Theme “Of Rules and Alternatives” – Serge von Arx and Eliot Moleba, Editors of VIS Issue 8

Human existence is based on rules. Our striving in sciences aims at understanding the principles and rules of our existence in relationship to our surroundings. Additionally, one of our primary social and cultural activity is to set rules, to organize coexistence and exchange. However, any first step in establishing or following a rule bears as much the momentum of its very rejection, and that tension in between becomes one of the principal sources for the arts.

The tension oscillates between the rules and their immanent alternatives, producing a liminal space where cracks inevitably occur. While some of these cracks require limited or small fixes, in the longer run, others will grow into fundamental disruptions and inconsistencies, which eventually question and destabilize the very system of rules they emerged from, often resulting in radical change. Subsequently, new perspectives, new imaginations, or new practices take shape in alternatives that gradually fuel and subvert existing orders or reinstate new rules, as part of a perpetual cycle. This symbiotic relationship between rule and alternative is a red thread in social and cultural development. Rules are built on the ‘principle of similarity’, which allows comparison and evolvement - be they intrinsic or extrinsic. Alternatives emerge from frictions within consolidated set of rules.

In this issue of VIS, which is organized as a dialogic editorial endeavor, we seek expositions that situate themselves between a claim of breaking with the rules and the establishments of new orders, work which thereby amalgamate or reject the very concept of this dichotomy by operating in the liminal field (or limbo) in between. How does this ambiguity manifest in your work? Why does this liminal space materialise in your work, and what strategies – conceptual or concrete – do you use to navigate it? Do you plan for it, or is it something that emerged through the process? What boundaries is your work pushing or permeating, and vice versa?

We are interested in artistic practices that are exploring and/or questioning the artistic possibilities that lie within (and beyond) the liminal space between rules and alternatives, be they aesthetic, cultural, scientific, social, or political, to unravel and propose ideas and insights that will meet the needs, desires, or challenges of our times.