Standard prelude: I did not inherit Kant’s Copernican Turn / the KCT. Therefore I must (re)live traumatic breaks from previous centuries. So that I can (re)realise the contemporary.
First off: Descarte had “cogito” and Avicenna (ابن سینا) had a floating man. Thus for this occasion I wish to present a rotating can; or an empty tin, of beans. Spinning on a solar powered display stand, representing nothing in particular. Yet it is this kind of light-driven activity which gives form to the dwelling process, from which comes the suggestion to #DeleteTheBeans.
What about this nothing? (Heidegger, 1978)
Martin’s poetics move us to consider how language can bend and it is in this bending that thoughts seep in. In the gallery system of the white white white cube – the wall’s don’t exist, and so I challenge Malevich’s Black Square (1913) – proposing that it should now be a QR Code constructed from the skin of white and black beans. Why is it that lack, absence, void, emptiness – is still so often associated with darkness?
At this point, an empty frame seems more interesting than a canvas filled with piggy pigment. Or an empty tin? Furthermore, the floating man has no sense of their body and thus the rotating can is a subject of pure consciousness, no sense of perceiving its own external attributes. For if it could speak it would say: “From the outside you see me as a be be being, whereas from the inside I am pure bean.”
The neo-dia relate this phenomena to their own way; anomalous and queer, people of colouring books. Who mistook themselves for peaceful beans imported from afar, stacked in the reproductive organs of mother and fava.
Scientists secure themselves to the material conundrum via the proxy of techne. Ensnaring the artist in a language-laden trap, designed to give the impression that they too converse in terms of existence and being – yet to this I say: we must #DeleteTheBeans. Tippex is best, because I remember clearly how it corrected most of the mistakes of my childhood. And from that time, I have known that “the matter with human beans,” according to the Big Friendly Giant, “is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.” (Dahl and Blake, 1982).
And now we come to the… Neoplatonic blunder: in which Pythagoras rose to fame, not because he was good at maths, but because he had a magical (or some say medical) aversion to beans, and from this was able to decipher all kinds of things.
In the Greek system beans were a symbol of the potential for life, due to their association with the male genitalia. There was even a belief that beans and (human) beings were created from the same substance. Pythagoreans consider the fava bean particularly sacred; this is because it’s plant has hollow stems. Encouraging the belief that the souls of the dead travel up from the earth and through these shoots to finally reside within the beans themselves. And so my suggestion to delete the beans is to free my ancestors from this fate.
Nevertheless it may be argued that Pythagoras had an even greater aversion to the concept of nothing, which in mathematics is represented as zero. Charles Seife goes on to confess that the Greeks didn’t like this zero concept one bit. Therefore I delete the beans, so as to somehow combine these two Pythagorean aversions into one and see what happens to the angles of my brain. Seife goes on to explain, “the twin concepts of the infinite and the void played hell with the architectonic principles of both Pythagorean geometry and Aristotelian philosophy. Once you let zero in, some joker somewhere is gonna try dividing and multiplying things by zero, producing all kinds of paradoxical results… soon enough you’ll have to start dealing with irrational numbers… And at that point, everything the ancients thought they knew about mathematics begins to fall into ruin” (Seife, 2000).
And yet today, we are undergoing another shift like this. Many things that we thought were not worth considering are coming back into existence. For example, the paleolithic diet can give your immune system a much-needed turbo boost. To which the Silicon Valley people say: “let’s (re)realise the atavistic drive, support micro economies that will give rise to another circle of life, until we return to a fabulous time, in which beans regain their magic.
It seems that my Scythian ‘ancestors’ did strike some kind of conceptual fear into Western hearts and minds, still lingering to this day. But the tables keep turning such that the War on Terror captures modern Eurasian hearts and minds, and then we get the blow-back, which keeps going back and forth until there’s nothing left to hack. Still, when I think of Syria and Iraq, I think of rice and beans, because that’s what I would eat at my Iraqi friends’ house and then we would go to Edgware Road and get Syrian desserts at 1:00 am, so that we could down them in an illegal basement shisha-den. And then the next day, we’d have Beans on toast for breakfast – but not anymore ‘cause it’s not Keto.
In any case, the situation is evolving, thereby allowing me to explore a vast array of historical and topical phenomena that come from an intuitive sense; so I did not dare to question my motivations, rather in hindsight I continued to have continuous insight. When I do the performance like this, I activate mental states which I refer to as psycho-types; so far I have discovered a number of these, such as: machine-logic, micro-politics and meta-poetics.
Realising that my linguistic blunder between beans and beings goes back to struggling to read Roald Dahl’s BFG as a child, was a significant psychic breakthrough. Because from there I was able to make the connection with Jack and the Beanstalk; and this made me realise, I should plant the beans after I delete them.
Dahl, R. and Blake, Q. (1982). The BFG. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.
Heidegger, M. (1978). What is Metaphysics? In: D.F. Krell, ed., Basic Writings: From Being and Time to the Task of Thinking, 1st ed. Wiltshire: Taylor & Francis, pp. 95-96.
Seife, C. (2000). Zero. New York: Viking.