Visual research project about 
_polarity_ and _duality_.

This is a visual research project that utilizes two discovered symbols placed in diverse contexts to explore the concepts of _polarity_duality_.
As the project progressed, the two original symbols evolved into a set of five symbols. The evolution of these symbols was influenced by their interactions with each other.

Notably, the texture and supports of the symbols are equally significant as the symbols themselves. The project examines how these elements work together to convey meaning and create a unique visual language.

The five symbols and sentences

The five symbols and sentences

The initial point is the discovery of two child drawings that become the foundation of a new visual language and grammar. The beetle and profile symbols transform into left and right profiles, ultimately merging with Janus's head.

In addition to these five symbols, five sentences from a 19th-century school notebook serve as the second element. These sentences were repeated by pupils to learn proper writing techniques.

These symbols and sentences provide the basis for further visual exploration, but their meaning is only realized when placed in a specific context or in conjunction with one another. Polarity and duality are concepts that can only be defined within the context of a confrontation or relationship.

The project is not driven by an aesthetic ambition since aesthetics are subjective and culturally influenced. Instead, the project employs two main visual techniques: a mechanical reproduction technique that utilizes stamps made from the five symbols to achieve a consistent representation, and an emotional representation achieved through drawings and paintings, which are also subject to interpretation.

sources of the duality polarity project


The exploration of _polarity_duality_ in this visual research project is grounded in the discovery of child drawings and school notebooks. As the project progresses, my intervention is kept to a minimum to maintain the integrity of the original material.

To create drawings, paintings, and collages, mechanical reproduction techniques are utilized whenever possible. This approach is intended to maintain the authenticity and consistency of the project's visual language while minimizing the impact of individual artistic interpretation.

In this project, it is not solely the contrast between opposing poles that define polarity and duality. Rather, the interaction of contradictions is equally important in understanding these concepts.

The project does not aim to provide definitive answers, but rather it offers indications and possibilities for further exploration. Through the use of found child drawings and school notebooks, as well as mechanical reproduction techniques, the project seeks to create a new visual language that invites interpretation and encourages dialogue. The project's focus is not to provide definitive conclusions, but rather to open up new avenues for creative inquiry and exploration.

Research areas of the polarity duality research

Research areas

Polarity and duality are two related but distinct concepts.

Polarity refers to the existence of two opposing or contrasting states, qualities, or values. These states may be complementary or opposite, but they are always in contrast to one another. In the context of visual research, polarity may refer to the contrast between two symbols or visual elements that evoke different meanings or emotions.

Duality, on the other hand, refers to the idea that two seemingly opposite or contradictory things can coexist and even depend on each other. Duality acknowledges that opposites are not necessarily mutually exclusive and that they can be interconnected in complex and dynamic ways. In the context of visual research, duality may refer to the interaction and relationship between two symbols or visual elements that initially seem to be in opposition but reveal a more complex and nuanced relationship upon closer examination.

Overall, while polarity and duality share a connection to opposing or contrasting elements, polarity emphasizes the contrast between them, while duality emphasizes the interdependence and complexity of their relationship.
Defining the research fields of _polarity_duality_ :

  • philosophy
  • mathematics (binary code)
  • religion
  • psychology
  • physics
  • astronomy
  • popular culture

On a second level, the five symbols are the basic tools for new visual grammar.
The significance and the reading of the symbols depend on the cultural background of the reader and the context of the symbols.

The context of the five symbols is cultural, ethical, religious, philosophical, psychological, scientific, political, and historical.

Sources of inspiration for the polarity duality project

Mood board

Inspired by medieval fresco paintings, 19th-century school notebooks, drawing notebooks, ... 
In general found old paper (books, charts, drawings, etchings, illustrations, newspapers, etc).  

The project doesn't end with the visual presentation of the project, but with the interpretation of the curator and the spectator.  The is no hierarchy or order of succession of the visuals.  The viewer and the curator are invited to make their own sequences.  There is no order.  Chaos makes the definition of _polarity_ and _duality_ more intelligible.
The five symbols are open source and can be used by anyone for their own, non-commercial, use. The users are asked to inform the author about the use of the five symbols.

The individual works aren't signed with the personal name of the researcher, only with the location and the year of the creation. 
The year 2021 has all the main numbers related to _polarity_ and _duality_: 0, 1, and 2.  2021 is also the year of one of the major global cultural and political shifts as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic made _polarity_ and _duality_ more significant.  The project was done in deep rural France, on a farm isolated from urban influences.  The isolation made it possible to eliminate any anecdotal influence.  

All the images, texts, and elements are the property of Xavier Debeerst and can only be used with explicit agreement by the author.  Please respect the efforts and the copyright.
Copyright 2023