Summer 2008

Future Imperfect

The Casey Case, Scenario I


A sea fight must either take place tomorrow or not, 
but it is not necessary that it should take place tomorrow, neither is it necessary that it should not take place, yet it is necessary that it either should or should not 
take place tomorrow. Since propositions correspond with facts, it is evident that when in future events there is a real alternative, and a potentiality in contrary directions, the corresponding affirmation and denial have 
the same character.
—Aristotle, On Interpretation

In the winter of 2006, a colleague on the West Coast forwarded us a review of a show by a young Bay Area artist named Casey Logan. The piece noted certain sympathies between Logan’s work and Cabinet­—sympathies that were sufficiently strong, noted the critic, that they had led Logan to become a contributor to the magazine.

Because the critic went on to say several nice things about us, our first reaction to the review was to feel flattered. Yet like most pleasant feelings (especially here at Cabinet Central), this one was soon displaced by a sense that something was not quite right, since nobody here could remember ever publishing anything by anyone named Casey Logan. So we wrote him a letter:

19 December 2006 

Dear Casey Logan,

A colleague recently forwarded us a review from the San Francisco Bay Guardian of your current show at Little Tree in San Francisco.

In it, the writer suggests that your work 
has certain affinities with Cabinet and, 
to buttress his point, notes that it has in fact been included in our “ambitious, often exhilarating publication.”

Our first reaction when reading this was, “Wow, what a nice compliment!” Our second reaction was, “Who is Casey Logan?” Our interest piqued, we went to your website, and there discovered the source of the problem—the caption for your Untitled piece of 2004:

• speakers installed inside a globe playing 
sound of natural phenomenon

• sounds from a cd insert in Cabinet magazine 
issue 3 summer 2001

It is clear to us that the vague language used in this caption was a conscious choice on your part to insinuate some kind of relationship where one did not exist. Furthermore, we note your strategic use of all lower case letters with the exception of our name: this can only be interpreted as a subliminal message of sorts, one designed to foreground Cabinet while you yourself slink away with a precious flower from our carefully tended garden tucked misleadingly in the lapel of your professional frock.

We demand that you publicly clarify your lack of connection to us.

Return our flower, Mr. Logan. You know it’s the right thing to do.

Yours sincerely,

The editors of Cabinet

That the contrary of a good is an evil is shown by induction: the contrary of health is disease, of courage, cowardice, and so on. But the contrary of an evil is sometimes a good, sometimes an evil. For defect, which is an evil, has excess for its contrary, this also being an evil, and the mean, which is a good, is equally the contrary 
of the one and of the other. It is only in a few cases, however, that we see instances of this: in most, the contrary of an evil is a good.
—Aristotle, Categories

For “The Casey Case, Scenario II,” see here.

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