Plastir Number 59


Susannah HAYS is a photographic artist, educator in the field of ecology, contemporary photography and philosophy and professor at the University of California, Berkeley (USA). The creation of art images that she has been developing since she joined the Scott Nichols Gallery in San Francisco in 2000, then at the San Francisco Art institute until 2012 and in many other galleries (like the Seager/Gray Gallery in Marin, California & the Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico), contributes to her understanding of the human condition. Field of knowledge that she has given in numerous seminars integrating the practice of art, especially visual art, spatial topologies, ecology or embodied cognition. She currently works as a consultant at the Intropy=Entropy Institute in San Francisco (California) and is a member of the CIRET (Paris, France) and the CETRANS (São Paulo, Brazil). Following the recent publication in this framework of « Nature as Discourse: A Co-Evolutionary Approach to Environmental Art and Design » (University of California, Berkeley, 2016) where she conducted a Ph.D, and « Nature’s Discourse: Transdisciplinarity and the Functioning of the Vagal Nerve » (Atlas, 2108), she entered Dr. Porges’ Cape Cod Institute (August 2019) to discuss the biological and moral imperative of humanistic discipline programs to instill the curricula necessary for the responsible transformation of our autonomic nervous system, currently somatically under pressure, so that higher and evolutionarily newer neocortical psychic energies can refine and adapt our (still largely dormant) human potential. This is the fruit of the work she presents for Plastir in this article (and a forthcoming one), whose perspectives she summarizes in these terms: « The most refined qualities of human consciousness and perception are being challenged within the definition of Transdisciplinary Evolution and Transformation. This paper derives from a philosophy of nature and argues that the triadic model of Transdisciplinarity will only succeed in reaching the three levels of Reality foreseen by the Transdisciplinary Being to the extent that it succeeds in incorporating the autonomic/cognitive forces inherent in the phylogenetic organization of Homo Sapiens. Since the co-evolutionary principles of the functioning of the human brain and autonomic nervous system are a biological imperative for raising the normative levels of Being, individuals, schools and cultural institutions should instill in their curricula a phylogenetic and experiential understanding of human neurobiology. After a brief historical introduction to metaphysics and vagus nerve function, the author will focus on the contemporary perspective of Polyvagal Theory and conclude that the intrinsic necessity of Transdisciplinarity is to articulate science (the path of nature) in relation to the project of anchoring education in the primordial sense of Transdisciplinary Being. »


Christian RUBY, philosopher, lecturer at the Ecole supérieure d’art et de design (ESAD) TALM-Tours, member of the Board of Directors of the FRAC Centre-Val de Loire and of the research commission of the French Ministry of Culture has written several articles for Plastir in the field of art & science, the latest one in Plastir 56, 12/2019 already addressed the public cry in a socio-political context. Here he puts it back on stage in an epic, historical and artistic way. A singular space emerges where thanatology constantly meets the cries of the human being in the face of death. For the author, indeed, death is at the center of many traditions, but also a common spring of social and family ties. He questions what is unpleasant in death, and resituates it with the emotional pain that accompanies it, in the history of the arts, particularly since the Renaissance. Moreover, in this essay, he tries to grasp the significance of these cries projected from the mouths, but this time in his artistic representations, thus giving an account of a part of the history of our relationship to death, mourning and funerals, complementary to scientific studies. This singular and transhistorical approach projects us into the most striking expressions of ‘crying mouths’ and human finitude with the works of David, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, Pierro della Francesca and Faulkner. Each time, we plunge into the heart of the signified as signifier with the constrained mouth and the emancipated mouth, or ‘in cry and gap’ suspending virtue. Christian Ruby draws from these polymorphic explorations a subtle analysis of the traits and mores that are properly human that goes beyond aesthetics to question our representations at the interface between life and death, between nature and culture or between body and mind.


Bernard TROUDE is a sociologist, PhD in Art Sciences from the University of Paris I and a researcher in several laboratories at the Sorbonne Descartes Paris V, including the CEAQ. He is a general engineer, professor in Design Sciences and Industrial Aesthetics, and co-director of « Re-thinking the Ordinary ». He regularly publishes in various journals such as Ganymède, Cahiers de l’idiotie (Montreal), Cahiers européens de l’imaginaire, Arts et Sciences & Plastir. He has recently joined the University Laboratory of Cognitive Sciences in San Francisco where he contributes to the Generalist Medical Journal of Normal (a city near Chicago, USA) which brings together all the medical university editions, including Ethic, Medecine & Public Health.  In this issue, Bernard Troude offers us the third part of his study on the thought of the Two, whose previous « When the number two(2) is a hazard » was published in Plastir 55, 09/2019 and the first in Plastir 51, 09/2018. His supported perspective is that this study serves to understand this Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) that is being implanted everywhere and that we think of as ‘REVOLUTION’. On the question of « BOTH » 2: what should we choose between the biological brain and the virtual brain? The digitized set is not the verb but a sign assuming the symbolic character. 0 and 1 were preferred to group 1 and 2. What difference do you see? What is thus this difference having authorized that these terms (numbers 0 and 1) then come to designate realities that the logic of the reasoning leaves us the possibility of extracting from it a narrative resulting from our imaginations? We come back to the same sociological elements as at the end of the Enlightenment when there was talk of a form of standardization of measurements that did not occur uniformly throughout Europe. Germany, for example, does not place 1 and 2 in the left-to-right reading direction. This direction varies with the language of the region. In this, any number is an inclusion in a set and invites to define a place, the rank assigned according to its usefulness and role, included in a topology. Thus, the quotients of the « ZERO » and the number « ONE » – being part of a dual element – are subject to the same laws as all physics. Let us call this formal integration of mathematical laws in any process of observations and conclusions. Computers and augmented intelligences, virtual answer spaces have taken precedence over all things. A.I. and Data have generated the questions and got the answers from all over the world. And finally, dichotomization prevails and makes one perceive the connection between the nature of the whole – sight and mind – and a technology – reason and way of doing things – allowing an activity against a world composed of equal or equivalent quantities to express this relationship.


Cécile VOISSET is a freelance translator, independent researcher and associate member of the LIS (Lettres, Idées, Savoirs) at the University of Paris XII, member of the ATLF (Association des Traducteurs Littéraires de France). She has notably published :  » Hobbes philosophe redoutable? Des Amazones et des hommes ou le contrat selon Hobbes« , L’Harmattan, Paris, Coll. Ouverture philosophique, 2008; « Guy Hocquenghem. La révolte (1946-1988)« , Preface by R. Scherer, Paris: Ed. du sextant, 2015; « Identitary Order« , Lambert Academic Publishing, 2017, Trad. de D. Fusaro, « Marx idéaliste. Essais hérétiques sur son matérialisme« , Milan, Ed. Mimesis, coll. Philosophie, 2019. Once is not customary for Plastir, she presents us with the works of Vicken Parsons before making us penetrate into the Parsonian breath itself, which is expressed by the representation of a space not pre-established but constructed by means of sequential color (generally ternary mode) and geometric form (mainly square, rectangle). As Cécile Voisset explains it to us, the thick line of the brush breathes its dynamics into a whole which is interior, an interior or inside, where one circulates appreciably. Vicken Parsons’ painting is an opportunity, among other things, to think about the difference between depth and perspective, and to pose one of the challenges of contemporary art. And the author to show it to us with an acute narrative sense through his prism and his feeling, differentiating fundamentally the museological approach « where one learns but one does not create (place of the dead where one is formed from them and after them) » of art as a gallery process which « as yesterday differs from today, the former from the contemporary ». She sums up her approach as follow: “Parsonian breath results of a space making by a representation or a construction with colour (ternary mode) and geometric shape (square, mainly rectangle). The thick brush stroke infuses a dynamic to a whole, a kind of interior scene, an inside within the viewer can move by imagination and feel it. Vicken Parsons’s artwork is a chance, among others, of thinking painting as depth rather than perspective; her canvas make us ask what it’s at stake in contemporary art”.

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