Signals From the Limit

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On Koruza’s mosaics Signals From the Limit

 »Wounds are signs.«

Jan Fabre, 25. 5. 1978

Answering the question what does it mean to be an artist, Jed Martin, the hero of Houellebecq’s last novel The Map and the Territory answers, that it: »means above all to be subjugated. Subjugated to secrets and unexpected messages«. Later in the novel Houellebecq puts the words in the mouth of himself, the writer Michele Houellebecq, who converses in the novel with Martin, for whom he is writing the katalogue for his exhibition, that: »it is necessary to wait for the emergence of the authentic core of necessity«, in order to delve into writing. The problem of The Signals From the Limit is presented precisely in the enforcement of a certain kind of necessity, of a certain causality.

The fundamental question for Koruza is by all means the question between parts of the system. Even more, the question of the functioning of the whole of the system as they relate to the relations between their own internal parts. It seams meaningless to even mention, that Koruza does not perceive these parts as a completely filled and smoothly functioning space; he is filled with awe regarding the harmonic and endless performance, which is based on a number of gaps, contradictions and frictions. Flawless regardless of the antagonisms, or maybe just because of them. He seems as someone who seriously studied Kant, when he said: »All that happens is hypothetically necessary; this is the fundamental principle, which subjects the change in the world to the law.« He is someone on the trail of the law of change. From here Koruza bets on reduction, on the detailed dissection of the whole unto its components. Even on a strictly formal level, for the mosaic is for him primarily the functioning of three main components: the surface, the part and the void. In this way he wishes to enlighten the complexity of »all that happens«. The ingenuity and excitement of the Signals is set in the mode with which Koruza structures this all.

In his excellent piece Why the unconscious doesn’t know time? Simon Hajdini differentiates between Kant’s causality of experience and Freud’s unconscious causality of the void of experience, where he tries to understand the concept of the timelesness of the unconscious. Above all it is important that he shows how well Kant understands the causality as a retroactive process and that we have to, with the definition of the law of change »which a priori determines what has happened as the effect of a previous cause, as the law of the connection between cause and effect«, turn the viewpoint and to »see in the cause the result, which is knowable only with the help of the rule, to which its own effect is subjected.« The cause is therefore progeny of its own progeny; »that what comes before, is not always the condition, but will be the condition of that, which follows.«

How to better define the place, which Koruza assigns to the spectator? Isn’t the spectator of The Signals the spectator, whose presence activates the functioning of the mosaic, precisely such a cause? A cause which is recognized as such only by the act of viewing and by the recognition of the relations between the canvas, the mechanism and the sensors, which have recognized his presence. Only when he realises his structural place in relation to he mosaic, he can recognize himself/herself as the cause of its functioning. The spectator’s presence is in this same moment, in this same moment of awe inspired by the fluctuation of the 15620 pieces of styrodur, the surface, which is like a beautiful green meadow over which is stirred by a light breeze, equaled by one of these pieces. This text would in some other version necessarilly confront the status of opposition; the opposition between the foreground  (canvas), the layering into even relationships set pieces of styrodur, and the background (the mechanism), the mechanically completely predictible rotating of the masterly crafted construction of wooden levers, wheels and screws.

But let’s return to causality. This text sees the limit of Signals as the limit of Kant’s causality, the limit of the enlightened position of Koruza’s undertaking, which regardless of awe – as well as the suffering and joy which it might cause – over »all that happens« recognizes another logic of performing, where the cause is lacking. As Hajdini puts it: »The forms of the unconscious (symptoms, slips, …) in their primal definition represent exactly the happenings, which we can not subsume under the law of causality. They form progenies of which the rule of following from their previous cause remains hidden. /…/ The slip (or the symptom) in this precise meaning reveals itself as the change without a definable causality of change, and therefore as an unlawful change, as the causal void of the law.« In this sense it is necessary to view this »authentic core of necessity« from the beginning.

What are the inconsistencies in the functioning of the mosaic other than precisely this? Haven’t we just journied from the awe of surprise to the recognition of the pattern of its function, necessarilly, for we are given the background view of the canvas, onto the mechanism, which generates the effects of the canvas? But nontheless we are stuck somewhere. Regardless of our presence, regardless of the gradual recognition of the pattern, regardless of the pleasure of viewing, which almost disappears as we start to understand to apparent chaos of the functioning components as an ordered sequence, somewhere something stops. Something somewhere doesn’t flow smoothly; it stops. In a particular moment the mechanism assumes control in a way that it doesn’t function, that regardless of the fulfilled conditions for its functioning (one of the conditions are of course we the spectators ourselves), it doesn’t move forward.

So now we have on the one hand the tie of experience, and on the other its void. On one hand the changes, which encompass the world and hold it together, and on the other those, which loom against it in order to open it up. It would be completely flawed to assume that these intervention are the lack of understanding. It is not about fact, that there exists the law of change, which we were unable to attain, something, which is only waiting to be revealed. The world itself, the sole experience has to deal with irregularity of the world itself, with ourselves. As Houellebecq states in his essay Rester Vivant, with which Koruza is familiar: »if the world is made up by suffering, it is because it is in its essence free. Suffering is the inevitable consequence of the free interplay of parts of the systems.«

The scope and range of The Signals is revealed to me precisely on the point of defending this freedom, of defending something unpredictable and potencially destructive, something which defies the smooth encompassment and peacefull flow. The voids exists. From the border of the law of change, Koruza sets up the law of disorder; a field where »all that is« does not silence anything essential nor any minute undefinability.

Or as Beckett would say in one of his short-prose works entitled Society: »And to find in the void a different movement. Or none at all.«


Written by Karlo Hmeljak

Translation by Tibor Hrs Pandur


Andrej Koruza, Signals From the Limit, 170cmx400cmx40cm, 2013, Slovenia