The Room of Absence

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Elena Greta Falcini was one of the participants at Virtual Artist in Residence in February and March 2022. Center424, Belgrade Artist in Residence

The Room of Absence

‘Being in one’s shoes’ is literally the catch. Strange shoes, more like a footprints in an alien matter. Than there is the formula of that matter and the image of IT. It is odd how in an attempt of assuming literal, which is the same as being literal, the horizon was breached and the view expended into the microscopic and symbolic realm. So, we have a NO-ONE in his shoes, an image of nothing, or rather the interpretation of the gaze of the electron and the latter stand in for it, the formula. There is the image, shoes and letters for what there isn’t- the subject and it’s strange object. 

Like the stuff ‘the dreams are made off’- nothing- this room is filled with fiction- an impetus to assume. 

There is something, though, and it’s not in the room and that something is matter. Which is a weird way to phrase it and even weirder decision to end the sentence like that. Nevertheless, the right way. For, it is matter. For anyone who dares to attach simplicity to such an endeavor, and achievement, let first the same one try to just simply think the subject. Well, one can’t, but what one can recommend to such one is to appraise that matter for that is the closest one can and will ever get to the subject. Subject is in the other room missing- filling the ABSENCE- and in here we have the stand in for it- the alien matter. Alien, not because of some unruly connotation, but because matter is by default strange- an alien recourse to our fictions. 

There was something to be said, by the subject-missing, and that something was:”Material in its autonomy”. Which is also an odd statement, because, what material stands in its autonomy?! Well, this is the ONE, that one that stands (out). It is very difficult for a material to stand for itself. Unless it stands for the matter. And if it stands for the matter, it certainly can ‘fill ONE’s shoes’. 

THE ROOM OF ABSENCE-theoretical approach 

Three elements- video, formula, shoes- stand for something that is utterly unspeakable, for the empty place in language, something that would be referred to as the Real( in Lacanian* terms ). Or to be more precise, imaginary Real, symbolic Real and Real Real( in Zizekian** terms ). 

First, the video, is probing into the reality of someone else’s gaze and that some”one” is nothing less than electron. Where the eye that creates our, human reality, hits the surface of a material and thus creating a semblance, an appearance of reality in its “down to earthness“- something that we take on/for a face value- the screen provides a “deeper” insight into another surface of reality- the fiction that comes about on/of our assumption what must be the world within our blindness provided with the possibility of entering somewhat other gaze, that one of an electron. Hence, the fiction- the image that is nothing but our attempt to represent, within our field and possibility of representation, the empty place of electron’s “worldview”. 

Second, the formula- language of chemistry, symbols connected to assume the meaning. Meaning as the interspace, that empty space of relation between the Real, not reality, of material and our attempt to formalize it in language- the space of thinking. What material is ( in itself ), we don’t know, but what it becomes ( for us ) we can formalize as a knowledge in the space of language- hence, the formula. 

Third, the shoes, and this shoes are the sublimest literal presentation one can dare to find- if there ever was a clearest and purest case of contradiction, this is the one to be- something so direct, so obvious and yet! not at all, or rather nothing at all. They carry on the subject that walk in alien shoes, and that is THE presentation of the subject- something as nothing, yet being through the other, in becoming alien to itself. 

Now, that we covered NOTHING, we can go to something- the MATTER that lingers in its full autonomy. Artists do work in material, but it is rather that they think in material, even if the material is the “stuff” of language. If the goal of thinking is to come to the notion of “things”, well here, with this dark MATTER, the goal is achieved. The FORM of thinking, the form itself, is achieved and now we can go on filling all our contents with it- therefore, the good art never seizes to amaze by how long and unrelenting can haunt the mind. Bringing on the FORM as “just” MATTER is the achievement of incarnation of the notion of autonomy itself. Nothing is ( fully ) autonomous, but this is. To use the phrase: “What is the MATTER with you?!”, as one of the sound hysterisations of the subjectivity, as in asking ‘what is you?’, ‘who are you?’ and ultimately, ‘what is all of/to this?!’- we can assess the importance of this matter. It materializes the notion and that is the sublime work of art. And the subject would respond:”I am NOT MATTER”, hence the subject is in the room that matters( materializes- verbalizes itself in/through MATTER ). 


*Jacques Lacan

**Slavoj Žižek

*** NOT MATTER, but not NON-MATTER!!!

Text by Mark Fish