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In an amalgam of ancient cultural memory there is a tiny thimble containing all the alternate universes, events, and possibilities that have not yet occurred, the majority of which may never occur though, in fact, one may never know what unknown occurrence will not occur.
Robert Irwin said something that has stuck with me for years: “What we’re really talking about is changing the whole visual structure of how you look at the world.” If you can change how you bring the world into focus, that can, in time, change the culture itself.
Let's say: “that p may or may not occur.” Is “that” a demonstrative pronoun pointing to the proposition p; a conjunction lacking an introductory clause which it itself would link to the predicate; a grammatical or semantic anaphora (more euphonic than “substitute”) representing a noun; a blank to be circumstantially filled; a conventional notation to advance a hypothesis; or a synonym of “let's say”?
In an artcritical.com round-table discussion of Phillip Guston’s 60s paintings I wrote “I love the determined contingency of all of them, as though each decision was a response to the question ‘what if?’” And then later, “Guston articulates and celebrates incipience, the potential for a thing to come into being.
Limited only through whatever is impossible or contradictory, contingency thrives opportunistically. Whatever is possible has been claimed by the term, and that includes a very broad swathe of happening. As a matter of fact, however, not everything that possibly can happen does happen. In its empirical extent, some conditions do issue in occurrences more likely to happen than not, some unforeseen perhaps, yet inherent in possibility.
Speed was always a point of pride for me—I talk fast and walk fast. When I was in the third grade I was the fastest kid in school—boys AND girls. Then I got my period in the fourth grade and became the slowest. I remember the first time I got to GO fast was a motorcycle ride in the backwoods roads with an adult man and I was only sixteen. My stepdad always said no to motorcycles and talked about scraping people off the road, but there was something always itching at my plump body, something itching and wanting to go so fast we might escape.
“one of the chief advantages of being rich was that one need not be exposed to unforeseen contingencies: by the use of ordinary firmness and common sense one could make sure of doing exactly the same thing every day at the same hour.
The interlocking layers of color, texture, paint, shape, and air seem to inhale and exhale into and out of one another, freed of mass or recognizable temporality. Yet, all is contingent, dependent on what it touches.