Stained Black Mirror (2014)

Vappu Jalonen

About this exposition

This work examines the material entanglements of humans and touch screens. The starting points are Donna Haraway's 'Cyborg Manifesto', read now over twenty years after it was first published, and the figure of a black mirror. The black mirror does not pretend to reflect back only that to which it has been turned. It also shows itself. This exposition is a fragmented essay in which the NSA, gendered technologies, manufacturing plants, selfies, new gestures, poor digital images, and self-performing human bodies attach to and collide with one another. I refer to academic as well as popular sources, but I also use my personal experiences and everyday observations as a material. One trace of the entanglement of humans and devices is greasy fingerprints on touch screens, hence the name of the exposition. But the entanglements of course go far beyond this – for instance to the manufacture of the machine and 'responsibility to the entanglements of which we are part' (Karen Barad).[1] The exposition is a part of my artistic research on the interplay of human and non-human agencies and the frictions between them. I began my research by examining the intertwinement of clothes and the human body and later also considered other aspects of technology–human relations. I conduct my research mainly through writing. Writing is artistic research for me – in contrast to writing about artistic research, for instance. While more poetic or fragmented research writing is not without problems – it could be argued to be less falsifiable for instance – it carries the potential for more frictions within a text, or changing points of view, or different agential collaborations and enactments; all issues that may be in the core of research and that sometimes need to be brought forward in ways departing from more traditional styles of academic writing. 1. Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, ‘Interview with Karen Barad’, in New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press, 2012), pp. 48–70 (p.52).
typeresearch exposition
last modified22/09/2014
share statusprivate
affiliationAalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art
licenseAll rights reserved
published inJournal for Artistic Research
portal issue6.

Simple Media

id name copyright license
63466 nsa_bw Wikimedia Commons All rights reserved

comments: 2 (last entry by Monika Jaeckel - 10/06/2015 at 12:39)
Monika Jaeckel 10/06/2015 at 12:36

The comment was deleted by Monika Jaeckel on 10/06/2015 at 12:39.
Monika Jaeckel 10/06/2015 at 12:39

Hi, this work attracted me on many levels and I chose it as an example for presentation in a workshop discussing the possibilities of publishing on RC. For the moment I will just comment on aspects which made intuitve access to your exposition interesting. (Though I might come back and leave some further comment on the interesting idea of using 'writing' as the 'tool' of artistic research. )

First the visual aspects of entering your expositiion: One would think a black screen would not be the most intriguing opening, but in your case it makes one really interested as it immediately refers to your title 'Stained Black Mirror'. Attracted, I scrolled down to your text, which after reading the abstract already had sounded read worthy - and had the pleasant suprise of coming across such nice short and well structured passages, almost reminding to prose. Further it guided me immediately through the theme, and from introducing me to the black mirror of an old tool to nowadays application of 'black mirrors' at the NSA building. The modern (NSA building) mirror example then shows up as a oversized image making nicely use of the possibilities of the platform again.

So this a short exposition, it worked just very well and I enjoyed visiting it.

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