1’ 50’’ , b/w, sound, 2008
Stephen Jay Gould, one of the great theorists of evolutionism, always begins with a detail before moving on to more general considerations about the state of the world, in this case regarding technology rather than biology. The Qwerty system is that particular arrangement of letters still in use on our computer keyboards. This system is far from the best and though other decidedly more superior keyboards, both in terms of efficiency and practicality, have been put on the market, the Qwerty system has always prevailed. For Gould, the Qwerty system becomes a metaphor of how the world works, in both the biological and historical fields. The history of life depends crucially on numerous contingent factors that establish the future with new channels that become embedded over time, making change more unlikely, and instead making the domain of a pretty inefficient technology (Qwerty) possible. The video consists of the association of sentences from Gould’s work, which appear as though written on a typewriter, with film clips of sportspeople, either victorious or in defeat, captured at the moment of their greatest exertion. Their performance is only one of the components that will lead to victory or defeat, other factors, over which they have no control, will play a part in deciding their destiny.