Emblem 157

Information and materials

In Tristram Shandy, marbling serves as an emblem of both uniqueness (no two pages are identical) and randomness (no two pages ever could be identical). One cannot predict how the oiled dyes will distribute and fix before the sheet is lifted from the bath. The same dynamic applies to our physiology: absolutely unique and the very definition of the individual, but always with aleatoric dispositions, unpredictable development, and singular configurations.
Accordingly, a page from the first edition of Sterne’s book is read here 'pataphysically', as if it were an example of microscopic anatomy, revealing the pathologies and interior structures unique to the copy that supplied the sample. The emblem is “motley”, as Sterne would have it: variegated in colour, but also composed of diverse and incongruous elements – all those chemicals and organisms and processes at endless odds in our interiors.
This page is dedicated to Doctor Joseph Perloff.