In early 2003 Paul Virilio's Unknown Quantity exhibition explored the increased development of accidents as an indirect consequence of man's inventions. Its purpose was to stimulate discussion around the sacred disorder of accidents and how these could be considered nothing more than part of the worlds infinite game of chance.
There is a certain thrill and blasphemy surrounding the consideration of chance and particularly the lottery. The system is typically elementary, the moral virtue is nil, there is more an element of luck rather than skill and only a glimmer of hope. The risk of winning however awakens the interest of the public and those who do not partake can been considered pusillanimous or cowardly.
In Jorge Luis Borges The Lottery in Babylon he considers an extravagant version of the lottery that is secret, free, general and fair for rich or poor. All men participate in a draw, undertaken in the labyrinths of the gods, it would determine their destiny for the next 60 nights. The plays become extreme and exciting, from the company of a beautiful woman to mutilation, infamy and possible even death. Like Virilio's accidents Borges describes the lottery in Babylon as "the lottery is an interpolation of chance in the order of the world and that to accept errors is not to contradict chance: it is to collaborate it".
We can consider this in our own lives and that of the Casino that investigates fates labyrinthine laws. Borges surmises that;
"If the lottery is an intensification of chance, a periodical infusion of chaos in the cosmos, would it not be right for chance to intervene in all stages of the drawing and not in one alone? Is it not ridiculous for chance to dictate someone's death and have the circumstance of that death - secrecy, publicity, the fixed time of an hour or a century - not subject to chance?...infinity harmonises admirably with the sinuous number of Chance and with the Celestial Archetype of the Lottery"
|The Fall installation at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris.|
|The Tower of Babel|