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B Part Renaissance is a web site made on-the-fly that takes and sends useless knowledge, from and to the Port of Adelaide

Each day at daybreak and dusk from 21-29th April (9 days), before and after the job, the worker will travel (by foot, car, train) from home in Adelaide to pre-figured locations in Port Adelaide. Each location will be the POP (point of perception). The worker will take images, write, and record sound — from rather than of each site. The media and field-notes will be sent (posted) twice in 24 hours to this website.

‘What else is life for?’ is the guiding question. As a field-study B Part Renaissance values the role useless knowledge plays in the minute, everyday of life.


B Part Renaissance is one of the works for → There Forever an ephemeral public art project that takes place now until April 2007 for the Port Festival at Port Adelaide, South Australia. There are eight artists working on There Forever. You can visit HQ (headquarters - a place for developing strategies) at the old ANZ Bank at 111 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide. Visit the → project website for details about the art works, locations (they are scattered around the Port) and times.

Ephemeral is an adjective which denotes a temporary state, something (or some matter) that lasts for a very short time. It works amongst a set of word/concepts that include: transitory, transient, fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short; temporary, impermanent, short-term; a fly-by-night. At the same time and differently, the ephemeral is there forever… in traces, residues of conversations, buildings, histories, images, words and memories, in the matter that breathes here and now. Ephemeris takes its origin from the early 16th century: from Latin, from Greek ephémeros ‘lasting only a day.’ A cicada is also an Ephemeron, (for example) of the insect order of Ephemeroptera. A word derived from modern Latin (plural), from Ephemera (genus name) + pteron ‘wing.’ Time on the wing, or winged time → "Insect Pests at Port Adelaide" is in the Register, 24 February 1886, page 6b. SLSA Manning Index. This is knowledge the state gives. Time flies. When thinking of plants ephemeral can be used to denote perennial vegetation – plants that die off (shed leaves) in one season (usually winter) and grow back in another. In terms of life the ephemeral also means death inside life and life inside death.

pops & paw par!
Point Of Perception, Port Adelaide Waterways Planning Amendment Report
Progress (place marketing) Port Adelaide
Like many post-industrial waterways around the world, the Port is being transformed: from when to when? Newport Quays' birds-eye plans for the port includes
‘future-proofed residencies’
Does this mean life is always-future-now?

Be A Part of the Renaissance of the Portinvites the billboard sign as you enter the Port 'precinct' along St Vincent Street. In the 16th century Francois Rabelais invented → Queen Entelechy, monarch of the island Entelechy, which means of unknown location. The Queen was able to cure all disease on the island by playing strange musical instruments. Rabelais, who liked to prick holes in worthy causes, was poking some fun at the 16th century contemporary Descartian/Aristotelian craze for categorization. He called the island of Entelechy's port Mataeotechny meaning 'home of useless knowledge' or 'obsolete art or science,' with the word itself considered obsolete by the dictionary (yet still one can read of it there - there it is, in print, on the screen). Googling for mataeotechny returns 'an unprofitable art or science (from Greek roots meaning vain art).' To do something in vain means to do something with no purpose - with no end in site. I'm using it here to signal the work of something that resists understanding (standing under). I get the sense that Rabelais is also mocking fame, fortune, and the desire for eternal life rather than the risk of right here.
"What do you say? cried they; do you call it Entelechy or Endelechy?"*
Multifarious imaginings, events, times and stories mark and make Port Adelaide - the question that keeps bugging me is what can one take and send from and to the Port as an outsider, as one who does not live in the time of its spatial (re)configurations. We are all outsiders at the port, a local tells me. The print on his t-shirt reads, We don't need knowledge, we need imagination, or something like that, one of those quotes by 20th century icons, I think it was Einstein. There is a point where knowledge is useless. That point is reached when what we think, sense, feel, and remember doesn't exist clearly in material time and space. At least not as an object or a thing, rather as distributed affect - memory, rumour, projection. (What was shipped from Levi's wharf? Who was Levi? How many jellies make a flotilla and why are they spooky? What was Sugar Mill Wharf before it was a Mill for refining sugar? A river or a reach?) The knowing that makes the Port is a surface of stories and images, of dreams, and of actions that are invoked by its name(ing). What do images do (architectural, archived historical, waterfront development and architectural dreaming) toward the creation of a mood? I'm told that the Port is going to go 'off,' and it's true that it's easy to be infected by the enthusiasm of the plans and the visions that will bring another kind of life. A shiny clean life of consumption and leisure, of distributed work patterns, of spending and having and wanting. (Kurt Vonnegut just died, one of his comments about America was that it had become a culture where people believed they'd find the meaning of life in a gift shop.) What ways will other kinds of life survive, remain and trace.

Rabelais' protagonists are Gargantua and Pantagruel. They travelled to strange other places, imaginary places constructed by the author in such a way that he could write about the time he lived in and evade burning for heresy. I wonder what Gargantua and Pantagruel would make of this '21st Century Renaissance,' what would one show them of the Port, and what would they take away? Baroque philosopher Gottfried Leibniz is another large renaissance figure, a thinker who is known for his invention of the concept of windowless monads as the smallest possible entity in the cosmos. When he proposed entelechy/monad (after Aristotle) did he mean perfection or was he referring to a certain kind of movement? The question I am taking sending (at heart) to the Port project is 'What else is life for?' It is the 'else' or the 'for' that life is questioning here.

There is a dead, perfectly preserved moth on the window sill. It's wings are folded whilst it's head, legs and antennae have been frozen in the state they were in when the moth's body stopped working. As a being that lives for a short time it lives on a little longer in its state as matter - until that matter disintegrates into dust and air. Meanwhile it sits here next to me on the pile of printed notes I've written. What will I do with the moth's remainders. What is the best way to keep it in this fragile dead-and-still-here state, given that I do want to keep it, to look at it, to witness its becoming something else. This is a question also for the printed notes and image files as they become something else here on the screenwork that is public, as all screens are public - that is - in the domain we call public, open to view for those with access keys (ways to read, to enter, to exit).

 

Dr Teri Hoskin, April 2007


*Francois Rabelais, Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. (trans. Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty and Peter Antony Motteux. Illustrated by Gustave Dore) p723. The chapters referred to here start at Chapter 5. XIX. The book can be accessed on line here.

Entelechy as a philosophical concept has it's origins in Aristotle. He invented this word, a neologism, as a play of the contemporary Greek word, endelechy. Where endelechy meant enduring, entelechy was taken to mean perfection and transformation. Many translators and philosophers have written about this play on words, and argued about the fine points of what entelechy might mean. One for example translates entelecheia as "being-at-work-staying-itself" (Joe Sachs "Aristotle: Motion and its Place in Nature"). What the commentators agree upon is the difficulty of assigning a clear and distinct meaning to the word, "there is no starting point from which we can descend to put together the cements of its meaning ." So then, a useless little machine for thinking. As a concept entelechy operates a little like Plato's chora in that it is the source of all art (art as the only thing that resists death) but cannot be pinned down or clearly named - it's a kind of filter. From what I can gather the difference between chora and entelechy is to do with movement, which means time and space - the quality of being in multiple states, still and moving, at the same time. It's about what exists in something from inception and throughout all changes that condition a life - a possibility, a chance or a potential to be a perfection of whatever it is right there - at first breath. A seeming contradiction that nevertheless happens, all the time, like Henri Bergson's recognition of the necessity of the virtual and actual as coinciding states.