How is an Object Changed by its Context?
 Photo: © Iman Issa, 2007

“During the early days of the quarantine, I had many conversations with friends who objected to online platforms, describing them as an irredeemable com- promise, a  at version of a nuanced phenomenon that cannot be levelled without inflicting some kind of damage to the original. I often agreed, saying that I too refuse to take part in the now ubiquitous online viewing rooms. But further reflecting on it, I  find the temptation, to defend the exhibition space in relation to online platforms as the sight of a superior original confronted with a bad copy of itself, to be shortsighted. This is not necessarily in defence of online platforms but more to stress that the comparison itself is lacking and that the two platforms are, more accurately, unrelated. For to be able to compare the two platforms, one has to mentally separate the mate- rial on view in an exhibition from its habitat and imagine it offered again via different channels (channels deemed inferior in the case of online platforms). But can a clean distinction be adequately drawn between the material and the exhibition space that houses it? Or to ask the question more precisely: can a clean distinction be made between the material and the exhibition space, without a significant alteration of the very conception of both? Yes, we might end up with some form of an abstraction when drawing such divisions, but an abstraction, which I would think, relates very little to what we started with and can tell us close to nothing about it. It is also an abstraction that I imagine to be more slippery in its effects, and overwhelming and total in its alteration than a mere matter of losing depth or dimension.”

– The full text appears in Spike #66. You can buy it in our online shop –