skin series (#4)
handmade/recycled paper, string, wax, varnish
once upon a time baseball was speed. to the industrial working class of an emerging america, with its long hours on the farm, in the shop, or at the factory, baseball was the perfect complement of evening leisure — far more suitable temporally than cricket and its aristocratic pastoral rhythms that would stretch out over days.
one day, however, speed passed the game by.
(i've spent the day in front of my tv set — that memory box.)
today baseball is too slow for the digital age of television, internet, fantasy league or tweet. today the sabermetric approach applies statistical methods and quantitative analytics to the baseball archive, research and development processes whose anterior models are thereafter confirmed or rejected on the field of play. today one might go to the game for the tactile and visceral recharge of getting away from one's computer for three hours — a different sort of massage, if you will.
have we not witnessed a parallel development with photography?
with the polaroid our will to pellicule appeared to have found its completion: how could we hasten the development processes such that the eye would be converted to skin as quickly as possible? a little tug on the white part, wave it around a bit, and the archive of inscribed memory was already produced for one to remember.
but we have a flip.
with the digital camera today we do not even wait for the eye to fulfill its mundane task, as our very being in the world in a performative sense requires us to always already be in com-position . . . we do not fix our eye to the technical apparatus anymore, but rather sit back and coolly observe the com-position, or the performance, as it unfolds . . . the only question is if the eye, as it unfolds, will ruin the skin already produced as an anterior effect . . . in its exposure and luminescence the skin already produced from the outset is processed from chemistry to the numerical grids of pixel resolution and linguistic codes of file format . . . word for word, or perhaps character for character, shameful exposed skin.
he was stupid, finding out the hard way that with the digital camera what was perceived as the eye was in fact the skin itself. or perhaps he was trying to look backward into time, through time. call it inverse retrospection. prospection.
(of course i'll never make that film. nonetheless i'm collecting the sets, inventing the twists, putting in my favorite creatures. i've even given it a title, indeed the title of those mussorgsky songs: sunless.)
unlike both eye and skin, the athletic gestural poet is not dependent on lighting conditions, neither sun nor clouds. she seeks not exposure but expression. she seeks a different unfolding of time, or perhaps its weaving.
(so they had to come there, both of them, under the rain, to perform the rite that would repair the web of time where it had been broken.)