Transduction and Individuation

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

–Augustine of Hippo

Marcel Duchamp
Nude Descending Staircase No. 2 (1912)

It is the ultimate task of our existence to achieve as much substance as possible for the concept of humanity in our person, both during the span of our life and beyond it, through the traces we leave by means of our vital activity, This can be fulfilled only by the linking of the self to the world to achieve the most general, most animated, and most unrestrained interplay. This alone is the yardstick by which each branch of human knowledge can be judged.

At first glance, the linking of the self to the world may appear to be not only an incomprehensible expression, but also an overextravagant idea. On closer inspection, however, the latter suspicion at least will disappear, and it will be seen that once the true endeavor of the human spirit is perceived (embodying both its greatest vitality and its greatest impotence), it is impossible to stop at anything less.

Wilhelm von Humboldt, “Theory of Bildung”

Man Ray
Untitled (1933)

A labial crease … this vaginal image is used to put the finishing touches, as it were, on a quintessentially male garment.

Rosalind Krauss

Valerio Adami
Omphalos (1985)

The head … is not more than any old bit of skin. Flechsig my ass. Beyond synonymy and homonymy, anonymity.

–Jean Francois Lyotard, “Tensor”

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