The Slice

The Slice: Cutting to See

Seeing is a matter of surfaces. It’s for this reason that both vision and representation are continually haunted by the problem of insides and outsides – the relationship between the external and what lies within. A merely perceptual matter? If only. It has crept on us: the ocular paradigm of post-Cartesian metaphysics gradually sublimed this pervasive visual anxiety, creating in the process our basic metaphors for critical enquiry itself: ‘superficial’ propositions, ‘trenchant’ analysis, the joys of insight.

With these matters in mind (and a whetted blade in hand), the editors of Cabinetmagazine here take up THE SLICE, that clean incision that forever links the sharp knife to the keen eye. Moving across historical moments and disparate fields, this exhibition examines the peculiar traditions that link visibility to the swift saw. From the cutaway view to the geometry of projection, from the microtome to the CAT-scan, from the surgeon’s scalpel to the sadist’s guillotine, the slice can reveal a secret order, spill lurid innards and open new views. So take a look. But remember, cutting to see is an object lesson in the violence of vision. The world looks different when you wield an edge.

THE SLICE is a laboratory for a future themed issue ofCabinet a quarterly non-for-profit magazine based in New York.


Photo by Sue BarrPhoto by Sue Barr