Contexts 1 - Critical Flicker Frequencies by Nathan Gray Rogue Syntax: Primer

    • Arts

While we’re making Episode 2 of Rogue Syntax: Primer on animal communications, we thought we’d prepare the ground with a few relevant artworks for you. Here we present Critical Flicker Frequencies by our very own Nathan Gray, which also strolls through the animal world via the problematics of perception.

"...this eyeless animal finds the way to her watchpoint [at the top of a tall blade of grass] with the help of only its skin’s general sensitivity to light. The approach of her prey becomes apparent to this blind and deaf bandit only through her sense of smell. The odor of butyric acid, which emanates from the sebaceous follicles of all mammals, works on the tick as a signal that causes her to abandon her post (on top of the blade of grass/bush) and fall blindly downward toward her prey. If she is fortunate enough to fall on something warm (which she perceives by means of an organ sensible to a precise temperature) then she has attained her prey, the warm-blooded animal, and thereafter needs only the help of her sense of touch to find the least hairy spot possible and embed herself up to her head in the cutaneous tissue of her prey. She can now slowly suck up a stream of warm blood."

-- Giorgio Agamben, from The Open: Man and Animal (2004) paraphrasing Jakob von Uexküll’s "A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds," in Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept (1957).

While we’re making Episode 2 of Rogue Syntax: Primer on animal communications, we thought we’d prepare the ground with a few relevant artworks for you. Here we present Critical Flicker Frequencies by our very own Nathan Gray, which also strolls through the animal world via the problematics of perception.

"...this eyeless animal finds the way to her watchpoint [at the top of a tall blade of grass] with the help of only its skin’s general sensitivity to light. The approach of her prey becomes apparent to this blind and deaf bandit only through her sense of smell. The odor of butyric acid, which emanates from the sebaceous follicles of all mammals, works on the tick as a signal that causes her to abandon her post (on top of the blade of grass/bush) and fall blindly downward toward her prey. If she is fortunate enough to fall on something warm (which she perceives by means of an organ sensible to a precise temperature) then she has attained her prey, the warm-blooded animal, and thereafter needs only the help of her sense of touch to find the least hairy spot possible and embed herself up to her head in the cutaneous tissue of her prey. She can now slowly suck up a stream of warm blood."

-- Giorgio Agamben, from The Open: Man and Animal (2004) paraphrasing Jakob von Uexküll’s "A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds," in Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept (1957).

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