|The Condition of Rosetta Stones
© 2005 c.j. fleury
The Condition of Rosetta Stones invites the
viewer to contemplate how knowledge is made and used. It questions
the idea of learning and the impact of new information on personal
and collective futures. It combines images from cosmic,
human, genetic and computer realms.
Depending on who you are at Heritage College, one's
interpretation of the art might touch on identity, literature,
black holes, biometrics, print-making, or colour theory.
You can detect a spectral DNA strand (right
You can ask philosophical questions about a galaxy
that evolves into a Western alphabet (top left).
image to enlarge
You could even wonder why the double whorl of a
finger print has margins that metamorphose into binary
code (bottom left).
image to enlarge
The artist identifies the art's elements as code
carriers, as information-filled patterns or systems for "knowing".
Their spinning nature and structural similarities recall the fundamental
interconnection of all things on and around this planet. Human
intervention into one domain can revolutionize another. These
code carriers may be seen as contemporary Rosetta Stones. In deciphering
their codes, phenomenal information is unleashed. For instance:
spectral patterns reveal chemical information about distant planets
as well as functioning like "fingerprints of atoms, as unique
as DNA" (K.C.Cole).
While fingerprints symbolize the mark of human
presence, the research, development and implementation of fingerprint
pattern-recognition systems are causing a major human rights controversy.
Genetic research advances medicine, and law, while
some seek profit in the ownership of particular genetic maps.
So, codes not only convey data, expose a range of attitudes around
human interaction, technological manipulation and sustainability.
At first glance, the large images speak to the mission
of Heritage, and invite the public to consider the Rosetta Stone.
Upon repeated viewing, the layout of images conveys deeper concepts...
- Questions of human impact upon communities that extend from
inner cells to outer space...
- Questions about the part humans play in the drama of acquisition
and utilization of knowledge.
- c.j. fleury
installation is located on the Continuing and Physical
c.j. fleury is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice
includes drawing, shield-making, performance, writing, video and
large scale sculpture.
Since 1992, she has completed commissions for twelve permanent
public works in Ontario and Quebec. In Ottawa, these include
Enclave - the Women's Monument Against Violence, off Elgin Street
and The Dorothy
O'Connell Anti-Poverty Activists' Monument at City Hall. These
and much of the artist's other work explore the vision and creative
potential of non-art groups.
As a cultural researcher / activist, interested in the
role of art in contemporary society, c.j. has also studied anthropology.
With this lens, she has focussed on the marginal area of collaborative
practice and has worked to stretch public models of co-creative
action. Her groundbreaking community
art projects (PDF) with Municipal maintenance workers, local
villagers or the feminist
law community, have been taught and researched in universities
in Canada and the States. She has been invited to present these
models through arts, civic and legal symposiums, arts councils,
museums and universities here and abroad. She lectures in the
contexts of art, activism, law, social sciences and labour.
c.j.'s art (drawings, sculpture,video) is found in public and
private collections: City of Ottawa, Trent University, Workers
Heritage Museum, Daimon New Media Centre, SAW Video, University
of Ottawa Faculty of Law and The Canada Council Art Bank.
K.C Cole, The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of
Truth and Beauty, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997.
Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Bach and Escher: an Eternal
Golden Braid, Random House, 1979.
Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher,
Viking Press. 1974
Rosetta Stones, Scientific, Aesthetic and Philosophical Information
According to Douglas Hofstadter, Pulitzer Prize winning author
of Gödel, Escher, Bach, the Rosetta stone was one of history's
most important discoveries. Hofstadter, discusses the Rosetta
stone, the key to deciphering previously incomprehensible hieroglyphs,
to explain the different levels of information in any message
and how we go about decoding them. In the process of /sequences
of making meaning, understanding the information-bearing codes
is only one aspect. The ultimate meaning is made when the new
information is matched to an established knowledge system, applied
to a context or read within a wider environment. It is also interesting
to note that Hofstadter refers to the message-bearing codes of
DNA, at some length, as he discusses the critical relationships
between the part to the [context] whole.
Top of page
This artwork was commissioned in accordance with the Politique
d'intégration des arts à l'architecture Ministère
de la Culture et des Communications du Quebec.