light are constructed."
(Aaron Fry & Sally McLaughlin)
"Hypothesis: How to deconstruct opera and architecture so as to 'think' their concepts and simultaneously to observe them from an external and detached point of view? How to devise a configuration of concepts which is systematic and irreducible, that each concept intervenes at some decisive moment of the work? How to question the unity of a building without re-course either to a composition of articulated and formalised elements or to a random accumulation of isolated programmatic fragments? To play on limits without being enclosed within limits? To relate to other operas while referring only to one's own? Juxtaposition We have therefore abandoned traditional rules of composition and harmony, replacing them with an organisation based on breaking apart the traditional components of theatre and opera house and developing a new 'tonality' or 'sound'. No more artful articulations between auditorium, stage, foyer, grand staircase; in-stead, a new pleasure through the parallel juxtaposition of indeterminate cultural meanings, as opposed to fixed historicist practices. Functional constraints are not translated into a composition of symbolic units, but are extrapolated into a score of programmatic strips, analogous to the lines of a musical score, each containing the main activities and related spaces."
(Bernard Tschumi, 1987)
"To be able to exist as a science, natural history must, then, presuppose two groupings. One of them is constituted by the continuous network of beings; this continuity may take various spatial forms; Charles Bonnet thinks of it sometimes as a great linear scale of which one extremity is very simple, the other very complicated, with a narrow intermediary region - the only one that is visible to us - in the centre; sometimes as a central trunk from which there is a branch forking out on one side (that of the shellfish, with the crabs and cray-fish as supplementary ramifications) and the series of insects on the other, branching out to include the frogs (C. Bonnet, Contemplation de la nature, chap. XX, pp. 130-8); Buffon defines this same continuity 'as a wide woven strip, or rather a bundle which every so often puts out side branches that join it up with the bundles of another order' (Buffon, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux - 1770, t. I, p. 396); Pallas sees it as a polyhedric figure (Pallas, Elenchus Zoophytorum- 1786); Hermann wished to constitute a three-dimensional model composed of threads all Starting from a common point of origin, separating from one another, 'spreading out through a very great number of lateral branches', then coming together again (J. Hermann, Tabulae affinitatum animalium - Strasbourg, 1783, p. 24). The series of events, however, is quite distinct from these spatial configurations, each of which describes the taxonomic continuity in its own way; the series of events is discontinuous, and. different in each of its episodes; but, as a whole, it can be drawn only as a simple line, which is that of time itself (and which can be conceived as straight, broken, or circular). In its concrete form, and in the depth that is proper to it, nature resides wholly between the fabric of the taxinomia and the line of revolutions. The tabulations that it forms in the eyes of men, and that it is the task of the iscourse of science to traverse, are the fragments of the great surface of living species that are apparent according to the way it has been patterned, burst open. and frozen, between two temporal revolutions."
(Michel Foucault, The Order Of Things p. 163)
Foucault, M. (2003). The Order Of Things. London, Routledge