“The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be defined is not the unchanging name.
Non-existence is called the antecedent of heaven and earth; Existence is the mother of all things.
From eternal non-existence, therefore, we serenely observe the mysterious beginning of the Universe; From eternal existence we clearly see the apparent distinctions.
These two are the same in source and become different when manifested.
This sameness is called profundity. Infinite profundity is the gate whence comes the beginning of all parts of the Universe.”
- Chapter 1, Tao Te Ching (as translated by Ch’u Ta-Kao (1904))
“In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference. . . . Our very nature is such as to prevent us from fully understanding its very nature. Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems – vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.”
- Douglas Hofstadter, I Am A Strange Loop
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1 Chaos. I use the word chaos, in this context, to denote a state of unrealised possibility. Chaos is what’s in my mind when I’m making art.
2 Boundaries. Art requires space. Space requires delineation. The rules you choose define the space within which play takes place. Depending on the context, these rules can be as rigid as a chess board or as fluid as an improvised jazz melody, as solid as bronze or as fleeting as a whistle in the wind.
3 Interplay. Playing is about exploring relationships of all sorts of things at all sorts of different levels – the relationships of form/funtion, colour/light, surface/depth, line/plane, body/body, body/mind… Interplay is the process by which art navigates ideological landscapes.
4 Foci. Play centres on particular points – a particular square on a chess board, the tip of a pen, a melody, a political issue, a football, etc. – it is this focus around which the player(s) dance(s)25. The focus can be static or ephemeral.
5 Energy, which I’ll also call ‘the urge to engage with the universe’.
These are the circumstances I seek to create for myself and for those around me.