C Magazine


Issue 138

On Writing: A Bongard Problem
by Beth Stuart

This text adopts the form of a Bongard problem, which is a kind of puzzle with two sides. In Bongard problems, the viewer is meant to decipher the singular difference between two sets of geometric forms. They have been used as a way to illustrate meta-rational functioning, or the ability, cognitively, to move between systems and apprehend complex intersectional patterns instead of lapsing into either fundamentalism or nihilism. They have also been used as a primary training device in AI. My interest in Bongard problems emerged from my ongoing relationship to ideas of secular spirituality, meditation, Marxist-feminist discourse, non-hierarchical pedagogy and embodied abstraction.

In this context, in this contemporary art magazine, my only instruction to you, Dear Reader, is aspirational. Consider a wild imaginary in which the practices of artistic production, criticism, teaching and curation are ones of loving kindness, generative curiosity and radical surrender.

• Excerpt of www.foundalis.com/res/invalBP.html
• Luce Irigaray, “The Invisible of the Flesh,” An Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. Carolyn Burke, Cornell University Press, 2014.
• Pitch for the board game Zendo, produced by Looney Labs, https://www.looneylabs.com/games/zendo
• Adaptation of Robert Kegan, In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life, Harvard University Press, 1994.
• Definition of “retroflexion,” dictionary.com
• Excerpt of “peristalsis,” Wikipedia.com
• M. Tsakiris, A. Tajadura-Jimenez & M. Costantini (2011). “Just a heartbeat away from one’s body: interoceptive sensitivity predicts malleability of body representations.” Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. Biological Sciences. 278(1717):2470-6
• Definition of “practice,” oxforddictionaries.com
• Excerpt of “skeuomorph,” Wikipedia.com
• Definition of “practice,” oxforddictionaries.com
• Definition of “curate,” oxforddictionaries.com
• A.C. Brown, “Biology of Sandy Beaches,” Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences (Second Edition), 2001.
• Excerpt of www.foundalis.com/soc/whynomore- Bongard.html
• Irigaray.
• Kory Heath, Andrew Looney and Laurie Menke, Zendo, Rulebook II: Going Deeper, Looney Labs, 2003–2017.
• Paul Klee, “Diagram: Wege des Naturstudiums,” Staatliches Bauhaus 1919–1923, Bauhaus Verlag, 1923.
• Gary M. Yontef, Awareness Dialogue & Process: Essays on Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt Journal Press, 1993.
• Excerpt of “interoceptive exposure,”
• Ibid.
• Excerpt of “skeuomorph,” Wikipedia.com
• David Gordon White, Yoga in Practice, Princeton University Press, 2011