In Growth and AutoImmune Wall, Amber displays a similar awareness of the matrixial web in which we exist. The pain is of a different sort, however. With each work, one imagines the countless hours invested, the permutations and combinations of the weave, all felt in the supple yet dull ache of the artist's fingers. In this familiarity with the fibres, one perceives time folded and compressed into a static artwork that strains at the very seams of its emergent process.

Amber is decidedly ambivalent about the connective fibres that form our relations. Though each work exhibits a lushness in its sinewy fabric, each also embodies the accidents of tangle, rupture and decay. In other words, they possess organic qualities to complement the technical elements of the fibre's production. Since each is made of the same "stuff" — that is, twine and string — this ambivalence becomes even more apparent when the works are taken together in assemblage, including also her earlier Wool Boxes and her more recent Falling, Skin Series, and Cancer, Crack and Chinese Shoes, the latter a collaborative effort.

Curiously, this proposition makes more sense in resonance with a recent quote by Garrick Barr, the CEO of Synergy Sports Technology, a company that provides a real-time video-indexing statistical engine and online retrieval system for professional sports teams: "So we have 11 generic play types. In '98 when I designed the first report, I had to sort of examine and figure out, if you will, the oncology of the sport so that we could log it accurately and consistently to satisfy professionals, and having been one I was in a pretty good position to try to do that" (italics added).

Generally speaking, ontology is the philosophical means of describing our very being in the world or what it means to exist, while oncology concerns the medical study and treatment of cancer. Noise in the signal system, yes? No problem, we are rapidly getting used to that — though one supposes some noises are heard more loudly than others.

In this case, however, the proverbial Freudian typo may be illustrative. The word ontology assumes a different meaning in the information sciences, understood instead as the study of rationally-determined relationships that govern a particular data set within a particular domain. This sort of attempt to develop an ontology of relationships present during the production of a professional sporting event, with ever-more minute striations of the athletic body yielding ever-less notable differences, is precisely such a mutation in process one would consider an oncological risk factor. When one examines the contemporary economics and politics of professional sport, one perceives an exponential accumulation of self-referential linguistic production in the service of vectoral capital, which is turning back in on itself to form what was first referred to by Jean Baudrillard as the cancer produced by the society of simulation.

These relations of athletic bodies emerge during the event, for they are moving bodies, and as such should be considered ontogenetic, to use the term proposed by Brian Massumi. But considering the attempt to capture this relationality in the service of self-referential capital, as with Synergy Sports Technology and its ilk, we might also consider them oncogenetic, or possessing the potential under certain conditions to spawn exponentially cancerous growths. One weaves and weaves and weaves, fingers supple and aching, only to find cancer and death.

(from the forthcoming essay "relational fibres and optics," to appear in a catalogue by artist amber scoon)


2 responses to Tumour

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  1. sportsBabel » Pixel to Pellicule to Projection says:

    [...] perhaps the most damning indictment of the tangibility of flesh's non-tangibility, of the relational weaves that develop their tensility with each passing moment of anticipation, and of the latent urge to [...]

  2. sportsBabel » touching, in grid says:

    [...] discipline the unruliness of the growth of form? The grid monitors. The grid disciplines. The grid imposes a phylum on a growing ontology. The grid seeks relationships. The grid enmeshes the instrumental into the social. The mesh seeks [...]