It is a persistent compulsion of mine to ask why any particular recognisable format of experience is the way it is, be it a book, a romantic relationship, an exhibition, a film, a strip club, a conference, a garden, or a dinner party? What does each format suggest as a way of ordering the sensible? Which customs and behaviours is it hospitable to? How does power and responsibility distribute itself among the implicated agents that comprise it? And in what ways does any particular format contour or even prescribe what can be said/read/enacted and furthermore how does it position who can say/read/do it?
There are three focal points I’d like you to keep in mind as we move through this presentation:
-The first is my critique of the VISUAL as a dominant modality of knowledge acquisition in an era disproportionately dependent upon quantitative assessment of reality and lacking in tools for qualitative understanding. I’d like to advocate for the rehabilitation of the unified human sensorium and more nuanced and embodied modalities of knowledge acquisition.
-The second is the idea of COMPOSITION as a form of care.
-And the third is FORMAT and how the questions of which format to work in and how are deeply political ones
Donna J. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 1991
[Made into song with vocal processor] 5 min:
“The eyes have been used to signify a perverse capacity - honed to perfection in the history of science tied to militarism, capitalism, colonialism, and male supremacy - to distance the knowing subject from everybody and everything in the interests of unfettered power. The instruments of visualization…have compounded these meanings of dis-embodiment. The visualizing technologies are without apparent limit; the eye of any ordinary primate like us [start looping] can be endlessly enhanced by sonography systems, magnetic resonance imaging, artificial intelligence-linked graphic manipulation systems, scanning electron microscopes, computer-aided tomography scanners, colour enhancement techniques, satellite surveillance systems, home and office VDTs, cameras for every purpose from filming the mucous membrane lining the gut cavity of a marine worm living in the vent gases on a fault between continental plates to mapping a planetary hemisphere elsewhere in the solar system.[stop loop] Vision in this technological feast becomes unregulated gluttony; all perspective gives way to infinitely mobile vision, which no longer seems just mythically about the god-trick of seeing everything from nowhere, but to have put the myth into ordinary practice.
[Switch to speaking mic]
The eyes and vision in the history of the West were not always associated with the hygienic cleanliness of distanced observation. Medieval people strongly believed in the "evil eye” and the idea that a curse or disease could be passed and transmitted through the eyes.
And according to Aristotle, “the organ of sight not only is acted upon by its object, but acts reciprocally upon it. If a woman looks into a highly polished mirror during the menstrual period, the surface of the mirror becomes clouded with a blood-red colour…
close your eyelids
most eyes have an anterior to posterior diameter of 24 millimetres, a volume of six cubic centimetres (0.4 cu. in.), and a mass of 7.5 grams, about the weight of a quarter and a dime
The eye is not shaped like a perfect sphere, rather it is a fused two-piece unit, composed of the anterior segment and the posterior segment.
The front of the eye is made up of the cornea, iris and lens. The cornea is 1/5 of the eye and the larger back portion of the eye, composed of the vitreous, retina, choroid and the outer white shell called the sclera is the remaining 5/6ths .
move eyes in sockets
This fine and precise movement of the eyes is controlled by six muscles. When these muscles exert different tensions, a torque is exerted on the globe that causes it to turn, in almost pure rotation, with only about one millimeter of translation. Thus, the eye can be considered as undergoing rotations about a single point in the center of the eye.
Now look at me. Maybe try to read me. Read my look, read my thoughts, read my desires read