_ occidental thinking machines | Ulrike Grossarth

occidental thinking machines

Berlin 2007

This ensemble is an interweaving and processing of different items of ‘canned culture’. The machine is taken from the picture books accompanying Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia and was transferred onto the wall with coloured pencil. I consider the forms of the Encyclopedia as allegories in the sense of a world-view dominated by causality and technology. They are objects of rational calculation as a way of thinking characterised by division. To the left, there is a flat figure with the head of Descartes, the thinker of the binary system, and a black wooden staff as a ‘dragon slayer’ motif; at its feet it is surrounded with tulle, and at its top it carries the number eight made of plant foam, a hint at the to-and-fro motion in processes. The papercut is a geometric figure (figura entis) from the work of Giordano Bruno (1548, executed 1600), whose main theme is the infinity of the universe, the living unity of the cosmos which, according to Bruno, maintains itself in the diversity in the permanent transformation into the opposite, in the interaction of its multiplicity.