Diderot and The Last Luminare: Waiting for the Enlightenment or the Private Life of Objects
September 2 – October 1, 1994
Opening Reception: 6 – 8:00 pm, September 2, 1994.
…includes contributions from over 100 collaborators ranging from artists and architects to fashion designers and composers. The installation is based on Denis Diderot’s L’Encyclopedie (1747 – 1765), the earliest “modern” compendium of what was considered necessary human knowledge. Original encyclopedia plates are juxtaposed with 20th century “updates”. For example, 18th century engravings of military drill patterns are annotated by media images of Gulf War “smart bombs”. According to Suderburg, the atmosphere created, “lies somewhere between a meticulous library exhibit of rare documents and a collection of eccentric, dusty and doomed museum inventions.” The result is a fascinating examination of how knowledge becomes constituted as power through categorization and compilation.