The binary structure of the dual seems to have lost its status. Too simple to hold the complexity of our current world, too attached to the dichotomist schematism that splits positions into for and against. However, the implicit symmetry of the dual should not make us overlook the advantages of taking things in pairs. Comparison is at the base of any intellectual activity committed to the production of knowledge, because meaning mostly stems from the observation of difference. As a primary scientific device, it generally addresses the task of confirming or refuting a certain hypothesis or theory. By pointing out the coincidence or divergence between the two terms of the comparison, it tends to rely on a logic of causality in order to proceed towards a generalization. Yet, in its barest form, comparison can also pursue a purely interpretive goal. Such is the case of analogy, based on the premise that the two terms paralleled are not at all equal, except from a specific point of view. Analogic reasoning proceeds from the particular towards the particular. From a formal logic stance, it lacks any demonstrative capacity because it relies, not on the probable, but on the plausible. The establishment of a causal relationship, a de facto link between the couple considered, is not as relevant as the things that can be learned when looking at each one in the light of the other. The pairing of images has a long tradition in the history of art. Pendant paintings consist of two pictures that are compositionally and iconographically related as a pair but are not attached to each other the way hinged diptychs are. They hang or stand side by side but separately and autonomously. The term derives from the French phrase faire pendant, adopted to express the idea of one hanging or depending from the other, and evolved into ‘pandam’ to designate the dual nature of any disposition consisting of two fundamentally similar art pieces but different in detail, which both rely on each other to make full meaning of one another. Meaningful arguments dealing with a dual structure of the subject matter need to address resemblance and coincidence as well as dissimilitude and divergence. Correlation is always a question of proportion: How much of ‘this’ is present in ‘that’? The confrontation of two objects, concepts, authors or works does not necessarily imply an oppositional choice. When put into practice by exemplifying exclusionary terms, comparison might only lead to the confirmation of previous convictions and the enunciation of value judgements. Instead, we suggest that placing two things face to face can be both systematic and remain open to unexpected results. A procedure clearly related to the practice of dialogue. Any dialogue implies two logoi or reasons that agree at least to discuss a disagreement. Plato took this technique to its highest level as a means to push any argumentation forward. Such a dialectical mode of thinking always implies a sense of transformation. Therefore, dialectics raises as a self-conscious process which, by confronting the consequences of the simultaneous affirmation and negation of a proposition, achieves a certain explanation for this contradiction through a synthesis. Today, even if this ‘resolutive’ approach might be questioned, we must still acknowledge one real effect of dialectics: it forces us to remain critical towards reality. We propose to carry out a critique based on a duality that avoids the oscillatory pendulum of alternative sides as much as it avoids the need to supersede this opposition with a third term. An exercise in sheer comparison, in the midst of today’s growing complexities and multiplicities, that might lead to a deeper understanding of our discipline.

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