A Note on Media and Identity

Information pertaining to a framed or unframed perceptual object from the Haecceities series appears beneath the image of the object. This information includes the dimensions, in inches, of the object (height preceding width or height x width x depth); materials used in the construction of the object, such as digital or photographic contact prints, diapositives, and transparencies, papers, acrylic, bolts, screws, etc.; the nature of the support of the materials; and the kind of frame, if applicable, used to outline the object and hold the glass or acrylic that protects the materials of that object. A frame is always a constituent of a perceptual object whether that object is two-dimensional or three-dimensional.

Such information is listed as the media of traditional artworks are typically listed. However, it would be a mistake to identify each work from the Haecceities series with the perceptual object itself to which the information listed beneath an image of that object pertains. And it would be a mistake to suppose that one apprehends the identity of any artwork from the Haecceities series in vision alone. The identity of an artwork from the Haecceities series cannot be comprehended simply by looking at the perceptual object on which apprehension of the identity of the work partially depends. Rather, the language of a Haecceity that is repeated in a perceptual object must be comprehended in order for the intended identity of the work to be understood. The nature of that repetition can also affect how what is singled out by the language is understood. In addition, any supporting language that a perceptual object contains is relevant to the identity of the work to which the perceptual object pertains, and it must be read in order to understand that relevance.

The language of Essentialism that is used in any Haecceity artwork singles out an ‘ideational’ object or objects. An object is ideational when its being all or part of an Essentialist artwork depends on understanding language that singles out the object in relation to that understanding.  As explained in Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction, an ideational object can be understood to be both the entire work of art of a particular work of Essentialist art, and it can be understood to be part of the work of art with the perceptual object that contains the language that singles out the ideational object. These states of affairs are not mutually exclusive but are to be understood to hold at the same time for the same work.

Any perceptual object of an Essentialist artwork includes language that must be read and understood for anything to be the work of a particular title, such as Haecceity 1.0.0. “In Subjects and Objects, I introduced the neologism ‘concipient’ to mark the subject’s relation, as the agent of reading and reflection, to the language on which Essentialism depends. Thus the term ‘concipient’ is meant to be the conceptual counterpart of the term ‘percipient.’ Although the subject’s being a percipient is necessary to the comprehension of Essentialist artwork identity, and to the apprehension of the perceptual space on which that comprehension depends, it is not sufficient. The subject must read and reflect on the language contained in the perceptual object that is a presupposition of Essentialist identity for that identity not only to be understood, but, in some cases, for it to be determined or effected.” – Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction

As indicated in Subjects and Objects, it is possible for both consciousness and agency to be used as artistic media. The same book maintains that language must be used to identify the limits of Abstraction. The relevance of language to the artistic investigation of radical identity is explored more thoroughly in Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction. In the Haecceities series, language is used to single something out with which all or part of an artwork is meant to be identified. The language of a Haecceity can be so written that, as it is deliberately attended to, both consciousness and agency become means by which the identification of all or part of an artwork with something is at least partially effected. As such means, consciousness and agency can be understood to be as much media of works in the series as are the different materials of perceptual objects. (See Subject and Objects and Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction.)

It is worth noting that how perceptual elements of perceptual objects – including the repeated visible language of the specifications that they contain – are designed to interact with consciousness, agency, and conceptual aspects of those specifications is important not only to the Essentialist identification of the limits of Abstraction and kinds of radical identity, but to matters of philosophical and artistic interest that pertain to identification. In addition, it is important to the complex aesthetic that results from the nature of the pursuit of each kind of identification. (See Haecceities: Essentialism, Identity, and Abstraction.)

Jeffrey Strayer, 2019.