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Neither Here Nor There: An Exceptionally Hasty Note on the Concept of Between-ness



I have been unable to visit the exhibition at Atlanta’s Gallery 72 titled “Middle,” but I have read the curator’s statement (or an extract from it in the press release) by Candice Greathouse that states, “The works included in this exhibition serve as a visual dialogue of ideas that investigate notions of this middleness - inbetweenness and potentiality through material and process. The artists and works featured in this exhibition represent the middle through a variety of strategies conceptually and aesthetically. They resist concrete categorization and definition, offering instead a provoking ambiguity that prolongs and redefines the ‘middle’.”

Receipt of this press release happened to coincide with arrival of my essay “Oscillations and Interstices” written for the catalogue of the “Oscillations” show at Steffen Thomas Museum of Art a year ago.

This has got me to thinking about the shifts in the concepts of in-between-ness from Zwischenheit to Zwischenzeit in German (the one just means “the meantime” as in “in the meantime” while the other means the condition of “in-between-ness”) and what the existentialists of fifty years ago made of the former. The meantime became a literal “time between,” Martin Heidegger’s “time of the No-More of the god that has fled and the Not-Yet of the god that is coming.” Less polytheistically, “the time between” implied a moment of fundamental historical change, a transitional moment in which no one could feel at home: “each torpid turn of the world has such disinherited chidren, to whom no longer what’s been, and not yet what’s coming, belongs.” (Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies in the familiar Leishman-Spender translation).

It feels like we are in the condition of between-ness but no longer in the time between; we have crossed some kind of dividing line, and the no-longer is receding into a rapidly aging history while the not-yet is rapidly becoming the already-here. (“The future is already here, but is unevenly distributed.”--William Gibson)

I have no time (no pun intended) to expand upon these thoughts at the moment as I have to go catch a plane to somewhere else.

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