Made for interdisciplinary collaborative project ‘extensions’, presence in absentia explores medieval philosopher Calcidius’ notions of prime matter. What is matter made from? How does our perception affect our definitions of understanding the basic make up of the universe? How can we illuminate the invisible? Can we make the unseen tangible? What role do our cognitive processes play in filling the void?

“Calcidius says that, as the darkness is seen without seeing and the silence is heard by hearing nothing, as too that primordial matter which is prime matter is understood without understanding. Which corresponds to say that in the same way it is necessary for sight to fail as to see the darkness and similarly for the hearing as to hear the silence, likewise the intellect has to fail in order to understand prime matter. Indeed, when we think of matter without any form, our intellect fails.”

-William of Conches

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