On the Mode of Existence of Narrative and Structure

In “On the Mode of Existence of Narrative and Structure”, Mark von Rosenstiel presents three new sculptures and one video work. The works all examine the identity created in narrative’s structure when it is faced with holding a seemingly complete story.

Three perspectives are shown within the sculptural elements: the continued reintegration of the parts of narrative, bifurcation in the scale of narrative, and the limiting of data inherit in narrative.

The video acts as a prologue. It is meant to exhibit the way that well formed narrative (internal or external) exhibits properties like a wheel hub allowing it to exist in a state where it contains its purpose entirely. This idea of contained purpose is important in the construction of all the pieces.

Full Exhibition Text

many ways of blue | oil pastel, wood, custom code
the space above and below us | cedar trees, hammers, steel spikes, custom code
stories I try to tell the same never are | fir timber, custom gears, motor, yarn
little pointless actions can be the hub of a wheel | video


generalities, repetition and that self-defining thing I keep forgetting to tell you

Exhibition in Organhaus, Chongqing, featuring three new works.

When I was a kid I would shoot free-throws in my backyard. I would make bets with myself that if I hit a certain percentage of them something good would come true, and if I missed too many of them, something awful would happen to me. Inevitably I would miss more and more, and I would end up staying outside in the fading light, doubling or tripling my bets, hoping for guaranteed happiness in the future.

Catch the ball. Dribble. Shoot.
Catch the ball. Dribble. Shoot.

And there was a moment when I forgot the menace that awaited with each miss, as well as the joy that came with each basket. A moment where the rhythm and grip of the ball on my hand would be the fading sky meeting trees, which were glued to concrete.

I was almost, in that moment, stitched perfectly into the world.

space-time, with a little bit more space, a little bit less time (or Thank You, Mr. Whitehead, for returning all of my phone calls)

prototype for meditative practices (or a portable Michael Sailstorfer)

mantras for machines (or the moment I finally may meet myself)


baby, I miss you, let's pretend I'm there

I like to think of packing myself up in some sort of gift box and sending it to someone in the mail. (Try to read that last sentence not in a Seven sort of way, but more in let’s-share-ourselves-emotionally sort of way.) I think about how I could make the gift not generic, but something unique to the person I was sending it to; something that would make that person in particular know it was a piece of me that was for them alone.

And when I think of what I could give to someone, I think of the content that makes me up, and the container which holds that content. I have certain facades that are created from some structure defined by the content underneath; these facades I think of as honest and complete. Then there are also facades that are paper mache constructions based on who I hope I will be; I either try to create the content that will strengthen this facade, or I silently hope that someone won't touch this facade that barely has the strength to stand on its own.

I think to show someone a combination of container and content that also speaks to my failings, to the weaknesses of what appear to be a solid container, is to be honest and present. “baby, I miss you, let’s pretend I’m there” is to most people a superficial display of how I could playfully and artificially be present. To the right person, who knows a thing or two about my "prostitute face", it could actually be something quite heartfelt.

I think, then, that this ends up being a bit of my own reflection on how a perception of what the content and container of a person means, is dependent on how it is translated and taken into another individuals internal space.

Photo Credit: Barbora Hrdá


somewhere between these peaks and valleys, I missed you

The smallest pieces of matter are expressions of waves: waves built on waves to make cities full of people living in buildings; maybe driving a car to work. As each of us pass through this landscape we have moments where we possibly share a space just as another person has. The sin waves of all our atoms line up to strike the drum of existence at what seems to be the exact same time. Very close. Very, very close. “somewhere between these peaks and valleys, I missed you” is an outward expression of these building blocks that make up physical space. It gives the viewer the chance to see themselves expressed in these building blocks, and feel the sensation of standing in exactly the same moment as another.


meet meat

Side projects from my time at Meet Factory.


we turn our heads towards the light (or wander aimlessly in the dark)

This piece was created to take advantage of the physical space where it was installed as well as mimic the way the space was used as an architecture firm. The wall itself was constantly bathed in light from an overhead skylight, creating a shifting pattern of light and shadow. By using a series of light sensors positioned around the stylus, the machine can determine where locally around it the wall is brightest. At each drawing interval it locates the two brightest areas around it and then moves in a direction weighted between these two areas. The length of line it draws is based on the brightness differential of where it currently is compared to the average of the area around it. In areas that are overall bright the machine draws short line segments, while in darker or more varied areas it ends up drawing longer line segments in an attempt to end up in consistently bright areas.

The machine, in a sense, basks in the light of the wall, content and lethargic, while becoming anxious and restless when faced with being in shadows. In this way the machine not only is interacting with the physical environment of the space -- the cycle of light -- but is mimicking aspects of the creative process that take place around it as well; we feel the bliss of finding creative solutions, yet these moments are always followed by a time where clarity seems to allude us persistently.

All posted photos of this project are credited to Joe Iano. You can visit more of his work at www.ianophotography.com. I encourage you to do so.


this time we see, this time we feel

The sensation of time is an intrinsic part of any place, but it is a piece of a place that is impossible to take with you when you leave and almost equally as hard to explain to someone who has never been. When I think of what creates this divide, I see the events that we use to delineate our day and the subtlety with which we choose these events. These events are markers for the passage of time and yet the knowledge we have of what these events are for ourselves is sometimes very limited, if known at all.

Time passes when we become aware of the afternoon sun on our skin or pick our child up from school. Or maybe time passes with morning prayer or southern winds that we hear as they blossom in the evening.

What is interesting about these events is how they are shared and perceived by people living in the same place. My neighbor and I may share a segment of events that we delineate our day with, but there are entire spectrums of our lives that get encompassed in time in much different ways. These are due to our lifestyles not being entirely identical as well as the way we have positioned ourselves to perceive our surroundings, whether through beliefs or aesthetics.

“this time we see, this time we feel”, allow us to see time in its entirety as perceived in one place. Gathering information from webcams throughout Bangkok, the machine learns to mark video with what it perceives to be significant events occurring within the different feeds. The way it chooses to mark and differentiate significant events in each feed is self-learned and entirely based on the raw video data. The machine then divides the wall into drifting segments which it draws geometric representations showing the relationship of these events occurring across all the different video feeds. Given that each pass along the wall is drawn within a bounded segment of the wall, a single line from left to right (or right to left) can be seen as being analogous to a heartbeat monitor.

A final aspect of the piece is the roll of the viewer themselves in feedback with the piece. One of the video feeds comes from within the gallery itself. In this way the viewer is able to embed themselves in this mechanized process of capturing a complete sense of time across the many lives and nuances of a single place. And just as they have been woven into the machines sensation of time by entering the space, the machine itself has been woven into the viewers sense of time by their awareness and intent of having entered the space.


creatures as standing waves

I'm not sure it is possible to collect all the parts of anything. There are always pieces that will lay at different layers; at different scales. Smaller or bigger. Floating around a scene like electrons orbiting a nucleus -- far off in the distance but important to the global composition. In the moment of capturing and bounding our surroundings they cease to be what they were. They become an object made new: maybe angular or soft like the brush strokes that describe children's stories. The object is outside itself--projected/injected into a space that is not worse or better, but is undeniably different.


things I was meant to have said yesterday

We divide the time given to us in our lives through a series of personal, group, and voyeuristic practices. These practices are both conscious and unconscious, with their perceived individual outcomes not necessarily expressing who we believe ourselves to be. “things I was meant to have said yesterday” is a collection of work that explores and dissects a few of these practices through video and sculptural pieces.

conversations with celebrities (@JustinBieber, @MileyCyrus, @KhloeKardashian, @ParisHilton, @NickiMinaj, @ArianaGrande, @TaylorSwift13) - Wood, Metal, Screws, Twitter, 2014

ritual objects of binary states - Horse skulls, Florescent bulbs, 2014

the time in between is what mattered - video, 2010

in this afternoon light, I have jumped between feeling incredibly calm and feeling incredibly anxious - video, 2012

the ineffective ways we choose to measure time - video, 2013

details of a perfect story - video, 2014


a summary of 120 hours on the internet

In the age of the self promoter and social networks that leap across timezones and continents like eyes glancing through a single's bar, the process of creating identity becomes progressively easier to tailor. Yet the canvas and body we tailor to – the digital landscape that we are projected into -- forces us to represent ourselves in very specific dimensions. Through our homemade videos, musings, and webcam footage, we twist and bend into the digital sphere and are at once unique and expressive but also lost and buried in a landscape that has the ability to make the self feel foreign.


Talk to me.

Drop me a line if you want to talk about anything: mark@markvonrosenstiel.com.
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