the (new) accident of art

22nd June 2012, Session 4, Su Ballard from Transdisciplinary art research on Vimeo.

Presentation at the Trans-disciplinary Imaging Conference, Melbourne.
My flustering at the start was due to the unexpected experience of directly following a presentation that had left the room a little aghast. I think you can hear the tension in the room both in the silence and Paul Thomas’s gentle intro. The images are an attempt to visually think through the ideas of the interval that I’m taking from Warburg here. To me there is a strong correlation between his black boards and the collection principles found on tumblr, particularly the sites surrounding the new aesthetic.


Accidental encounters in the art gallery occupy a critical space that moves visitors beyond established behaviours and expectations. Accidents are crucial to everyday encounters with art objects and tend to occur in the interval between images. The proponents of the New Aesthetic have suggested that in these inbetween spaces it is possible to see accidental spaces of machinic vision. But what happens when the viewer is also not human? Does the robot machine now patrolling the major galleries of the world suggest new methods for engaging with art? If, as has been argued by both Aristotle and Virilio each machine contains a concept of accident, encounters that recognize the creative potential of failure and instability will introduce a new model for machinic aesthetics within the gallery space. In reality any unexpected encounter in GoogleArtProject is more likely to be with a blurred virtual force than something framed and labelled as art. In using Aby Warburg’s “iconology of the interval” to discuss GoogleArtProject I suggest it is the accidental encounter that marks the vibrancy of the space, time, bodies, machines and architectures that make up the art gallery and perhaps contributes a critical prehistory to the New Aesthetic.