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embrichord was born of meditation on the mind/body relation. in reality, there is no part of the art-making process (or our perpetual state of being in the world) that is only bodily or only mental. yet an imagination of deconstruction still reveals the body and the intellect as essences in these processes. the video shows the first phase (body) of a deconstructed painting process, while finished pieces show the second (mind). both the video and the paintings were on display in Heimbold Visual Arts Center in Bronxville, New York in November 2019.


umriss is outline. the older form of “um” is “emb” as in embryo or embrace. riss is from rift. to embrace the rift. whatever is the now is surely fictionalized to be cemented as a celebratable or condemnable now. “pushing beyond the clear demarcation of fact and fiction, the umriss interrupts the now of time, thus becoming an interface allowing for a transit of a pre-symbolic X into history.” “the outline is a dynamic space that offers a new way of approaching perception, knowledge, and representation. the presumed separation between a subject and its object of knowledge, as condition for representation, is replaced with a subject–object relationality.” “this relationship is shaped by desire and reason alike. as shaped by desire, every reading is produced by corporality, and as shaped by reason, reading the umriss entails an abstraction.”1

if i think therefore i am then my body and the world only is because i think… but i am not thinking as i thrash! are we so machine-ic and reproductive that my body is and does what i think? cannot be.2

“the body’s animation is not the assemblage or juxtaposition of its parts. nor is it a question of a mind coming down from somewhere else into an automaton—which would still imply that the body itself is without an inside and without a “self.” a human body is present when, between seeing and visible, between touching and touched, between one eye and the other, between the hand and the hand a kind of crossover is made, when the spark of the sensing-sensible is lit, when the fire starts to burn that will not stop burning until some accident of the body unmakes what no accident would have sufficed to make.”3

what i cut out of my dance and put onto my canvas are all the "best illuminated point[s] of a moving zone which comprises all that we feel or think or will- ALL, in short that we ARE at any given moment.” the states are not “distinct elements. they continue each other in an endless flow” but as we have “distinguished and separated them artificially, it is obliged next to reunite them by an artificial bond.” we create systems, lay over lattices, as an “artificial imitation of the internal life, a static equivalent which will lend itself better to the requirements of logic and language, just because we have eliminated from it the element of real time.”4

“unity always operates in an empty dimension supplementary to that of the system considered.”5

when we separate sensational bodily experience from intellect, we generate in us repulsion. we react to recognition of sense by disregarding or scorning the very thing and its role in our (and all organisms’) experience, which is integral: experience is the result of interaction of organism and environment, interaction transforms into participation and communication, and “sense-organs are the means of this participation.” having already separated body and mind, we could of course be disgusted by immediate sensation, or feel that it is bad… animals have body, mind, and in between sense too, but animals don’t separate like we do, so though we are like them we are not… and when we recognize this we reconnect body and mind and saturate the unity with “conscious meanings derived from communication and deliberate expression.”6

“what are we, in fact, what is our character, if not the condensation of the history that we have lived from our birth —nay, even before our birth, since we bring with us prenatal dispositions? doubtless we think with only a small part of our past, but it is with our entire past, including the original bent of our soul, that we desire, will and act. our past, then, as a whole, is made manifest to us in its impulse; it is felt in the form of tendency, although a small part of it only is known in the form of idea.”7

“within our intellectual heritage there is no language in which to describe” a concept which avoids the division of “the subject into the mutually exclusive categories of the mind and body.” embodied subjectivity / psychical corporeality needs to be developed. — “the body provides a point of mediation between what is perceived as purely internal and accessible only to the subject and what is external and publicly observable, a point from which to rethink the opposition between the inside and the outside, the private and the public, the self and other, and all the other binary pairs associated with the mind/body opposition.” — where is or how is the “interface between the soma and the psyche, between biology and psychology”?8

“under the charm of the dionysian not only is the union between man and man reaffirmed, but nature which has become alienated, hostile, or subjugated, celebrates once more her reconciliation with her lost son, man.” “in song and in dance” one is “no longer an artist, he has become a work of art: in these paroxysms of intoxication the artistic power of all nature reveals itself to the highest gratification of the primordial unity.”9

is life worthless? some who we hold in the highest regard in our tradition feel so negatively about life and so positively for nonlife, for concepts and virtues well above and beyond and outside of life, or hate for life because it is suffering. reason is virtue is happiness? our instinct is to be stomped? no! happiness and instinct are one! love life as the body and mind, as one, will…10

to find truth some demand: “free yourself from the senses’ deceit, from becoming, from history, from the lie—history is nothing but belief in the senses, belief in the lie.” they say to reject the senses. it is the lie! “above all” they say we must “do away with the body, this pathetic idée fixe [obsession] of the senses, afflicted with every logical error there is, refuted, even impossible—although it has the nerve to behave as if it were real!”11

headed toward dangerous excess some have overdeveloped the logical, made a “tyrant out of reason.” they were responding to a situation of emergency: they were in danger, they had to make this choice: either to be destroyed, or to be absurdly rational.” they tried to “produce a permanent daylight against the dark desires—the daylight of reason.” this “most glaring daylight, rationality at all costs, a life clear, cold, careful, aware, without instinct, in resistance to the instincts, was itself just a sickness, another sickness—and not at all a way back to ‘virtue,’ to ‘health,’ to happiness . . . to have to fight the instincts—that is the formula for décadence. as long as life is ascending, happiness is the same as instinct.”12


1.  lou andreas-salomé’s concept of umriss described by gisela brinker-gabler in her 2012 book image in outline

2.  renée descartes, gilles deleuze & félix guattari (d&g)

3.  maurice merleau-ponty in “eye and mind”

4.  henri bergson in ch 1 of creative evolution

5.  d&g in a thousand plateaus

6.  john dewey in ch 2 of art as experience

7.  bergson

8.  elizabeth grosz in ch 1 and 2 of volatile bodies

9. friedrich nietzsche in sec 1 of birth of tragedy

10.  " on socrates in twilight of the idols

11.  " on “reason” in philosophy in twilight of the idols

12. " on socrates in twilight of the idols

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