I’m Feeling Lucky

M.S. Dansey on a work by Cecilia Szalkowicz and Gastón Pérsico



No need to insist on it. There’s nothing less representable than a perfume. This is clear. A perfume is worth a thousand pictures, if not more. It’s still expected, though, that, for its commercial production, a certain aesthetic will be developed, starting with the bottle, then an advertising image, and, finally, the fragrance.


Cecilia Szalkowicz and Gastón Pérsico took as their starting point the advertising photograph of an obscure perfume – with its clean composition, cool and symmetrical, rescued from the depths of the 1980s, that is, from the pre-internet era – and then submitted it to a reverse image search. This is how Me siento con suerte came to be, a blue hardback book that compiles, in their original order, a series of images offered up by Google. One might suppose that this is an arbitrary succession of variations, but no, not really. We think that the net – this form of consciousness that isn’t human, or at least isn’t all that human – will give us any image we want. And by “any,” we mean “every,” even though we know that’s not true. We know that the plans of the mind belong to mortals, but that technology decides on the results. We can only request, it responds as it will.



There’s an algorithm that structures the series in Szalkowicz and Pérsico’s book, and it’s not the Fibonacci sequence that clearly determines the original composition. It’s something else. Perhaps a secret logic that expands the advertising photo’s configuration ad infinitum, like one’s own image in mirrors facing each other in an elevator. But it’s stranger than that, because, here, it’s similarity and not identity that we see.



In the transition to a printed medium, the relations generated by a virtual search become permanent. The format of the book makes manifest a discursive model that remains invisible in its everyday use. It’s possible to say that Me siento con suerte reveals a singular, lucky discovery: a discourse without a speaker.


Cecilia Szalkowicz and Gastón Pérsico
Me siento con suerte (I’m feeling lucky), 2014, book (120 pages, 24,4 x 17,2 cm), postcard (14,4 x 10,4 cm), unique


Translated by Patrick Greaney


Images courtesy the artists, first and second image photographed by Ariel Authier