e-flux Conversations has been closed to new contributions and will remain online as an archive. Check out our new platform for short-form writing, e-flux Notes.

e-flux conversations

"decay, territory, forms, cosmos, violence"

A conversation between Pelin Tan and Emre Hüner on decay,violence, territory, forms, belonging, arche-fossil and time in cosmos…about the territory of Southeast Anatolia/Turkey and Mesopotamia.

I knew that he was going to succeed, for he had time on his side, and that the foundations of the world were going to collapse; he was moved by no precise motivation, but an animal-like obstinacy; I attributed to him the intuitive knowledge and powers of a shaman.
—Daniel24 1

Pelin Tan: An artifact is always related to decay and time; thus it is not only situated in historical time. Just remember our experience of the “arche-fossil” in the geography of Mesopotamia. The philosopher Quentin Meillassoux has introduced the concept of the arche-fossil as a framework for looking at “not just materials indicating the traces of past life … but materials indicating the existence of an ancestral reality or event.”2 I think the basic questions you and I were both rooted in were: How we can think of something we never before thought? How can we feel it? What is the feeling of it? Actually, this was your question when we began trying to understand form in the time of cosmos. I think an artifact, or the form of an artifact, is always somewhat unknown because it also carries a potential.
Emre Hüner: Yes, these are also the questions posed by speculative realism: If there is something outside of thought, how do you know it without thinking it? It’s related to the notion of the great outdoors, as Meillassoux calls it. I approach this through the transformation and transmission of memory, of given information without a clear source associated with it; this is the void where we look for things we never thought before, or at least a vague feeling of it. For instance, I visualize encrypted porous surfaces, often impossible to calculate, and then I realize that these might actually be similar to the images of the Comet 67P sent by the Rosetta Probe. And then I see a superior model in this of a more durable memory, a potentially perfect cosmic artifact or arche-fossil whose place in time is much larger than any historical reference.