Disappearance and Assembly – extract

‘Disappearance and Assembly’ is now published open access in Springer’s Nanoethics journal as part of the BrisSynBio Art-Science Dossier


Meshes Of The Afternoon (Maya Deren, 1943) from SeriousFeather on Vimeo.

It is easy to believe nobody built this degradable substrate with that small figurine encysted within, an unsung astronaut, that the condition did not apply or that the machine “so disconnected … never got the message”. The pseudo bone increments again. She ascends, follows the hooded figure with the poppy along a drive winding towards the slender palms and their ablated sky but turns aside to see where the steps lead. She sleeps through successive revolutions – a component newly introduced to this circuit.

deren meshes

So, although ample, the space is not a dwelling. Low artificial light is conducive to filtering such noise as might afflict us from within or without. In the Salon Carré, paintings were stacked regardless of genre. Dogs counted among the sensitive in the democracy of the Enlightenment. The floor, ceiling and walls are stark and capacious. Everything is hollowing out its place. There’s a buzzing—“a dull roar like falls … in the skull”.

Conventions are there to be disregarded, much as the inanimate props and backgrounds of the theatre. The steeds on which the Picador or Ceaser make their entrances are living; but only the speaker has a place—even if, like Hamlet or Beckett’s motoric mouth, it vests a power of impersonal negation. Not I.

I should feel paralysis. I should not be screaming like this.


Not I

White purifies or effaces process; not simply the one who sees. The work was for itself. It lived more than the horse, more than anyone. We gathered at its edges like flies. Each look renewed us; a step taken along a path we could not know … Another fallen key.

I no longer know how to do it—to look and to forget. You are not here. Will you arrive some day? I have every reason to doubt it. Later, we toast your disappearance as a sublime tactic. Let us say that I did not search. I participated, inspiraling. You think that image is fanciful? I have been here for as long as I can recall. The space murmurs, billows; collapses outward.

What, if anything, limits or bounds if frame is so animate in form? I think of the curiously seductive veil worn by Cranach’s Lucretia for her suicide. We must call to order, forget and be forgotten. The entire disposition of the gallery: Do not take photographs. Do be quiet. Cézanne’s prominent delineation expects something while it is re-used, nested. Seething exoskeletal dolling-up. Cage’s 4’33” sacrificed in echoes, coughing, silence. Beyond: Nature fibrillates like a bird in a killing jar.

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