My name is Robert Tucker and I’ve spent more than twenty years exploring the relationship between language, meaning, and conscious experience. I was first trained as a professor of rhetoric and held various academic positions (adjunct, lecturer, and tenure-track) for eight years. My published work focused on the phenomenology of language, in particular the lived experience of finitude — the interplay between conscious and non-conscious processes combined in the hermeneutic moment. I enjoyed my academic experience but eventually came to feel that, borrowing a quote from Laurie Anderson, writing about consciousness was a lot like dancing about architecture. This is personal and not a criticism of others who choose to write about the topic. For me, everything I wrote came to feel “always already” — it presupposed a relationship between sense and non-sense that was itself what I was trying to examine.
So I left and did other things. Over a number of years I began to experiment with non-didactic ways of approaching the question. I familiarized myself with the Buddhist tradition of mindfulness and, in particular, explored the possibility of stepping up and out of meaning to observe meaning. To sit and catch a sidelong glance of Being while accepting my fruitless effort to think of nothing at all. I claim no expertise in Buddhist thought or practice (By faith I am a lapsed Quaker — in terms of my attendance at Meeting, not in my awareness of the spiritual power of silence) but I was able to perceive more about what I was looking for in mindfulness than I had in academic writing.
Inspired by the epistemological conceptual artists of the sixties and seventies, I began to experiment with non-didactic ways to share an exploration of consciousness. I don’t mean anything fuzzy here. I’m kind of nuts-and-bolts about the subject. The evidence suggests that consciousness is a discreet neurophysiological process enabled by the various cells, tissues, and proteins at play in the human brain. My works seek to show how consciousness works. My works are “mixed-media” — sound, electronics, and some sort of visual element, but I try and let the sound of each work “lead” — thus my comfort in calling my work “sound art.” In terms of theory, I’m exploring the applicability of the Greek dramatic concept of antistrophe — written about in detail in a number of the posts on this site — to elicit a shared phenomenology of meaning. I work at a studio and own an exhibition space in Bellevue, Washington.