︎︎︎Methods for Attention


With this work I am returning to the silk line that the spider casts into the wind without an explicit destination as a guiding companion in thinking against the fixity/fidelity of text. By performing a kind of animacy at the level of substance-substrate encounter, I mean to signal an animacy of otherwise (allegedly) inanimate wor(l)ds. The sentence of reflective spray paint is made to mimic the spider line in its conditional reflectance (determined by amount of light and position/angle) as well as its binding process that exists in a state of precarity until it is dry and has successfully bonded. In this way, I am also thinking of the sentence as a cast line that requires a coherence (achieved through grammar and legibility) to bring it (or bind it) from one edge to another.

This work was left in the grass where nightly moisture collected across its surface, troubling the drying or “binding” process. The result was a line of text whose characters’ material make-up had been disjointed or dispersed to the point of undetectability. Here I am returning to the spider line that oscillates in and out of view. In this way, the coherence or legibility of “the line” is troubled as it agitates definitions of what is and is not viewable or what should and should not make itself available for viewing. Moreover, thinking of how this might disqualify certain other-than-human materials or substances from the arena of producing gesture that can act onto us or other things without Western/Human verification. I am thinking about these substance-substrate encounters as lively in their disjointedness and as between fully communicative agents who are fatally classed as inanimate until Human intervention grants it motion. The sentence painted, a line from Jeff Vandermeer’s “Dead Astronauts”, brings us to think about where responsibility—perhaps for proving animacy so as to save the world from capitalism’s extractive practices predicated on animate/inanimate lines—is located or rather where it shouldn’t be: with anyone. To this extent, the work does not advocate for an inclusion into/recognition by the domain of “animacy” but rather works to question the usefulness of that framework in favor of one that affirms reciprocal gesture across messy species, elemental, and cellular lines. With this, we might come to embrace the agitation of the line (the sentence, the border, the limit) or its splitting in so far as it evidences reciprocal gesture (gesture without hierarchy) and abandons the need for binding and/or legible coherence. Which is to say, an embrace of a radical politics of oscillation and agitation that has deep implications for disability justice, queer and black liberation, and indigenous struggles, and prison abolition.