View (special edition)

steve roden
CD in box with print and ephemera
edition: 10
new plastic music

  1. view

this special edition of the cd view was created for an exhibition at the jennjoy gallery in san francisco in 1999. the idea was to create a multiple inspired by the ephemeral object qualities of aspen magazine, joseph cornell, fluxus objects and the sms editions. the box contained the regular edition of the cd along with a fragment of the original audio tape recording of a site as seen from the window of the gallery, recorded by jenn… a small found object from the street that the window faced from the gallery… a text printed on a piece of typing paper that came from architect richard neutra’s office… and an original drawing done in the manner of harry bertoia’s monotypes (the drawing being pressed onto the paper by facing the paper to a piece of glass spread with ink and “drawing” with the sharp end of a nail on the back side of the paper, which when lifted contains the image – each of which is unique). some objects are in little bags, and the print was archivally matted. the box and print mat measure approx. 7″ square.

the following is the text that accompanied the edition:

the idea of expanding the regular cd edition of ‘view’ began with my interest in harry bertoia’s monoprints. in researching his work of the 1940’s, i became intrigued by the immediacy and relative simplicity of his working process. here was a printing process that excluded the elaborate set-up, inking, etc. of etching or even the traditional monotype. it was immediate and simple – like running your hand along one of his sounding sculptures, and hearing music. it was a lot like drawing, yet yet the result was something else – an image on paper, resting between printed matter and hand made. it seemed to fit. as with the sound work, i again began with the windows of the gallery – this time using the window symbols as notated on a floor plan of the gallery, as images. i experimented with bertoia’s process of inking a piece of glass (wonderfully relevant to the notion of windows and view); placing a piece of paper face down upon the wet ink; and then, drawing with a sharp instrument (in this case a small metal nail). while one can see the feint rubs on the paper, the image remains invisible until one lifts the scarred blank surface to reveal the inked image transferred to its underside. unlike most printing process, each print must be completely re-drawn. there is no plate, and thus no multiples of the exact same image. the text is the first letter of every word in a section of goethe’s book on color theory. in the book, there are some great discussions of after images and reflections. the reference to both of these things felt relevant in terms of my own process of creating the soundwork ‘view’ from fragments of recordings through a window (both opened and closed). the final recordings are a kind of reflection, and fading after image, of the original view. images distorted through faulty lenses and fogged memories. the idea of including archive materials came from an interest in joseph cornell – my own humble attempt to create something emotionally relevant to his early small pillboxes containing colored beads, etc. – the notion of an archive edition is certainly a gesture for him. for duchamp as well – an archive in a box – an almost cubistic reading of reality broken up into every obtainable fragment of the original. the inclusion of things found within the visual field of the view, again relates not only to the notion of view, but to an interest in art as the result of an activity. an archive of experience. like richard long gathering stones from the side of a river; i travel to another city and collect my own ‘stones’. creating a life for those things that usually remain unnoticed. the archival fragments of audio tape, not only present the original inspiration and source material of the entire work; but expand upon my interest in how re-contextualization can lead one to consider things aesthetically. in this case, as its usefulness as an audio carrier is rendered mute; the tape fragment’s ability to become an aesthetic object grows. these are drawings of sorts. composed of lines. simply arranged by human hands. the project is not only an archive of bits – a tiny box of obsessive inclusion created for resonance within some other obsessive collector. the box is about how we perceive a view. how we determine its coordinates. how we process information – visual information, audio information, written information, evidential information, historical information, etc. it is about attempts at the creation of a whole from fragments – even before the whole is ever perceived. and in this case; until i arrived at the final moment when i photographed the view from the gallery window; it becomes about how one creates a record of a landscape or place, before one has ever even ‘seen’ it. – or further, how one can take the pieces of reality and reconfigure them to create reality anew.