Sometimes distraction, even boredom, leads to little discoveries. While “killing time,” following a circuitous route through digital territory– from the transmediale09 festival to the website of Montreal-based new media artists AElab to Wikipedia’s entry on Georges Simondon– led me to the biannual online journal Appareil. Appareil was founded last year, and currently has three issues, “Le milieu des appareils,” “La ville dans les sciences humaines,” and “Autour de Simondon, ” which correspond to its media-oriented emphasis on contemporary strands of aesthetic theory. The particularly exciting feature of the journal is that it provides full access to general users and also appears to be holding a high level of academic production, exemplified by readers (Georges Didi-Hubermans or Robert Harvey) and more importantly, writers (Eric Méchoulan and Jacques Rancière) whose names jump across the Atlantic gap.
The word “appareil” is not easy to directly translate into English. I prefer “device,” in the sense of electronic or mechanical equipment– l’appareil photo (camera) being a common example. In its masthead, the journal discusses the term as an organizational concept for the thinking of the event, calling the “appareillage” of art’s technical, institutional, and social history a “condition of possibility, the momentary opening of their manifestation, their event.” It continues to define l’appareil not a fixed principle, but a mobile set of practices, “an agency of heterogenous elements that constitutes at a given moment the appearance of the visible.” And it is not without significance that the authors touch upon the poetic, “the poetic of an epoch,” which les appareils generate by means of “en appareillant” its diverse compositional components.
First up for me is Rancière’s “Ce que ‘medium’ peut volouir dire: l’exemple de la photographie,” which promises to address the ongoing research for my upcoming paper at PSi #15 in Zagreb, “Murmurs, Mispronunciations, and Malentendus: The Medium of Language in Recent Choreography by Mantero, Hay, and Forsythe”…