Glass eliminates all confusion (2016)
Writing in 1968 in The System of Objects, Jean Baudrillard describes glass as a ‘material of the future’. He states that because of its specific qualities, ‘glass eliminates all confusion’. However, despite massive technological advances in glass making over the last two-hundred years, glass continues to be effected by the myth of glass flow, a widespread confusion which suggests that glass is a liquid and will therefore continue to flow after its manufacture and over the duration of its existence as an object.
This myth of metamorphosis, or instability, cites as its evidence the distortion and unevenness that can be seen so clearly in the Crown Glass disk (1), particularly in its uneven cross-section. However, the distortions that inspire this myth are not the result of glass flow, but are the visible signs of this objects making process.
Glass eliminates all confusion is a film which examines the uneven cross-section of the Crown Glass disk. The changing speed of the pan shot is conceived to suggest that the centrifugal force which is a central part of the object’s making process, appears to affect its documentation; suggesting an interplay between object and camera. As the film moves towards the center of the disk where the glass is thickest, the movement is the slowest, the camera moves as though traveling through a space that is congealing. It is as if, in the center of this object, the contradictory explanations of this uneven cross-section reside, slowing down and confusing our thinking.
1) Crown Glass was the main glass blowing process for the production of window glass, employed until the nineteenth century.