at this point, it’s pure concept. what allows that all art should more or less be materially unnecessary? learn the word and you have learned everything you need to (about it). the problem is whether or not this suggests a frustration with the word that nonetheless perversely supposes a material intermediary, i.e. the art is precisely there to suffer for the sake of that meaningfulness of the word, which is nonetheless repressed. the very materiality of the artwork is, then, as an image of that which has (already) intercepted the unconscious, or, to borrow freud’s term, it is a Vorstellungsrepräsentanz. it is that which returns an entanglement with an image alongside it; an image which is merely attached to it (for that which it really is, is unpictured).

what we imagine, then, is that we can preserve the meaningfulness of the word without the cost of (our integration in, or susceptibility to) the unconscious. we can repress in what respect we nonetheless go through the artwork instead of the word, while reducing each work to its role as a mere figment of the word (or concept). any proposed disentanglement of these two entities—the meaning of the work and the (art)work itself—results in the immediate theorem that the unconscious is precisely the cost of meaning. after all, when we suspend both the art(work) in a meaning which never arrives and the meaning itself in the non-intersection of the art(work) in the word, we arrive at the very definition of the unconscious: two things which do not exist intersecting in the name of nothing.

this means that the cost (that is the unconscious) is what nonetheless names in what respect the art and its meaning do not simply intersect. this non-intersection nevertheless names what is precisely accessible from within the deadlock of their (non-)entanglement; namely, the non- itself which nominates the short circuit between an image and its meaning. there is, after all, no sense in which the meaning is just there, so that what precisely does not show up (and which nevertheless arrives) is that entanglement which cannot be pictured, but which is instead, or perhaps, as per freud's logic, exposed. one takes the contents of (the unconscious) art and places them in an acid bath (such as for the development of photographs) in order to let the light shine through as it was preserved. there is no direct contact; meaning happens at a distance. without this distance (the cost), i.e. the very failure to be there or of being-there, we cannot expose (or express) that which is there, which we nonetheless cannot picture.

what, then, is this entanglement? consider you are considering two separate things. like, an apple tree and knowledge. let’s say, when we imagine knowledge to ourselves, we (inadvertently) picture an apple tree. at first, we might pursue the connection literally and come up with some mystical formula to convert them. whatever that formula might be, it underestimates some crucial asymmetry in the aforesaid short circuit: one thing seems to explain (the route) of another. still, the crucial move is not the mystical formula, but that we take one step further and say that all that is really at work is the pure (formula) of the connection itself—in its contentlessness. we find, in other words, that what effectively triggers us (and the very paradigm of our associations) is the very begriff of a purely apparent entanglement. reduce the entanglement to a real (i.e. mystical) connection and one collapses the very apparence which supports our insight into neither trees, nor knowledge, but into (a) connection itself.

this connection is the mere possibility—once again, notional—that there is (a) connection at all between things. what we get, nonetheless, is an apparence (which should not be, or perhaps, cannot be, collapsed), and, perhaps more importantly, a kind of asymmetry or directionality, whereby some term (in the equation) remains repressed (e.g.knowledge) and for which the other part of the formula (e.g. apple tree) serves as nothing but a kind of stand-in for that which is nonetheless not said, or which fundamentally remains unsaid or even unsayable, about some part of the purely apparent connection. to this end, when we see, or go on to see, an apple tree, we get the (impossible) begriff—one without content—of a pure connection. no matter how restrained the equation is—if anything restraint, in fact, only heightens the scale of the repression—it somehow produces that which it represses: something nonetheless inexplicable in the formula, or equation, which, at the same time, we anoint to the place of that which makes the equation possible. this is, after a certain point, that which we are able to access even when the art (and its meaning) fail; that which escapes the equation of the art occupies the place of the empty begriff which nonetheless allows it to work (even still).

we should also see that the repression which occurs here is a kind of pure repression, too. it, more or less, seems to work, not in our having repressed something particular, but in precisely the sense that we have not coordinated that element (which disturbs the whole). if anything, we have, once again, elevated just that element to what makes something possible in that with which we have interacted. it, then, follows that there is a relationship between that which we call the empty connection and meaning. the price is that the very connection for which we are searching is just that—empty. we cannot, then, retain only the perverse formula of a non-intersection, because that formula only gives us back some element of our unconscious experience of things with which we have no real visionary contact. the idea that there is anything in the art misses precisely the point that we do not, in the first place, gain any success on the basis of some success, merely on the basis of the resource of that access which is not—indeed, cannot be—intended. the vision situates itself with respect to that which is understood to be lived, but which is nonetheless unsayable. unsayable, because we cannot give that access. we can, at best, give a mistake.

in an artwork, entitled repressed memories, the artist vandal presents an installation of empty birdcages formed in the shape of a tower. that alone is enough to install the work. indeed, its only installation is that it has been modelled, if not outright created, in the digital realm, so that vandal’s work takes on the additional pathos of not ever having been installed and being nonetheless (painfully) visible. the fact, however, that owing to its non(-installation) we are privy to its deeper conceptual message puts us only, equally, further in view of how the work was never meant to be viewed in any other way. this means that even as it highlights all that we would expect of contemporary art, that it names precisely the fictive deadlock between the thing and its meaning, we nonetheless come in contact with an even purer representation of that which nonetheless cannot be either shown or imaged.

this is the thing, nonetheless, we cannot see. how are we to really read the so-called cost of this work? its birdcages and single tower form a mystical formula all unto their own, for which we may imagine the word is enough. of course, the principal repression of the formula of non-intersection is that it nevertheless asserts the possibility of engaging with a meaning (in the form of a birdcage) without ever having to test this very birdcage for whether, from it, spring towers. the cost of meaning is almost subtracted by the very operation which allows us to imagine the apple tree is meaningful on the basis of an artificial distance, which is more or less abstracted away. if the word embodies this abstraction, however, then its entire role remains to point towards just that in the artwork, beside which it is placed, which it nonetheless does not address. why? because, the very presumption of meaning is the presumption of a connection between the apple tree and knowledge which really exists. in this respect, empty birdcages give us a stage (of apparence) in which to imagine some satisfiable formula of nothing. a formula which expresses the very emptiness of things. that we may say the birdcage (memories) are empty, so that we are withstood by the force of a memory whose only real hold on us is the precisely horrifying condition that it is nothing, that we are nothing. this seems to be the formula. emptiness, which, in its negativity, preserves the frame of its prime injection. the problem is that there can be no expectation the word in any way goes there. if it does, we wouldn’t know it. the presumption of such a work of art, then, rests in precisely how it nonetheless desires to rest entirely in the hands of the word, so that what legislates its (non-)creation is that it is never meant to be made.

is this an even deeper formula? we want to ask whether the word of the birdcages and the tower are enough. we can imagine a concept even behind the words, so that when they are spoken they are still insufficient. nonetheless, what is the price of this work? that is, what is the price for and of the unconscious. what do we pay for viewing it. the axel of that which remains unimaged, however, is perhaps that which remains nonetheless inaccessible in the work. one sets up, after all, an impossible word, which is meant to be embodied in the very (perverse) fantasy of splitting entirely away from the material of the unconscious. what one gets is an even purer unreachable; an image, whose very positionality, i.e. from which point of view we observe it, and whose triptych presentation nominates an even deeper failure of the words which are nonetheless imagined to enliven it. one still cannot reach that which cannot be shown about the precise entanglement of word and thing, so that as the thing is even further denuded (of itself), we get an even more abstract relationship of the word to it. the (empty) shortcircuit is, then, rendered all the more fully as a kind of meaningless name for something nameless.

the perverse formula remains, then, because the work remains incapable of naming the pure short circuit as such. to give a non-name to that empty begriff, one can only really point to the axel itself. I cannot free myself from a certain disjunction with that which I create, even as I cannot presume that that connection in any way naively nominates some thing in the world which is the name (of the thing). one can then only really take this up with respect to what we may call a vision; some use of the apple tree which nonetheless nominates in what respect it intersects with a pure short circuit—a pure connection—with which it is nonetheless not intersectional. there is nothing with which to intersect. the apple raises itself (in a vision) and we get from it precisely that which we cannot anticipate. we cannot anticipate a non-intersection.




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