There, There; There’s No “There”

Written by
Valerie Werder

Dean has described Little Island/Gut Punch as “a big green monolith being hit by an invisible force.”1 It’s impossible to tell whether this force strikes the plinth from the outside or whether the form is crumpling onto itself from some internally felt pain: Its assailant, after all, does not properly appear. What kind of force is this? What violence cannot be located in time and space but has observable effects? A literal read might identify the force as the artist who staged the collision, though she worked upon a digital model and not the sculpture itself. Perhaps the force can be found in the 3-D printer responsible for Little Island/Gut Punch’s materialization. But, in rendering destruction, a 3-D printer does not, itself, destroy. The force that suspends Little Island/Gut Punch in its crumpled state cannot be represented. It is, in a word, supra sensuous: what Marx might have called a “real abstraction,” one of those metaphysical niceties productive of, and seeking embodiment within, physical reality; or what Frank Wilderson might identify as the machinations of a political ontology that has secured anti-Blackness across the longue durée. In any case, when made to register the effects of something beyond “real time and physical space,” the Minimalist object suffers a great blow.

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