Transmission in Motion

Seminar Blogs

“The Process Of Art As Wandering” – Anthony Nestel

How does art come to be? Aristotle reminds us that art is not an ontological problem, but rather a problem about causation. In his inspiring lecture Jason Tuckwell defines art as Techné – a skill or a technical capability to deviate processes of becoming. In contrast to poiesis – to make – techné doesn’t have a clear predictable outcome/effect and thus, cause, it is all but linear. This does not mean, however, that art has no cause. What it points at to is that art refuses a singular universal cause, a determined effect of how it came to be and what it can do. In the words of Tuckwell, “If the work of art does not then belong to an account of how all comes to being, it is because art breaks with a general poiesis, because techné enacts another kind of workflow; something genuinely creative.” (Tuckwell 2019) This conception of art as techné, nevertheless, does not indicate that art is only process, techné involves some degree of poiesis, some degree of production. In other words, techné is the skill that comprises both making and action: a praxis belonging to a know-how-to-do deviation of production, of the originary natural becoming.

With this definition of art, I believe, Tuckwell wants to draw attention to the unpredictable, contingent processes of art. These processes are unknown and one cannot say anything conclusive about what these processes are. To understand this better I draw from my own art practice, in which we move in space as an assemblage. This happens through a travelling methodology that we call the wandering as an assemblage. This wandering is made possible through the interactions between different elements: the throwing of a 90 meter long chain over an aluminium tube, the making of an entanglement that puts the tube in the middle, the human-chain-pulling towards a certain direction, the human-chain-holding into a different direction and the tilting of a aluminium, tubular, irregular cube. During these wandering sessions, we intend to push forward a precarity that emerges with our wandering, due to the difficulty of tilting the entangled cube because of its weight, the looseness of the entanglements, the speed of our handling, etc. This precarity is also always enhanced by tubes coming out of their joints. In consequence, we (humans) have a very limited ability to predict and control our wandering. The expressive dimension of our practice is in the endeavour to think through the corporeal-material assemblage, to work out what it is capable of. It is therefore impossible to ever predict or point to a singular cause, the combination of causes within the process remains uncertain and different with each wandering session.


  • Tuckwell, Jason. “Agency and techné in Creative Practice.” Lecture, Transmission in Motion Utrecht University, Utrecht, November 13, 2019.