Fred Tschida’s Bodies of Delight

As a follow up to my book Being and Neonness (MIT Press), I was asked to write a piece for the catalogue of Circlesphere, the Neon Sculpture Exhibition organised by the Wakefield Art House (UK) and curated by Richard Weather around the work of Fred Tschida. Below is the text I wrote.

Luis de Miranda

Bodies of De-Light

The dervish whirls, bridging the material realm and the divine. On the surface, a twist of colour manifests itself, to our reflective delight. Twentieth-century physics and metaphysics have proposed to transform the altered state of consciousness of the whirling dervish into a state of affairs: “Everything flows”, the Heraclitean motto, was rediscovered by Bergson, Whitehead or Deleuze. Continuous creation for these philosophers, and for physicists such as David Bohm or Fred Hoyle, became the cosmological core of the Real. What we saw as substances, real things, became an interconnected stream of becoming and possibility – not an eternal platonic Real, but a creative flux of potentials and actualisations, a “Creal.”[1]

Let the idea of the rotating neon be a visual thought experiment informed by these post-Newtonian processual epistemologies. The phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty spoke of “hyperdialectic” processes; reality becomes an ongoing creative meta-dialectic – or “crealectic” – production, a co-participative expansion, in which the observer and the observed are enmeshed in the same matrix of experience. Substances can now be recognised as fragile and evanescent. Everything is vibration like the gas of the neon. What we call things to justify our repetitive transactions are luminous and dynamic repetitions. Their deeper state is that dynamic flux, a superluminal field of continuous creation, an ever regenerating or reshuffling of what may or ought to be real.

We, subjects, have also become breakable and fragile, the glasslike rigidity of things being imposed on us by normative identities, corsets of silica: we tend to identify with our neon shape, rather than with the inner chaotic and fundamental vibrant state regenerating us. Let’s contemplate: the artist propels initial symbols into infinite speed. These philosophical signifiers do not aim at the precision of reductionism: they point to a possible imparadisation of our way of seeing, feeling, doing. Art may hurt when you touch it, but rarely more than the plethoric forces aiming at our soullessness, programmed to stop the whirling, designed to staple us to the walls, be they of lamentations, of shame or fame. Objective data may be forcing us to the false solidity of statistic definitions and bodies of evidence, but we aspire to superluminal bodies of de-light.

Filigrees here, beyond their “neonness”, sing our immanence, supported by the wakening field of craftmanship and goodwill. Rays are diffracted in a conversational spiral. Eternal forms are a vibration of transparent strings. Diving in the same river twice is not permitted to signifiers in this vortex of phenomena.

Try and listen to what is not mere image; it is whispering in the style of a buzzing sticcado of colourful notes. Surrender to the ideal of a vase or cup and let it be our Holy Grail. Caress with your mind the circle of living glow of which your anticipatory consciousness is the co-author.

How about the author of these philosophical instruments? Initials of the first word of the eleven last sentences of the present text reveal the name of the artist, himself a whirling halo bridging the many and the one. Dreams are not only shadows. And gently we may now appear, ourselves initials of wonder whirling in the maelstrom of our intertwined biographies.

[1] I first proposed in 2008, in the novel Paridaiza, this generic concept made of the portmanteau contraction of Creation and Real to designate the creative flux of infinite possibility and immanent becoming which is the ultimate principle of most process philosophers, chief among them the British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, who termed this ultimate principle “Creativity”.

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