Longread — 22 Feb 2018 — Irina Lyubchenko

In his theoretical text titled “The Principles of Creativity in the Plastic [Visual] Arts: Faktura (1914)”, Vladimir Markov introduces the concept of faktura. Markov claims that in addition to faktura understood as surface texture of an artwork, there is a type of faktura defined as “a shared concept in the field of sculpture, and architecture, and in all those arts where a certain ‘noise’, produced with colors, sounds and with other methods, is perceived in one way or another by consciousness.”1 Markov leaves the question, regarding the specificities of what can be defined as noise and how viewers are able to perceive it, unanswered. This paper probes Markov’s theory of faktura and suggests how his concept of noise can be interpreted. The deliberation of Markov’s ideas is offered in dialogue with the theoretical writings of Kazimir Malevich, an artist who was greatly influenced by Markov’s thought2 and devoted a substantial amount of his own work to theorizing faktura. Markov discusses noise as the quality of faktura of non-realist art, while simultaneously asserting the aural dimension of this art through the use of musical concepts, such as melody, harmony, and rhythm. It is along these lines of inquiry that this paper unfolds: first as the study of noise as the lack of the clarity of the message related to the non-representational art’s content, and second, as investigation of noise as a metaphysical concept related to attuning viewers to the harmony of the universe sought by artists distraught by the aftermath of modernity’s crisis of the spirit. In the process, multiple ties with the Russian symbolist movement are revealed. The aspiration to break with the realist tradition and the search for the unity and synthesis in the arts, so characteristic of the Russian Symbolism of the fin-de-siècle, can be found in the practices of Markov and Malevich, who have reworked and transformed its fundamental philosophical themes.

Voldemars Matveijs (1877–1914), better known under the pseudonym of Vladimir Markov, was a pioneer in recognizing a development in art that marked a divorce with the Academic tradition — the top layer of any surface in artworks became highly articulated and noticeable, drawing attention to the materiality of art. The concept of faktura, which Markov first saw expressed in the art of the ‘primitives’, inspiring a neo-primitivist movement in Russia, is at the heart of the development of 20th century modern and avant-garde art.3 In the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia (1926), faktura is defined as “individual handwriting, ‘diction’”", “the manner of the artist, to which technique is subordinated”, “the method of applying paint to the surface” in painting and “methods of processing stone” in sculpture.4 The encyclopaedic entry based on Markov’s seminal text on faktura is telling, for it depicts the state of art theory that celebrates the artist as the creator and locates the artist’s subjectivity within the canvas – the legacy of symbolism’s attention to the inner psychology of the artist and its expression in a work of art. In later constructivist writings, such as Nikolai Tarabukin’s An Attempt at the Theory of Painting (1923), it is the material and not the artist’s “diction” that prescribes the form to the work of art.5 In this shift of focus from the creativity of the artist to the specificities and expressive potentials of materials used in making art, one can notice the seeds of Clement Greenberg’s American Abstract Expressionism of the 1940s. Greenberg claims total autonomy for art and frees it from not only what the critic deems as the chores of representation, but also from the burden of expressing the artist’s inner world, suggesting that even a blank canvas is already a picture.6 Markov, standing at the roots of faktura’s conceptual transformation, represents a more holistic approach to its theorizing, which includes not only the concern for the technique and quality of the application of materials, such as brush strokes in painting, but also for the artistic psyche that commands the artist to use the chosen application techniques.

 The shift towards contemplating the role of the surface and texture in art is intimately related to the growing distrust of the sense of vision, a condition that demanded a radical rethinking of the relationship between art and representation, calling into question the methods of realism based on Cartesian perspectivalism.7 The proliferation of photographic images cast doubt on the reliability of the human eye and prompted the development of an approach to creating art that was not based on truthful copying of nature. The early 19th century studies on the optical phenomena of vision, such as the retinal afterimage described in Goethe’s Theory of Colours (1810), shattered the conviction that sensory organs provide an objective report of external physical reality. The scientific existence of afterimages reveals the highly subjective nature of human perception, where a sensation may exist without external stimuli8, suggesting that the image of reality is to a large degree a product of convention and imagination. Malevich poignantly describes the perceptual split between humans and nature, which originates in the condition of the unreliability of the sense of vision characteristic of the early 20th century:

And so the element and the person form two circumstances and they want to see each other, in order to understand and form one organism, and it turns out that they are different and that circumstances, refracting in the mind of a person, become distorted and the reality — changed. Thus it turns out that what we call nature is our own invention, having nothing in common with authenticity...9

These intellectual conditions have altered the relationship between artists and nature. Markov condemns artistic attempts at rendering representations of nature and considers nature itself driven by necessity and lacking creative will — a trait attributed to human beings alone. Nature-made fakturas (and nature ceaselessly produces them) are almost never able to conjure up associations not immediately related to the objects they construe. Markov’s demand for fakturas to be evocative points at the symbolist roots of his theories. Nature does not create symbols, bringing Markov to conclude that there is no place on earth for art.10 Taking a stance towards nature as lacking creativity emphasizes the role of the artist in the creative act and values subjective expression of the artist’s relation to the world. What constitutes creative process is the total transformation of the experience that is felt. Markov explains:

Nature is not the object for us but only the departure point for our creative work. It provides our imagination with some kind of melody of color or line which, when transferred to the canvas with complete consistency, has nothing in common with nature.11

Malevich agrees with Markov and pictures creative process as a state of being taken over by the richness of experiences, the intensity of which transforms the raw materials of nature into new creative forms:

In the painter, the colors of his paints are inflamed, his brain is burning, in him the rays coming in the colors of nature are ignited, they caught fire from getting in touch with the internal apparatus. And the creative has risen in him in full height, with an entire avalanche of colors in order to exit back into the real world and create a new form.12

These new creative forms are unfamiliar to the viewer — the defamiliarization that stems from the removal of figurative and representational aspects of works of art, which triggers an increased emphasis on the ways the artworks are made, on their structure and faktura. In realism, for example, faktura is hidden so that the viewer interested in the representational aspects of art is not distracted by the artwork’s constituents, such as characteristics of its surface and the materials used to depict the subject. Markov writes,

It is safe to say that in those eras when realism was kept down the feeling for faktura developed. And, vice versa, in realism’s times this feeling was reduced to nil.13

Fig. 1 Kazimir Malevich, Painting structure of Cezanne & Painting structure of Impressionists (14), from the didactic material for “Introduction Into the Theory of the Additional Element in Painting” (1927).

Since, according to Markov, noise and faktura are directly dependent on one another, the reduction of the feeling for faktura associated with representational art, leads to the reduction of noise, or an increase in the clarity of the image. The uncertainty of message that characterizes most non-representational art works can thus be defined as Markov’s noise.15 Interpreted in such a manner, Markov’s theory of faktura anticipates the development of the fundamental ideas on the transmission of information initiated by Harry Nyquist and Ralph Hartley in the 1920s. In the 1940s, Claude Shannon and Hartley elaborated on the relationship between noise and signal, or signal-to-noise ratio — a measure used to determine the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. The feeling for faktura and the associated rejection of realist aesthetic is necessarily accompanied by a prevalence of poetic content and a disregard for the discursivity dominant in realist art. Non-representational art is noisy.

Kazimir Malevich — a pioneer of non-objective art, who ‘discovered’ the visual language of Suprematism and the basic element of its grammar, Black Square, one year after the publication of Markov’s text on faktura — defines noise as a result of the conflict in a consciousness not properly attuned to appreciating the harmony of art. Malevich’s suprematist compositions contain no visual trace of reference to the external physical world and comprise a novel way of picturing reality that the artist terms “new realism”. The new reality that Malevich perceives and seeks to depict in his art is the dynamic reality of objects released from the confines of their form, the utilitarian shape that ties them to the world of things. His Suprematism is the non-objective system of relations between elements that allows transferring sensations of objects in their naked, objectless form, to give the viewer an experience of what Malevich describes as milk without the milk bottle.16

Fig. 2 Kazimir Malevich, Ill. 1-4. In these drawings, "the nude" is simultaneously influenced by the additional element of the cultures of Cezanne and Cubism & Ill. 5-8 A further change in "the nude" under the influence of the surplus element from cubist

In his theoretical essay, 'Introduction Into the Theory of the Additional Element in Painting' (1927), Kazimir Malevich discusses how the introduction of new artistic vision of reality, such as his Suprematism, is accompanied by a displacement of the conventional representational norms, the familiar aspects of which solidified into popular acceptance and became associated with beauty and harmony. In agreement with the evolutionary theories popular at the time, Malevich associates each new stage of the development of artistic culture with a particular elemental particle of faktura formed in the artist’s consciousness under the influence of his or her environment. For a suprematist nurtured in the environment enriched by the possibility of flight, which reveals the world from an unusual aerial point of view, this world is reflected in the mind as a picture made up of straight lines. Originating in a dynamic environment of city life, cubist artworks consist of sickle-shaped curves that are better suited for the depiction of the fragmented objects prevalent in cubism.

Malevich notes that the immediate reaction to art that introduces new additional elements, new fakturas, is to deem it disharmonious and chaotic. For Malevich, however, such a claim is impossible — there is simply no disharmonious art. According to their nature, artists are incapable of creating discordance; they are organisms that rework chaos into harmony, giving order to noise. Similarly to Markov, Malevich stresses that art not concerned with the familiar emits a form of noise. Malevich defines this noise as a conflict in the viewer’s perceptual apparatus: 

Under noise, one can understand "conflict", which is never harmonious, because it creates chaos. Elimination of conflict establishes harmony or the norm of a new harmonic order, which takes possession of the apparatus of musical or pictorial perception and settles the noise that has come from outside.

An untuned auditory or visual apparatus causes noise that disturbs the harmony in the brain, just as in a room where concert takes place, street noise bursts into a window, disturbing the harmony, causes public's irritation, and the public closes the window or endures the indignation. So, every new musical construction will also be a noise, for the nervous system is not yet reconstructed; it is difficult to proceed to the restructuring of the nervous musical sounding.17

Fig. 3 Kazimir Malevich, Analytical study of the formation of the artists’ Cezannist, cubist and suprematist pictorial cultures. The surplus elements of these cultures, from the didactic material for “Introduction Into the Theory of the Additional Element

Malevich’s definition of noise as an outcome of the conflict in the consciousness of the spectator prompts an analogy between the nervous system and a radio receiver that is not tuned to the frequency an artwork transmits its harmony on, allowing one to hear only the hiss of radio noise. It is the artist’s role to attune the perception apparatus of the viewer — the process that enables the perceptual shift necessary for sensing the harmony of new realism. Artists readjust the mechanisms of sensory perception to tune them to the properties of works of art. Malevich explains:

For example, the noise of the city will be a chaos until the composer gives it a structure, after which the noise of the cities is perceived in the same way as "bubbling brooks", which once represented noise to the ear. The composer thus directs the hearing apparatus, then what seemed as noise, is perceived as harmony.18

The particular way in which Malevich’s composer structures musical composition is responsible for the public’s ability to gain insight into what appears as noise. The tuning device is embedded into the musical composition; it is capable of restructuring the human psyche. Similarly, Markov describes a form of device also contained within a work of art and capable of instilling a higher effect on the psyche of the viewer. Markov calls this device a tuning fork:

We get a ‘noise’ or faktura with a certain tuning fork when material and non-material fakturas combine in order to produce one overriding ‘noise’. This occurs when both fakturas assist one another in the creation of a particularly nuanced noise which is somehow distinguishable from many other ‘noises’.19

Interestingly, the idea of a combination of noises creating one nuanced noise approaches the concept of a chord — a harmonious musical combination of pitches. Thus there is a parallel in Markov and Malevich’s envisioning a work of art that hides within itself the keys to the transformational experience of noise revealing itself as harmony.

Markov’s conceptualization of noise as a deliberate avoidance of the clear visual communication characteristic of non-realist art is so intimately related to his simultaneous association of noise with a form of sound that any discussion of the former interpretation of Markov’s noise inevitably leads to the discussion of the latter. This can be witnessed in the persistent presence of the reference to musical concepts in Markov and Malevich’s writings, taking us to the second part of this paper’s discussion in which noise is studied in its connection to sound. The aural interpretation of noise reveals synthetic aspirations of Markov and Malevich, wherein both artists strive to unite the senses and establish contact with the higher realms.

Markov’s use of such phrases as “melody of color” and his and Malevich’s insistence on the possibility of tuning the viewers’ sensory apparatus to the harmony of artworks speaks of the theorists’ understanding of visual art as having some form of aural manifestation. This attention to the musical qualities of art resembles that of the symbolists, who sought to reunite art and life. Re-establishing this connection severed by positivist thought, which rejected any form of intuitive knowledge, was to counteract the effects of the resulting crisis of the spirit. Symbolists searched for the aesthetic embodiment of the lost unity they termed ‘zhiznetvorchestvo’20 which can be translated as ‘life-creation’, through revealing the sacred relationships between seemingly incongruent elements and opposites.21 Kazimir Malevich, too, sees the creative process as a struggle to create a unity of contrasting elements, harmony out of dissonant parts: 

The same creative surface appeared before the artist-creator – his canvas, the place where the intuition builds his world and also the flowing forces of painterly and color energies are regulated by him in various forms, lines, planes; he also creates forms, individual elements of their signs and achieves unity of contradictions on his painterly surface. Thus the creation of the contrasts of forms brings to being a unified harmony of the body of the construction, without which creation is inconceivable.22

One way to announce the unity and harmony of the world recognized by the symbolists was through establishing connections between things of different nature, such as color and sound, sound and smell, sound and graphic line.23 The perceptual phenomenon that leads to experiencing the aforementioned sensory intermingling has received the name of synesthesia. Here Malevich explains how the mind pictures sound in visual form: 

It is as if a canvas is a trace of the state of color energy, which compresses into a line, or into a surface, a spot of various states; just like in music, sound is strictly assembled and encapsulated in the graphic form of a musical sign, a sort of auricular suitcase that sound is locked into, but when released in the instrument and freed in space, it comes into the ear in the form of the same spots of different magnitudes, in curves and in direct waves, being drawn on the brain negative.25,26

The widespread interest in synesthetic experiences witnessed in Malevich’s description of sound as spots of color and Markov’s use of the phrase “melody of color” could provide a hint for our understanding of Markov’s conviction that visual artworks emit a form of noise. The latter’s emphasis on the aural dimension of art can be interpreted as a symptom of searching for unity as an underlying structure of the world reflected in the act of creation.

Fig. 4 & Fig. 5 Kazimir Malevich, Transrational Composition: Sounds (1913) & Suprematism: Formation of Sound Waves (1916-1917)

The sharp realization of the need for a resuscitation of spirituality that forced artistic attempts at synthesizing art and life mentioned earlier, also provoked a striving towards cultural revival through transformation and fusion of the traditions of other epochs, especially those of the Classical Antiquity and the Renaissance.27 This tendency is noticeable in Markov’s idea of the correspondences between the world of the Divine and the echoes of this world somehow preserved in art — a concept that can be traced to Pythagoreanism, the Pre-Socratic Greek school of philosophy that has been revived in the occult doctrines of Theosophy, popular among the artists of the early 20th century. Markov describes the origins of art as a practice that allows reliving experiences of the Divine, stressing that the beauty of art is analogous to the beauty of its source: 

Where the real and the tangible ends another world begins. This is the world of ineffable mystery, the world of the Divine.
Primeval [pervobytnyi] man was given the opportunity to approach this boundary, and there he intuitively perceived some trait of the Divine. He returned back as happy as a child.
So he sought to bring into the realm of the tangible, and secure there, that which he had perceived. He did so by finding forms to express it and once again uncover and feel an analogous beauty.28 

According to Markov, the creative act is stimulated by an attempt to give form to the experience of the Divine in such a way as to allow re-entering the state of spiritual insight granted by the original experience. It is as if a diminished presence of the Divine is stored in the artwork’s form.

This concept of the divine order being reflected in art, with artist participating as a transmitter of divine emanations that s/he concretized in artistic forms, is indebted to the Pythagorean theory of the music of the spheres, or musica universalis, which epitomizes the Ancient Greek view of the world as ordered and harmonious.

According to this theory, the movement of celestial bodies across space produces noises, similarly to bodies on Earth producing noises when in motion. The noises of celestial bodies however, are in perfect harmony with each other — a conclusion Pythagoras, the founder of harmonics, based on his measurements of the relative distances between planets, which he had discovered corresponded to the tonal musical intervals in the Pythagorean musical scale. Ancient Greeks further subdivided the study of music into musica humana, or music of the human body and spirit, and musica instrumentalis devoted to the physical properties of sound29. The cosmic music echoes in the human spirit, which represents the microcosm of the larger order. Proportionately diminished, musica humana reverberates in musica instrumentalis, the physically perceptible remnant of the universal humming. With proper attunement, there is a correspondence between the harmony in art, in human spirit, and in the cosmos. Moreover, the music of the cosmos vibrates through the entirety of Earth, affecting all animate and inanimate matter. Agreeing with the rhythmic conception of the universe and recognizing the artist’s ability to hear the reverberations of the cosmic rhythms, Markov writes about the eternal echo of objects that artists are able to sense in their soul:

Fig. 6 Robert Fludd’s interpretation of cosmic harmony titled Utriusque cosmi, maioris scilicet et minoris, metaphisica, physica, atque technica historia (The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of Two Worlds, the Macrocosm and the Microcosm) (1

Behind the outer covers of every object hides its secrets and rhythms. The artist is given the opportunity to divine this secret, to react to its rhythm and find forms to express the rhythm. The lost image, word, melody, and poem have often sunk into oblivion but the soul preserves and fosters their rhythm, keeping within it their eternal and ineffaceable echo. And this rhythm guides the hand when the soul wants to restore lost beauties.30

Taking into consideration that Pythagoras’ teaching was a form of pre-scientific mystic approach to acquiring knowledge of the universe through ecstatic comprehension of order in the cosmos31, it could well be that this tradition is reflected in Markov’s determination to acquire intuitive knowledge of the world of the Divine and preserve its reflections in artistic forms. This metaphysical conception of noise agrees with Markov’s disregard for realist art — hearing the tune of the cosmos is only possible by turning one’s senses away from the fleeting mundane reality of the physical perceptible world. Markov and Malevich’s insistent emphasis on tuning one’s psyche and nervous system to art’s harmony is akin to Pythagoras’ recommendations that in order to hear the music of the spheres and that of the soul, one needs to conduct a form of ‘self-attunement’.32

Malevich, too, explains the nature of vibrations concretized on a canvas as rhythms of the universe sensed by the artists, who persistently search for the rhythmic patterns within themselves, learning to create works of art that echo the universal rhythms. Malevich suggests, “if the engineer found a rhythm in his excitement, then his machine would have been built more powerful, cosmic.”33 For Malevich, science has not yet become revolutionized and still seeks to study objectivity with its utilitarian concerns. Art, however, is on the right path, which consists of building forms based on the rhythms of the excitation of the universe. Malevich defines rhythm as the first rule of the cosmos:  

The causeless excitation of the universe, like any other manifestation of atomization, has no law, and only when the excitation is atomized onto the states of the real and the natural, the First law is born, i.e. rhythm is the first and most important law of everything that manifests itself in life, without this rhythm nothing can move and be created, but I do not consider rhythm to be music, for music, like everything, is based on this law. Music, like everything, is limited, but the rhythm is unlimited.34

Malevich’s First law of rhythm is reminiscent of musica universalis that agitates the rest of the cosmos, creating life on Earth. In agreement with the Pythagorean theory, Malevich differentiates between the types of rhythms, suggesting that there is the primary source and its diminished form, expressed in music. It is possible to assume that Malevich speaks of something akin to musica universalis when referring to the First law — rhythm without which nothing can move. Then, the artist’s statement can be rephrased, using the words of the symbolist poet, Alexander Blok: “Music creates the world. It is the spiritual body of the world — the (flowing) thought of the world”.35 What Malevich aspires to hear, is the primordial rhythm of this life-creating music, the humming and noise of the cosmos.  

Investigation of the theoretic legacy of both Markov and Malevich invites a conclusion that their writings contain a demand to cease meaningless repetition of nature in art and an encouragement to capture invisible cosmic forces in concretized artistic forms. And even though these outwardly forms appear as noise to those yet not attuned to their harmony, they will reveal themselves as consonant, disclosing the underlying unity of the universe and restoring the severed ties between the body and the spirit, art and life.

1. Markov, Vladimir. Principy Tvorchestva v Plasticheskih Iskusstvah: Faktura. Sankt-Peterburg: Union of Youth, 1914, 1 (translation mine). 
2. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 4. 
3. Gough, Maria. "Faktura: The Making of the Russian Avant-Garde." Res: Anthropology and aesthetics 36 (1999): 33. 
4. Šmidt, O.Û, Nikolaï Ivanovitch Boukharine, Valerian Vladimirovitch Kuybychev, and Mihail Nikolaevič Pokrovskij. Bolʹšaâ sovetskaâ ènciklopediâ. Moskva: Sovetskaâ Ènciklopediâ, 1928, 590. 
5. Gough, Maria. "Faktura: The Making of the Russian Avant-Garde." Res: Anthropology and aesthetics 36 (1999): 33. 
6. Clement Greenberg, “After Abstract Expressionism”, New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970, Ed. Henry Geldzahler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969), 369. 
7. Jay, Martin. Downcast eyes: the denigration of vision in twentieth century French thought. Berkeley, Calif.: Univ. of California Press, 2009, 150. 
8. Crary, Jonathan. Techniques of the observer: on vision and modernity in the nineteenth century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990, 98. 
9. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.2, 60, (translation mine). 
10. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 193. 
11. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 159. 
12. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.1, 142-143, (translation mine). 
13. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 215. 
14. Note that Malevich brings the reader’s attention to analyzing the surface of the painting he terms structure, agreeing with Markov that faktura is more than painting’s top layer. 
15. I am thankful to R. Bruce Elder for prompting me to think of Markov’s noise in relation to communication theory. 
16. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.2, 106, (translation mine). 
17. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.2, 75, (translation mine). 
18. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.2, p.75, (translation mine). 
19. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 212. 
20. Paperno, Irina, and Joan Delaney. Grossman. Creating life: the aesthetic utopia of Russian modernism. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1994, 2. 
21. Kolobaeva, L. A. Russkiĭ simvolizm. Moskva: Izd-vo Moskovskogo universiteta, 2000, 20. 
22. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.1, p.157, (translation mine). 
23. Kolobaeva, L. A. Russkiĭ simvolizm. Moskva: Izd-vo Moskovskogo universiteta, 2000, 20. 
24. My conversations with Frank Van Lamoen inspired me to consider Markov’s noise as a theoretical manifestation of synesthetic experiences. 
25. Under negatives, Malevich understands the ideas about reality we hold true, the ‘undeveloped’ images of nature refracted through the brain’s lens, the eyes. It appears that Malevich uses this photochemical term to stress the active role the human mind plays in processing of the stimuli received through the senses. The mind ‘develops' these mental imprints, negatives, into images of reality. 
26. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.2, p. 78-79, (translation mine). 
27. Kolobaeva, L. A. Russkiĭ simvolizm. Moskva: Izd-vo Moskovskogo universiteta, 2000, 119. 
28. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 165. 
29. Huffman, Carl A. A history of Pythagoreanism. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 423. 
30. Howard, Jeremy, Irēna Bužinska, Z. S. Strother, and Vladimir Markov. Vladimir Markov and Russian primitivism: a charter for the avant-garde. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015, 177. 
31. Burkert, Walter. Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972, 357. 
32. In Plato’s Phaedo (84c-88b), Simmias, a Pythagorean, discusses a conceptualization of soul as harmony and its relation to the harmony of the celestial spheres. 
33. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.3, 319, (translation mine). 
34. Malevich, Kazimir. Sobranie sochinenii v piati tomakh [Collected Works in Five Volumes]. Edited by Aleksandra Shatskikh. Moscow: Gileia, 1995-2004, vol.1, 237, (translation mine). 
35. As quoted in Hanzen-Leve, Age. Mifo-pojeticheskij simvolizm . Sankt-Peterburg: Akademicheskij proekt , 2003, 93.