Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carrier Pigeon as Metaphor for Societal Provenance

Forgive us for sounding like braying behemoths of counter culture in this post, but it's not our own assertion. This past year Christine Dengel wrote a paper, as part of her requirement for the Library and Science graduate degree program at Queens College, on her humanist approach to archival theory, and our publishing values interested her enough to become something of a focal point within the essay. What follows is an overview of the essay, punctuated with pages from the unedited proofs of two of our most recently available issues and one still in production. Hopefully, they will provide a meaningful response/parallel to her words.

She begins by considering whether the tokens left behind to us by loved ones are meaningful or functional, is brave enough to openly yearn for the dynamism of feedback from a "posthumous letter, authored by an immortal voice," and then applies "traditional notions of provenance" to the collection she inherited from her mother.

She also applies them to us. Carrier Pigeon is defined by Christine as a "society" whose creator history "cannot be defined as a single word, or even persons" but explains that "the overall effect is of an artist community that shares itself and encourages interactivity from its audience."

At left: the right side of the introductory spread for Erin Browne's "Good Dog," a short play illustrated by Marshall Arisman and containing a QR code to a short film adapted from the play. At right: an installation shot from the portfolio of Adam Lister, showing a magnetic sculpture similar to the one supplied in paper, DIY form to all buyers of issue no. 7 (available Fall 2012).

On the physical nature of our our content:
"They create content that is ephemeral in nature, almost resembling a scrapbook, yet they are objects of high value at low cost. Each magazine includes a fine art print, hand signed and couture."

At left: issue no. 5 page from "Cut in Half" by Althea Hanke-Hills, illustrated by printmaker Frances Jetter. At right: issue no. 6 introductory page for Tatiana Simonova's portfolio.

End pages from Carrier Pigeon issue no. 5 by printmaker Evan Summer.

On our method:
"The artist alone determines the content, and the magazine as medium is a neutral megaphone. . . . There is an interplay between a collective social memory and each member's personal memory."

At left: a page from painter Greg Crane's portfolio in issue no. 6. At right: an issue no. 7 illustration for "What the Fire Cost Us" by Nick Kolakowski, illustrated by Myles Karr.

On our contributors:
"The community of participants involved with the magazine are not conveniently bound entities."

At left: a page from the issue no. 7 portfolio of Hye Young Shin, documenting a foot-washing performance. At right: a detail from the issue no. 5 portfolio of Ilse Schreiber-Noll, collected from an artist book exploring her own response to the present revolution in the Middle East.

 On our mission:
"These artists react to the social inertia of the many social constructions of the New York City artist gallery world. They are developing new rituals and more flexible and inclusive frameworks; this magazine reflects that attempt."

Two pages from Carrier Pigeon issue no. 6. At left: the introductory page to the portfolio of Cannonball Press founders Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra. At right: the title page for "Feather," written by Mike Posillico and illustrated by comics creator Josh Bayer.

On our effectiveness:
"They are deliberately behaving unconventionally, and the effect is fractured and convoluted . . . archivally speaking. Their efforts reflect a changing zeitgeist where there is more blending and less chronological delineations."

We'll take it! Thanks to Christine for generously including us in her academic experience, and for sharing the results with us. Her full paper can be downloaded here.

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