Works 2

This work is drawn from the book 100! facts preserved from china.

mongolia sluice

Picture 3 of 15

Horizons

Archaeological excavation exposes vertical layers in the ground, each layer containing remnants of a historical period like segments on a timeline. While analyzing facts in China, I discovered that abstract forms — images, words, commodities, residues — display an analogous structure of stratification. These forms are a terrain in which meaning is deposited in layers. Only one layer is exposed, that being the “horizon” that we perceive and make sense of. But beneath this horizon there are others that are concealed. These buried horizons provide the scaffold for our sensing, consuming, and excreting — and this is what I set out to excavate.

I try to imagine that a fact is scaffolded like a stream of water. The bedrock is out of sight but it still registers through the current as contours on the water’s surface. If one drops a stone in a stream, it will settle on the bottom and then water will roll over and eddy around it. Bedrock is covered with all sorts of this debris — some of it fixed and some shifting with the current. The size, shape, and movement of the debris as well as the grade of the bedrock determines the topography of the water, its exposed horizon.

So with certain forms there is the surface horizon that we perceive as fact itself. We judge, navigate, and apply a fact by the contours and topographies on its boundary. But beneath the surface, there is a current:

  1. The current is forgetting.

  2. Forgetting is a form of currency.

  3. By forgetting, facts stay current.

The water’s flow constantly renews the loose material on the bedrock. Yet this debris, as residue of experience, signals through the current and forms the planes on the exposed horizon. These planes reflect the light outside the body of water, forming the apparent stream while concealing its scaffolding. Of the bedrock little can be said. In fact, I believe nothing can be said with certainty. But it can be exposed. One can quarry the veins that run through it.

Preserved Shit

Without this fact, and the other pieces of shit, the forms would know and exhibit that I’ve betrayed them. I would forget all the abstractions and projections I’ve made — and that they’ve conceded — to get this far. I’ve exposed so much shit, and this fact keeps me grounded. It’s a form of compensation.