In order for Deleuze and Guattari to be able to explain how complex hierarchical structures compare to structures escaping from centralized power, they use formulae and concepts close to our visual perception and haptics. For instance, controlled and intricately organized structures — e.g., “state spaces”, landscapes measurable by machines, places changed by civilizational intervention — are, according to Deleuze and Guattari, “striated” (or layered) spaces.
Free, limitless space that offers a possibility of nomadic life is, by contrast, described as “smooth”. According to Deleuze and Guatarri, different forms of space don’t work separately but permeate, influence and/or distort one another. In addition to the stratified and smooth space, there exists a third type — the “underground”, a space escaping our sight and not subject to patterns of the “above ground.” The “underground” space has its own infrastructure — not clearly legible, it is maze-like and disappearing. It may not necessarily be just about the physical architecture but also the virtual space with illegal storages, open libraries and dark, anonymous web browsers. Since this third area/form is hidden below the surface, but is not fully insulated, the visible world penetrates through some areas — Deleuze and Guatarri named this type a “holey” space.
In Aleš Čermák’s exhibition at Etc. Gallery he continues to think about current systems and movements in society. The artist incorporates ideas of authors such as Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guatarri, Reza Negarestani, Benjamin Bratton and Eyal Weizmann into his work. He refers to these philosophers and theorists indirectly in his installation. Čermák is looking for his own way to navigate through their thinking patterns and visually grasp them.
In the exhibition we can search for some of the concepts mentioned above — the underground, structure, material, discussion rules, holes in the casing. However, the installation shouldn’t serve as an illustration of these particular themes but rather tries to visualize the process of thinking about them and searches for effective ways to understand them.
It is especially the visualization method, most evident in the present video or hand-made objects that are key to Aleš’s own creation. While a room that is half-filled with plastic activates the haptic sensation and creates a kind of quasi-cave space, a moving image attracts the visitor’s eye. The video facilitates the work of a computer program, which with the help of a given model that can also be a text or a description of a certain thing seeks to create images indistinguishable from photographs of the real world.
Provided the program has very little input information, it directly effects the quality of the final image in the video — blurred, indistinct, with barely recognizable shapes. But the logic of the program works so that it learns from itself and generates more and more images, which eventually exceed our imagination. This also applies to the sound. The voice reflecting the algorithms becomes gradually clearer, making it easy to hear from the outset how it stumbles. Moreover, the tongue seems to have quivered in the voice’s search for words.
The exhibition gives us partial insight into his thinking about the contemporary world. Individual objects act as traces of his thinking — in some cases they are filled with philosophical theories, and in others they seek their own approach to complex systems in which we move and act on an everyday basis. Knowledge of these philosophical texts may well open up additional readings, though it is equally important to let yourself experience the space itself and empirically find your own interpretation.
Alžběta Bačíková and Anna Remešová