I made this video last year as part of an installation called The Blackbird’s Whistle. Smoothing the diagrams from the whiteboard during my What To Do talk brings to mind the confinement of gestures to the surface of the tabletop.

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I originally described the video like this:

The Insubstantial Hold of the Reader

This is the third video in the ‘Blackbird’s Whistle’ installation. It adds to the installation an explicit reference to the surface of the table itself, influenced by the Borgesian idea of the ‘operating table’ as the surface of meaning exchange within the economy of representation.

The hands trace the surface of the table within its confines, which correspond to the confines of the screen. They attempt to solve the inconsistencies in the surface by smoothing its creases, but the creases stubbornly resist.

The work questions the value of meaning-carrying elements by placing the stability of the economy itself under suspicion. If the operating table itself is imperfect, what hope is there for communication or translation, linguistic or otherwise?