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October 14, 2006



Last Call for Participation


Important: Thank you to send us your netart/videoart project, a short description and your biography by email (incident[at]incident.net). Only the works using technologies (interactivity, generativity, network, etc.) will be selected. Thanks.

Between the subject and the object, between the perceiver and the perceived. As we shift from the detail to the entirety, the change in scale is ascertained through comparison. Can a detail exist all by itself? Would it still be a detail? Do we have to stop once we arrive at the detail? Can't we just keep going until the detail breaks up into endless fragments of further details?

We go from a human being to the body to the hand to the skin, the material of the skin, to pigments, eventually are we even looking at matter at all? The detail is a voyage of perception. What does perception see in a detail? Does it reflect? Is one detail ever alone? Once we reach the detail through this tortuous path of perception, don't we actually find ourselves in an infinite multiplicity? If our perception is shifting, doesn't this imply heterogeneity? How do we decide what is revealed by the visible, and what we see, and how relevant it is to us?

Today's technologies of memory also propose new ways of navigating, travelling through memory, radicalizing the question of the detail and of the other to which it necessarily refers. A detail is never alone, and when it is, it is testament to its isolation, because it is missing something. What is a detail on the Internet? How do we define a hierarchy by which we can go from the detail to the whole or vice versa? If it is hopeless to attempt to find anything which could be called 'the final detail' which would complete our whole, how can we even begin to speak of details?

Yet, we get the sense of never seeing anything more than fragmentary details. The whole is a default, as is reason. As we go from one detail, one perception to the next, we can stop, we may pause, but there is never a good reason to. The world is disconnected.

The detail concerns aesthetics as much as it does thinking. The word itself implies a hierarchy: a detail is something particular, an ornament, nothing of importance, something which may even be on the edge of nothingness. But it is also precision, sophistication, if not subtlety. It is still part of something, a piece, a remnant. The detail is not a concept.

Walter Benjamin described "a thought of detail": Let's remember this garden, this grass, these blades of grass, each blade is unique and has as much to do with the next blade as with anything else. It is through the irremediable vulgarity of thinking that we perceive anything that could be described as 'grass' forgetting the singularity of each detail.

How do interactive cross-referencing, database stratification, and the capacity for unceasing movement of today's technology account for this implied 'other' which is the aesthetic of details? Is it possible to elaborate a perception of details which does not refer back, through the sign of missing something, to an initial totality? A detail, but without nostalgia.

Gregory Chatonsky

Posted by jo at October 14, 2006 01:07 PM