Although an array of attributes belonging to “making” have emerged in the present discussion, they can be summarized in three overarching statements.
First, the phenomenon of creating resides in and arises out of the framing intentional relation between physical pain on the one hand and imagined objects on the other, a framing relation that as it enters the visible world from the privacy of the human interior becomes work and its worked object.
Second, the now freestanding made object is a projection of the live body that itself reciprocates the live body: regardless of the peculiarities of the object’s size, shape, or color, and regardless of the ground on which it is broken open (the sands of the Old Testament, the plains of nineteenth-century industrialism, or the vibrant and shifting ground on which we now stand), it will be found to contain within its interior a material record of the nature of human sentience out of which it in turn derives its power to act on sentience and recreate it.
Third, as is implicit in the overlay of the first two statements, the created object itself takes two different forms, the imagined object and the materialized object: that is, “making” entails the two conceptually distinct stages of “making-up” and “making-real.” In the first of these, the imagination’s work is self-announcing while in the second she completes her work by disguising her own activity. This may also be phrased in the following way: the imagination first “makes a fictional object” and then “makes a fictional object into a nonfictional object”; or, the imagination first remakes objectlessness (pure sentience) into an object, and then remakes the fictional object into a real one, one containing its own freestanding source of substantiation. Thus the benign pretense that “nothing” is “something” becomes the even more benign pretense that that “something” is not a pretense but has all the sturdiness and vibrancy of presence of the natural world (which it is at that moment in the midst of displacing).
Recognizing the two as conceptually (and often chronologically) distinct stages is especially important because - as has become evident in the preceding pages - the deconstruction of creating and aping of its activity may occur either at the “making” stage (where the decomposition and displacement of pain by made objects becomes instead the decomposition and displacement of objects by made pain) or at the “making-real” stage (where benevolent procedures of verification and reality-conferring are displaced by the procedure of borrowing the “realness” of the live human body).
I would like there to exist places that are stable, unmoving, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable, unchanging, deep-rooted; places that might be points of reference, of departure, of origin:
My birthplace, the cradle of my family, the house where I may have been born, the tree I may have seen grow (that my father may have planted the day I was born), the attic of my childhood filled with intact memories…
Such places don’t exist, and it’s because they don’t exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident, ceases to be incorporated, ceases to be appropriated. Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It’s never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it.
My spaces are fragile: time is going to wear them away, to destroy them. Nothing will any longer resemble what was, my memories will betray me, oblivion will infiltrate my memory, I shall look at a few old yellowing photographs with broken edges without recognizing them. The words ‘Phone directory available within’ or ‘Snacks served at any hour’ will no longer be written up in a semi-crcle in white porcelain letters on the window of the little café in the Rue Coquillière.
Space melts like sand running through one’s fingers. Time bears it away and leaves me only shapeless shreds.
To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive, to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark or a few signs.
But in the Hertzian Tales project, the designer, like J.G. Ballard’s writer, no longer knows anything for certain; all he or she can offer are the contents of his or her own head, where internal imagination meets the external world of reality. Design is used as a strategy for linking these two worlds. Its outcome consists of conceptual design proposals offering a critique of the present through the material embodiment of functions derived from alternative value systems. These “material tales” are not utopian visions or blueprints - clear-cut modeling of the future is too didactic. Instead they mix criticism with optimism to provide the “complicated pleasure” found in other imaginative media such as film and literature, particularly those that explore boundaries between the real and the unreal.
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