Assemblage, what the fuck?
I’m sure I should be reading Deleuze or watching some interminable lecture by Delanda on Youtube (actually his lectures aren’t bad), but fuck it. I’ve gone straight to Wikipedia and straight to assemblage art because I have some vague sense of what that is – putting together found objects, the juxtaposition of incompatible bits and pieces from everyday life, etc. This leads me back to the roughly similar terrain of collage. I think of the photo-collages of Hannah Hoch and the mixed media painting of Georges Braque. Surely that is enough to go on – at least initially.
Two features of assemblage:
- Composed of pre-constructed things that have been removed from their ordinary contexts. The various things both reference a surrounding, non-aesthetic immediacy, but also an unobtainable original context – an irrecoverable object past.
- the various things are combined in a manner that not only unsettles the possibility of unity but establishes another, unlikely whole. There is a clear irony in linking fragmentation and disjuncture to the possibility of delineated composition. It as though only here, within the context of artistic assemblage, that both the arbitrary nature of the world and the impossibility of escaping this arbitrariness can be represented. The assemblage becomes a symbol of the non-organic, the non-whole, the irreconcilable.
Yet my interest is not precisely in creating symbols. It is to somehow find effective means to negotiate assemblage intimately – to traverse it – without any possibility of stepping back to take in the whole. My aim is to pass ignorantly into the assembled space.