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Exhibition Design as Reverse Engineering

From Tool-Being, by Graham Harman:

We are left with the following scenario—the world as a duel of tightly interlaced objects that both aggrandize and undermine one another. The movement of philosophy is less an unveiling (which relies on an illegitimate use of the as-structure) than a kind of reverse engineering. Teams of industrial pirates often lock themselves in motel rooms, working backward from a competitor’s finished product in an effort to unlock and replicate the code that generates it. In the case of the philosopher, the finished product that must be reverse engineered is the world as we know it; the motel room is perhaps replaced by a lecture hall or a desert. Behind every apparently simple object is an infinite legion of further objects that “crush, depress, break and enthrall one another.” It is these violent underground currents that one should attempt to reverse-engineer, so as to unlock the infrastructure of objects.

— Jared Nielsen

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