The ways in which we do not know things

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Speaking about the way we perceive the world and relate to it, how flexible is the line between knowledge (something we possess) and non-knowledge (something that escapes us)? Marking this question a point of departure, I set off to explore possible ways of not knowing. Assuming that the “unknown” is a significant part of our life which we often neglect or avoid contact with, I believe, that recognizing and finding the right attitude to the “unknown” will provide us an expanded insight into the world and our place in it. The structure of this research is based on approaching the topic from different perspectives. I start with speculating about the nature of the “unknown”, assuming it is the third fundamental principle on a par with being and non-being. Then I proceed with tracing the “unknown” in everyday life and exploring the ways how we recognise and interact with it. In this sense, I consider the “unknown” as a method of questioning and a reason for constant transformation: it always forms new way forward and helps us to disclose the future. Further, I expand the notion of the “unknown” by observing it through the perspective of Chinese culture. It allows me to acquire another set of tools for the research and takes the discourse further. Referring to the “Study of the Profound” Xuanxue 玄學, concepts of wuwei 無為 and fengliu 風流 I explore the “unknown” as an important feature of the “Way” Dao 道, its secrecy, and try to find out what are the practical means to reveal it. Next, I approach the field of aesthetics, studying manifestation of the “unknown” through the concept of “blank-leaving” liubai 留白. Its broad understanding implies the ideas of non-duality of opposites, emptiness, knowledge through non-knowledge and self-actualization through self-loss, that, in my opinion, constitute important features of the “unknown”. Through the revelation of the blank space, it appears as a bonding force that permeates “being” you 有 and “non-being” wu 無. I see the “unknown” as the realm of constantly unfolding perspective of the vague image that blurs the border between distinct and indistinct, appearing and disappearing, full and empty, and reveals a path to new horizons - recognition of all kinds of possibilities. I conclude this journey with a Breath Out part, where I publish thoughts and reflections on the “unknown” from my conversations with friends and personal experience.
Ryynänen, Max
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Ryynänen, Max
Terekhov, Anton
unknown, blank-leaving, in/between, contemplation, aesthetics, emptiness, vague image, being
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