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Jasper Johns

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Cubism is an anatomical chart of a way of seeing external objects. But I want to confuse the meaning of the act of looking.
--
Jasper Johns in Tokyo, Yoshiaki Tono, Tokyo August 1964, as quoted in Jasper Johns, Writings, sketchbook Notes, Interviews, ed; Kirk Varnedoe, Moma New York, 1996, p. 104

 
Jasper Johns

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There's one uneasy borderline between what is external and what is internal, and this borderline is defined exactly by the sense organs and the skin and the introduction of external things within my own body. Consciousness is altered by physical events and physical objects, which impinge upon my sense organs, or which I introduce into my body.
Now the name traditionally given to external objects or processes which change you internally is sacrament. Sacraments are the visible and tangible techniques for bringing you close to your own divinity.

 
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As you are aware, no perceptions obtained by the senses are merely sensations impressed on our nervous systems. A peculiar intellectual activity is required to pass from a nervous sensation to the conception of an external object, which the sensation has aroused. The sensations of our nerves of sense are mere symbols indicating certain external objects, and it is usually only after considerable practice that we acquire the power of drawing correct conclusions from our sensations respecting the corresponding objects.

 
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Our initial sensory data are always "first derivatives," statements about differences which exist among external objects or statements about changes which occur either in them or in our relationship to them. Objects and circumstances which remain absolutely constant relative to the observer, unchanged either by his own movement or by external events, are in general difficult and perhaps always impossible to perceive. What we perceive easily is difference and change ó and difference is a relationship.

 
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According to the technical language of old writers, a thing and its qualities are described as subject and attributes; and thus a manís faculties and acts are attributes of which he is the subject. The mind is the subject in which ideas inhere. Moreover, the manís faculties and acts are employed upon external objects; and from objects all his sensations arise. Hence the part of a manís knowledge which belongs to his own mind, is subjective: that which flows in upon him from the world external to him, is objective.

 
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In this way things, external objects, are assimilated to more or less ordered motor schemas, and in this continuous assimilation of objects the child's own activity is the starting point of play. Not only this, but when to pure movement are added language and imagination, the assimilation is strengthened, and wherever the mind feels no actual need for accommodating itself to reality, its natural tendency will be to distort the objects that surround it in accordance with its desires or its fantasy, in short to use them for its satisfaction. Such is the intellectual egocentrism that characterizes the earliest form of child thought.

 
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