IMN #37 — Pak

Prometheus by Pak

It's Monday Night #37

Tonight, let’s share thoughts about @muratpak's work: the making of visual and conceptual machines with perpetual motion, which leads us with humor into physical and metaphysical paradoxes of the matter.

The work of @muratpak is abundant, by its mediums (concept, moving images, poetry, etc.), its themes, its issues, which grows in a constantly surprising and cunning way.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that @muratpak revolves around a small number of intuitions that act on their work as obsessions that both structure and polarize their formal research.

It is as if Pak is continually looking for new mechanisms to communicate the same message - which, of course, does not leave the message quite intact.

Each project - I'd even go so far as to say: each tweet - would be in some way a deepening, a refinement or an attempt to give the final version of this intuition, which concerns the relationship between being & non-being or (which is not the same), between matter & nothingness.

@muratpak is an artist who seeks to give a sensitive form - by working on the material - to an unspeakable ontological truth: the playful coincidence of being and non-being, of the finite and the infinite, of the comic and the tragic, of repetition and difference.

For Pak's artistic philosophy is not peremptory or dogmatic; if it affirms anything, it is not a thesis, but the deeply enigmatic nature of our understanding of reality.

This truth is not immobile and eternal, it is dynamic and changing: it affirms the reversal of things as the cosmic principle that governs the transformation of everything.

What is unchanging is the living contradiction that puts beings in motion, which constantly challenges thought, makes it perplexed, suspicious, doubtful, and at the same time opens it to the irony and poetry of a world that is both precarious and unstable.

Pak's "thinking" - embodied thinking, designed thinking - is on the verge of absolute skepticism, their wisdom deliberately approaching impertinent sophistry, in an approach that studies in a rigorous and inventive way how the full is emptied and how the empty is filled.

The demonstration is not rhetorical and pompous, it is based on a playful and sophisticated use of blockchain technology: for example, it is a merging mass (symbolized by a sphere) that increases during a given time according to the operations carried out by the collectors.

The visual language adopted is refined, all in lines and volumes; the light sources are minimal and positioned so as to draw the outline of the objects; black and white (or even monochrome) is often preferred, which varies according to a subtle play of darkness and light.

What Pak presents to us are ultimately a kind of numerical modeling of metaphysical experiences.

In the same way that one constructs a set of mathematical functions to describe a physical phenomenon - abstracting from the phenomenon everything that is not useful to know it - Pak models immaterial phenomena: an infinite motion, a perfect immobility, etc.

This is why the geometric form that haunts Pak, which is both the unity and the common denominator of his work, is the sphere. The sphere is the figure of all contradictions: it is finite (delimited) and at the same time infinite (it has neither beginning nor end).

The sphere is a pattern that is recognizable and at the same time unintelligible; it is of dazzling clarity and unfathomable opacity.

It is a form that bears the trace of the idea that made it possible to build it: the idea of the void (around which it is drawn) and the idea of the infinite (that, paradoxically, it must limit to make it sensitive in space).

Everybody knows the number Pi: a sequence of decimals that defines the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter; this sequence of decimals is infinite.

Pi is precisely what is called an irrational number (it cannot be written as a fraction a/b, where a and b are two relative integers, b being not zero).

It is a constant - Pi expresses a constant relationship - and it is an immense magnitude (i.e.: immeasurable, which the mind cannot measure).

It seems to me that @muratpak reactivates old cosmological representations of celestial bodies: since the dawn of time, it is enough to inscribe two spheres in the same space to suggest an image of the cosmos.

I am thinking for example of Aristotle's texts on metaphysics, which tells how the immobile stars eternally revolve around the earth in an infinite circular motion.

I see Pak as an inventor of imaginary cosmos: they design alternative but perfect astronomies, they explore different relationships, different architectures that keep a multiplicity of spherical bodies in a perpetual motion that brings them together.

But this principle (dialectical coincidence of opposites: the empty & the full, the finite & the infinite, the one & the many, etc.) exists not only in the images, but also in the blockchain mechanisms of collecting Pak's pieces - an aspect that artists often tend to leave out.

What interests Pak is how human collectives are created around artifacts that are both technological and aesthetic achievements. This is why the principle of Open Edition caught Pak's attention early on.

As in "Censored" his collaboration with Julian Assange, for example, where each collector (inventor of a message to be affirmed as denied, erased, deleted) becomes a concrete collaborator.

It reconfigures the relationship of the collector (or viewer) to the work of art: it is no longer simply a matter of looking or acquiring, but of taking part and contributing to a process that is both conceptual and sensitive.

It is not the image (the simulacrum, the thing to be seen) as such that matters, but the rule of the game that leads to its production, its circulation, its appropriation by an individual.

Pak reinvents the figure of the artist who is no longer so much the demiurge or genius creator as an anonymous master of the game, without genre, a singularity of any kind, who writes and thinks in the first person plural.

They don't so much give artistic goods to consume (or to speculate on) as they invite us to performances or events that are only worthwhile because of their interpellative force...

...and this goes from a massive drop of several tens of thousands of NFTs to the paradoxical wisdom of the least of their tweets.

8:39 PM (CET), Monday, October 17th, 2022 — Collector: access open edition