October 20, 2016 @ 18:31 EST

Dear Anton,

Manifestos, it seems to me, often hinder dialogue. Declarations of intent, ideology, scope which say: the thinking is settled, and now it is time to act. I wonder if it is possible to write a manifesto that admits continued discussion of its claims.

We could for instance consider the organic structure of a conversation, examine its logic, and then iterate. As an inductive or incremental search for meaning. As layers or accretions of thought. As actions which then lead to ideas, rather than a grand statement, and then action.

Precedent for this approach exists, and it, as with so much else, has political associations. For instance the Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo posits the idea of “weak ontology” or “fragile thought,” which proceeds in steps. Vattimo is also a Marxist politician who aims to reclaim Communism from the Soviets, and has been willing to advocate for political violence, for instance in his support for Hamas. Other approaches include Antonioni’s fragments, passages, and weak narratives. Or the tempo of the slow food movement, started by another leftist Italian, Carlo Petrini.

Curiously, and in opposition, Futurism’s violence against the past is expressed as speed: “We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.” It’s no surprise that the dueling manifestos of the Italian Communists and Fascists should seek opposing metaphors. More interesting that some on the left have moved away from grand narratives – after all, industry and speed are also hallmarks of Soviet Communist imagery.

And of course,eternal speed, like endless space, can’t be measured, as it exists without time. For we use time to measure distance – the rotation of the earth, its orbit around the sun. Odd then that we experience time as a progression towards the unknown, as distance that can’t be measured, because we only know its length in hindsight. 

#image_by_image is an ongoing conversation between photographers Ivan Sigal and Anton Kusters.
@ivansigal @antonkusters on Instagram