Archive for December, 2008

Painting Descartes

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

A wet sucking tongue leaves traces during the act of counting, fragile unreliable traces, momentarily traces, keeping memory for a short moment, a moment which lasts longer than a breath or a sound, a moment which is shorter than the timespans memorized by scratching, carvings and written letters. Karmakar puts Descartes into question. He puts Descartes into question, perhaps because he is a painter and perhaps painting puts generally logic and speech based reasoning into question.

Painting puts the light of reason into question. Not any light, but the specific light of mathematical reasoning, which Descartes made famous. It is a light, which is fighting contradiction. It is the light of either or nor, of right or wrong.

Painiting cannot be right or wrong. Painting is about intensity, about grades and shadows gradually dimininishing light or emphasizing light.

Painting is about continua. The logic of wether or not is not about continua. It is about discreteness. Karmakars paintings are not discrete. They are intense. Painting Karmakar creates an intensity which spans from attraction to repulsion, from coition to cognition. Thus his paitings, thus painting in general becomes a challenge of any discrete distinction. It throws us into the mesmerizing abyss of conflicting extremes.

Nils Röller New Delhi/Sanskriti Kendra

Descartes: No body?

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Sampurna Chattarji: Neither Reckless Nor Complacent

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


Krypton is behind me.

Open the crypt if you dare.

Sampurna Chattarji: Neither Reckless Nor Complacent

Saturday, December 13th, 2008


Profundo russo.

Breathing the air is enough to ignite me, spontaneously.

I turn violent in water.

Later when the current has passed, I cool down and find

at my feet an optically pumping heart.

Gold is my ally, mercury my love.

I take pictures, I tell time.

Eyes of glass, my stomach turbine.

My safety, my health, my purity is in your hands.

Inert, you protect me.

Atomic, I move towards the next big number,

my alkaline sister, my earth metal kin.

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Sampurna Chattarji: Neither Reckless Nor Complacent

Friday, December 12th, 2008


0010 0101

This binary is she.

Painting challenging Descartes

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Descartes is challenged by Gaston Bachelard. And in a way the Indian painter Abir Karmakar is disciple of Gaston Bachelard. Gaston Bachelard challenges Descartes notion of clarity, distinctness and truth, notions for which Descartes became famous. Bachelard argues in his epistemologic writings, that truth is based on relations. It is dependent of the instruments which scientists have at their dispositions.

Instruments, truth and nature form a triangle, they depend reciprocally on each other. Descartes denies this when he argues that reason is equally distributed, he denies that methods are depending on language and on instruments. Descartes focusses on a universal truth, which is based on mathematics.

These mathematics have not been equally distributed in Descartes` time. Only a few scholars, seamen and traders could deal with the zero at his time.

Karmakar reminds us, that counting and therefore an important mathematical technology are based on using the body. Counting in former time was performed by touching one`s own body, fingers, feet, leg, shoulders etc. This is a documented by the observation that different cultures count on the basis of 10 fingers or 10 fingers and 10 fingers and so on.

Karmakar remembers this, when he touches different parts of his body with his tongue. This leads us to a principal epistemological question: Is counting based on using words, and therefore using the instruments of speech (mouth, teeth, tongue, etc.) or is counting a technic totally distinct from speech, a form of writing?

Nils Röller New Delhi/Sanskriti Kendra

Descartes: Histories and Fables

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008


Descartes` and Karmakars` challenging tongues V

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

There is a logic, or at least an analogic, an analogy between Descartes `tongue and Karmakars.

Descartes invites his reader to use reason in an unheard, untraditional and so far disturbing way. Descartes uses his reason to confirm his own existence and to deduce from this the existence of god and the world. Before Descartes the chain of reasoning was used in the opposite direction:

Out of gods existence the existence of man and reason was deduced. Descartes subverts this. He invites to try another direction, a direction disturbing and uncomfortable for believers.

This is analogic to Karmakar. He invites to use the tongue in a disturbing, uncomfortable way. A way which children like, a way which leads to selfaffection, a selfaffection which can become a stable form for regarding also the world with affection and not with disgust.

Nils Röller New Delhi/Sanskriti Kendra