What is Simon Starling up to? Is it something reactive or something novel? Something ironic or something epic? When I recently explained Starling’s piece Work, made-ready, Kunsthalle Bern, to a group of Australian architects they sighed. This is the work where Starling recast the metal from a bicycle frame and made a chair frame, and recast the metal from a chair frame and made a bicycle. The architects were worried about specifications. They were concerned that a Marin Sausalito is made from a seven-thousand series alloy and an Eames chair from a six. And as they are not the same metals would this not make Starling’s work a performance? When I explained to them that though there was a performative element to the work, it was more about the recasting process, about the hand made in relation to the machine made, the architects responded by claiming that Starling was a Luddite. Did he wear sandals, they wondered. There is no point discussing art with people like that. It’s like negotiating fish prices with a bunch of sea lions. But, oh my god, I reflected as I flew back from Australia over Delhi and the Hindu Kush at thirty-nine thousand feet, could they be right?