“When an animal touches anything in its environment, for instance a squirrel holding an acorn or a dog swimming in a lake, the relationship between toucher and touched such as ‘holding’ or ‘swimming’ is illustrative of the what it means for an environment to afford some activity, to open up a space of possibilities.”1
The light turns on in the kitchen.
The room is a hypertextual invitation. It’s flooded with forward gestures, gracefully unsettling the mass of invisible things vibrating in the saturated air, permeated with perfume particles, falling quickly, all at once, over incandescent surfaces on which text-message notifications have just appeared. Lineages of microbes, thousands of years old, settling on the skin of someone standing over trillion-years- old rocks; the dogs barking close by. “You’re giving this grace, as the ancients would say … They have this word for grace, charis, which means grace in the reciprocal sense of coming and going. It’s both a gift given and a gift received.”2
The dog is filling the room with shoes.
The area is a zone of contact, composed of networks of cues. There, things are fastened, set, aligned to, next to, steeped in each other, bound like a sweat soaked shirt glued to your clavicles. All of them generating layer after layer of impressions. In the thick of it, every element sticks, every word is a hot word, a trigger, an incoming call, a notification. “Your picking it up means the call has come through. It means more: you’re its beneficiary, rising to meet its demand…”3
A.I. used to sift through emails, breeze through corre- spondences, while the wind hisses at button-downs on a clothesline.
An irruption of material overflows the room, and overruns all possible measures. The same principles are in play when we look at photographs. Looking into someone’s eyes in a photograph lengthens the gaze asymmetrically. It is like “looking at the eyes that looked at the emperor”4, and then looking at the hands that could have reached him. That way the arm’s length becomes as long as you need; a trail of eyes and arms are pointing outwardly. “See”, “Here”, “Look”.5
“With what eyes?” asks a Sappho bot.
The room, whose every angle is pleated in burning networks, is trailed with tracks lengthening us indefinitely. Where does the body end? Toward which possibilities does it extend, as it exceeds the room, and exceeds itself? New silhouettes constantly emerge. They are a promising gait, a voice, a body always evolving toward points of no return.
Text by Jacques-Henri Sennwald