ISSN : 2266-6060

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A name, one thing. One category, one entity. One barcode, one product. Mineral, plant or animal, each element is subject to classification principles and naming systems. One can easily circulate from words to things and vice versa thanks to a delicate assemblage that requires much effort. A sharp set of labels linked to files and databases allows to point out somebody or something, and to distinguish the particular from the general. We do not pay any attention to such infrastructures, except when it fails or breaks down. The same reference and the same barcode for each type of flexible coupling. Yet the diameter of the nut is not exactly the same. There is no more room for the reference transparency and a certain element of doubt hangs over the matter. It is the precise moment when a set of standards, activities and people suddenly come behind the scene: did the manufacturer make a mistake when he bracketted nut and flexible together? Was the storeman be mistaken while labeling products? Did a customer change the label in order to bypass the barcode scanner and to purchase a cheaper flexible coupling? The circulation of the reference is far from being an abstract matter between a sign and what it points out. If any component of a standardized assemblage changes, the reference is no more univocal. A name, two things. One category, different devices. One code, and a multiplicity of entities could be pointed out.

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