Print Recommend it

A few brief remarks about the ODAS logo. Here, as in any other communicative strategy, everything is simply what it seems; although it is true that the difficulty lies in unravelling the complexity behind these appearances, which brings us back to the beginning of the problem. If everything is ultimately an exercise in discourse and rhetoric, if the importance of things is measured simply by the effect they produce, or more bluntly the effect they have, then the conflict between form and content is revealed to be an insignificant brain-teaser. But two aspects should however be acknowledged as determining factors when considering the importance of discourses. Firstly, we should assess with what authority these discourses are asserted and what is their real standing among others of the same type (discourses clearly know a thing or two about ecology). Secondly, we should consider the emphasis that they placed on their rhetorical nature: the indiscriminate flow of formcontent. This is, then, an issue that deals with our awareness of communication at its most basic level, rather than the pragmatics of the messages themselves, which of course have precisely the same objective: to persuade. At this point, awareness of the precise nature of communication —of the discourse— sets in motion the most serious game that it is possible to play on the chalkboard of language.

But let us retrace our steps a little: from the chalkboard of language to the painter’s easel, or to the drawing board itself, if indeed anything is left of it. Or perhaps we haven’t really departed from it at all? And so back again to the beginning: the ODAS logo. Firstly its figurative, iconic aspect that, due to the geometrical stylization of the design, conjures itself away, unseen by the inattentive eye. The logo shows a telescope ready to work, propped against the side of the observatory; a figure that is also synecdochic, albeit not entirely, since the walls are already the observatory ad litteram. Yet all icons are also symbolic, which is why the building itself represents what it houses: a particular objective, a concrete object of study, a specific means of proceeding. ODAS aims to work seriously and with precision, as can only be achieved by avoiding the temptation to cast only a cursory glance over the subject matter and by realising that it is vital to stop and take a second look. After all, there may always be an eyelash left behind on the telescope; so, science is an inherently complex vocation. To represent the need to examine the subject more carefully the simplified form of an eye has been added to the stylized telescope of the ODAS logo.

Given that everything is as it seems, we would do well to bring these appearances into clearer focus. Because the telescope is not merely an empty shell of plastic and metal, because the telescope has many things inside, it is constantly processing and creating forms. Knowledge is always astronomical. And the same is true of the eye, full of humours and inverted images. Just as knowledge builds up over time, it must also evolve, and is inevitably tied to what has gone before, never simply progressing in a single direction; it will always move along a spiral, and sooner or later, in one way or another, this spiral brings it back to the point at which it began. Aphelion and perihelion: points on elliptical orbits that will ultimately retrace themselves, however far they may stray from their centre. In a way, knowledge retains a certain respect for rotations and revolutions, just like a telescope fixed in an observatory or even the eye in its socket. Only with each complete cycle do storage batteries reach their full capacity, and the originality of knowledge also gains power as it follows a cycle of continuous return upon itself. In the same way, the ODAS telescope is —as it must be— trapped in a cycle of perpetual rotation. With each rotation it becomes more than the sum of its parts, shaking off metal and appearance, shedding the rust of protocols, moving beyond the expectations of the observing eye, even losing its iconic nature, to ultimately become a symbol: the telescope transformed into an ŤAť lying on its side. At the beginning, everything is upside down. Or is it downside up? The horned animal transformed into the alphabet. The ŤAť of the alphabet, the ŤAť of thought, the ŤAť of the beginning and of the word, the ŤAť of divine and human creation, the ŤAť of admiration and reverence, the ŤAť of art, the ŤAť of a humble visual poem, the ŤAh!ť of the astonished viewer.