Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Postscript Matters

Why has MCA Denver curated an exhibition on conceptual writing, and why now? Part of the relevance of Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art stems from our present situation in the digital age. We are flooded everyday with the digital, which, as Artforum argued several months back, "is, at base, a linguistic model. Convert any .jpg file to .txt and you will find its ingredients: a garbled recipe of numbers and letters, meaningless to the average viewer." If the digital is indeed "at base, a linguistic model," then this deluge of the digital indicates a linguistic shift. We are experiencing a linguistic shift about how we process information, and that linguistic shift also has visual consequences; everyday we access information via different technologies, and we process that information via different visual formats. .jpg files neatly summarize these visual consequences, as well as an apparatus like the Kindle might. 

Conceptual writing is uniquely positioned to consider the ways that language and the visual intersect, and that's why conceptual writing, both historically and presently, is able "to convey experience in ways adequate to our new technological circumstances." So, when Artforum selected Postscript as a critics' pick a couple months, and wrote that the show was concerned with "how to translate potential meaning and intentionality between the modes of visual art and language," they were only partly right. Postscript also presents a slew of artists whose generative strategies challenge the very silos that separate visual art and language and whose work, across various methods and mediums, engages authentically with our digital age. 

photo credit: Installation shot of Seth Price's Romance, 2003, video, color, silent, 30 min. Image courtesy MCA Denver. 


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