Suzanne Anker/ To begin with, what’s wrong with a “drunken conversation”? While some drunken conversations perseverate and go on endlessly in the land of repetition, others invoke unconscious or otherwise non-linear concerns which can lead to innovative thoughts, processes and materials. When examining the nature of research and dialogue I quote Jacques Monod in that evolution operates by chance and necessity. If we liken language to a communication system, what is the relevance in which “drunken conversations” produce mutations of thought and its consequences? For Monod, ”mutations constitute the only possible source of modifications in a genetic text……chance alone is the source of every innovation.”
Hence a “drunken conversation” may, in fact, be a method of generating knowledge. Additionally, a brief scan of Gregory Bateson’s metalogue can also unfold hidden aspects in dialogue. In Steps to An Ecology of Mind, Bateson introduces the concept of the metalogue: “A metalogue is a conversation about some problematic subject. This conversation should be such that not only do the participants discuss the problem but the structure of the conversation as a whole is also relevant to the same subject. Only some …conversations achieve this double format.”
In science, consensus begins in the making (the application of the scientific method) and continues after positions are resolved. While in art, consensus is very rarely a component in the generation and creation of the object or image. Conversely, consensus is reached and evolves after a work of art has entered the domain of art history. However, accident and chance, or “drunken conversations,” will occasionally yield invention if the practitioner’s intuitive sense of recognition is sufficiently acute.