By Bruno Ernst
Describes the equipment that are used to build exciting very unlikely figures which could tease the attention and baffle the mind's eye. Copious examples are drawn from the author's personal paintings and the fertile mind's eye of Escher and Oscare Reutersvard.
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Extra resources for Adventures with impossible figures
In his discussion of M achiavellian con ception s o f the art o f governing, Foucault thus argues that the prince constitutes a transcendental principle w hich g iv es to the state and governing a singular and circular function such that all acts are dedicated to the exercise o f sovereignty - to the m aintenance and extension o f the prince’s pow er - as an end itself: ‘the end o f sovereignty is the exercise o f sovereignty’ (Foucault 1978: 95). G overnm ental power, by contrast, is characterized by the m ultiplicity o f ob jectives which it pursues, ob jectives which have their ow n authorization and rationality rather than being derived from the interests o f som e unifying central principle o f pow er such as the sovereign or, in later form ulations, the state.
It is true, o f course, that the secular co llec tin g practices o f European princes and monarchs in the post-R enaissance period had not usually played a major role in sym b olizin g the m onarch’s pow er b efore and to the popular classes. ’ A s he continues, however, in the past ‘this has not, o f course, been the m ass o f the population, but rather the ruler’s im m ediate supporters, the courtiers and nobility, and his rivals in other sta tes’ (Turner 1985: 214)' O bviously, there were excep tions and, in the course o f the eighteenth century, these tended to m ultiply as a number o f royal co llectio n s were made publicly a ccessib le, usually as parts o f statist con ception s o f popular instructionEven so, w e should not m istake these for exam ples o f the public museum 26 THE F O R M A T I O N OF THE M U S E U M in that the form o f pow er they instanced and exercised was aVant la ^ ^ ridico-d iscu rsive rather than governm ental.
The picture Habermas paints o f the relations betw een different spheres o f social and political life and influence in late eighteenth-century European societies is, roughly, one characterized by a d ivision betw een the state and the court on the one hand and, on the other, civ il so ciety and the sphere o f private intimacy formed by the n ew ly constituted conjugal fam ily. M ediating the relations between these w as an array o f new literary, artistic and cultural institutions in which new form s o f assem bly, debate, critique and com m ent ary were developed.