Remko Scha / Trademarktm
Amsterdam, 1993
Dialogue between
two souls

- 'I'll put down a line.'
- 'Where?'
- 'Here, from here.'
- 'To where?'
- 'To there. From A to B.'
- 'A straight line?'
- 'Possibly. Or any other line. Or rather: any possible collection of possible points that linked together constitute a line between
A and B.'
- 'Isn't that rather a lot? How do you select?'
- 'Yes and no. It is a lot, and I don't select. I follow any impulse. I have a lot of pictures in my head, you must know.'
- 'And you want to show them?'
- 'Not necessarily. For me the pictures are not the matter, but the connections between them. Correction: the possible connections.'
- 'Say you have two pictures. What is the connection between those two? When you set out the way you do, there must be an infinite number of possibilities!'
- 'Yes...'
- 'Do you want to portray infinity?'
- 'Infinity exists. There isn't much to portray about that.'
- 'A reflection then, in the platonic sense maybe?'
- '...'
- 'Well. If you set out the way you suggest, by portraying some possibilities, you will indicate the range of possibilities. A dozen drawings, a hundred if you insist, will suffice to give an idea of the infinite collection...'
- 'If you know how they are made, as an arbitrary combination of elements from the collection of pictures I have in my head, one drawing should be enough. In principle you could derive all the others from that one.'
- 'How could I? I don't know which pictures you have in your head! And even if I did, I doubt you could summarize all your pictures in one drawing!'
- 'That is not my intention at all. I said: derive, not summarize. It's a matter of me drawing a line, not of what it looks like, or which examples lead to its form.'
- 'Then I should not have asked you 'where?', but 'why?''
- 'It is an impulse. Like eating, or sleeping, or even better, like breathing.'
- 'You can explain the need for eating and sleeping and certainly for breathing quite precisely. I don't see why you should die if you don't draw your line.'
- 'It is my raison d'être. If I don't breathe, I am not. If I don't draw, I am someone else. Which amounts to the same thing.'
- 'That is true. But again: why not just make that one drawing from which all the others can be derived? It would be the ultimate work of art, one comprising all that preceded it as well as all the one that will follow! Anyway: if it is like you say, every drawing made by anyone would suffice...'
- 'In a certain sense that is a correct interpretation: what I have in my head could lead to a picture which could have been designed by Leonardo. Or by someone else. The difference is not in the picture but in the method. The result is of little importance.'
- 'So why draw it? You could be contented with a description of the method then...'
- 'If the method would be independent of the result, and would only refer to itself - if it would equal itself - I would not contradict you. But as it is a method of conceiving pictures, it strikes me as pointless to show the method and not the pictures. Just as pointless as explaining someone how to bake a bread, without anyone actually baking it, and eating it.'
- 'Well, yes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating etcetera...'
- 'Look: why should I draw lines that can't be seen?'
- 'For the same reason you breath without having to blow into someone's face.'
- 'It's a matter of visibility. My method is aimed at generating visibility. For me or for someone else, that's more or less the same to me...'
- 'What's the aim?'
- 'Would you dare to ask me the purpose of life? The question is a tautology, something like "breath of life". As I said: I am not really interested in visibility as much as in generating it. That means: under which conditions does something become visible, meaning, significant? I do what all artists have done before me and will probably continue to do after me: I know that the connection between things (visible and invisible) is implicit in it's very possibility. That's what I visualize: possible connections. What is the aim of that? None other than to show the possibilities of connections.'

- 'Very well. You draw a line from A to B. You could also say: you fill an area between or around A and B, because there is an infinite number of possible permutations of your line. The only limit to the drawing is the surface on which it is made. Your drawing could consist of one point - if A and B coincided - or of a black surface, and everything is possible in between...'
- 'As good as everything.'
- 'And every time you have filled an area, you have visualized the possibility of that surface.'
- 'Yes.'
- 'And every time you have made a possible surface visible, you have also provided a possible connection between the pictures in your head.'
- 'And a possible connection between this surface and all others.'
- 'As a result of which you make visible a connection of connected possibilities, which can be pursued to infinity.'
- 'Certainly!'
- 'But, my dear friend, surely that is not a connection anymore! It would boil down to the connection of everything with everything, on the ground of the fact that everything can eventually be reduced to molecules, or to quarks, or whatever those things are called these days! On the basis of such "connections" it is impossible to make any sensible distinction between what is connected to what, and why, or not...'
- 'Again, yes and no. Any meaningful distinction between an umbrella, a sewing machine and an operating table seems to vanish when the only criterion for it has to be derived from elementary physics. But beware: it seems to! For aren't the obvious differences between those three configurations of elementary particles the most eloquent proof that everything is as much connected to everything else as it is different?! The same can be said of my drawings: they are unique moments from infinity. They are not "pictures of" it any more than they are "unlike" it.'
- 'So, after all: a portrayal, a reflection, a "generation of the Idea"!'
- 'None of those - they are.'
- 'Like life itself?'
- 'More or less like life itself - only slightly more artificial.'
  Introduction to a booklet about 'Artificial', a computer program by Remko Scha that generates random pictures. The catalogue in which this article appeared was published on the occasion of the first exhibition of Artificial-output at Van Rijsbergen Gallery, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, October 17 - November 14, 1993

max bruinsma