arrhythmicity - curatorial statements

the company it keeps

Kevin D. Shabahang

'You shall know a word by the company it keeps' (John Rupert Firth)

The present work shows a 4-dimensional semantic space created using the BEAGLE algorithm. The BEAGLE algorithm, first developed by Jones and Mewhort (2007), learns the meaning of words by recording their history of usage within a large corpus of text (see below link for the paper). The present space was constructed using a large corpus of novels.
The original representations were of much higher dimensionality, but we have compressed them to 4 dimensions using the Sci-Kit-learn Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) tool (see link below). The first three dimensions map directly onto the spatial co-ordinates, and the fourth is mapped to colour. Due to computing limitations, we only show about 2000 words, which we have chosen by taking the highest entropy words in our vocabulary. Entropy is an information theoretic measure of the amount of information contained within an event, or in this case, word.

Kevin D. Shabahang, PhD student at The University of Melbourne, Australia.


an exploration of the fertility of errors, with works by:
15.03.2018 - 15.04.2018: Marcelina Wellmer, Kevin Brophy, osvaldo cibils, Simon Hutchinson, cleo miao, jah justice, Sian Fan, Noah Travis Phillips
15.04.2018 - 15.05.2018: Bryan Meador, Endam Nihan, James Belflower, Momma Tried, Sarawut Chutiwongpeti, Udit Mahajan, Zeppra
15.05.2018 - 15.06.2018: Bianca Hockensmith, Claude Heiland-Allen, David Lisbon, Jonathan Kiritharan, Nick Montfort

the exhibition developed starting from the following open call for very short audio (.mp3 - max. 30s) and images (.jpg - max. 500kb):
in a world that covers its flaws in the blinding light of universal truths and institutionally reinforced regimes of visibility, we are interested in the fertile shades opened up by errors. the antiseptic intellectual environment our societies try to achieve, while arguably “healthy” and “safe” for the established values, has the huge disadvantage of obscuring any fundamentally different modes of existence. we are looking for submissions that explore the fertility of errors and question our inherited worldview.

the aesthetics of property II

“the aesthetics of property II” playfully explores the relation between the images that shape the daily experience in a capitalist society and the consumer’s “own” body, itself generated only in as much as it interacts with these images.

the virtual gaze that defines the spectator’s presence in arrhythmicity, does not fit smoothly in a humanist worldview that underlines the individual, the person or the subject strictly related to a unique human body. every act of this gaze actualizes a matrix of past actions as archived in the software, hardware and larger cultural context that make its very existence possible. thus, in a very literal sense, a post-human body emerges, an entanglement of past and present body fragments brought into the present of the virtual space by their respective actions.

your? human? body+consciousness has no presence in the virtual space, let alone any kind of agency. it’s not you who is present, perceives and acts in the exhibition, but a post-human body, with no overarching subjectivity or individuality, of which you are but the last (and, we admit, the most obvious) piece.

various commercials captured from tv screens
paragraphs from the law of property
images of obsolete statues spying on you through bathroom windows
rows of cars covered by snow
buildings being demolished in order to build other buildings
and so on…

what they all signify in the last instance is your own body, the reality of your body as a consumer, and the pertinence of its human limits.

playing with these images in a vr environment, making the words of the law randomly rearrange themselves when the spectator looks at them or exposing an unreadable fragment of a story in romanian about the dispersal of our bodies, are our light-hearted ways to question the pertinence of the humanist worldview and its dependence on a specific kind of economy.

the human body, we believe, continues to make sense only as the byproduct of a metanarrative centered on property. what will happen to our bodies once the lights of the commercials will go dimmer?

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