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"Forms are Converes of Meaning"

Anne Dalke's picture

This week, while my daughter was visiting me in Philadelphia, we followed Mark's advice to go see Isaiah Zagar's "Philadelphia's Magic Gardens."

Having been there, I now appreciate Mark's description of the site as an evolving system and an evolving aesthetic, as well as his suggestion that some of the dualistic thinking that we've been occasionally engaged in becomes much more difficult to sustain in an environment in which inside/outside don't quite apply. 

Isaiah Zagar says in his artist statement that he has spent his career "trying to make a total encyclopedic vision that has no parameters and no end. My work is marked by events and is a mirror of the mind that is building and falling apart, having a logic and but close to chaos, refusing to stay still."

I've posted above-and-below a series of images of the Magic Gardens -- actually? mostly words -- that seem to me most expressive of, and interestingly intersecting with, our explorations in the Evolving Systems Group. I took many more pictures, along with a contrasting-and-complimentary set @ The Village of the Arts and Humanities, which I found interestingly like Zagar's project in its aesthetic, but strikingly different in its conception. The work of the Village seems to me less emergent, much more goal-directed in its search to "do justice to the humanity and social conditions of people who live in inner city North Philadelphia." "Dedicated to community revitalization through the arts," the Village sees "placing art in vulnerable places and art making as key to improving the lives of vulnerable people." 

 "Fantasize Categories"


"Forms are Converes (converse? covers?) of Meaning"

"Emergence of a Quality of Luminous Consciousness"

"Telling Stories"

In contrast and comparison, some of the images being used
in the story being told @ The Village of the Arts and Humanities


alesnick's picture


Thanks, Anne, for these images.  I thought of "conveyors" when I read "converes."  Your post also makes me recall a line of Plato, which while I can't now source it I remember dwelling on in a grad school class at St. John's College: "Form is that which follows color."  I like the idea of defining something in terms of contiguity, rather than interiority. Also, these pictures wake me up to something about mosaic -- fragments into new pieces, including open spaces and hard lines that preserve the fragmentation.  This also seems like a helpful way to think about form.   

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