Transitional Object Lesson

Transversal Composition #001

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‘I call a perception “clear” when it is present and accessible to the attentive mind […] I call a perception “distinct” if, as well as being clear, it is so sharply separated from all other perceptions that it contains within itself only what is clear.’1

‘…buttons in the flat design style do not appear distinct from other visual elements on a webpage, and therefore do not appear clickable’. 2

objects in the rearview may be closer than they seem

—Am I clear? Have I made myself clear? (Peter Schlemihl, probably)

to rearend:

what you are looking for is an aspheric mirror, a winged eyeline, a side[g]lance

to s[t]imulate a proper distancing

the goldilocks distancing

the brechtian distancing

Artaud’s misunderdistancing

I know eye now aye no-no

mind the mi[n]dgap, though:

the reason you won’t find any transitional phases in the fissile fossil record is because transitional objects are softtissued

clear and distinct, the [k]not-me

clear and present—and correct

there is no record, only memory as touchshadow

neither Darwin nor Lamarck but Winnicott

though[t] patterns may persist

to thumb, to fist, to fuck

between the mediate and the immediate the intramediate

to think

‘…between the thumb and the teddy bear, between the oral erotism and the true object-relationship, between primary creative activity and projection of what has already been introduced, between primary unawareness of indebtedness and the acknowledgment of indebtedness…’3


skeuomorphism uses lifelike affordances evocative of real-world experience: empirical simulators

still, one[e]ssense of balance is a-skeu

flat design uses lifeless, gripless, scaleless affordances, snake-of-the-world-without-end, with [s]po[o]rous boundaries that re-produce the feel of simulacra to denote Real, World, Experience:

drop shadows themselves, in the same way that cryptid koalas are drop bears.

Peter Schlemihl had a form

ee eye ee eye o

Peter Schlemihl, patron taint, pre-cursor of flat [de]si[g]n, selfmade without [s]Hade(s), thick in significance

O, Father of the Desert of the Live Reel

“what I am referring to […] is not so much the object used as the use of the object".4

It is experience, not the UI, that is flattened,

It is the world, not the word, that is flat

in the beginningwas

objects in hindsight may appear

smaller than < > greater than

but always equal to since for the field of vision to be useful it must be distorted, that is,


for the distortion to be accurate it must be


to appperception: leyline,


Zoom background by Pam Wishbow.

A road rug for children’s learning.

Taylor, Ruby. Equiterra. UN Women, 2020.

They Might Be Giants. They Might be Giants. Tower Records: 1986.

Saunders, Chelsea. “The Campus as it Exists in the Minds of US Conservatives.” 2018. Vol 3. Issue 6. Current Affairs.

Hương, Sông. Yellow and Red. 2013. Egg tempera on three canvases. 96 x 144 in; 243.84 x 365.76 cm.

Still from “Richard Scarry’s Busytown”. 1993. Simon and Schuster Interactive / SEGA of America.


Descartes, René. Prin. 1:45, AT 8a:21f, CSM 1:207f.


“Flat Design.” Interaction Design Foundation:


Winnicott, Donald W. (1951 [1953]). "Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena. A Study of the First Not-Me Possession.” London: International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34, 89-97.


—. (1971). Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock, p. xii.