March 16 -April 7th

Exhibition Reception: Saturday, March 16th, 5-7pm

Martha Daghlian
The Great Art of Knowing

An Epistemology of the Fool 

Scholars have a word for the art of knowing: epistemology. It is the field of philosophy dedicated to knowing how knowledge is created from the world. Scholars make knowledge by ordering, naming, and removing objects from their contexts. In this gallery, for instance, the scholar walks one arm folded behind their back. With a free hand they point to their surroundings. Here: a velvet butterfly, a shadow of a stained glass window, a harlequin chaise. Later, in a dim-lit study, the scholar recalls how the objects behaved. Measuring physical attributes and indexing references are the scholar’s divination. How things are, to the scholar, is objective. And this is how they should be.

In The Great Art of Knowing, two epistemologies come into a comedic encounter through quilted monitor screens. They meet as characters who are as old as time itself, the scholar and the fool.

The scholar and the fool are like cousins, understood to each other through their opposition. One is because the other is supposedly not. Being made from opposition, the more rigid of the two comes undone by the other’s presence.

The fool lacks information and by consequence lacks sense. The fool has no need for either. More information does not produce more sense but disorder. A world of disorder demands to be ordered by the scholar. Dissonance laughs at this feeble endeavor. With no need for sense, dissonance befriends the fool. Patron saint of humor, player and trickster to bewildered audiences, the fool appears to anticipate change. To the scholar, this is mastery. It is infuriating to see the fool navigate chaos with ease. This amuses the trickster fool for it is neither mastery nor anticipation. The fool suspends expectations.

As if walking a tightrope, the fool absorbs improvisational changes in their environment through their toes. They allow chaos to move up through the body and mitigate the shifting ground with counteractive hip movements. An epistemology of the fool is knowing through unexpected encounter. Scholars have a word for this too: phenomenology.

The Great Art of Knowing can be experienced as a phenomenology of velvet. As a material, velvet records its encounters. It evidences where it has been touched and communicates it through two channels of dark and light. It is a phenomenological material. At first, velvet is woven into tiny loops, the same as cotton and silk. Then the loops are cut. This cutting creates the short luminous hairs that dim and brighten like an on/off switch when passed over with a hand. Velvet gets lumped with unserious things such as plush toys and players’ costumes. Like the fool, levity is an attribute to the breadth of velvet’s knowing.

With each piece in The Great Art of Knowing, try to quiet scholarly compulsions. Learn to record encounters as velvet does. As changing environments brush past, communicate what you see through the luminosity of severed loops. In order to know this world of chaos as a friend, approach it with an epistemology of the fool.

Kaya Notebloom

303 S. 5th Avenue #165
Springfield OR 97477

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Friday - Sunday

* The space is closed between exhibitions and during installations