Articulation (jointing) and critique (cutting) share a sense of opening up or laying bare: both can be done with surgical precision or butcher's blunt force. Pursued to a meta-level since Kant, the question of the historical contingency of our categories and articulations has become increasingly urgent. One of the few shared evaluations of atheist materialists (Nietzsche, Deleuze, Land, Fisher) and religious conservatives (MacIntyre, Scruton) is that the end of the pre-industrial theological value system leads to scepticism then to nihilism. Our highest values hitherto are falling apart, and techno=capitalism offers no credible replacements. Instead it lays bare a lack of meaning so acute that the impersonal functioning of market economies are butchering the ecology we depend upon for life. Articulating alternatives to nihilism is not an abstract philosophical problem.

Strategies intended to re-impose meaning and value 'from above' include attempts at moral leadership (not all of them cynical), Islam-ism, the resurgence of Nationalism, benevolent celebrities and billionaires promoting good causes, and so forth. For all their variety these top-down hylomorphic strategies are frictionless against the machinery of globalised capital and the attendant slump in meaning and value. Under such conditions it seems more fruitful to experiment with tiny, close to zero-cost, and above all transferable techniques for creating connections and making meanings at a micro-level. We have found a promising candidate for such a counter-nihilistic social technology: a process borrowed from the musical compositions of the Renaissance called 'ornamentation'.

Our research explores artistic/philosophical aspects of ornamenting as a method for the re-creation of vital connections. Starting modestly by investigating relations between two simple notes and a space-in-between, we extend the method far beyond its traditional musical setting. A key point of the ornamentation method is that we do not theorise in advance what will happen when the items interact. We often start with two musical notes, or two time-signatures  overlapping, or two seemingly unrelated words and repeat them until
differences and patterns emerge. The point is to allow small and
seemingly insignificant aspects of world to 'speak for themselves'
while we pay attention to whatever connections grow in their
intersections, overlaps, and over-flows of the encounter. Given the
right starting conditions, plus repetition and patience, the minimal
'raw material' organises itself in novel and complex ways.

We will present a small selection of practice-led outputs from the
early stages of our research. Thus far the method has 'organically'
generated creative collaborations with academics, artists, authors,
musicians, philosophers, and theologians from as far afield as
Mozambique (Vincent Caudray), India (Viljar Vahemaa), Greece (Chrysanthi Avolnithi, Georgios Giokotos), Sweden (Em Jakobsson, Erika Karlsson, Kulturtemplet / Gothenburg, Jonas Nilsson), UK (Joshua Ben Joseph) and more...


Proposed format:


(two hours):


The first hour will comprise of a twenty minute introduction by Dr Price describing the artistic research project "No Self Can Tell", its aims and methods. Then twenty minutes to present a selection of the works made possible through the methods we are using. This followed by a twenty minute talk by Dr Laasonen Belgrano, suggesting how the methods may be useful for artistic and inter-discplinary research, pedagogic uses, and therapeutic collaborations. The second hour will  be an open forum for discussion, cross-pollination of ideas and explorations of ornamenting strategies. The session will be held within the on-line NoSelf Can Tell RC EXPOSITION space, with its base camp in the room titled ARTICULATIONS. This room is continuously curated and reconfigured depending on the on-going ornamenting process.

Dap. Tuk.

Two simple, seemingly meaningless things and a space between them.

Dap. Tuk.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Dap Tuk Dap Tuk Dap Tuk. Dap Tuk Dap Tuk Dap Tuk

From such beginnings narratives and meanings emerge.

A ticking clock, a blind-man's stick, stories of rainstorms, horses, and adventures. Try it for yourself: invent any two meaningless phonemes and repeat them at any tempo or volume of your choosing. Past a certain level of repetition, differences make themselves know to us. It does not take  long for things to 'talk themselves out of themselves'' and into worlds of human significance. Every culture has star-constellations and stories about them. This self-organisation of ''raw material' is
the basis of our research method.

Titel of Proposal:

Emergent Articulations: A Micro-Strategy For Resisting Nihilism / Ornamentation-as Self-Organising-Method of 'Raw Material'.

(Part of Artistic Research Project "No Self Can Tell: Voyages in Trans-Personal Trauma")

Artistic Researchers:

Dr. Mark D. Price & Dr. Elisabeth Laasonen Belgrano


(Laasonen Belgrano 2021,  Dap. Tuk. Raw Material. Recording equipment: iPhone11)

 "All the sounds, even the cymbal/gong like sound at the end have been extracted from your voice.  I can hear children's voices in there and werewolves and instruments, but not one extra element has been added, it is all 'helped to emerge' from the original Dap and Tuk with EQ and a few digital filters". (MDP)

(Price &  Laasonen Belgrano 2021 Dap. Tuk. Second Step)

(Florio 1611: Articolare)