[NetBehaviour] Eat your place in space

Paul Hertz ignotus at gmail.com
Sat Jun 12 21:40:22 CEST 2021

Thanks, Max, for your observations and speculations. I'm writing on a
phone, so I'll be brief.

The pattern in my signature is called a Latin Square. It's used in
agricultural test plots, for example, in more complex versions. It's also
behind the pattern on the cake, though I hadn't made the connection until
your reply reminded me.

I created a game with homemade punchcards to produce thousands of
variations on the pattern on the cake. As part of the installation a local
theater group helped me to create a participatory wall design. Visitors to
the gallery strung a collection of colored beads on a string. The order of
the beads determined a pattern. I drew the outlines of the pattern on paper
mounted on the wall. The performers colored them in, following a set of

My photo exceeded the megabyte limits of the list, which is why it was
forwarded by a moderator (thank you!). But I do think that some modest use
of media in posts could be interesting. Right now people use links.



On Sat, Jun 12, 2021, 1:30 PM Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Hi Paul,
> Such an interesting post and image, thank you!
> In your signature, I see a kind of A-B-B'-A' or "chiasmus" pattern, which
> I learned about just last year:
> (*,+,#,=)(#,=,*,+)(=,#,+,*)(+,*,=,#)
> asterisk, plus, number, equals
> number, equals, asterisk, plus
> equals, number, plus, asterisk
> plus, asterisk, equals, number
> or:
> 1-2-3-4
> 3-4-1-2
> 4-3-2-1
> 2-1-4-3
> I'm not especially knowledgeable about such permutations, maybe they are
> standard in some context?  But recursive loop is what I associate it with
> and this applies to lots of settings -- literature, geometry, knots, really
> very many contexts.  In the natural world helical and rotation patterns
> seems to resemble it in a sense, like the vines populating in yards this
> time of year in my climate zone.
> The floor pattern you mention is also super interesting.  The geometry
> itself in your photo is very unique and striking, how it looks kind of like
> a labyrinth pattern but it has lots of associations like a diagram, path,
> even a story perhaps but also a place.  So many of the places people
> mention lately, like ancient towns, have this story-path mix.  I was
> reminded of the floors of the Duomo in Florence which I visited in 2019 for
> the first time.  The floors are really interesting and geometrical, and
> with the giant clock in the Duomo caused me to wonder if the whole
> structure is kind of about time in a way.  The way one walks over, through,
> and within the geometry of the floors is very interesting.  They also look
> very modern, so I wonder if I'm misconstruing them as part of the Duomo --
> were they added in the 1800's?  I assume not, and even the exterior of the
> Duomo looks so oddly modern in its patterns, but I could be wrong.
> I haven't done any kind of food art that I can recall but of course it's
> very interesting and has millennia of parallels.  (Actually, in the book I
> just finished about Leonardo I included a little vignette about eating a
> wild grape I found during a walk by the river and it was one of my favorite
> parts of the book -- and the walk.)
> The social, community aspect of the great photo you include (which I
> didn't know was possible on list?) is very palpable.  It really extends the
> geometric pattern to another sphere so to speak, the people who
> participated and all their perceptions before, during, and after the event.
> It makes me wonder in what ways all art is generative art so to speak.
> I'm sure this has been said before though.
> I was thinking this morning about Dante for a book I'm trying about his
> relationship to Leonardo, a book prompted by a book about Leonardo that was
> absolutely prompted by my visit to Florence and the Duomo in spring 2019
> and the semi-coeval pandemic that followed shortly after.  Dante called his
> book just *Comedia*, the old spelling of commedia, which means just
> "comedy" and in Dante's era meant, from what I can gather, "story" of the
> sort that was about ordinary life and did not end in tragedy.  I had been
> thinking of someone's use of "convivial" to describe the list, a term that
> reminded me of Dante's pre-*Comedia *book *Convivio *(Banquet) which is
> about people sharing knowledge as they share food.  Dante outlines a lot of
> his scientific ideas in the *Convivio *and I'm trying to understand them
> a bit; he also outlines a kind of philosophy of art, imagination,
> psychology, poetry, painting, and so forth.
> For whatever reason I got to associating the names *Comedia *and
> *Convivio*, and it got me wondering if comedy relates at all to "eating
> together," i.e. comestible, etc.  I don't see that in the etymology site I
> use, but "komos" meant festival I guess which might have been associated
> with eating.  It's terribly unrigorous, this way of word-associating, and
> of course there may be zero valid connection between comedy and eating
> etymologically, but it had me thinking anyway.
> Then I was reminded of Cattelan's *Comedian *from a year or two ago.  I
> don't know much about Cattelan, just what one reads in the papers so to
> speak, but I do know he created a golden toilet (which was in the media
> relating to a spat over loaning artwork to the previous president, and then
> again for being stolen I think) and a work in which he "sold" his
> gallerist.  So, kind of conceptual and performance art perhaps is a common
> thread.
> In any case, the *Comedian *was written about at the time for being a
> work documented and sold using a digital certificate if I recall.  Again,
> not sure how or if this relates to the recent discussion here.  In trying
> to "decipher" the work, a task which is perhaps some core part of every art
> work, commentators mentioned that "bananas are comical because people slip
> on them and it is deemed funny."  I guess Cattelan had also used bananas in
> previous works.  *Comedian *was a banana taped to the wall, in three
> reproductions, so people kind of said "it's a joke on the art world."  Fair
> enough.  Then however I wondered if it could have been a kind of chiasmus,
> where the duct tape crossing the banana was a motif.  Seemed unlikely.
> Then I wondered, since I associate chiasmus with Leonardo's works, if *Comedian
> *could be a reference to the *Mona Lisa*, Lisa del Giocondo, La Joconde,
> the jocund one, the jokester.  Aristotle was a major source for Dante, and
> he said that comedy was a way to process emotion via laughter in contrast
> to tragedy, which was by tears (to simplify a bit).
> I absolutely don't want to situate your work "eat your place in space" in
> any kind of a shadow, whatsoever, or preliminarity with regards to
> Cattelan's work.  I also don't mean to suggest that the Leonardo reference
> (if true) makes or confirms *Comedian *as a "great work of art."  I'm
> probably not qualified to criticize *Comedian *but I think on a basic
> level I would have "concerns" about it even or especially if it's a
> reference to Leonardo.  In fact, I would say that even if Cattelan is
> making such references "he gets Leonardo wrong," just as I think the art
> world -- the world I suppose -- gets Leonardo wrong.  I'd say that your
> work "eat your place in space" at least in how I see it presented by your
> email has more in harmony with Leonardo as I understand his work.  Of
> course I can't prove this, but if I had to try to offer reasons I would say
> that Leonardo was critical of today's world, including its art world, in
> advance; he was as skeptical of the "great artist" paradigm as he was aware
> of his place at the pinnacle of it; and his goal was to assist the down to
> earth and decent in human life in its evidently long-shot attempt to
> survive the slick and fabulous -- a survival which he associated with the
> very survival of humanity and the planet itself.
> Again thanks for posting, and my apologies if this reply is way off base!
> All best,
> Max
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Paul Hertz via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> >
> *Sent:* Friday, June 11, 2021 1:01 PM
> *To:* NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Cc:* Paul Hertz <ignotus at gmail.com>
> *Subject:* [NetBehaviour] Eat your place in space
> Always words, words on the list. Let me offer you some cake.
> This is from the very first iteration of "A comer tu lugar en el espacio"
> / "Eat your place in space," in the Palau Maricel, Sitges, Spain, Fall
> 1982. The work consists of a geometric tiling design on the floor, usually
> done with tape, and the same design on a cake. Participants take a piece of
> cake and walk over to the corresponding spot on the floor, where they eat
> their location in space. The design was based on a generative system I was
> developing at the time, later known as IgnoTheory.
> The cake was made by my friend Marcelino Chacon, a skilled pastry chef. He
> decorated the cake with cocoa powder and different dried fruits. Our young
> son is looking on in anticipation, as is the pianist Charles Miles.
> The work has been repeated various times, notably in 1992 in Chicago.
> I ate my place in space and I am still here. Some of the participants,
> I've never seen again.
> --
> -----   (*,+,#,=)(#,=,*,+)(=,#,+,*)(+,*,=,#)|
> |   ---
> http://paulhertz.net/
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> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
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