Apocope in the Suture Zone

‘How does she work?’(1)

 

 A threadbare question, brined in Homo sapiens myopia. It heads up the script on her introductory webpage, assuming our primary concern about her: a technophilia specific to that which most uncannily approaches our own ways of working, a fixation on the intricate mechanisms of simulated personhood. Under a mantle of deepening senescence, these preoccupations with gender and work seem torpid, mawkish. Conceding this, I make a gesture of affinity towards the recessional ‘she’, myself a constellation of ‘she’-ish conceits. Use of the pronoun has been retained here as I introduce two iterations of artificial intelligence (A.I.): one actual, one spectral. Both have been prescribed a central directive of aesthetic service. Art finds itself modulated through this relentless new criticality, a circuitous execution of unmanned algorithms. These A.I.s automate discovery and redistribution of the image ephemera that saturates our online experience—ever seeking, appraising, proliferating online media. Rather than immediately flaying these non-human agents to extricate legible sexes, or even individual signatories on a mesh of production, my impulse is to first evacuate the ‘how’, ‘she’, ‘works’ of the initial, tired question and clip everything back to just does. This is an incantation of apocope,2 a linguistic trimming through abandoned phonemes to the threshing out of fatty excesses in anthropocentric sentiment around who or what does art.

 

(1) ‘Who Is Archillect?’, archillect.com/about; accessed 23 May 2017.

Jessica Laraine Williams is a researcher and PhD candidate at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University. She is undertaking her doctoral research into aesthetic conditions of networks, modulated through a transdisciplinary perspective. In parallel, she works with other academics to examine the intersections between VR art and health outcomes. Jess continues to practice in her allied health profession as an aged care physiotherapist.