Aleph is a Web-based, experimental installation, constructed as a diagram that leads to different places, sources, text, moving images, and screendance in 2D and 3D environments. There are four Mozilla Hub spaces created for this portal. Visitors can walk through space, sound, architectural objects, screendance, and moving image work using intuitive sensing movement.
Ruth Eshel, strings (1976)
El Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges (1945)
Aleph: Notes about Notes
I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth, and none of them reflected me.
Borges writes about his experience with the Aleph, a point in space that allows you to experience all of space and time. Borges imaginative interpretation of time and space suggests a nonlinear sense of temporality. His story The Aleph presents a point in space where all other points coexist, suggesting that time can be conceived as the "simultaneity of all possible outcomes of any given action."
Reflecting on other meanings of the term, "Aleph" is also the name of the first letter of the alphabet of the sacred language. In the Kabbalah, I am familiar with a source as growing in an orthodox Sephardic family. Although both sources are different since the Kabbalah is an ancient sacred source, and the interpretation of Jorge Luise is a secular interpretation, both express notions of simultaneity in a meaningful way.
"The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing was infinite things since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe".
"One of the points in space that contains all points."
The Aleph signifies the En Soph (infinity), the pure and unlimited godhead.
It also has personified qualities; its shape is that of a human pointing to the sky and the earth to indicate that the lower world is a map and mirror of the higher.
During the Middle Ages, God and space were synonymous, thus making the Aleph, which also signifies God, a perfect candidate for the sacred encounter the story narrates. Represented as a human who points to, and is traversed by, virtual space and its supposed original, the Aleph presents the world as a representation of mind, a map, a mirror, both an inversion and a simplification. The self is constituted by static flashes, fragments of space-time, a sort of "angel of the past, the present, and the future". The Aleph also represents the ultimate space of spaces.
In this conflation of brain and mental space, Borges omits in the story a vital reference to the resemblance of the letter Aleph to the brain. According to Bahir, Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, 'looks like the brain, and symbolizes the continuity between human thought and the divine, human thought having no end, for as human thinks, he descends to the end of the world'. In this sense, Aleph implies' 'following thought to ultimate infinity'.
Borges was already aware of Aleph's equation with the brain, twenty years before he published the El Aleph. In 'History of the Angels', in The Extent of My Hope (1926), he wrote: "The letter aleph corresponds to the brain, the First Commandment, the sky of fire, the divine name "I am that I am," and the seraphim known as the Sacred Beasts'. As a metaphor of the mind as the nutshell that contains the awesome and dynamic record of life-long neural activity, the world of the mind is indeed a vast world, which like the universe, is still being mapped. The Aleph points to the infinitude of mind, which is ultimately unrepresentable.
Notes about Notes
Up until today, I have been thinking about it as "that idea" that is conceptual and comprises lots of ideas\fragments of impressions, literature\poetry\memories\felt\non literal experiences that are situated in my mind, and it all feels so coherent and yet so scattered.
Can it be a moment of epiphany?
A hierophant? When one gets an insight into the whole universe and experiences the ultimate unity. The idea, which I would, for now, identify with the symbol of Aleph, represents the ultimate mystical initiation.
We are the slaves of our own ontology.
The colour is a warm ochre, reminiscent of an ancient palimpsest, with flecks of rose pink glowing in the light.
However, in this imagined exhibition, colours are determined and perceived subjectively by the body subject's current emotional state in time and space.
Abstracted forms appear in the light, transparent and simultaneous, and resemble faded graffiti, etchings, engravings, gesture inscriptions, traces, palimpsests, elusive threads of forms, malleable feelings.
The shape initially had no resemblance to anything, perhaps resembling image fragments. However, as the eye travels through things (while other things, such as smell and sound, take place at the same time), these abstracted forms become personified, in-between botanical and human, merging and splitting, connecting with space that feels like a synopsis map, cartographic or archaeological site.
צורות מופשטות מופיעות באור, שקוף ובו זמנית - הן נראות כמו כתובות גרפיטי דהויות, תחריט, חריטה, כיתוב של מחוות, עקבות, כמו חוטים חמקמקים של צורות, תחושה נרקבת.
בהתחלה הצורה לא דמתה לשום דבר, אולי כמו שברי תמונות. אך בהדרגה העין נודדת בדברים (בזמן שדברים אחרים מתרחשים באותה תקופה, כמו ריח, כמו צליל), ופתאום (זה לוקח זמן להרהר על ריקנות הנפש) צורות מופשטות אלה הופכות להתגלמות, בין לבין בוטני ואנושי, מתמזג ומתפצל, מתחבר למרחב שמרגיש כמו מפת תקציר, כמו cartography או אתר ארכיאולוגי.
The experience of simultaneity through bodies and materials, rendering feelings, memories, places, events, nature, past-present-future - all coincide.
There are two movements\ elements in space, similar and yet different. Two forces interacting with each other, resonate with each other, are aware of each other, connect, split, emerge, stand still - All happening in relation to the mental\physical\emotional state of the subject\viewer in space.
This dialogue is sometimes a battlefield, sometimes a lovemaking kind of relation.
חווית סימולטניות, טיוח סימולטניות.
תנאים המעניקים חוויה של מספר מקומות, זמניות מרובה ... אולי עבר-הווה-עתיד - בבת אחת.
יש שני תנועות \ אלמנטים במרחב, הם דומים ועם זאת שונים, שני כוחות מתקשרים זה עם זה, מהדהדים זה עם זה, מודעים זה לזה, מתחברים, מתפצלים, מגיחים, עומדים במקום - הכל קורה ביחס למנטלי \ מצבו הפיזי \ הרגשי של המצולם \ הצופה במרחב.
How much of it is immaterial? Ephemeral? Physical? Tangible?
I have no answers.
The space has no corners, open with an elusive and panoramic surrounding. There is no particular distance, but it is something that can be felt.
Break the distance
Drink the distance
Smell the distance
What is in-between?
It doesn't have a particular structure; it is fluid.
Transparent and simultaneous
"Transparency refers to the ability to perceive multiple spatial locations at the same time. Space not only recedes, but also fluctuates in a constant state of flux. " The overlapping and interpenetrating of figures creates a sense of spatial ambiguity or contradiction.
The concepts and conditions of parallel transparency movements in relativistic theories, as well as their implications; where space-time relativistic thinking allows two objects to coexist in the same space and time at the same time, as such transparency is a space-time condition of betweenness, a simultaneous perception of space.
Eye vs. Mind, Looking vs. Seeing: Perceptual vs. Conceptual Transparency
הגוף יכול לחוש, לפרש ולהבין את הסביבה דרך החושים, והתהליך הזה גם משפיע על הסביבהֿ-חלל באמצעות הפעולה של הראייה.
The house I grew up in is a house where the main wall of the house is shared with a synagogue. So I grew up with the sound of the prayers all my childhood, morning, noon and evening, constantly humming prayers in between random activities in the house, like the song of the sea shirat hayam while washing the dishes."
The synagogue is family-run and inhabited by immigrants from North Africa. As a child, I got used to hearing the synagogue prayers, which were scattered in several centers around our neighborhood.
Most of these synagogues are family synagogues, and they gather small groups of worshippers.
On Friday afternoons, the town begins to enter towards the Sabbath, begins to enter the quiet, silent cars, begins to enter the smell of cooking and cleaning supplies. Then, immediately after the Sabbath siren, the Shechinah descends in a tangible and clear way.
After a short period of time, the prayers begin. Singing in all synagogues is the same, except for minor differences between Tunisian, Moroccan, and Tripolitan singing. Gathering for prayer in all synagogues is almost the same, perhaps with a small difference in time.
I could hear the same chanting from several synagogues simultaneously, with minimal delay, like intervals, like polyphonic singing.
Sometimes the delay was a little more significant, and I could notice a number of different Friday prayer chants, all heard at the same time from different synagogues. This memory is very deep and meaningful to me, and it is imprinted on me very strongly.
Inspect your neurosis and run with it
Thirdspace and the Aleph
A knowable and unknowable, real and imagined lifeworld of experiences, emotional events, and political choices that is existentially shaped by the generative and problematic interplay between centers and peripheries, the abstract and concrete, the impassioned spaces of the conceptual and the lived, marked out materially and metaphorically in spatial praxis, the transformation of (spatial) knowledge into (spatial) action in the field of unevenly developed (spatial) power. (Soja, 1996, p. 31)
Thirdspace is a concept which is brought forward by Edward Soja in his book 'Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places' which came out in 1996. To understand Soja's concept of third-space, we first must refer to Lefebvre's 'triad of space', which consists of three different concepts of space (Lefebvre, 1991, p. 33). The first is 'spatial practice', which is also known as 'perceived space.' This is the physical space around us, which creates the material conditions for our society. The second is 'representations of space', which is also known as 'conceived space'. This is space, as we would describe in an objective way. The third is 'representational spaces', which is also known as 'lived space'. This is the space where social relations take place and where we actively experience it in everyday life (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010).
This is where Soja and his concept of Thirdspace come in. Soja defines Thirdspace as follows:
'A knowable and unknowable, real and imagined lifeworld of experiences, emotional events, and political choices that are existentially shaped by the generative and problematic interplay between centers and peripheries, the abstract and concrete, the impassioned spaces of the conceptual and the lived, marked out materially and metaphorically in spatial praxis, the transformation of (spatial) knowledge into (spatial) action in the field of unevenly developed (spatial) power.' (Soja, 1996, p. 31)
Everything comes together in Thirdspace: subjectivity and objectivity, the abstract and the concrete, the real and the imagined, the knowable and the unimaginable, the repetitive and the differential, structure and agency, mind and body, consciousness and the unconscious, the disciplined and the transdisciplinary, everyday life and unending history.
So Thirdspace is not exactly the same as the third concept of space of Lefebvre (the lived space), although it's space that's 'not defined just lived' (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010). Thirdspace is also a combination of all of these spaces. It's a space that is trying to get beyond discourses; it's a space where creativity takes place, and it's a space that is open to others (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010). Soja even compares Thirdspace to the Aleph, which is 'the place where all places are' (Soja, 1996, p. 54) Soja also clarifies that when he says:
'Thirdspace, as I have been defining it, retains the multiple meanings Lefebvre persistently ascribed to social space. It is both a space that is distinguishable from other spaces (physical and mental, or Firstspace and Second space) and a transcending composite of all spaces (Thirdspace as Aleph).' (Soja, 1996, p. 62)
Thirdspace is alternative postmodern geography, and the thirding-as-othering was designed to make this alternative possible and to break down the dichotomy.
Thirdspace is derived from Michel Foucault and Henri Lefebvre's heterotopia notion and resembles Homi Bahba's concept of cultural hybridity. Soja's work employs dialectics, rather than dialectics, of human geography–emphasizing the equal importance of history, contemporary social relations, and spatial constructs in understanding the urban environments around us.
"The Aleph" by Jorge Luis Borges and "The Trialectics of Spatiality" by Edward Soja deal with a notion of universality or transcendence of binary or categorical thought. While "The Aleph" is a fictional telling of an author who encounters a magical "place where, without admixture or confusion, all the places of the world, seen from every angle, coexist (equivalent to the experience of my studio space)," Soja and Lefebvre are calling for a reconditioning to how we perceive and discuss the space surrounding us. We cannot see social space because it is plagued by a "double illusion," or "the illusion of transparency" and the "realistic illusion." This "double illusion" is constantly shifting and changing and essentially hides the fact that space is a social product. His dialectics of spatiality is the resulting way in which we must learn to perceive space and is comprised of three essential categories and combined with Soja's essay; the three parts are as: first space (perceived space or spatial practice), second space (conceived space or representations of space) and third space (lived space or spaces of representation, it is a result of the interaction of the prior two).