Publication Details

Ballard, S. 2012, 'The (New) Accident of Art', in S. Baker, P. Thomas & A. Varano (eds), Interference as a Strategy for Art: The Second International Conference on Transdisciplinary Imaging at the Intersections Between Art, Science and CultureConference Proceedings, Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference, Sydney, pp. 48-58.


Accidental encounters in the art gallery occupy a critical space that moves visitors beyond established behaviours and expectations. Accidents are crucial to everyday encounters with art objects and tend to occur in the interval between images. The emergence of the 'New Aesthetic' in March 2012 contributed to a more generalised interest in spotting and documenting moments where the digital intercedes in the everyday. The New Aesthetic suggests that it is possible to see accidental spaces of machinic vision. But what happens when the viewer is also not human? Does the robot machine employed by GoogleArtProject to patrol the major galleries of the world suggest new methods for engaging with aret? If, as has been argued by both Aristotle and Virilio each machine contains a concept of accident, encounters that recognize the creative potential of failure and instability will introduce a new model for machinic aesthetics within the gallery space. In reality any unexpected encounter in GoogleArtProject is more likely to be with a blurred virtual force that something framed and labelled as art. In using Aby Warburg's "iconology of the interval" to discuss GoogleArtProject I suggest it is the accidental encounter that marks the vibrancy of the space, time, bodies, machines and architectures that make up the art gallery and perhaps contributes a critical prehistory to the New Aesthetic.