“Speculative Realist (Found) Object Intervention” at “Welcome to MIT Playtest” at MIT List Visual Arts Center on May 16 succeeded in bring a post-subjective dialectic simultaneously into the American art museum & the academy at the start of “MIT Media in Transition +10: Democracy in Digital Media” — where the Mother of all academic panels took place under Sultan Sharrief’s visionary art process.
The introduction to the conference in the rarified space of the MIT List Arts Center was an interactive/participatory Event delivering the new paradigm art that I have been exalting as a critic for two decades!
At the entrance was preconference organizer Sultan Sharrief’s invitation to participate in his VR multimedia project-in-process: “Ancestral Holograms.” Encountering his ancestor in VR had a haunting effect after I met his brother in the food line and experienced his mother’s powerful presence on the integrated panel offering valuable insights about authentic collaboration arising from the heart — with examples in the local community.
By way of this rooted authenticity, the ancestral tradition leaps from locality to the national stage of the art museum!
“Welcome to MIT Playtest” on May 16, 2019 was an invitation to conference participants bring projects for open discussion…
“Speculative Realist (Found) Objects & the Ontology of Desire: Montreal, Cyprus and Berlin” found there way into the art museum by way of “Welcome to MIT Playtest” on May 16, 2019.
Valerie Giovanini (EGS 2017) hands a participant a card about her “Handmaiden’s Tale” panel with a photo depicting the use of the speculative object of the Eros uniform in civil disobedience.
I discuss a new dialectic of Eros in the academy with Sasha, a theater student deconstructing the character of Blanche in “Streetcar named Desire” for the local Fringe Festival.
After my first participation in an authentic incorporation of VR as an interactive medium into a paradigm leap as the organizer’s prompt into “Welcome to MIT Playtest”…participants were led through a makeshift labyrinth in the basement of the building…
Zadik Zadikian at his solo exhibition “Summer Convergence” in Los Angeles.
To perceive, in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to reach us but cannot — this is what it means to be contemporary.
— Giorgio Agamben
The cusp of the third decade of the 21st century celebrates the underground survivors of the unabated domination of conceptualism in the art world which froze out organic expression arising from the human touch.
Not to be deterred, Zadik Zadikian made a heroic escape from behind the Iron Curtain to forge his own passage through Uncertainty as an artist. Drawing on his ancient heritage to breathe new life into the crucial matter of art as mater (Mother) birthing the spirit of a new age.
The triumph of this eternal quest is what makes Zadakian the standard bearer of a 21st century neomodernism.
The spectacular Zadik Zadikian 21st century icon, Hermaphroditus (Hydrocal Mummified with Burlap 20 x 45 x 81 in), innovates the point of the feminine downward triangle as the pregnant belly, rather than the vulva, as is typical in ancient artifacts. This is surely an indication that we have moved beyond conception, beyond gestation…to the 21st century birth!
By way of plunging into the archaic and denying the art world fashion of conceptualization for his alchemical pursuit of spirit in matter, Zadik Zadikian arises with a neomodernism celebrating the feminine power in organic forms that are remarkably alive in their stillness. Reflecting on the power of movement within stillness is how this contemporary is defining 21st century art.
“This work is about the outside. How does the outside impact us? We can fight against influence, we can shut our eyes and yet somehow there is a change,” states Zadikian. “Like a night sky, like countless worlds we cannot touch, this process is the attempt to find and see our foreign elements, our foreign ideas.”
The Human Touch
The Zadikian human touch dominates the focus of his awareness of his range of symbolic subjects presented here as a sample of his vast ouevre — his signature abstracted figurative portraits revealing traces of his fingerprint.
Zadik Zadikian Gisela (High File Clay Water-gilded 24k Gold 13 x 7 x 5 in)
Reflecting on the power of movement within stillness is how Zadikian is defining 21st century art. “This work is about the outside. How does the outside impact us? We can fight against influence, we can shut our eyes and yet somehow there is a change,” he states. “Like a night sky, like countless worlds we cannot touch, this process is the attempt to find and see our foreign elements, our foreign ideas.”
The new emphasis on authenticity in the culture is encapsulated in the powerful visceral presence pregnant with meaning of the Zadikian oeuvre. Amorphous shapes are united in the artist’s Midas touch which placed his early classical works, informed formal training at Erevan Art Academy, into museums of contemporary behind the airing Curtain.
The artist’s intention to reverse his formal training to play with terra-cotta catalyzed his decades of perfecting a process of injecting spirit into matter (mater/mother) through various forms of collaboration with his audience.
Sourcing a Vocabulary in Gold
Zadik Zadikian’s Los Angeles studio
The artist entered the New York art world in 1969 after a daring escape from the Soviet Union which landed him in San Francisco beforehand, where he worked on large-scale public sculpture installations in the Brancusi lineage. In the New York art world of the seventies, the artist worked on projects with the legendary Tony Shafrazi, his lifelong friend and dealer.
In the New York art world of the seventies, the artist worked on projects with the legendary Tony Shafrazi, his lifelong friend and dealer. His 1978 project “1000 Bricks Gilded in 24 Karat Gold Leaf” distilled his alchemical vision of transformation within the minimalist focus on everyday material.
“Gold having become his unifying material, like an alchemist he transmuted everything into this noble metal — from ancient stone reliefs to alien like figures. These auric works recreated worlds beyond the realm of everyday thought, bordering on the threshold of the Timeless and the Eternal,” writes Shafrazi. “His concerns with art dive into nature’s most fundamental structures. Units of everlasting elegance on which higher forms are born, always paradoxically mixing the extravagant with the simplest of form.”
Working in gold leaf represents the crowning achievement — a solar consciousness bestowed on royalty — arising from the artist’s internal/external marriage of spirit/ matter in the tradition of the alchemical Great Work.
Reviving Ancient Symbols
Taking the ancient symbols and icons and reshaping them through his own vision is what every artist should be doing today on the cusp of an exciting new era of holistic art of the hieros gamos within/without.
Like Reuben Nakian, his fellow contemporary marking the middle ground between abstraction/figuration as a new modernism in the late 20th century, Zadikian draws on his ancient heritage to incorporate the eternal symbol with his timeless approach to sculpture.
The artist defines the 21st century contemporary infused with the archaic through a persistence with organic process and the reworking ancient symbols with new meaning defined through his materials. While rejecting the notion of formality, whether it be in the art or gallery presentation, the artist has returned onto the arts scene with a major personal statement timed to the present zeitgeist.
Zadik Zadikian Triangle Female Figure (Bronze 6 x 3 x 3 in)
The ongoing hermeneutical motif arising throughout the works on display is the triad or triangle. This sacred geometry is manifested in varying degrees of figuration/abstraction returning the human as a central figure in art from the electronic obsessions of the past decades.
Zadik Zadikian Lady in Pink (Hydrocal 8 x 13 x 9 in)
With the neomodernist, the literal manifests as the marriage of form and content
Zadik Zadikian The Birth (Bronze 5 x 7 x 8 in.)
Here the triangle points to/away, from The Birth...
Interlocking Triangles/Six-Pointed Star
The interlocking duality of light/shadow in Six Points (Double Triangle) incorporates the symbol of the 21st century icon of the hieros gamos (sacred marriage) by way of 22 unique triangular pieces, the number representing the mastery of the alchemist in transmuting the blackness of lead into gold.
Zadik Zadikian Six Points (Double Triangle)
The artist explains his use of magic in number (22 is the Master of form: 11 Master Number X 2):
Every single triangle was sculpted individually so that they can survive by themselves as of total finish work and together they form another pattern: the 11 black triangles versus 11 gilded with 24 karat gold leaf. Extreme black absorbs all the lights and pure gold reflects all light. The balance of this to like forms enter weave so perfectly that creates mystical pattern that has entrancing powers I can think of and those qualities are very important in this work.
— Zadik Zadikian
The mystical Yod, known as the Finger of God, is embodied throughout the Zadikian ouevre as the magical manifestation of spirit and matter, the inside/outside of a contemporary philosophical symbol: the Möbius strip.
Zadik Zadikian Inside/Outside (Bronze 2 x 1 x 1 in)
Zadik Zadikian Chair (Burnt Sienna 35 x 29 x 29 in.)
Zadik Zadikian Amphora (Water- gilded 24k gold leaf on hydrocal 27 x 24
The Sacred Marriage of Opposites
Zadikian articulates his vocabulary of the sacred marriage in the complementarity of opposites. An example here is Stacks in gold (Sun) and aluminum/copper (Moon/Venus).
Zadik Zadikian Aluminum Stack (Aluminum, copper, walnut wood 81 x 18 x 36 in)
Zadikian also establishes the polarity of opposites in the erotic tension between his chosen materials. Botticelli incorporates sensuous curves by way of hydrocal mummified in red burlap for a personal signature incorporating feminine desire.
Zadik Zadikian Botticelli (Hydrocal Mummified with Burlap 81 x 123 x 9 in.)
Botticelli reflects the multiplying effect of the sensuous immersion into the 21st century neomodernist perspective.
The Birth of the Third
Zadaikian’s original perspective manifests in his corpus as embodied spirit and matter evoked through form, color and material.
This is past/present/future mater/mother giving birth to…
Zadik Zadikian 3 Aces (Hydrocal 102 x 20 x 4 in)
…the Third space of the in-between where the 21st century icon is made visceral as the inner containment of Eros, newly defined as the dynamic integration of the tension between opposites.
The marbleized pink coloration highlighted in Zadikian’s erotic shapes sensually merges the tension of hard/soft into a divine wedding of vertical/horizontal replacing the cross as an icon of soul surrender. The strength of his material yielding to the demands of form reflects a newfound personal power of the object as anointed subject arising from the embodiment of masculine/feminine.
The Master takes what is old as human civilization and makes in New. Zadikian’s sculpture are the emergent master forms of the 21st century symbol of the Möbius Strip in which interior is indistinguishable from exterior. The culmination of this half-century process makes Blossoming Lips the ultimate transexual champion of a new perspective of art as outer expression reflecting an inner quest for balance.
Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld at the MIT List Arts Center in Cambridge on May 17, 2019.
CLICK HERE for the video of Dr. Streitfeld’s presentation.
Web 3.0 and the (R)evolution of Desire: The Quantum Leap from #MeToo to #WeToo
Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld
Kulturindustrie theorist Dr. Lisa Paul Streitfeld has been a pioneer of realtime online New Media collaborative practice since 2006. Her 2014 project designated to open online social network space for Web 3.0 collaboration made her a target of binary opposition when the #MeToo media firestorm arising from celebrity cult power structures hit home turf. Her paper is the outcome of a 2018 Web 3.0 collaboration assessing the impact of social media movements: “From #MeToo to #WeToo”.
#MeToo shaking up entrenched power structures and collapsing the hierarchies of celebrity cults in government, the academy and the entertainment industry is viewed from a quantum Web 3.0 perspective freeing desire from the oppression of the Web 2.0 “Like.” Producing the phenomenology of a media firestorm surrounding a Web 3.0 initiative to deconstruct the hidden power structures surrounding Critical Theory celebrity cults in the American academy, this paper utilizes hermeneutics as apparatus to investigate the historical nature of cult and its relation to the occult as the alternative to the patriarchal literary canon. Dr. Streitfeld’s philosophical archeology of #MeToo investigates institutional control over feminine desire against the contemporary mythology of a Reality TV twittering Oval Office bypassing governmental hierarchies to demonstrate a transparency of power transcending Clinton’s scandalous affair in the literal seat of power under the similar circumstances of a government shutdown. From the cultural upheaval, the emergence of a universal 21st century icon of gender balance is apprehended by means of tracing the hermeneutics of desire in the academy — from the academic repression following the landmark 1992 Jane Gallop sexual harassment case up to the 2018 #MeToo disclosure of the gender-bending digital phenomenology of institutionalized erotic coercion in Reitman vs. Ronell debated endlessly through social media. This paper is the outcome of the author’s twelve-year social media experiment — from the psychological domination of Eros via the Web 2.0 “Like” into the liberating quantum leap of the Web 3.0 #WeToo collaboration across the social network.
Schopenhauer had it easy; he simply had to write his elegant prose to make philosophy and science indistinguishable with literary insights drawn from an inkwell. This is perhaps the reason why he was unknown in his time but had everlasting fame as the philosopher of genius.
Today, reviving the humanities means connecting these separate disciplines to form a holistic human model capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. A 30-year correspondence between C.G. Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, the father of modern science, resulted in a mutual prophecy of the 21st century icon, the Hieros Gamos, revealing an emergent holism of the psyche. Yet their joint project failed to meet the stated mission of marrying psychology and science (Roth, 2012).
Now this vision finds success in Jung’s Switzerland. Vincenzo Di Nicola, a Canadian psychiatrist, had a breakthrough while working on his Ph.D. with the French philosopher Alain Badiou in the final years of the Schirmacher laboratory European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.
Di Nicola’s entanglement with Badiou was sourced in the merging of their separate notions of event (philosophy) and trauma (psychiatry). “I decided to examine nothing less than the history of modern psychiatry and its relationship to philosophy by investigating trauma,” he writes in a two-part paper in the American Philosophical Association blog. “During my seminars with Alain Badiou (2005, 2009a), I was struck by the symmetry between his description of the event as an opening and my emerging understanding of trauma as a rupture. When I consulted him, Badiou immediately recognized trauma/event as a fresh and innovative pairing” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Di Nicola’s Trauma and Event throws the symptom-based DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) and methodological EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine) out the window. It essentially flattens the patriarchal hierarchical model of psychotherapy, which he sums up as hermetically sealed, into mutual observation, a collaboration between patient and healer. “The face-to-face encounter that Levinas described can never be altogether symmetrical but we identify the asymmetry as much as possible and negotiate the differences,” Di Nicola explains. “Psychoanalysis is being conceived more and more as a ‘bipersonal field’ and so much work is going on in this field that Werner Bohleber (2010) refers to an intersubjective turn (Di Nicola, 2017).
This new practice identifies the Di Nicola “orphan” in-between diagnostic categories signaling an unexpected “event” by means of the rupture preceding trauma. The psychiatrist explains the process as one of psychic reorganization following profound insight, or what physicists qualify as a quantum leap. Di Nicola writes about how James Joyce, who was influenced by Freud through the first Italian psychoanalyst, Edoardo Weiss, called this an epiphany: “Joyce’s epiphany is Freud’s insight and may be understood as something that occurs in the eventual site, which I call a predicament. The epiphany or insight is a response to the predicament. We could go so far as to say that the predicament, the eventual site, is a necessary condition for insight. Only a cut, a tear in the world can create the acute sense of a rupture that requires a response. Once the analysand has her epiphany, thoughts, actions and feelings are at first interpreted, and later experienced, differently. For this translation from interpretation to insight to new experience to occur, a deep fidelity must accompany the procedure” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Fidelity fits with the French philosopher’s view of psychoanalysis as love, which means interrelationship, energy flowing from the heart, as opposed to solely from mind. Crossing the border from psychoanalysis to philosophy, we pick up on Badiou’s language for the Event through the psychiatrist’s interpretation: “In my reading of Badiou, the three conditions for an event are: to encounter an event (which is a purely contingent encounter), to give it a name, and to be faithful to it. The subject emerges through the event. By naming it and maintaining fidelity to the event, the subject emerges as a subject to its truth…‘Being there,’ as subjective phenomenology would have it, is not enough” (Di Nicola, 2017).
In other words, pro-activity remains essential for an event to sustain itself as a self-contained entity. This suggests that a quantum leap culminating with Di Nicola receiving his doctorate in 2012 set the stage for an Event in Saas-Fee two years later, when four philosophers (Hardt/Negri, Harman and Lovink) followed the French philosopher’s Monday evening talk on the Event (“An Arrow into the world”) by announcing a quantum leap into the Third in their respective fields (Streitfeld, 2014).
Marie-Louise von Franz, disciple of Carl Jung and collaborator with the Nobel Laurette physicist Wolfgang Pauli, interpreted the triad moving towards the quaternity as the pursuit of the Self, made evident in divination techniques and synchronicities:
The great question is whether the field of the collective unconscious is such an arbitrary random pattern of archetypes, a field in which the excited points are archetypes or does it have some order? Jung has already pointed out that among the different archetypes, there is one which encompasses and regulates all the others and that is the archetype of the Self….Let us say it is an active ordering centre which regulates the relationships of all other archetypes and gives to the field of the collective unconscious a definite mathematical order….In China the dynamic processes are represented by groups of threes and the result is represented by a quaternio….The triads always point to dynamism and therefore to action in a situation, while the quaternios always point to, or describe, the whole situation….So we can now go on with our definition and say the collective unconscious is a field of psychic energy, the excited points of which are the archetypes, and that field has an ordered aspect which is dominated by the number rhythms of the Self, which as you will see are triads and quaternios. With the number oracles and divination techniques one tries to define the process of the Self archetype….Jung points out that the Self is in an eternal process of constant rejuvenation. He compares it to the carbon-nitrogen cycle of the sun, where certain particles are split off and others attracted, giving finally a rejuvenated atom of the same form. It is as though the atom split off particles and attracted others, thus restoring its own form in constant self-renewal (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 65-66).
Synchronicities leading to self-generating perpetual renewal originating in a holistic mathematics of autonomous number (Streitfeld, 2018) point the way to a new modernism in which the Self is a central organizing principle. For Badiouean philosophy originating in mathematics to recognize Jungian psychology culminating with mathematics by way of a cluster of breakthroughs in the humanities reflects a history of scientific inventions arising in clusters:
In honest histories of science one may find such an observation, namely that strangely enough there is a tendency for certain ideas and inventions to crop up in different places at the same time. From a psychological point of view that is not such a miraculous thing. In the spirit of time, so to speak, certain questions and psychological problems are constellated. Then several intelligent people have the same question in mind, chase along the same alley and come to the same results, and that is due to the constellation of an archetype in the collective unconscious (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 71-72).
Di Nicola maintains his consistency with the triad by listing his Saas Fee influences as a triumvirate: Badiou, Foucault and Agamben (Di Nicola, 2017). Badiou’s predilection for organising thoughts in thirds as a phenomenology was made evident in his paper on Marcel Duchamp and the number three (Streitfeld 2018); Di Nicola follows this creative path by declaring that Badiou “offers three profound things to psychiatry: a theory of the subject; a theory of how philosophy works; and a theory of change based on the event.” Furthermore, he clarifies psychiatry’s central task in thirds: a general psychology as a science of human being; a coherent theory of psychiatry as a discipline; and because it proposes to help people, it needs a theory of change (Di Nicola, 2017).
Within the Third space, the in-between realm of Di Nicola’s “orphan,” a correct diagnosis may be made from the 360-perspective of Kairos, or the Aha Moment. With entanglement, the phenomenon of two physically separate particles sharing the same existence and time is revealed through the process of observation of the quantum state for the whole system. In this manner, the new science marrying philosophy and psychiatry catalyzing the 2012-2014 culmination of the Saas-Fee laboratory may also be evident in a therapist/patient observation making a simultaneous quantum leap from the “bipersonal field” to the Third.
Von Franz presents the Chinese method of writing history to “obtain a real picture of the archetypal situation existing at that time” (Von Franz, 1980 p. 71) which she noted “gives the idea of a field”:
The events, one could say, are shown in an ordered time field, and that is the way in which the Chinese use number. Number gives information about the time-bound ensemble of events. In each moment there is another ensemble, and number gives information as to the qualitative structure of the time-bound clusters of events…number is an archetypal representation or idea which contains a quantitative and a qualitative aspect. Therefore, before we can touch the whole problem of divination, we have to revise our view of number and of mathematics. From there we can probably approach certain other factors, which until now we could only confess we could not measure but could only approach with the feeling function (Von Franz, 1980, pp. 71-72).
Di Nicola, familiar with how the quantum leap changes one’s life course, reveals the process through his own experience integrating thought and feeling. This integration was made evident in this analysis of the synchronistic use of the triad in his writing with his mentor, who brought mathematics into continental philosophy: “Deep into my philosophical investigations, Badiou offered this crucial assessment and challenge: ‘You are at a crossroads, either you will abandon psychiatry as such or announce a new, perhaps, evental psychiatry.’ It was an accurate philosophical diagnosis!” (Di Nicola, 2017)
Bringing exiled Jungian post binary thinking into the fold of continental theory, Von Franz’s exploration of synchronicity through ancient methods of divination underscores Di Nicola’s declaration sourced in his infans solaris birthed out of the Third with the great living French philosopher: “What could be more critically relevant to a21stcenturyscience of the mindand of human relationsthan a return to metaphysics?” (Di Nicola, 2017).
Streitfeld, Lisa (2014). Hermeneutics of New Modernism. New York/Leipzig: Atropos Press.
Streitfeld, Lisa (2018). “The Third Mind: Badiou, Duchamp and the Autonomy of Number as the Phenomenology of a New Modernism”. Hermeneutics of New Modernism. http:hermeneuticsofnewmodernism.wordpress.com.
Roth, Remo (2012). The Return of the World Soul: Wolfgang Pauli, C.G. Jung and the Challenge of Psychophysical Reality. Pari, Italy/Pari Publishing.
Von Franz, Marie Louise (1980). On Divination and Synchronicity: The Psychology of Meaningful Chance Studies in Jungian Psychology. Toronto/Inner City Books.
Eclipses have powerful effects that can take years to manifest. So experiencing a life-altering Red Moon Lunar Eclipse conjunct Mars Retrograde on my Aquarian Sun in an Algarve campground wasn’t to be illuminated until a quarter turn of the annual solar cycle…at least!
I was still on crutches recovering from my injury in s hammock and overwhelmed by the feeling of having no idea where the cosmos would carry me under such precipitous connections…
Red Moon rising in the Algarve…
I only know that I could never have imagined Helio de Jesus Perera Maestre, who approached me in full ritual regalia complete with his seed bag dangling from the belt of his skin colored shorts just before dawn. He startled me as he made a beeline towards me with an intensity I had only known…in myself!
I was sitting on a bench at the port of Faro where I spent the night before my plane to Berlin. He charmed me with his physical grace and Scottish rogue accent. It didn’t take long to recognize a soulmate in him and I accepted his invitation to breakfast at his family home.
Helio performing under the effects of the Leo on the beach on the Praia on Isla de Faro.
The final Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11 found me in Faro, Portugal, invited by my soul brother, Helio de Jesus (yes that is his given name!) the most unexpected and breathtaking manifestation of a Hieros Gamos partner that has manifested in full-physical form under my cosmic and world travels circumnavigating the globe and the galactic center.
Preparing the Seeds inside the Faro Medicine Wheel outside the castle.
Due to Helio’s invitation, I missed my flight to Berlin in August 6. He found me an apartment and I fell in love with Faro. I just knew that I wanted to live there when I first arrived.
Demonstrating a love for Faro.
But fate drew me away from my heart’s desire, for I suddenly received funds to return to NYC, which I did on September 20, after spending exactly three months in Spain and Portugal.
Helio gave me a handmade bag with seeds that I attached to my purse.
But how could I have anticipated that a new love would draw me to Montreal on September 26 where I did a seed planting ritual in Little Portugal with the seeds from my pear and his bag…
Venus & the Sun merge before the eight Apostles, representing the eight “gates” of Venus journey to and from the aunderworld.
…and it happened!
The opening night festivity to FOME took place in the walled castle of Faro originally built by the Moors in the 11th century via the “newest and most complex” performance by S.A. Marionettes.
What a sight!
This was a stunning work of alchemical theatre about the mythology of Venus, her passage through the eight gates, represented by the eight apostles, and her disappearance into the Underworld where she meets her partner, the Sun, in the mystical conjunctio. The music was so enthralling that I could really feel the pain of her departure as she turns from the union to complete her Underworld journey, from which she rises on the other side of the Sun as the Morning Star.
The performance was an embodiment of the mystical union, complete with the demonstration of the heart opening.
Scroll down to see the light…knowledge of this ancient mythology explaining the disappearance of the brightest star in the sky when she unites with the Sun!