Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Sufficient Knowledge

Arthur Jafa, Micah,

Image Credit: Arthur Jafa, Micah, 2017, (2004), Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome

Look carefully, describe what you see.
Choose a landscape provoking interest.
Mull that carefully again and again.
Concoct an assumption: what
      have you pursued, how does it work?
Gather evidence, examine its relevance.
Calibrate each fragment’s adequacy.

Dissatisfied, pursue a new assumption.
If clarity seems possible, push further,
                                              perhaps start again.
Have details merged into a pattern,
                                                  clarity improved?
Permit necessity’s potential surprise
to scramble what you’ve done,
                        its hapless nothing of little use.
This may repeat itself, endless churning’s
                                    foreboding sense of defeat.

If a shape’s mysterious defiance
appears, intuitive or absurd,
hoist your socks, re-torque your strength,
                      ponder your emerging hypothesis.
Sometime, like Aristarchos of Samos,
you might push beyond harsh reductions
                      to measure things once obscure.

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