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So You Want to Think Freely!

by Lucy Pullen

Victoria, BC, 2005

WATERCOLOUR REVOLUTION

So, you want to think freely! So do I. Let's begin with a discussion
of the revolutionary potential of negative aesthetics, say, and the
role of matter therein. Now, both the picture plane and the ruling
class propose an absolute. In each arena, representations of
absolute authority inform our every thought, word and deed. We
are surrounded and have but one option.

Matter is material. Material decisions no longer serve the absolute
values of either picture plane or ruling class. Egg tempera is used
against itself: translucent pigment rendered opaque obfuscates the
picture plane. The thwarted DeLorean (itself an example of matter
countering a set of absolute values: a stainless steel automobile) is
re-imagined twice, in paper: bound and unbound.
Error plays a role in the production of meaning. When materials fail
and methods fall short (of what? Absolutes… of course!), only
then do you need to think. Being wrong requires thinking1. And you
have always been wrong. You've always rejected absolute authority;
thinking independently as you do.


The free-thinking garbage man achieves his revolution by negation.
Awaking from his torpor, he thinks through error. In so doing, he
takes possession of the value set within which he works and lives.
Beyond offering several examples I cannot tell you what to do.
Everyone gets to make their own mistakes.


1. Tu t'es toujour trompé, René Dumal, 1928 translated by Thomas Vosteen, University
of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London: 1995 p.67