Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Against Blindness

The history of darkness underpins the history of illumination. That the Lunar Society called itself so, among the enlightened of the west midlands, because they could only meet on nights of the full moon when there was light enough to get home. Memories of nights too dark to see: Dartmoor, Auchterarder, Waterville . . .The dark still existed, even in overlit Britain.

Dust in the projector beam
Scratches on windows
Smears on mirrors
The mote in your eye

The maculation of vision is permanent, as integral to sight and to the mediation of vision as light itself. To complain about codecs is as futile as to complain about the acuity of your own eyes?

And yet: one of the great reasons to undertake this work is the weighty metaphor of blindness: the blind hand of the market, the sightless measurements of social physics, the "denigration" (unfortunate term) of vision. To restore to sight, and by implication to the senses, their place in the world, antagonists of its mathematicisatiomn, immaterialisation and spatialisation.


Nicholas O'Brien said...


The abundance of technology - and by this I mean The Digital - that surrounds us gives way to a new sight, one of lossy propriety and faulty compression.

The lyricism,
a critical prose even.

Spaces unwound by an interwoven hyperjunk; like gryphons and sphynx further mutilated by a falsely identified mass. Our vision is still handed to us. The absence of our senses is an obligation if we are eventually expected to use them.

Sean Cubitt said...

Is vision handed or is it that unusual thing, hardware which remembers what it has processed? There is, too, a distinction to be made between lossy codecs and absence: the unclear image is on the one hand as if viewed through cataracts, on the other a mutation that might yet provoke some unforeseen artefact. This also points towards the work-around, as in Muto by BLU where the constraints of YouTube codecs become tools for a new vision.