Succincting time, strobbing material, strangling each flick of protean matter to spare a moment, that’s Duchamp’s Trois, threads twisting as they please in ultimate contingency then glued down in Pyrrhic victory. Liar’s paradox in series, mis-runs revealing a squirming standard, the difference in each fall records the aleatory history of aleatory units, fleeting as earlier definitives—cubit, hogshead, foot, rod, i.e., somebody’s foot is the canonic foot, and it doesn’t matter. All the while the conceptual insistence of Trois holds court and measurement at bay, even while proclaiming to gauge anew, even while constants are only getting better at the infra-thin letting, the atom coming closer to timing time in exquisite detail what a second’s far-distant cousin is.
When I make my next sculpture, eventually, when I go into space, I will re-do Duchamp’s Three Standard Stoppages to eliminate the pesky pull of gravity.
Todd Sformo is a biologist living in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska [note dot over "g" in Utqiaġvik]. His interests are overwintering physiology, art, and measurement. He has published two prose poems, "Knots" in Hippocampus (1 June 2015) and "Gray" in Cirque (Summer 2018), and one essay on studying a fungus gnat in winter "So much depends upon" in Catamaran (Fall 2020).
The Ekphrastic Review
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