Aleph (ä′ lif), n. 1. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, with a numerical value of one; 2. a symbol of all the other letters of the alphabet and, thus, by some accounts, the universe; 3. a shape whose symmetry symbolizes the concept that everything in the lower world is a reflection of the world above; 4. in mathematics aleph indicates a higher power of infinity than integer numbers, allowing for the concept of a plurality of alephs, or infinities; 5. in Borges’s story of the same title, the aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, with perfect clarity.
Art, n., 1. any cultural object or situations described as art by the creator of said cultural objects or situations; 2. any cultural objects or situations described as art by an observer of and/or participant in said cultural objects or situations.
Art making, n., the conscious use of any level of skill and thought in the production of cultural objects or situations that its maker identifies as art making.
Artist, n., 1. an individual who identifies him- or herself as an artist; 2. an individual who practices art making.
Jane is an artist; she said so last week.
Babel, n. [from the Hebrew balal: to confuse], 1. the original name of Babylon; 2. an Assyrian word, Bab-ili, meaning “the gate of the God”; 3. the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1–9) seeks to explain the diversity of language in mankind: man’s attempt to build a tower to reach heaven is disturbed by God, who confounds the language of the builders, dividing their speech into various languages; 4. Borges’s story of “The Library of Babel” describes the universe as an infinite library connecting hexagonal galleries, the totality of which contains every permutation of every imaginable book.
Bubble Diagram, n., a technique for visualization and communication in which ideas are listed in boxes or circles that are connected by labeled arrows in an outward-branching structure from a central idea. For example, if the central idea of a bubble diagram were “bubble diagram,” then one of its satellite ideas might read, “A technique for visualization and communication in which ideas are listed in boxes or circles which are connected by labeled arrows in an outward-branching structure from a central idea.” This satellite could in turn have its own satellites, one of which would read “bubble diagram.”
Book, n., 1. a contained set of information; a universe; 2. a written work or composition that has been printed on pages and bound together; 3. a physical object consisting of a number of sheets bound together (a book of images, a book of stamps, etc.) 4. an intangible or electronic version of a printed book that can be called up on an apparatus such as a personal computer or a hand-held device.
Liz Sales’s [person] book is indefinitely on loan to its author.
Camera, n., 1. a device consisting of a lightproof chamber with an aperture through which an image of external objects is projected onto an internal surface for viewing or recording; 2. an apparatus that reorganizes information onto a visual plane for the purpose of communication.
Despite what John Van Druten says, you and I are not cameras.
Circle, n. [from the archaic cercle, sercle, meaning the orbit of a celestial body], 1. a closed plane, every point of which is equidistant from a fixed point at its center; 2. a cycle; 3. erroneous reasoning in which something yet to be demonstrated is assumed; 4. a group of persons sharing common belief systems.
Confusion, n., 1. a lack of orientation, order, or understanding; 2. a type of opportunity; 3. the motivation for the advancement of knowledge and culture.
Artists work to resolve and to create confusion.
Circle of Confusion, n., an optical concept most people are incapable of understanding for more than rare and fleeting moments.
Curiosity, n., 1. an emotion related to inquisitive behavior such as exploration, examination, or learning. The term can also be used to denote the behavior itself being caused by the emotion. As this emotion represents a drive to know new things, curiosity is the fuel for all disciplines; 2. something unusual—perhaps worthy of collecting.
Curiosity is a new vice that has been stigmatized in turn by Christianity, by philosophy, and even by a certain conception of science. Curiosity, futility. The word, however, pleases me. To me it suggests something altogether different: it evokes “concern”; it evokes the care one takes for what exists and could exist; a readiness to find strange and singular what surrounds us; a certain relentlessness to break up our familiarities and to regard otherwise the same things; a fervor to grasp what is happening and what passes; a casualness in regard to the traditional hierarchies of the important and the essential.
I dream of a new age of curiosity. We have the technical means for it; the desire is there; the things to be known are infinite; the people who can employ themselves at this task exist. Why do we suffer? From too little: from channels that are too narrow, skimpy, quasi-monopolistic, insufficient. There is no point in adopting a protectionist attitude, to prevent “bad” information from invading and suffocating the “good.” Rather, we must multiply the paths and the possibilities of coming and goings.
—Michel Foucault, “The Masked Philosopher”
Emergence, n., the way in which complex systems and patterns arise out of a variety of relatively simple and seemingly unrelated interactions.
Despite my best efforts to manage my process , all my progress in is made through immersion.
Forest, n., 1. a dense growth of trees covering an area imperceptible from within; 2. an ideal place to get lost; 3. a Freudian symbol for the unconscious.
Lens, n., 1. a piece of transparent, often spherical material, convex or biconvex, for forming an image by focusing rays of light; 2. a nearly spherical body in the eye that focuses light rays upon the retina; 3. something that facilitates and influences perception, evaluation, and comprehension.
Nonsense, n., 1. something that has no intelligible meaning; 2. anything contrary to logic; 3. affected or impudent conduct; 4. a tool designed to provoke a non-rational thought.
Photography, n., simulation of the visual process via camera.
Photograph, n., depending upon whom you ask, the first post-industrial entity or the last industrial object.
Photographs are so retro.
Photographer, n., any individual who is engaging in photography in any way.
All people are photographers, but not all photographers are people.
Process, n.,1. the actual doing of life; 2. the formation of art; 3. a creative journey toward an end, but at least as important as a deliverable or end product; 4. a creative sentiment and worldview where the end product of art and craft are not the principal focus.
Solipsism, n.,1. the act of any photographic practice; 2. the humble position that knowlegde of anything outside one’s own specific mind is incomprehensible and thus unverifiable.
Sphere, n., a solid that is bounded by a surface consisting of all points set at a given distance from a point at its center.
Text, n., a series of written signs.
Tree, n., 1. a woody perennial plant with a single elongate main stem with branches on its upper half; 2. a symbol used in art and literature to represent nature or the world itself; 3. a diagram that branches out, usually from a simple vertex or a line, without forming loops.
Universe, n., 1. [everything]?; 2. one of infinite, self-sustaining cycles that together amount to everything, including an infinite number of String Theorists ; 3. a totality of the known and knowable; 4. the totality of combinations of codes; 5. the totality of significations of a code.
Vision, n., 1. a sensual process by which the qualities of an object constituting its appearance are interpreted through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve; 2. a manifestation to the senses; 3. a thought, a concept, or an object formed by the imagination; 4. something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; 5. a lovely or pleasant sight.
Work, n., 1. an activity in which one exerts strength or one’s faculties perform some task; 2. the results of said activity; 3. a euphemism for art marking.