Misael Mercado, Quanta, exhibition essay, Interlude Gallery, 2018
Collider, 2017. Gelatin silver photograph, 112 x 83cm, edition of 4 + 2AP
Quanta serves as an etymological dietary variation for quantity, both words, quanta and quantity, find their roots in the Latin word quantum… I know this because of a vague understanding of Latin that I possess, a rather wanna be stance if you ask me, but what can you do; “we all have merits and demerits”, I read once in a conversation between Krishna and Uddhava.
Anyway, sorry for the useless digression. The concept of quantity can be applied to the idea of measure, to something that can be readable by its magnitude and multitude values, to a number with spatial recognition. Aristotle had the following to say about Quantum:
'Quantum' means that which is divisible into two or more constituent parts, of which each is by nature a 'one' and a 'this'. A quantum is a plurality if it is numerable, a magnitude if it is measurable. 'Plurality' means that which is divisible potentially into non-continuous parts, magnitude that which is divisible into continuous parts; of magnitude, that which is continuous in one dimension is length; in two breadth, in three depth. Of these, limited plurality is number, limited length is a line, breadth a surface, depth a solid. (Aristotle, book v, chapters 11-14, Metaphysics).
Wow! I can see a few of you already scratching your heads, looking for a possible meaning, understandable, I did the same.
Aristotle goes on trying to explain the ontological concept by defining two main characteristics: Plurality, which equals an X number, and Magnitude, which equals an X measurement. In modern terms I believe these are known as discontinuous and continuous functions in mathematics, and are in a way, how we study the world.
We use continuous systems to understand many physical and predictable phenomena, such as the temperature variations throughout a day. Discontinuous functions have not yet been applied to the physical world, as they will always need abstraction to be understood.
In a cognitive and philosophical sense, we can understand these values as two different aspects of life: the finite and infinite.
I can see Ioulia Panoutsopoulos’ work playing around these concepts, the finite possibilities of materiality and physicality and the infinite possibilities of perception and interpretations of meaning, the finite conjugations of semantics and the infinite conjugations of the asemic. They are recognisable objects and the same time new spontaneous creations. The traditional photographic process involved emphasises the properties of light in an X spatial setting, this is a rather unfamiliar use of it as it can be expected of imaginary spaces, and again we see something measurable in an infinite environment.
I thought of Man Ray as a major reference to Ioulia’s work, especially their inclination for silver gelatine and the distortion of perception.I can also think of metaphysical worlds colliding in front of my eyes, but not a catastrophic coalition, a rather organised cosmological interaction of creation and destruction, of diastole and systole, life and death.
But again, dear reader, I apologise for the useless digression.