(The Art Labor Archive of Teaching Days)
“Curious, Fugitive, and Inedited” takes its name from an odd section of Robert Chambers’ 19th century The Book of Days, “a miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar.” As an “archive of teaching days,” this project’s content is comprised of the detritus of in-class writing exercises—trace elements of the moments of teaching when the institutional creative writing instructor invites the class to write, provides a prompt, and then writes alongside her students. The texts that result appear to be garbage. The handwritten scribbles are performed again and re-presented here in a kind of retrograde fashion: typed on an old typewriter that has no ribbon, typed through a sheet of carbon paper, susceptible to smudging and fading. The presence of a time and archive cataloguing stamp suggest that writing is a recursive act—repeated in shared classroom space—and at the same time, the pages suggest solidarity among teacher and students. Yet as pages typed out, scanned, and digitized, these text shards excavate labor whose value is unclear and perhaps goes nowhere except into The Art Labor Archive: an unfunded institution located in the artist’s imagination and occasionally manifested as art projects for installation and digital space. (Note: the writer/writing teacher acknowledges that the phrase “veiled spill,” imprinted on her subconscious and reproduced on page -45479, is most certainly from colleague Jan Clausen’s 2014 book Veiled Spill: A Sequence. The writer/writing teacher apologizes for any other unacknowledged influence/language transfers.) Exhibited in “Institutional Garbage,” Sector 2337 Gallery & Hyde Park Art Center, 2017.