Error in apparatus as aesthetic value by Alejandro Schianchi

Artist/academic Alejandro Schianchi has written a 200pg thesis on ‘Error Aesthetics.’ A kind of, “archeology of ‘error aesthetic with audiovisual apparatus’ with the context of a philosophical genealogy of failure in computer, technolgy-religion, science, economy, and occidental philosophy.” Schianchi is a professor at the National University of Tres de Febrero, in Bs. As., in ‘Electronic Arts’ degree, and in other Universities in Bs. As. as well. Below are links to an abstract he’s made available for GLI.TC/H in both english and spanish.

An error seems to be that which gets between the ideal being and the real being; the error appears to be a singularity, a Non-being that transforms and distorts the Being. Audiovisual techniques, technologies, devices and media try to suppress errors; however, an ideological and aesthetic possibility hides behind the use of errors.

1. Introduction

An error, a failure, or an accident connotes something that is bad, wrong and inappropriate. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate the positive aspect of errors that take place in the artistic production achieved with audiovisual machines.

We will start by giving a more precise meaning to what we usually call “error”. In order to do so, we will resort to its scientific definition, particularly in the fields of physics and mathematics: “difference between the measured or calculated value and the real value”. This means there is a difference between the real obtained result and the prevision we had made and had thought as certain. At this point we will introduce an element which is important to highlight: the concept of error would be unconceivable without the idea of prevision. Previewing entails supposing, waiting, and, above all, “believing” — in terms of faith — that something is going to occur and is going to happen somehow. Only in this way the error is able to appear. If, for example, we do not expect anything in particular from an apparatus that produces images, any result will be satisfying. Moreover, we can set forth that in the field of the arts originality, unlike repetition, carries a different value. Every time art moves away from the normative pressure of academicism (evident in the vanguards of the 20th century), it will attach a positive sense to the difference explained as a shortfall by exact sciences.

If we talk about prevision and repetition, the concept of definition inevitably comes up; definitions are later transformed into classifications. Stability allows us to sort the elements that make up a system according to their characteristics. When we use a photographic camera in the usual way, we expect to obtain, after a series of processes, an image that is true to the one that was in front of the lens of the camera at the moment of exposure. If we obtain instead a splotch, we will infer that some kind of error occurred during the process, because the photographic camera (in its standard definition) does not produce abstract images, but rather reproduces objectively that which is captured by the lens.

2. Perfect Machines

The utopian view of an error-free machine finds it’s origin within two spheres, science and religion… (read on)

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