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  • Monday, September 03, 2007

    Concerns of a Prismatist
    By Sean Ripple

    While making photographs a couple of days ago, I came across a snippet of a sentence that may be a good starting place for this writing. There are many such intros I have floating about (by this I mean intros derived from a snippet), but of all such intros, the following is the most finely pointed…a quality I tend to like, for in it lies a more subtle form of abstraction…one of the most fundamental aspects of existence in my opinion.

    The snippet:

    “popularism – more sensational forecasts and more bizarre forecasters are taking over and are displacing serious and methodologically sound work…”

    Now I realize that in reading this snippet, one does not have the benefit of knowing the larger context from which the snippet was snipped. Rest assured, other than the title of the book in which this snippet comprises part of an editorial note, neither do I. Really, I don’t believe that knowing the larger context from which the snippet was snipped is necessary (not even the title dear reader) to sense that the editor thinks only the most scientifically able-minded should hold court in a presumably technical arena where scientific accuracy is of the utmost importance.

    In my recent past I would have read this snippet as being in contempt of a greater contingent of the population and the abilities inherent to it. I would have read the fragment of the snippet “methodologically sound work” as a presumptive bias against minds that simply differed in expression within a scientific subset; this in the name of scientific purity. Because, what is sound work anyway? Can anyone truly claim to know the shape of it?

    Lately however, I have made strides to undermine the defensiveness of this view mainly because it is my current belief (a most apparent one at that) that there are those who are more capable and less so. This as it applies to all things. Though this is the case, my most pressing point is that the divide not need be contemptuous. Illustratively, in the realm of art, there are those who can reproduce the human face and form in a most realistic fashion (hello Chuck Close and Ron Mueck) and those who are less capable whether it be due to a lack of ability or the result of stylistic conceits (hello Grandma Moses and Francesco Clemente). Should all other forms of artistic expression, relative to the human form, cease simply because a few can reach the dizzying heights of virtuosic sublimity? I say absolutely not!

    In a similar manner, should I be threatened that there are those in the world that claim me (by way of a word like popularism…for I am nothing if not a part of the contingent euphemistically mentioned in the snippet – this as it applies outside the context of the book from which the snippet came) as unworthy of holding court in a specific arena? Again I say, absolutely not! I am unqualified to hold court in almost all arenas…especially the scientific. To me, qualification denotes conditioning. In turn, conditioning denotes adherence to prescription…prescription here meaning an assigned perspective.

    I do not have the luxury of adhering to an already mapped out way of thinking. I am sadly unfixed. Adrift. A captive of my love for the abstract. A place where east is as west as west is east (excuse the cliché if my using it bothers you)…where the poles are both cold and weather patterns give rise to social power structure in its many forms…where roadside means the totality of that which is by the road, as in roadside attraction.

    By way of example, the implication is that if a cube-shaped building is situated by the road, all its sides are roadside by virtue of the totality of the cube-shaped building’s form (Though, I know this is not what is meant by "roadside" according to an architectural perspective. According to an architectural perspective, the discriminatory act - euphemistically communicated as a selective act - is necessary for the sake of coherent discourse).

    And there, in the most vacillating of fashions, my qualifications are made known. I am a prismatist. On one faceted plane or another, with lines wildly intersecting, I’d say we all are.

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