“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Object-Oriented Ecological Art 2: Iceberg Vertigo

Let's see that Wainwright iceberg again.

Wonderful, no? Now take a look at what must be the most uncanny moment in Vertigo, in which Judy/Madeleine's face is bathed in an eerie red light as we go into the flashback (gives me the creeps every time).

Iceberg as femme fatale. Iceberg as character in a noir movie (dark ecology). Iceberg as the gaze—an object that looks at us. Iceberg as vertiginous real of/as fantasy. Perhaps the implication in Wainwright is that we the viewer are the Titanic. We are already dead. We are looking at our death.

Iceberg as ekphrasis. Frozen us, moving iceberg. Iceberg alive, we dead. Iceberg as sublime object. Iceberg as alien being.

Here's the deal: do you want a detailed advertorial, a network dense with relations? Or do you need a shocking encounter with an alien entity, opaque yet vivid, illusory yet real, already there?

We've had enough Wordsworth. All those 350's in the sand viewed from a height and posted to teach you something you already know. All the database art imitating perfectly good databases, probably better because they're actual databases. All the performances, all the happenings. These revert to what Adorno called a second Nature, in his peerless analysis of such art forms in Aesthetic Theory. Enough already! It's time to bring out the Keats. It's time for nonhumans. It's time for non-life. It's time for undeath. It's time for the uncanny. It's time for object-oriented ecological art.

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