The prospect of sculpture as transformative practice seems more and more remote; its subduction under the tectonic plate of virtuality suggests this declining fortune. Yet its inevitable irruptions seem also absolutely right; the real and the actual embody the virtual and the imagined, and claim our phenomenal attention; simultaneously this fallacious argument and fatuous reasoning is immediately suspect on the grounds that speculation and the imagination have always emerged from the virtual reaches of the mind, if the inchoate operations of the writhing brain can be so characterized. But things themselves, emerging from the obscure musings of the monadic interior, are what rattle the body in space. A nameless but quantifiable chemical sting loosed in the low atmosphere of everyday life twists the long fetch of its cancerous alterations into the already living and dying body.

The idiosyncratically speculative assemblies, the personally expressive amalgams, the individual blurtings of material re-arrangement which constellate the ebay of plural sculptural production — and whose devolutionary collapse into the territory of needy psychic and emotive hopes for communion, or bloody single-minded will, that compel the small anarchy of their percipients — seem deeply and ineffably wanting for what now needs, which in its vacuous enormity and staggering unmanageableness shudders us to a halt in the ringing void of our small facilities. What is to be done? — a long-legged complaint that ricochets down the steel corridor of the ages, smacking us askew in a moment of unattention. It is not something to face directly, this askance glance into the medusalish mirror of history, overlooking some reverse view into a future.

Twisting together the wires of this improvised explosive device seems, as it must to any terrorist with blood in their heart, a profoundly contradictory project: the detonation that will carry forward. The dream of instant and total transformation of the state of things, inseparable from a simultaneous mortal destruction into rubble, a descent into raw material from which the new will arise. But it is very hard to see this mess as other than what it is — the criminally inhuman, the death-lust of the hopeless. There is no green bomb. Disassembly is dissembled with rhetorical conviction and flourish.

The grace of saving, on which virtuality depends, registers in the conservatory hopes of the museum basement, committed to the static preservation of the kept, which becomes what is saved. Not our best, not our needed, but what is left. The badly rationalized, the conniving gift, the bequested proffer: these become our legacy, the remains of our day.

Do we descend, then, to go forward? Lowered on a fraying rope into the wet mud well of a future prospect? The clean photograph cannot do it. It wants to overcome the haze of dust on its colour, the slow fade of its dying pigments, the scar of white shining through an abraded emulsion, the vague tape, the sagging ripple, the derelict disc, the fluttering tube's dying ballast: all the corruption of the real, in other words; the fate of objects in the world.

But then its miraculous reappearance, through the might of virtual mediation and horizontal monumentality: the cracking fresh book, the glistening and fanning zine, the glaze of wet ink — the endless economy of self-reproduction, and fuck the aura. To be seen! To be seen! Baudelaire's trumpet blast of Fame fans the pages of the auction catalogue.
GREG SNIDER
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