”Anarchists, Communists, State Socialists, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, liberals, Radicals, nihilists and Royalists, all warmly welcomed.” —Melbourne Anarchist Club, 1886-1891
“Anything goes.” —Paul Feyerabend (Against Method)
“Wittgenstein’s Ladder” refers to a proposition by philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in which he describes his writing as steps for the reader to climb beyond. These rungs much be breached: “so to speak, [he must] throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.” In this device, Wittgenstein profanes the labor of both the reader and the writer (himself) to reach a fuller understanding of his ideas.
Robert Smithson’s A Heap of Language is a pencil drawing illustrating a pile of words alluding to his works using heaps of earth. The material composition of the lead marks in Smithson’s A’s, E’s, I’s, O’s, & U’s bares a metaphorical and physical weight upon the gridded paper surface—a collapse between formal poetic composition and the value of the objet d’art. One questions whether the words have been thrown away—spent, like the broken rungs of a ladder.
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Over the course of his Resource Room Residency, artist Nic Tammens will engage in research supplementing his investigations into leftist politics, independent publishing, and their intersections with art, aesthetics and conceptually based practices. The research will complement and build towards the completion of multiple projects, including the co-writing of a script set in contemporary Australia, involving the personal life of Melbourne Anarchist Club protagonists in the late 1800s and the publishing of their journal Honesty. In parallel to this, he will be coordinating the translation and re-publishing of the memoirs of his great aunt, a luminary of the Dutch resistance during World War II. Other outcomes, failures, and happenstances could also arrive between January and March.