# Enantiomorphic Looking and Morphological Reading

Hello, again. I hope this doesn’t cause a riot. I’d appreciate your input.

This is my response to Smithson’s essay, http://www.robertsmithson.com/essays/language.htm

It might help to put these on when you read Smithson’s essay:

Consider this as an analogy for percieving language:

I think it’s interesting how we can map in three dimensions using the xyz coordinate plain, with two-dimensional analytical thought. I attribute this to the scale at which the mind works when calibrated to language. By “scale” here, I mean a “zoom scope” like on a camera that focuses in on a set of problems - this is the scope we “three-dimensionalize” two-dimensional things in. By this, I mean that the scope is focused on two dimensions (i.e. subject / verb agreement … y must = x etc.). This two-dimensional mind follows rules very well. “Do this not this, and then do that, and not that. Upon completion of that, do those, then those, then you will have a three-dimensional cube”. The resulting “three-dimensions” are a product of two-dimensional thought that operates on a different scale. The three-dimensional cube on a page, is then seen as a two-dimensional map with an illusory “three-dimensional” object on it. how one percieves this illusion, is with the eye and ear - that scale - not the analytical, rule following mind. Both make us human, but the former scale is more human, while the latter “lower” scale is more machine… hence the cyborg. We are all cyborgs.

When looking at the cube, it shifts from front to back in three dimensions off of the page. It is the power of the unresolved incongruencies that shove a side either to the front or the back. The tension between the disparate angular lines, and the perpendicular lines causes the cube to move from front to back. Some lines gain more power than others in a constant struggle for power amongst the unresolved disparates. If it were resolved, it would be a set of two-dimensional “dead lines”.

Very interesting (though occasionally incomprehensible) - I still have no idea what enantiomorphic is supposed to mean, however …

Smithson, btw, is kind of a windbag.

Old news, nice try anyway though.

Why don’t you explain what it means then, human animal?

It means that your post is “old & moldy” as well as “boring like a dusty book”.

I recommend you to post some new and original information next time.

So, cypressmoon, what DOES “enantiomorphic” mean?

(ps - don’t mind realun - it’s his job to scare away newcomers …)

Smithson’s dialectic of Site / Non Site

Site / Nonsite

1. open limits / closed limits
2. A series of points / An array of matter
3. Outer Coordinates / Inner Coordinates
5. Indeterminate Certainty / Determinate uncertainty
6. Scattered Information / Contained information
7. Reflection / Mirror
8. Edge / Center
9. Some Place (physical) / No place (abstract)
10. Many / One

I think, to understand this Smithson, there needs to be a clear distinction made between metaphysical aesthetics, and dialctical aesthetics.

The metaphysical inquiry into aesthetics we might call ”ontological aesthetics”, strips away the logically extrapolated optics, and the vitreous body from aesthetic experience. What Smithson is trying to do, I think, is not to ontologize with logic in his earthworks (see The Spiral Jetty), but to perceive in an indiscriminate relationship between the landscape and the somewhat enantiomorphed eye and ear. The indoor earthworks, or nonsites of Smithson, are three-dimensional logical sculptures extended to their poles, like the Enantiomorphic chambers.

This site / nonsite, or earthwork / indoor earthwork dialectic of Smithson’s is a relationship between aesthetics (site / earthwork) and it’s logical extrapolation (nonsite / indoor earthwork). So his aesthetics are different from formal metaphysical aesthetics of beauty and the sublime, in that it is a dialectical relationship between the logicallyextrapolated optics of the enantiomorphic chambers of the eyes (or stereoscopic vision) and the illogicalseizure of the vitreous body in the landscape where earthworks are made. So, in the site / nonsite dialectic there is no metaphysical doctrines that can link the two. Sometimes the dialectic is diametrically opposed, where other times it seems they can connect in some fashion. For instance, the nonsite enantiomorphic chambers are logically extrapolated optics within the contained category of optics. In the site, the logical, categorical containment of this optics is undermined by the alogos, because it is a fusionof all of the senses that obliterate the logically contained extrapolation of the nonsite.

It doesn’t really have anything to do with beauty at all. It is not a metaphysical doctrine, but an (incompletely) incompatable dialectical relationshipbetween extrapolated contained logical categories, and the combined senses of the “eyes and ears”, where logical containment falls “into a mental bog.”

Smithson’s Steoscopic Vision (or enantiomorphic vision):

“The dual Globes that constitute our eyes are the generators of our sense of the third dimension. Each eyeball contains a retina that functions like a photographic plate inside a spheroid camera. Rays of light penetrate the transparent cornea, the pupil, the crystalline lense and the vitreous body until they reach the end…[The eyes] percieve through a mental artiface of directions without determined distances, which in turn gives the illusion of infinite spaces… The binocular focus of our eyes converges on a single object and gives us the illusion of oneness, so that we tend to forget the actual stereoscopic vision of our eyes or what I will call ‘enantiomorphic vision’ - that is seeing double… In [Enantiomorphic Chambers - a work of Smithsons], the vanishing point is split or the center of convergence is excluded, and the two chambers face each other at oblique angles, which in turn causes a set of three reflections in each of the two obliquely placed mirrors. A symmetrical division into two equal parts is what makes it enantiomorphic; this division also exists in certain crystalline structures” - Smithson, “Pointless Vanishing Points (1967)”

The thing that I find interesting is that the illusion of oneness, is a “binocular convergence on an object”. It is a type of binocular focus, an adjustment of the “vitreous body” to make literal sense out of an actual stereoscopic vision. It is the literal sense of vanishing points, upon convergence of the eyes, that allows us to see the objects as whole, when (for Smithson at least) the objects were “pointless”, arrayed in symetrical reflections in the enantiomorphic chambers of the eyes. In this nonsite, or indoor earthwork by Smithson, the subtraction of the literalness of vision - the act of binocular communion on an object is taken out. What is left, is actual stereoscopic vision. This was, in part, the significance of the crystalline for Smithson.

The coheseive focussed literalness is an interference of the analytical mind, to use my vocabulary, whereas the actual mirrored geometries of enantiomorphic vision are not coheseive. The literal points - the illusory morphology of the landscape - become pointless. This is an enantiomorphic vision, where the mirrored oblique reflections form perfect symetries, where the literal points of reference shatter into an array of matter, with no reference points. Without the literal (analytical) mind, the vanishing points, the communion of objects disintegrates. The object is no longer a whole, but an array of perfectly symetrical refractive and reflective light, like in certain crystal structures. The enantiomorphic vision is “foundational” to Smithson’s aesthetics. It is a way of seeing without the literal mind interfereing. (see above post # 382 on literalness) This is stereoscopic vision - the actual. For every point in the illusory infinite space (an infinite number of literal points), the points, when viewed enantiomorphically (or stereoscopically) disintegrate every point into two. It is an unfeasable image. But the literal mind is feasable as the “fused image” in stereoscopic vision, as James P. C. Southall diagrams in his, [i]Introduction to Phisiological Optics /i:

Smithson’s superimposed notes are in red. (I had to reproduce this in photoshop, because the internet didn’t supply the image for me.)

The “illusionistic space” is the fused image, if you consider this diagram. The fused image is the picture plane, or the stereoscopic vision combined. This is an illusion. The note “solid time” is where the images are enantiomorphed into seperate “pictures”. Although, Smithson’s stereoscopic vision differs from this one, in that the literal mind, when suspended from vision, does not result in pictures, but oblique angular refractive, symetrical reflections of light that double the already infinite vanishing points. The fused image of the photographic eye, and the literal mind, make the seen world appear cohesevely as a whole of infinite points, where the enantiomorphic vision allows the world to appear as an infinite number of “double points” making the world no longer appear cohesive at all, but rather ambiguous, and scattered.

So literacy, is an illusory impediment of the mind onto the senses. But, when one looks at things without reading them, without a categorical containment of the mind, it becomes a three-dimensional power struggle because of the disparate dissimilars in the enantiomorphically seen world. So, two dimensions is the illusion, considering that it is a product of the interference of the literary mind with the eyes. And three dimensions is the actual, considering it is percieved when the literal mind is lifted.

I have to admit, i was hoping for more of a dictionary style defenition, but i suppose that would be pandering to the literal mind on your part. You know though, it’s literacy that makes effective communication possble - it’s literacy that allows for shared artistic experiences in the first place. Sure, a brilliant illiterate mind is always preferable to a mediocre literate one, but it’s also a far rarer phenomenon. Granted, that raises a chicken or egg type question, and, yes, i can see why certain explortions of pre-literate phenomenology might be worthwhile in and of themselves, but there nonetheless remains a fine line between pre-literacy and simple, literate nonsense.

That’s more of a warning than an accusation, btw.

I think you must assume that I’m not that stupid.

That’s more of a warning than an accusation.

yes, i like to give people the benefit of the doubt