On the basis of my personal experience both as a writer and visual artist dealing with coding and overwriting applications, I generated diverse results or procedures on the theme of decoding:recoding.

All this projects are dealing with the question about "dissolution through sameness in emptiness".



Meanders I speak about lifting veils makes nothing clearer if it seems distinct. Kaleidoscopically wide the arc in the attempt to span the circularity. No front because no beginning just as at the back there is no end. What can be gleaned from the field the emptiness I gather it.


I consider it the task of a writer to construct
a code that makes the throw of the dice readable,
and to imagine a system of signs that conveys blindness,
in short, I consider it the task of the writer,
to occupy himself with the impossible, the imperfect, with what
lies outside,
to make an attempt at employing a language that does not exist, not yet.

(Inger Christensen, "The classless language", 1971)

Space and book are synonyms is Marcel Broodthaers' "Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard". The contents crossed out in black strokes air for poetry. Instead of letters - way before the bar code - variable lines. Script and Space correspond to each other in dissolution. Mobility and metaphor in idea, the "throw of the dice" printed on transparent pages of a book, a viable moving structure. Each turn of the page a new win. The black line figurations made up of short and long, thick and thin strokes correspond directly to the diagrams of the "I-Ching", the "Book of Changes", the system of combinatory readability, its encoding, enigmatisation. The code is in the diagrams, trigrams or hexagrams, in the eight different groups of three made up of broken and unbroken lines. 64 as the large number. These are the prerequisites of an Ars combinatoria, a mobile readability. "The primary meaning of the word "I" is exchange, change, and this expresses the basic character of the book. Its particularity lies in its non-static character." 1
As is appropriate for the art of decoding, I gather together what comes my way. Dive, bare-spirited, into Raimundus Lullus "Ars generalis ultima", as it is called in its last version. A book that attempts to make universal knowledge accesible by means of a logical coding system. A keen intellectual model consisting of turnable discs with numbers, a "divine alphabet", as it was regarded in its time, an alphabet of meanings for the fundamental principles of so-called being. His programmatic examples, visualisations of the singular in the universal, led from different combinations of letters to ever new logical conclusions. Today, his work is recognized by scientists as the "beginning of computer theory." 2
The "Ars magna", high art of combinations, "minutely worked out cosmos of letters", a system of coordinates. An intellectual game, a model. Used by Lullus to find words for the composition of poetry. A Surrealist avant la lettre, the precursor of concrete poetry. 3
The "I-Ching" and the "Ars magna", as conceptions of a universal book, a metaphor for the world, a world formula. The throw of the dice recognized as poetic metamorphosis and at the same time as a metaphor for a poetry of chance. And Leibniz, who travelled these seas. Sure, who else. John Cage for example. In his "Thoughts of a Progressive Musician about Damaged Society", Cage explained that he built up his compositions according to number of hexagrams in the "I-Ching". "The number 64 which is the number that the "I Ching" works with, I found a way of relating it to numbers which are larger or smaller than 64 so that any question regarding a collection of possibilities can be answered by means of the "I Ching" which I now have computerized, so that I can very quickly do something using the "I Ching" actually as a computer." 4
Cage wrote that he poses his questions to the "I Ching" and receives from it the sum of possible answers. Walter de Maria let himself be inspired and created the ground sculpture "360° I Ching". 64 hexagrams arranged on the ground into a geometric pattern of uniformly large blocks of six white wooden sticks each. In ever new combinations of unbroken and broken lines. 576 sticks in all, 192 of them two metres long and 384 of them 90 cm long. "360°" clearly refers to an imaginary circle. A block as moveable structure. Corresponding to the line figurations of the hexagrams from the "Book of Changes". If Leibniz'idea of a system of signs, the "Ars combinatoria", represents a universal book in the manner of the"I-Ching", then the idea of Walter De Maria's "360° I Ching" also stands beween a "metaphysics of infinity" and the "programme of an exact and complete representation of all imaginable possibilities by means of a characteristica universalis". 5
Not until later, having finally found my way through a tumble of false leads, I came upon George Brecht. Who was initiated by Cage, who danced with words and conceived the "Book of the Tumbler on Fire". A work in four parts, consisting in sets of books, with the consistency and discipline of the Chinese Book of Changes, the texts and words chosen for their multiple meaning and aptness for being combined. Comparable to Mallarmé's coup de dés. What in Mallarmé is thrown apart by means of the different typesets and at the same time recombined, if one knows how to combine, is here separated by the different languages. Food for the adept and the disciples of oracles.
Always accompanied by Broodthaers, his airily poetic "Coup de dés", I soon docked at James Lee Byars. His empty books: "The Book of Clairvoyance", a folio with one hundret unprinted, unnumbered pages made of black handmade paper with black velvet covers, as well as one hundred books of only one page each, containing one sentence, the "One Page Books", also made of black handmade paper. Oh elegant consistency! This trip would probably be without end.
Space and book are synonyms. The letterless "Book of Clairvoyance", as well as the universal library of the one hundred "One Page Books" pressed together into total blackness, a symbol of the empty book of the world. Comparable to space as an empty world formula. Empty space and the empty page, in the sameness of emptiness, in the idee of the empty book. Everything left to the reader, to the indeterminability of the reception. The empty book as the place of multiple realities of one's one organization, the ultimate imaginary universal library. "If the world was once a message of the creator to his creatures, the loss of this function must have left behind the empty gesture of meaning: the world as a book about nothing." 6

1 Wolfgang Bauer, Introduction to the "Book of Changes" in: I Ging, Cologne 1973, p.4.
2 Cf. Werner Künzel and Heiko Cornelius, The Ars Generalis Ultima of Raymundus Lullus: Studies
on a Secret Oigin of Computer Theory, Berlin 1986.
3 Cf.Barbara Catoir, "Raimundus Lullus, Antoni Tàpies and the Art of Combinations" in: Conversations with
Antoni Tàpies ( Prestel Verlag: München, 1987 and enlarged new edition 1996).
4 John Cage, "Thoughts of a Progressive Musician about Damaged Society" in: John Cage, ed. by
Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Rainer Riehn (Munich, 1978), p. 31.
5 Hans Blumenberg, The Readability of the World, Frankfurt 1993, p.129.
6 Ibid, p. 304.


© 2012 Toni Kleinlercher