I started to develop the working basis of the project Imperatives. This base has as model Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des science, des arts et des métiers. The illustrated dictionary comprises 166 volumes and was published from 1751 till 1780 in France. I’m excited to connect with this dictionary, which was created and designed in the spirit of enlightenment as an endeavor to use knowledge to abolish authoritarian state power and to strengthen the autonomy of the single and the collective. Valorizing all cultural and manufacture activities, the dictionary is based on the ideal of equal rights and value of every human being on Earth.
It is known as Diderot’s work, but many people were engaged – more than 140 people of all social classes worked together on this project, among them Voltaire and Rousseau – to produce a meaningful tool for freedom, justice, peace, and equality. Ideals which weren’t approved by the censure and the whole dictionary project were doubted to be subversive. Indeed, the Encyclopédie was a project to communicate not only knowledge, moreover, it was a tool of sharing information about political issues, disguising them in between the lines, so to speak. Though the Encyclopédistes were cautious, Diderot was convicted of treason and had to face imprisonment.
These and other aspects I will discuss later by developing the project and single works.
The Encyclopédie model is an ideal format for my way of artistic activity as I work on language, codification, and architectures of knowledge such as mapping and archiving. By Translating those knowledge architectures, like theories and philosophy of different cultures, into artistic works, as for example in Categories on Nature, is produced an aesthetic metalanguage which should reflect on possibilities of raising awareness of the potential of freedom and autonomy, like the authors of the Encyclopédie aimed for.