‘I am proposing the notion that we are here in the presence of something like a mutation in built space itself. My implication is that we ourselves, the human subjects who happen into this new space, have not kept pace with that evolution: there has been a mutation in the object unaccompanied as yet by any equivalent mutation in the subject. We do not yet possess the perceptual equipment to match this new hyperspace, as I will call it, in part because our perceptual habits were formed in that older kind of space I have called the space of high modernism-The newer architecture therefore-like other…
There are many possible ways of beginning my contribution but I think I will relate to you when Marq Smith and I last met. This was at a conference he co-organised at the ICA, London in 2000 on Prosthetics and Cultural Theory. I was the only person speaking about phantom limbs rather than the main topic which was prosthetics in cultural studies and art.
My work on phantom limb phenomenon began with a series of artworks that explored ideas of the social affects of trauma and illness. I then turned my attention to other projects, but came back to it, and wanted to address this subject more directly. At that time, I had been doing work that explored ideas and constructions of subjectivity using 16mm film, video, photographs and three-dimensional materials.
By the end of the nineteenth century, European and American audiences had temporarily lost interest in stage magic, and the vanishing lady no longer held any particular theatrical appeal. Charles Bertram, the magician who had first introduced the Vanishing Lady Act onto the British stage, writes in 1896: “No place of entertainment was complete without its vanishing lady, but…the illusions which were attempted elsewhere lost all their significance, and eventually ‘wore out’ what was a most startling and marvellous feat.”1