Can graphic art offer unique and particular insights that words alone may miss?
By Tessa Den Uyl
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I believe that they can. It was as a result of working on a project to create an animated film about the processes of the imagination that I came to the idea behind these images... And so, the drawings here (part of a longer series) are a kind of path that I followed in a bid 'to solve' a particular philosophical question
'Flat Earth' was conceived as a kind of platform to display aspects of imagination, modesty, and alertness envisioned within a character who inquires into himself about how language games determine his ways of thinking.
This central character tries to understand in what kind of landscape he sees his habits, and whatever he produces materially within that created world is not merely the reflected image of the creation that he imagines, but instead what he perceives is a privileged space, where an image becomes an epiphany, and it is in that space that he can develop his imagination.
Imagination is an activity, it is never passive, it is never negative. Instead, it is active within the limitations that the thinker - and the central character in my imaginary world - assigns to it. That is why the character reveals himself, in the images here, as he really is: defined in relation to the biases of his own worldview, his own philosophy of knowledge.
Imagination is reaching out towards him and he cannot help but grow inside of it. This is the temptation of imagination; he cannot refuse to grow up and enter into a deeper relationship with the world.
On the other hand, even if the character is willing to “grow up” it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is capable of doing so. Instead, what he wants to see, what he has learned to see, excludes what he can actually see. His knowledge doesn’t describe the world, but only tends to ascribe to things its own relations.
So the human being on Flat Earth recognises that he has nothing but relations; that imagination is about making relations between things, and this means that he will always have to deal with language and context. The Flat Earth is that space in which the character tries to “un-culture” himself. In the process, he has to face how he perceives, for it is too easy to be transported along the paths of semantic distortions and to inadvertently give a false value to something in the process of trying to transform values we have created into ultimate truths. The character in my imaginary world does not want to postulate a world, to impose a particular view, but tries instead to enhance the possibility of many different ones.
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