October 11, 2014
1913. Photograph. Indoor, silent film stage. Planar, axonometric construction of light.
2014. Two people, probably married, stand close to one another, absorbed by their individual cell phone displays. These internet-enabled devices can be thought of as externalized sites of that which has an ‘organic’ locus. “History,” “memory,” etc. Para-texts to the body. How much of Action is derived from a program, and how much is conditioning, compulsivity? I am no longer talking about the phones.
Now, new LED streetlamps will reconfigure the ocular territories of filmic representation (which necessarily has implications for narrative itself.) “Persistence of vision” no longer alludes to the way phosphoral movement of celluloid adheres — for 1/25th of a second, nearly imperceptible — to the surfaces of Eye. Rather, it describes the installment of an aesthetic regime that requires one’s unflagging attention…a type of visual adrenaline released in this takeover articulates through veins and dendrites of media, infrastructure, commerce.
1913. In the corner of the photo, there is a smudge of shadow, rendered ineptly by antique technologies; its concrete referent invisible or out-of-frame. This glyph speaks to the soft tyranny of ‘definition’ and our implacable need to Name the Form; to measure and monetize these forms, and log them in a mass social archive. (Where is the Anti-Recognition Algorithm?) Vagueness has been lost, as an artistic imperative. We no longer traffic in abstraction…like both language, and silence. Like the films themselves.
One who acts the same, irrespective of a camera’s presence. (Entering a type of ‘Schrödinger’s cat’ situation? Anxiety on the quantum level?)
Perhaps that is all speculation into these mechanics ever was: psychic preparation for our own mass-disappearance, heralded some 70 years before its realization. The exuent of even the possibility of existing…or, not so much “impossible” as impractical. Our digital selves remain, never-not-secure, in a space that is itself the box, a space of pure metaphysics.