This folio starts from an interesting coincidence and an act of remembering that I found between found photographs, which have been collected during the past 3 months in Venice, and books by W.G.Sebald.* This is mainly constructed by accidentally discovered image, however, in order to comprehend them in much depth, it has been also added purposely researched contents and some images in the books. As Sebald did at a Hotel in Limone**, I began to find connections between the pieces of images, spreading them out on my table. They had links to each other in some way, and in this process, my desire to excavate them in detail derived from the way of working: reproducing, remaking, and reprinting. These call to mind the process of rendering or transcription.
However, the more I tried to observe and read, the more that it seemed that there was something that I should learn and didn’t know, so that frustration that I could not reach to the depth/truth overwhelmed me. In the end, the basis of this folio, the act of collecting and the discovery of knowledge, is added up to something that never reaches the end. In that sense, this folio is something not only that will be in progress forever, and never will be perfect, but also that digs into mysteries, and which failures over and over.
The title, “Arbitrary or Deluded Enterprise” is borrowed from Austerlitz’s words in “Austerlitz” by Sebald. In this part, he is realizing that countless records, research, and act of writing that he has done, does not have limitless potential, but only ideas that will never be complete.
“The very thing which may usually convey a sense of purposeful intelligence – the exposition of an idea by means of a certain stylistic facility – now seemed to me nothing but an entirely arbitrary or deluded enterprise.”
The futile attempt always reminds me of the part of life that what we are experiencing will be forgotten and destroyed/disappeared in the end, This parallels my work, in that it is a kind of unhealthy growth issuing from my ignorance and lack of memory, and the attempt to understand it is at best a makeshift expedient.***
*Vertigo(1990), The Rings of Saturn (1995), Austerlitz (2001)
**August the 2nd was a perfect day. I sat at a table near the open terrace door, my papers and notes spread out around me, drawing connection between events that lay far apart but which seemed to me to be of the same order. (Vertigo)
***All I could think was that such a sentence only appears to mean something, but in truth is at best a makeshift expedient, and kind of unhealthy growth issuing from our ignorance, something which we use, in the same way as many sea plants and animals use their tentacles, to grope blindly through the darkness enveloping us. (Austerlitz)