Our estimate is that 90% of the source materials involved in this project were pulled from Joe’s Collectibles in Omaha, NE. One read of our creative effort is that this work is a site specific response that addresses environmental conditions existing at Joe's.
Joe's is a vast mix of secondhand items. What stood out specifically in this "catch all" environment were a couple of rooms of expiring paper media. It's a very democratic mix, printed medias commingle with little regard to the source objects status/purpose/heirarchy. Text books of erudition mix with print-based Americana. There are atlases and books on geography. Life, Time, and National Geographic, nestle amongst Playboy and Penthouse magazines. Books on high art, painting, and photography receive no differentiation than a common catalogue. Its a literal orgy of stale smelling print.
Joe’s is a great example of a condition known as "pool and flow". Media has literally trickled into the space at a greater rate than it has trickled out, thus we find a resource pool. In our view this flow from the firsthand market to the secondhand is a gesture of leveling. The source material utilized in our project is no longer simply content, it's general condition and it's sheer volume suggests a raw material-like physicality. All content, all objects were for this reason up for grabs. It all had become stagnant. Much of it wholly depleted.
The obvious theme to consider is that most of this content is dated to the point of replacement in a first hand market. The bulk of it dates within a window of 1950’s to early 1990’s. I’m not suggesting that the information contained in these texts is entirely useless, however I would argue that if one was researching, in most cases, it would be smart to look for newer versions to serve as ones reference.
Dylan and I set a goal of 100 strong collages, we worked for 2 months to achieve the goal and edited heavily. We physically manipulated the printed paper medium by hand, we cut, we ripped, we glued and taped. Dylan would start a piece, I’d finish. Our studio effort was very much a reciprocal workshop dynamic where we offered each other immediate feedback.
A few months later, I moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane. The project then developed remotely with a focus on post production and possible iterations of exposition.
These images speak to a language system freed of the specific ideologies they were born of. The prints foreground a unique set of concerns. In the gallery, a dislocated idea is communicating pictorially. It’s been opened to promote interpretation. As abstraction was our target, the reconfigurations encourage a reader to fill in the blanks. The viewer is urged to address the ambiguity. There is no correct reading, all readings are equally valued.
The video loop is fractured and fast. It sarcastically mimics the barrage of commercial messaging ubiquitous in our American landscape, but a hurried tempo condenses the communication available in an individual collage.
It is my opinion that appropriation art naturally wants to host a conversation of ethics. It should again be reiterated that our incorporation of print based objects speaks most directly to the availability of a post consumer good. Our interest was in the residual book/magazine object as a physical material waiting to be explored and of the situation of this space that held these items. Our reuse is less an attempt to force discussions of ethics. Instead, the investigation of the outdated print object enables a discussion on pictorial abstraction and mixed messaging which reveals itself after an initial gesture of dislocation.