General Overview

    Radu Pervolovici

    The 2META group was born at a time when issues regarding representation and discourse were at stake, as the very mechanisms of representation and discourses themselves were being questioned and exposed.
    The discourse on yet another discourse, whether linguistic, narrative or artistic, highlighted a fictional nature, on the one hand, and a certain legitimation, on the other hand. The sort of credibility was the one reserved to the fictional nature of representation and this representation could not be legitimated through its own means.
    Going back to the self, reflection on one’s own nature: these are the possible names for this autoreferential, autoreflexive language, this discourse on discourse, fiction on fiction, art looking at the work of art, attempting to enhance the very conscience involved in producing art.
    Metafiction, metalanguage, metanarrative, meta-art, seen as a fluid connection between reality, game, parody, irony, art while interrogating the fictional, narrative, artistic conventions and techniques, create the illusion of representation and of self-consciousness.
    Everything was language, everything was discourse.
    “Over the last forty years, one could say that science and state-of-the-art technology have embraced language as their object: phonology and linguistic theories, communication issues and cybernetics, modern algebra and IT, computers and their own language, issues regarding translating languages and research on compatibility between machine languages, issues of memory storage and data banks, telematics and the ultimating of ‘intelligent’ terminals, paradoxology: these are but obvious proof, and the list is far from exhaustive” (J. F. Lyotard) [1].
    Language itself becomes the subject matter of language, instead of referring to non linguistic elements. Hjelmslev refers to this as metalanguage.
    But discourse was not only about language, not “mere lacquer”. It was regarded as a “series of strategies that are part of the social practice” (M. Foucault) [2] or, what is more, as a “significant unit of synthesis, whether verbal or visual” (R. Barthes) [3].
    In fact, there is no discourse, but discourses. The subject multiplies, and fragmentation, shapes that are temporary, open, ludic lead the way towards a multiple image, towards complementarity, simultaneity. The relationship between discourse and representation makes metalanguage, metafiction, metanarrative, metavisual overlap, mix up the subject and its reflection into the same blend by means of a visible mirror-like structure.
    Meta became a way of relating in similarity, a “meeting” within the conscience of producing autoreferential discourse.
    Within the Romanian context, Anton Dumitriu was concerned with the concepts of metalogic, metalanguage, metamathemathics, metadiscipline.
    “Thinking that can think itself”, “the possibility of approaching previous thinking and again approaching this new act of thinking”, the process of “autothinking thinking”, the levels of language had all been brought to attention by the Romanian logician ever since 1975.
    “Thinking, amidst its function of examining itself – a function that stands for logic itself – appears as the most extraordinary thing happening in the universe: indeed, not only does thinking have the ability to reflect all things possible, but also that of reflecting itself. Thinking that thinks the Universe, but that also thinks everything this Universe may think” (A. Dumitriu) [4].
    Even if, in a certain way, the logic of art stands beyond the logic of logic and the “limits of language”, the meta experience functions as an instantaneous relational practice, as a sort of intertwining, interweaving of unexpected relationships, as a source of any identity.
    In the sphere of visual arts, meditation on representation – “metapictorial meditation” – as an instrument of metapainting (referring to 17th century art) is highlighted, as an argument, in 1999, by the work of V. I. Stoichiţă [5].
    Continuing a whole tradition of self-reflexive representation in a period of paradigm shift – as it was the case in the post-1989 period – the META stance, as commitment to postmodernity, is about visual reinvention and refusing to get caught in stereotypes, conventions and prejudices.
    Meta becomes a concept, an expression, a way of being, a behaviour within a very broad register that goes from logic and linguistics to arts while invoking an identity relationship (in alterity) with the very field of reference of discourse and representation. It is the experience of joining yourself and the others inside the same unit, inside the same complex mirror – similar to the one proposed by Magritte (in which the person who is watching is, in fact, watching their own back).
    In this abysmal mirror that autoreferential discourse stands for, there is a here and a there; identifying is not and can never be thorough, there will always remain an “irrational residue” (Meyerson) between the two terms of identity. It is precisely this aspect that makes the META stance possible.
    Self-reflexive discourse deconstructs that which is obvious, “the clear, distinct ideas”, the intuitions. “Let’s unintuit an intuition” (G. Bachelard) [6], this could be one of the messages of autoreferential discourse. Representation takes on a shape that can alter our habitual intuitions through a continued state of rethinking and redefining oneself.
    This is the context in which 2META was born as a group.
    The META Experience
    The experience of a metavisual discourse is a meta experience. The representation of the 2META group is originated in another representation, in another discourse (be it narrative, literary, social or visual).
    2META group focuses on the continuous reliance of the representation on other representations and on the mutual reliance of visual discourses, which are reached many times from different points of view, describing a circular movement.
    The stated purpose is that continued process of rethinking oneself, in this “Niagara of visual small talk” (R. Hughes) [7].
    The META experience is one of continuous establishing of relations, either through visual or other kind of quotes, through a parody of its own discoursive structures or through game and language games, it is the experience of a continuous reformulating, rethinking of oneself, a perpetual redefining.
    Establishing relationships, intersubjectivity, “the meeting disposition” (N. Bourriaud) [8], communicational interaction, all become a behaviour, an essential experience; they are, in fact, the very core of 2META group’s concerns.
    META is more about experience, attitude and behaviour rather than an unifying stylistic unit structuring a discourse.
    The META experience is to be shared through each of the group’s projects.

    Radu Pervolovici
    architect-urbanist, curator

    [1] Jean-François Lyotard, Condiția postmodernă. Raport asupra cunoașterii, translation and foreword by Ciprian Mihali, Cluj, Editura Idea Design & Print, 2003.

    [2] Michel Foucault, Hermeneutica subiectului. Cursuri la Collège de France (1981-1982), edited by Frédéric Gros and supervised by François Ewald and Alessandro Fontana, translated by Bogdan Ghiu, Iași, Editura Polirom, 2004.

    [3] Roland Barthes, Mitologii, translation, foreword and notes by Maria Carpov, Iași, Editura Institutul European, 1997.

    [4] Anton Dumitriu, Istoria logicii, second edition, revised and expanded,
    București, Editura Didactică și Pedagogică, 1975.

    [5] Victor Ieronim Stoichiţă, Instaurarea tabloului. Metapictura în zorii Timpurilor Moderne, translated by Andrei Niculescu, Bucureşti, Editura Meridiane, 1999.

    [6] Gaston Bachelard, Le Nouvel espirit scientifique, Paris, 1934.

    [7] Robert Hughes, Nothing If Not Critical, New York, Penguin Books, 1990.

    [8] Nicolas Bourriaud, Estetica relațională. Postproducție, Cluj, Idea Design & Print, 2007.