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The Aleph א

"I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth, and none of them reflected me.​​​" (Jorge Luis Borges)

Borges describes his encounter with the Aleph - a point in space where you can experience all of space and time. Borges' imaginative use of time and space suggests a nonlinear sense of time. His life story The Aleph represents a point in space where all other points coexist, implying that time can be defined as the "simultaneous existence of all possible outcomes of any given action." In addition to its other meanings, "Aleph" is the name of the first letter of the sacred language's alphabet. In the Kabbalah, I am familiar with a source as growing up in a jewish Sephardic family. Although the Kabbalah is an ancient sacred source, and Jorge Luise's interpretation is a secular interpretation, both express notions of simultaneity in meaningful ways.


"The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing was infinite since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe".

"One of the points in space that contains all points."

The Aleph represents En-Soph (infinity), the pure and limitless cosmic consciousness.

Additionally, it possesses personified characteristics; its form is that of a human pointing to the sky and the ground to convey the idea that the lower world serves as a reflection and map of the higher. The Aleph, which also stands for Divine, is the symbol for the sacred encounter that the story describes because during the Middle Ages, God and space were considered to be one and the same. The Aleph presents the world as a representation of mind, a map, a mirror, as well as an inversion and simplification. The Aleph is portrayed as a human who points to and is traversed by virtual space and its supposed original. The self is made up of static flashes and space-time fragments, sort of like a "angel of the past, present, and future." The ultimate space of spaces is another meaning of the Aleph. In this conflating of the brain and mental space, Borges leaves out a crucial allusion to the Aleph letter's similarity to the brain. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, represents the continuity between human thought and the divine, having no end because as a human thinks, he descends to the end of the world, according to Bahir. Aleph also resembles the brain. Aleph denotes "following thought to ultimate infinity"

Twenty years before publishing the El Aleph, Borges was aware of the equation between the Aleph and the brain. "The letter aleph corresponds to the brain, the First Commandment, the sky of fire, the divine name "I am that I am," and the seraphim known as the Sacred Beasts'.(Borges, The Extent of My Hope (1926). When viewed as the space in which the dynamic record of neural activity over a lifetime is stored, the world of the mind is indeed a vast place, the mapping of which is still in its infancy. The infinite nature of the mind, symbolized by the Aleph, defies any attempt at representation.

To this point, I have been considering it as "that idea," a conceptualization made up of many different ideas and impressions, literary and poetic fragments, personal memories, and felt but nonliteral experiences.Is it possible that this is a breakthrough? Epiphany? A hierophant? When one realizes their oneness with everything in the universe. The concept, which I will for the time being associate with the Aleph symbol, stands for the high point of initiation into the mystical art forms. My years-long struggle to make sense of the aleph and my uncertainty about how to express it conceptually bring to mind a quote from Jonas Mekas: "We are the slaves of our own ontology."

An Imaginary Installation: Aleph

The colour is a warm ochre, reminiscent of an ancient palimpsest, with rose pink flecks that sparkle in the light. Colours, on the other hand, are determined and perceived subjectively in this imagined exhibition by the body subject's current emotional state in time and space. Abstracted forms appear in the light, transparent and at the same time, and resemble faded graffiti, etchings, engravings, gesture inscriptions, traces, palimpsests, elusive threads of forms, malleable feelings. Initially, the shape holds no resemblance to anything, possibly resembling image fragments. However, as the eye moves through things (while other things, such as smell and sound, occur simultaneously), these abstracted forms become personified, in-between botanical and human, merging and splitting, connecting with space that feels like a synopsis map, cartographic or archaeological site. The experience of simultaneity through bodies and materials, rendering feelings, memories, places, events, nature, past-present-future - all coincide. In space, there are two movement elements that are both similar and distinct. Two forces interact with each other, resonate with each other, are aware of each other, connect, split, emerge, and stand still - all in relation to the subject's mental physical emotional state in space. This dialogue alternates between being a battleground and a lovemaking. interrelationship.

How much of it is immaterial? Ephemeral? Physical? Tangible?

I don't have an answer.

The space has no corners, open with an elusive and panoramic surrounding. There is no particular distance, but it is something that can be felt.

Break the distance.

Drink the distance.

Smell the distance.

The Transparent Aleph

The ability to perceive multiple spatial locations at the same time is referred to as transparency. Not only does space recede, but it also fluctuates in a constant state of flux. Figures overlapping and intersecting create a sense of spatial ambiguity or contradiction. Where space-time relativistic thinking allows two objects to coexist in the same space and time at the same time, transparency is a space-time condition of betweenness, a simultaneous perception of space.

Eye vs. Mind, Looking vs. Seeing: Perceptual vs. Transparency

הגוף יכול לחוש, לפרש ולהבין את הסביבה דרך החושים, והתהליך הזה גם משפיע על הסביבהֿ-חלל באמצעות הפעולה של הראייה.

The Aleph as a Thirdspace


"Thirdspace" is a concept introduced by Edward Soja in his book "Thirdspace": Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places," published in 1996. To understand Soja's concept of third-space, we must first refer to Lefebvre's 'triad of space,' which consists of three distinct concepts of space (Lefebvre, 1991, p. 33). The first spatial practice,' also known as 'perceived space.' This is the physical space around us that creates the material conditions for our society. The second is 'representations of space,' also known as 'conceived space- a space, as we would define it objectively. The third is 'representational spaces', which is also known as 'lived space'. This is the space where social relations occur and where we actively participate in them in our daily lives (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010).

Soja defines Thirdspace as “A knowable and unknowable, real and imagined lifeworld of experiences, emotional events, and political choices that are existentially shaped by the generative and problematic interplay between centers and peripheries, the abstract and concrete, the impassioned spaces of the conceptual and the lived, marked out materially and metaphorically in spatial praxis, the transformation of (spatial) knowledge into (spatial) action in the field of unevenly developed (spatial) power.” (Soja, 1996, p. 31)

Similar to the "Aleph" space, everything exists simultaneously in Thirdspace: subjectivity and objectivity, the abstract and the concrete, the real and the imagined, the knowable and the unimaginable, the repetitive and the differential, structure and agency, mind and body, consciousness and the unconscious, the disciplined and the transdisciplinary, daily life and endless history.

So Thirdspace is not identical to Lefebvre's third concept of space (the lived space), despite being a space that is "not defined, just lived" (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010). Additionally, Thirdspace is a combination of these spaces. It is a space that seeks to transcend discourse, a space where creativity occurs, and a space that is open to others (H. Ernste, personal communication, 21 September 2010). Soja compares Thirdspace to the Aleph, which he describes as "the place where all places are" (Soja, 1996, p. 54) Soja clarifies further by stating:

'Thirdspace, as I have been defining it, retains the multiple meanings Lefebvre persistently ascribed to social space. It is both a space that is distinguishable from other spaces (physical and mental, or First Space and Second space) and a transcending composite of all spaces (Thirdspace as Aleph).' (Soja, 1996, p. 62.

Perhaps the Thirdspace is an alternative postmodern geography?

Borges wrote on “The Aleph” gives us his definition of this concept: “What eternity is to time, the Aleph is to space. In eternity, all time—past, present, and future—coexists simultaneously. In the Aleph, the sum total of the spatial universe is to be found in a tiny shining sphere barely over an inch across” (263). The two primary pillars of how people perceive the world and its phenomena are time and space. However, it appears that temporal issues are given more attention than spatial ones. This is probably because, despite the fact that space and spatial elements are frequently at the centre of a narrative text, the term "space" lacks a precise and comprehensive definition. For instance, Merleau-Ponty adds the dimension of seeing or watching as a characteristic of experienced space. As a result, the spaces we experience and inhabit are designed from an individual's point of view. Gaston Bachelard offers a different strategy in The Poetics of Space (1958), where he combines phenomenology and psychoanalysis to create a new way of describing space.

Though the Aleph experience requires special circumstances to manifest, it cannot be confined to a single place. In other words, the Aleph can be a transformative and embodied experience of simultaneous locations. In its definition as a point where everything is present at once, the Aleph stands at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal levels of space, connecting them while simultaneously observing them from above. In this way, the Aleph is comparable to the center of a labyrinth or mandala, where initiates would discover the true face of themselves and the sacred universe.Aleph represents the Oneness and Unity of Divine. It implies that Oneness lies beneath the illusion of separation and duality, that nothing is separate and the Creator is the source of everything. Aleph signifies the emergence of something from nothing. It is the unutterable, timeless, and omnipresent symbol of beginnings and the ultimate reality. It is the Undivided One, which represents wholeness beyond human comprehension.

Aleph Beat: Wallace Berman

an eight-minute-long work - (1956-1966)

לא הרבה כתבתי על האלף, החומרים הכתובים שכן הצטברו לי היו בגדר מאמץ לחבר רעיונות ורפרנסים, להתכנסות, אבל במרבית הזמן, לא מצאתי את המילים לדבר עליה דרכי, בין תחושה של אילמות להתגלות

A Score:

An indelible feeling of a place

What are your heels and water, corner and horizon of places, that are as marks that cannot be removed?

The Aleph can also be read as a pantheist symbol that translates a divinity that comprehends in microcosm the totality of the universe, the postscript reflecting on the possible meanings (while omitting others)

"The Aleph" as a talismanic sound.

I grew up in a house with a synagogue on the other side of our kitchen wall. So I grew up with the sound of prayers all around me, morning, noon, and evening, constantly humming prayers in between random activities around the house, like singing the song of the sea Shirat-hayam while washing the dishes. The synagogue is run by a family and is home to immigrants from North Africa. As a child, I became accustomed to hearing synagogue prayers, which were held in various locations throughout our neighborhood. The majority of these synagogues are family synagogues with small groups of worshippers. On Friday afternoons, the town begins to enter the Sabbath, beginning with quiet, silent cars and the smell of cooking and cleaning supplies. The Shechinah then descends in a tangible and clear manner immediately after the Sabbath siren. The prayers begin after a short period of time. Except for minor differences in Tunisian, Moroccan, and Tripolitan singing, all synagogues sing the same song. Prayer services in all synagogues are nearly identical, with the exception of a slight time difference. I could hear the same chanting from multiple synagogues at the same time, with little delay, similar to intervals and polyphonic singing. The delay was more noticeable at times, and I could hear a variety of different prayer chants coming from different synagogues at the same time. This memory has left an indelible inscription of place in me.

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