piece: "Bureau for Binary Indiscretions"

As part of a piece of work earlier this year, I created a platform called the "Bureau for Binary Indiscretions" - the basic premise behind this was to critique the typical western school of thought based around the binary system of thinking. An excerpt of the writing is below: 





Binary distinctions: ‘opposites attract’ – rethinking man/nature

“But nature, vegetation and foliage are more than a mere aid or background for the human world – the two are interrelated, interdependent and always transmutable”[1]
The ‘holistic’ concept in reference to the natural world is highlighted within Vatsyayan’s text,  ‘In the image of Man’ - whereby the ‘complex whole’[2] is a key theme of Indian art.

It is this concept of unity and the whole with particular focus on nature, that was the starting point of my inspiration. I started to consider the whole and its constituent parts and how these parts and subsequent distinctions come into being particularly through language and the word. At its most constructivist extreme, it has been suggested that the world we live in is ‘the product of an immaculate linguistic conception.’ [3] Additionally, there was also the consideration of the consequences of losing this sense of unity especially with respect to man’s relationship with the ‘other’ – in this case being the natural world and a possible reframing of this relationship.



[1] Kapila Vatsyayan, In the Image of Man: The Indian perception of the universe through 2000 years of painting & sculpture, (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1982) p.90
[2] ibid
[3] Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Corporeal Archetypes and Power: Preliminary Clarifications & considerations of sex, Hypatia, Vol 7, 3 (1992) (p.46)


Through this writing and idea, I then created a play script which I enabled my group to take part in. I didn't assign any characters to the participants, instead I got them to read as and when they felt. The play tried to look at time and general earth's soap of an opera through the 'eyes' of the algae and give some idea of being in 'another pair of shoes' - (need to find an saying which is non-anthro orientated)!

With this piece of work, I originally didn't consider it a piece of work as such. Its odd how context and also that damned work 'process' can really shape what you deem to be 'work'. Work is what is made when its fully intended to be work - when I sit there and say 'Im going to make a piece of work'. I do wonder where this type of thinking emanates from and why?! Institutions? Art World?

Reflecting back, Im looking to use and extend this platform in various guises, perhaps set up a company, a publishing platform even a physical bureau where people can come in (not to sure as yet for what?! inspired by The Bureau of Surrealist Research, where art critic Sarane Alexandrian highlighted "the public at large was invited to bring to the Bureau "accounts of dreams or of coincidences, ideas on fashion or politics, or inventions, so as to contribute to the 'formation of genuine surrealist archives". (1)

Within the research itself, the ideas of the bureau also form the posthumanist ideas that Im using like a lens to investigate the role of algae and non human agency.

(1) Alexandrian, Sarane (1970). Surrealist Art. New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc.







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