While thinking about what we did, and how, and indeed how our actions were developing, there came up terms inspired by Karen Barad’s concept of agential realism. She sees the world according to quantum theory, as an entanglement, an interrelation of forms of knowledge and being. Understanding the world as becoming in the image of diffraction – “a material-discursive phenomenon that challenges the presumed inherent separability of subject and object, nature and culture, fact and value, human and nonhuman” (Barad 2007, 381) – is simultaneously challenging and relieving in the sense of opening up boundaries of thinking which encroach on doing and feeling, stifle it because they attempt to press us into an either-or. Our approach is one that tries to bring the understanding coming from different disciplinary practices not to rival each other, but to communicate. It is an entangled approach, for we trace the common ground, the links in art and science rather than the dissociative features. What can we find there? And how can we make it visible, audible, and tangible?
If we conceive art and science as not separated, we find ourselves inter-acting, actions through which phenomena become material. Material components, subjects, discourses, devices, actions, everything intra-acts, creates reality and changes it. So – practising thinking in entanglements.
While thinking about what we did, and how, and indeed how our actions were developing, there also is the dimension of time, in which our collaboration unfolded.
We worked together for a period of several years, during which many things changed. Attempting to put in a nutshell what this period meant for us, the chronological approach is bound to fail. What we experienced can rather be circumscribed with Byung Chul Han’s thoughts about the fragrance of time: “… the subject of experience has to remain open for what is coming, for the surprises and uncertainties of the future. Otherwise, it congeals to a worker merely working off time. He does not change. Changes destabilise the working process. Contrarily, the subject of experience is never the same as it was.” (Han 2009, 13) It is these contexts in which experience and insight happen. Going into an experimental design, entering into a process, cannot be planned well. And it takes time. It also needs stepping out, a conscious detachment from routines and automatisms, a stepping out of what we know.
It requires a presence. Presence questions the separation of time and space. It makes everything be there. Perceiving, connecting. We practised presence, and experienced a time which was fragrant.
While thinking about what we did, and how, spaces played an important part. Permanent confrontation with the agency of spaces. With spaces allotted to the sciences, to the arts, and those in between. The un-lived and lived spaces. (Baier 2000) We were not only interested in three-dimensional, geometrical, theoretical space, although that, too, intrigued us with its peculiarities. Our interest also was drawn to existential space, the one we live, which we create through existential relationships, and confer meaning to, the “pool of existential orientation from which we continuously draw” (Waldenfels 1985, 184).
We fathomed the spatial, were influenced by spaces, intra-acted with them, configured them, created them in joint effort. Our experimental arrangements invited us, our guests, the audience to this space-time, a spacetimemattering (Barad 2011). Invited to delve into processes of classification. To re-experience them, and discover them anew by challenging our habitual ways of perception.