First and foremost, photographs describe surfaces. Although lingering on texture and tonal gradations, their meanings always extend, expand, and multiply beyond what they show and the surfaces to which they attend. Yet how does a photograph describe the surface of New York City?
The Encyclopedia Project Volume III L-Z is the latest and last volume in a series that seeks to create a new kind of encyclopedia by implementing a new kind of editorial process. The brainchild of Brown MFA alumni Tisa Bryant, Miranda Mellis, and Kate Schatz, The Encyclopedia Project began over a decade ago when each editor contributed a unique roster of potential authors. The editors offered each contributor a short list of words tailored to their interests, for which they could write one or more entries, and stipulated only that these entries range from one sentence to 4,000 words and address the question, “What occurs under the sign of fiction?” The result of this editorial process is three volumes of entries defined by experimental writing and artworks by authors—a web of artists, poets, novelists, and experimental writers—who represent various ages, races, sexualities, and gender backgrounds.
Imagine if writing was a purely visual endeavor without linguistic or syntactical meaning. Could we read the curves and slants, thickness, and size of the lines like we would alphabetical or pictorial characters? The writings and drawings of Mirtha Dermisache and Renee Gladman beg these questions.
After years of drone warfare, neoliberal “creative destruction,” and the proliferation of propaganda via the management of media channels, it is clear that the spheres of political economy and technological warfare are ever more disturbingly bound with the production, dissemination, and obfuscation of information.