Matthew Barney’s work is fascinated by the void-space where duality collapses into paradoxical indistinction, and all opposites merge. His work imagines the perverse and horrifying aspects of this undifferentiated space, while “Being & Death” examines this space in a spiritually positive light.
Dive deep in your introspection, reach your unspeakable core, and then, “Make art there.” The struggle to communicate the incommunicable is what makes us most human.
Our core values are our map of the world. To be emotionally and spiritually healthy, we must be aware of these values and seek to enact them in the world, relieving ourselves from internal psychological tension. This process of introspection and action is recursive, and must continue our whole lives.
Truth, as Badiou defines it, is the decision to be true to the unknown, and to have the fidelity to bring that unknown to fruition in the world. Truth thus brings each moment a little closer in touch with the infinite. Truth is a constant becoming.
This book is about the distinctly human journey all people must make psychologically in order to become the heroes of their own story. The hero’s journey, and myth in general, is about making external our internal lives so that we can understand and shape them better. If the individual can find wholeness, then she will be able to bring wholeness to the entire world.
How do we speak about the unspeakable? This is the foundational question of Being & Death. The search for an answer leads to the structure of this book: chains of analogy forming a circle around the unknown, gesturing toward the unspeakable through the negative space of allegory.
This schematic organizes the key concepts in this book into a coherent structure. I call this schematic the “Dance of Spirit,” which is a detailed version of the inward / outward respiratory process as it is manifested in our lives.