THING-OBJECT 2 | DUST [N]FORCER

2019

RESEARCH COLLABORATION | DATA PERFORMANCE

The paradox of fashion is that, while it is a system of constant renewal and speed, the body beneath the clothing remains unchanged, insofar as it denies it from its eventual ageing, decay and death. How does one break the hegemonic model of the fashioned body without submitting to an anthropocentric aesthetic bias? What if the idea of the designer as an exclusivist creator is removed and transplanted via a fictional entity? Could this dethroning afford the means required to grasp a different conception of the body, one that binds it in contingent modes of thinking with the Anthropocene?

 

'Thing Object 2' orbits around a philo-fictional entity titled 'The Dust Enforcer', first appearing in philosopher Reza Negarestani's work Cyclonopedia. Originating from Middle Eastern demonology, Negarestani  (2008, 112) revives 'Pazuzu', 'the Sumero-Assyrian demon of epidemics[...]The southern desert wind' as 'The Dust enforcer'. Accordingly, wind is an assistant of dust  'the acolyte of dust', thus enforcing dust, its movements of accretion and secretion. In Cyclonopedia, dust, oil, demons and spectres, appear as an avenging force seeking to reclaim autonomy from humankind, thereby re-imagining the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East as a sentient living being. In ascribing agency to non-human substances or entities, 'Pazuzu' aka 'The Dust Enforcer', utilises dust as a 'super weapon' that parasites on Earth, where humans becomes hostage to an alien will for its widespread deadly contagion.

 

Drawing on Negarestani's ideas, 'Pazuzu' is planted here as a 'parasite' capable of evading restrictive conceptions of the body in order to generate a new design vocabulary for fashion.  As its parasitic sentience starts to interact with its human host, namely myself as the researcher, it engrosses its force on creative thought. In this process, 'Pazuzu' becomes a scavenging agent that tries to destabilise the agency of the designer by corrupting and infecting the practice through capturing anonymous forms of and for the body. The practice procedures are two-fold:

1. LiDAR retrieved dust particles of the researcher's face, later accreted together through algorithmic simulation, and materialised into a digitally fabricated face mask.

2. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar)

retrieved dust particles of a designed choreography of the researcher's body wearing the face mask. The results are simulated in the form of a time-based performance.

There is no end or beginning of the work, but a regression from the known to all other forms, revoking the default image of the fashioned body towards an aesthetics of pulverisation and liquidation. Therefore, the outputs are exhibited in a constellated installation instead of default runway and photographic setups.

Reference:

Negarestani, R. 2008. Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials. Anomaly Series.Re.Press.

The work was exhibited in collaboration with Architecture researcher Asad Khan, at Talbot Rice Gallery for Trading Zone exhibition from 24 May until 22 June 2019.