by Nedko Bucev, Cohort '22
As an artist, I am interested in human groups' interaction with and through water and how water deals with human-made reality. My works reflect water as a universal medium connected with living or lifeless things. The installation Hidden Garden (2021) follows the five best and worst water sources in the US and the correspondence between ingredients diluted in water with people's lives, with the possible conclusion that the water content reflects how people are doing. In the video Water Memory Mixture 1732-1926 (2022), I state that American history reflects in the water and can be read in its content.
Interestingly, the philosophy behind and between my water explorations somehow shapes my artistry. I discovered philosophy in water and found a path to understanding both. The sculpture Alopece Mixture (2022) compares the water content from a random public drinking fountain in Athens today with a purified water sample close to the water content of the times of Socrates in 470 BCE. In the video Grapes and Bubbles (2022), I visualize the absurdity of the arch extended to humanity about the out-of-space expansion of our civilization. The artworks mentioned evidence, at least for me, something new in my approach to water.
What follows is the continuation of a text I wrote about water written while deepening my understanding of the philosophical texts.
Water contains an aspect of oneness, the fluid collectivity with the power to dissolve manmade structures, concepts, and events in its flow, like fantasmic instituting hierarchies, rhizomes, faces, and gazes. Water clarifies the singularities of fringed places, people, and events, moving them from one locale to another in the transparency of liquified spaces and times. The river's waters modify worlds. The river's waters also are an expression that inscribes and escribes events along its shores. For some, it is a memory, and others a machine. Minerals, metals, and living forms give color and density to a luminous body of river water. I meant all that in my artwork without consciously knowing it...
The water flow dissolves time in light and sight, and this is in the river returned reflection of our gaze. A river has times placed without units between them. Upriver is the future; the unknown is flowing down to become known. The present is in front of the gaze; it can be seen, touched, and reflected. The riverfront is a mirror of the present. Downriver is the past. Present reflection mixes with past reflections and floats in down river’s history, like in a cinema lens. There is no boundary in the flow between the future, present and past. At different topos downriver, the past can be present, and the present can be the future. The topos on the flow of the river suggest time without defining it explicitly. Our present is the past for somebody and the future for others after us. The river water mirrors the present on its surface. It is the face we see now and how it flows to the infinite past. Water flows with past objects and events inside. The past is visible in the water’s beds and shores. They are a trace of all the things it washed. Some parts of the waters are known but stay hidden. Some of them are organisms, and others are rocks, and the water is medium for all of them. It moves them from the future through the present to the past.
The water of a river flows because of Earth's gravity. The direction of the flow is from a high to low topos. Yet, we can question its linearity. Water may mirror our concept of linear because of our understanding of gravitational law, but how does the river sense Earth's pull? This is unknown to us. The time in the water on Earth is of its own accord, and we explain it to ourselves according to ours. Water has no self-image; the self is a reflection of man by man. Water is transparent. Water mirrors everything on the surface, and if we are able to look and listen, it mirrors everything in its depths as well. We vision a possibility of dimensional thinking with water. The origin of our thoughts can be sensed through the flow of the water. The origin and the copy as well are because of gravitational thinking. Objects float or sink in water. Objects stay on the water’s [sur]face and flow with it horizontally because of density and tension. Objects that sink stay under the [sur]face or behind it but are also worn away and affected by it. They are inside the water and cannot resist or obstruct the flow. Water reflections are through all senses: touch, smell, taste, and sound. Gravity makes water take the form of rivers, flowers, brain cells, clouds in the sky, and ice in the mountain...
In closing, I want to share a thought behind and between reading Deleuze, Schürmann, and all the other texts in the first year of this program. I see philosophy as an escape for the mind from real reality, similar to art. Becoming a philosopher is a personal matter and means freeing oneself, which is close to what it means to be an artist. Writing a text like this one is like creating an artwork.