“What I mean is—”
KW’s Front Building, 1st Floor Studio
Launch of the 16th issue of the journal F.R.DAVID with a screening of GLORIA, by Juliana Canal Paternina, and a few words from editor Will Holder.
F.R.DAVID is concerned with the organisation of reading and writing in contemporary art practice. […] Typographers normally design using other people’s words and eventually accept a situation in which they are limited to making only slight modifications in a given text even when a syntactic rephrasing could make the message more understandable. […] I’m the robotic kid looking through digital eyes past the windshield into the pre-invented world […] The intention is not to provide a course in typographic history or style, but to provide experiences based on language as communication of a perceptual/cognitive idea or event, language as presented visually—enhancing perceptual meaning, and language as invention or systematic structure. […] Material, that is to say unformed or unshaped matter, is the field where authority blocks independent experimentation less than in many other fields […] 15—Craft’s gestural intelligence is apt to discover material potential only by internalising and inhabiting the specificities of a tradition. This tradition knows JOY IS FORMAL INTELLIGENCE. CRAFT’S TRADITION IS JOY […] The resources of expressive art have never been cheaper, the productivity of the individual expressive artist has never been higher, the accomplishment of a density of surface effects in contemporary artworks has never been easier to bring about. […] it is not so much what we want as what we want to want, or what keeps us wanting […] plastic, wondrous plastic! ideal for the girl on the go, easy to care for, hard to care about, plastic. whether it’s a fast escape from an unhappy household, or running for dear life down some dark alley, plastic works for you. […] some combination of truth and approximation, or just a pleasant fiction. […] does not wither away, / grown by reason of the licking […] My work has no aesthetic values, other than the values of communication. I believe that taste is really unimportant. Art can, and should be used to stimulate social mobility. I envisage the formation of a total society where every citizen will be of blue blood. […] I notice about myself that I will walk much further to go through an open door before I’ll go through the trouble to open one. […] Perhaps now, rather than less, we need more decoration, but of our own devising, as homeopathic antidote to the ubiquitous mass-produced décor called information.
[…] a ‘poem’ may be understood as / writing specifically designed to absorb, or inflate / with, proactive—rather—than reactive styles of reading. […] One of the great frustrations that I think liberals in this country had a few years ago is when the right was able to define the word ‘values’ on its own terms […] Material, that is to say unformed or unshaped matter, is the field where authority blocks independent experimentation less than in many other fields […] You could be completely serious like you’re in the great place and whoosh pull back just like holding a little tiny toy castle in the palm of your hand—then even go inside it. And it’s real again. Get all serious inside your little castle.You could do all of this with your voice. […] It’s a beautiful example of getting the ‘ideas’ and the ‘values’ right and then constructing the policy so its implementation reinforces those understandings. […] The ideas show respect for students, teachers, parents, and administrators (who may be working in systems that do not necessarily foster such respect). […] It is [‘of course’] the will to say certain things which determines the means of saying them […] However, we found that recognizing a theme and choosing words was more valuable to our graphics course, […] one was not allowed to call a bear a bear after it had turned over in its den in midwinter, lest, having heard its name, it would rise and attack livestock and hunters. […] 15—Craft’s gestural intelligence is apt to discover material potential only by internalising and inhabiting the specificities of a tradition. This tradition knows JOY IS FORMAL INTELLIGENCE. CRAFT’S TRADITION IS JOY […] polyvalently […] archetypal […] I’m gonna have agency on what I decide is truth or not […] Words, don’t come easy. [… This] nexus of relations characterizing [The Lady’s] works—whether they be poetic, fictional, theoretical, or a combination of all three—[creates] an interstitial space in which an alternative narrative of modernity may thrive. […] 24—Craft teaches us that style is never finished. The present, borrowed or perhaps inherited as our material project, is never finished. There is always something to do. […] The purely graphic mark of the dash comes to tear both the signifier and the signified apart, thus becoming the ultimate incarnation of the palimpsest, in which the sign and the erasure of the sign are fused: meaning is both crossed out and imprinted on the page, aporetically implying that the content of “what I mean” is the absence, or the lack, of meaning.
Co-published since 2017 by uh books and KW Institute for Contemporary Art—F.R.DAVID is a typographical journal, dealing with the organization of reading and writing in contemporary art practices. The publication is an outcome of the project Prospectus: A Year with Will Holder.