The praise of scepticism and the error of certainty

Manuela Johanna Covini

"How can we understand or describe the potential of artistic action in specific places?" - was the initial question for this open call.

This paper SITUATIONS - The Praise of Scepticism and the Error of Certainty is about the terms used in this question. It is an attempt to transform historical and ideational places (concepts) into a subject in order to ensure dialogue with the present. I try out this subjectification through illustrations, generated with the help of a text-to-image programme. An artificial intelligence translated selected terms, sentence fragments or entire descriptions into images (drawings, graphics or photographs) for me. The respective manner of visualisation allows us to draw conclusions about different epochs and thus the illustrations are additionally charged with new meanings.

On the one hand, subjectification demands an engagement with current ruptures; on the other hand, subjectification conserves the future in one particular of many possibilities. Looking at the pictures and reading the text shows that the perception of time is to be understood as a process that can neither be delimited nor concluded. And as a matter of fact, I work in this sense with the method of confusion.

Terms, as Mieke Bal understands them, are to be thought of as processual. This means that terms, concepts and culture "migrate", i.e. they change by adapting to the respective circumstances and contexts. And therein lies new potential.

The artist is expected to uncover this process of the emergence of other, new worlds/systems in a poetic-political way. For poetry (from the ancient Greek ποίησις poíesis "creation") lies in these multiple potencies of SITUATION. Situation, then, is not only the place before a decision, an action - it is also a place of poetry - of creation. These "situations of creation" are about (re)establishing relationships between distant epochs and languages, about forming new contemporaries. But it is not only the artist who does this.

Every person in a society intervenes in his or her respective culture by engaging and creatively dealing with everyday life. In this sense, the political and socio-cultural determination of the artist has a mediating role.

The artist traces these sensitive beginnings of connections and relationships with different and diverse working methods until it becomes possible to fill these potentials/possibilities with life.