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    the (new) accident of art

    22nd June 2012, Session 4, Su Ballard from Transdisciplinary art research on Vimeo.

    Presentation at the Trans-disciplinary Imaging Conference, Melbourne.
    My flustering at the start was due to the unexpected experience of directly following a presentation that had left the room a little aghast. I think you can hear the tension in the room both in the silence and Paul Thomas’s gentle intro. The images are an attempt to visually think through the ideas of the interval that I’m taking from Warburg here. To me there is a strong correlation between his black boards and the collection principles found on tumblr, particularly the sites surrounding the new aesthetic.

    Accidental encounters in the art gallery occupy a critical space that moves visitors beyond established behaviours and expectations. Accidents are crucial to everyday encounters with art objects and tend to occur in the interval between images. The proponents of the New Aesthetic have suggested that in these inbetween spaces it is possible to see accidental spaces of machinic vision. But what happens when the viewer is also not human? Does the robot machine now patrolling the major galleries of the world suggest new methods for engaging with art? If, as has been argued by both Aristotle and Virilio each machine contains a concept of accident, encounters that recognize the creative potential of failure and instability will introduce a new model for machinic aesthetics within the gallery space. In reality any unexpected encounter in GoogleArtProject is more likely to be with a blurred virtual force than something framed and labelled as art. In using Aby Warburg’s “iconology of the interval” to discuss GoogleArtProject I suggest it is the accidental encounter that marks the vibrancy of the space, time, bodies, machines and architectures that make up the art gallery and perhaps contributes a critical prehistory to the New Aesthetic.



    Thoughts on the computational: an unfortunate list. Unfortunate because it has the potential to be more, because it is resting unfulfilled, and because it is beset by problems bought on by an unresolved essay on Douglas Bagnall’s Cloud Shaped Classifier http://cloudy.halo.gen.nz/about and Film-Making Robot http://halo.gen.nz/robot/ .

    – what counts as a thing?
    – what is a pattern?
    – how do we find patterns?
    – the problem of anthropomorphising.
    – how does a machine see the world?
    – can a computer see things?
    – can a computer see a pattern, and if it does (which I’m beginning to doubt) what does it see, and where is the pattern it sees?
    – enumeration
    – the seeing of things in the widest possible sense
    – mutability
    – how meaning is validated by meaning
    – can there be a non-differentiated pattern?
    – at what point do aesthetics translate experience?
    – speculative materiality

    “Machines [do not only] extend the organism, but [Samuel Butler] asserts that they are really limbs and organs lying on the body without organs of a society” Deleuze and Guattari – Anti-Oedipus, 1972.


    City Of Wax

    city of wax: limited edition photo-roman
    One day, the man out my window simply packed up his blanket and left. Another day I saw fire, huge shooting flames before I realized it was a reflection. In asking what kind of photography this is, I turn to Google, not for a definition, nor for a picture, but for a map. This world gives me options. I may leave in an instant tracing the footsteps of others on an unexplored planet before returning to a fluid road becoming sea. Other places house tidy compartments, networks of consumption, pure instruments of trade. There is fragile thread that links me here, it was born of clockwork and lines. The longitude wars are not over yet; From afar they look like children with guns.

    City of Wax is inspired by Descartes:

    “If by chance I look out of the window and see men crossing the square, I normally say that I see the men themselves, just as I say that I see the wax. And yet, what I do see from the window if not hats and coats that could conceal spectres or automatons?”

    Rene Descartes Meditations in Hubert Damisch Skyline, 2001, p.4.

    City of Wax uses google earth as my location and command-shift-4 as my camera shutter.

    [[Publication /exhibition date February 2011.]]