The primary antagonism within the history of the still life is the one between subject matter and technique. In the still life where subject matter wins out, a narrative can be triangulated from the arranged goods; the patron is dispersed into his objects of trade or faith. In the other kind of still life, the technical one, all things become vessels for composition and handling. The meaningful object is emptied out.
1 Do not see reality as I am
2 Outer space is a fragment of our imagination: we are always inside an object.
The ideology of shine is supposed to distractingly gleam over the threat of dissolution and decay, yet this radiance requires the manual laboring of a polisher. Blackwell’s counter radiance takes the form of a spatial position, an actual number of inches away from the surface of the print. This spatial point will differ for you and for me, but it is the point where the dither gives up its coherence and falls from tones of gray into the noise of white and black.
3 Before you arrived, life in Twin Peaks went on quietly and smoothly, we were selling drugs, we organized prostitution, everybody was content––once you were here, everything went wrong, the normal run of things was derailed.
4 Well, if there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.
The vessels in Blackwell’s Hiatus are non-narrative, yet their source is one of the hypernarratives of American cinema. Designed by the Tupperware Brands Corporation, these containers served as props in Star Wars: A New Hope, appearing in the beginning of the movie before the story begins unspooling. Blackwell transplants them into the vacuum space of the digital still life where the only narrative that remains is a visual play of texture, which, as narratives go, is not very propulsive. There is no air in this arrangement.
5 Consumers may think that each product is shaped by the design of its inventor or the requirements of its purpose when in fact the lathe and other tools impose the ghostly presence of cylindrical forms on all industrial products.
6 Shine is now predominantly produced and obtained on-screen, as a digitally calculated mimicry of (sun)light refractions and deflections, as mediated radiance.
These scifi-Tupperware vessels are nevertheless the most manifestly useable objects depicted in the suite of prints. They could be made and made useful, unlike the maze of interlinking CTA handrails, unlike the 3D scanned pile of never melting snow on travertine blocks, unlike the dumped out pile of useless warped screws. The CNC router has been bent out of axis; the mirror has been curved concavely. These objects refer to tools and materials that manufacture other tools and materials, and yet their representation here, though gleaming at a distance, has a moment when the depth effect is destroyed. Artmaking is also mythmaking, and myths are most useful when interpreting other myths.
7 Youth––implying change in what exists––is by no means proper to people who are young...it is things that rule, that are young––things themselves that vie with each other and usurp one another’s places.
8 something there / where / out there / out where / outside / what / the head what else / something there somewhere outside the head
My first grasp on the simulacrum came when I flipped a switch in my eye and saw the objects populating the world around me rotating on a million screens, shiny, rendered, and ready for production.
1 From Paul Éluard, “Confections,” translated by Samuel Beckett, Samuel Beckett: Collected Poems. London: John Calder Limited, 1999 , 65. 2 Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013, 17. 3 Jean Renault to Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks, quoted in Slavoj žižek, Enjoy Your Symptom!, New York: Routledge Classics, 2008 , 186. 4 Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas, Internet Movie Script Database <http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Star-Wars-A-New-Hope.html>. 5 Helmut Müller-Sievers, The Cylinder. Oakland: University of California Press, 2012, 99. 6 Tom Holert et al., “Politics of Shine,” e-flux journal, January 2015, 2. 7 Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, New York: Zone Books, 2008 40-41. 8 From Samuel Beckett, “Something There,” Samuel Beckett: Poems, Short Fiction and Criticism, vol. 4, New York: Grove Press, 2006, 45.