Issue 8: TEXT

Perhaps the most efficient means of communication yet invented by humans, text is also inherently saddled with confusion and contradiction. When commentators wring their hands about contemporary knowlege spinning out of control with the circulation of virally reproduced and distorted digital information, we should all pause to recall that as the genesis of recorded history, text is the original quotational artifact – text is always out of context – and that maybe our latest neuroses are simply a reiteration of past anxieties.

Thinking about how, with its durability, text inevitibly exists beyond the control of situational environments (perversely, the source of its efficiency), this issue of ART iT addresses the theme “Text,” both sampling from a post-conceptual generation of artists who incorporate text in the visual realization of their works, and also exploring the idea of text as a metaphor for how we decode and encode the world around us. Collectively, the works of this issue’s featured artists underscore how the convenience of text involves suppressing our anxieties about the impossibility of communication.

We begin the issue with a three-part feature interview with Yutaka Sone, the Los Angeles-based artist known for his inscrutably beautiful sculptures in marble and crystal who incorporates writing and sketching into a daily practice that distributes significance equally between eternal art objects and momentary memoranda/ephemera-as-poetry. In keeping with the theme of text beyond context, we also include a five-part “dossier” of short conversational encounters with Berlin-based artist Danh Vo, who presents different combinations of found objects together in installations that tease out the marginalia of both personal and transnational histories. Each encounter in the dossier addresses a specific aspect connected to Vo’s ideas about his work, but is presented solely as an artifact, without any framing information.

We also correspond via email with artist, filmmaker and writer Miranda July, whose latest film The Future has just premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Utah. In this correspondence, July discusses how in her works across disparate media text consistently appears as a “disembodied voice” that draws readers into unexpected performative situations.

Forthcoming are an interview with artist Tadasu Takamine to clarify how two wall texts introducing and concluding, respectively, his current solo exhibition at the Yokohama Museum of Art engage with issues of institutional critique, and the latest essays by regular columnists Dan Cameron, Hu Fang, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Noi Sawaragi, Minoru Shimizu and Kyoichi Tsuzuki.

– The Editors

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