Writing Writing

An exhibition of graphic designers who write, research, teach, and practice criticism.

Writing Writing is an exhibition of new work by five graphic designers who operate in multiple and simultaneous modes of creative production, notably as researchers, educators, writers, and critics. The exhibition is based on the idea of parataxis.

Parataxis in writing is composed of short sentences that lie together, forming a greater narrative because they are placed in juxtaposition, not in an umbrella-like format. Visually, parataxis is akin to taking two disparate images and placing them together in order to create new meaning. Parataxis is the jump between the meaning of one object and the meaning of another object, their collocation creating implied meaning. Each of the participants explores various approaches to the connotative and denotative through writing (e.g: literature) and writing (e.g.: composition). Each conjures lyrical/poetic form in both the text and how it is concocted — creating something that is ‘haunted’ (in the sense of Derrida’s ‘hauntology’).

Writing Writing explores the convergence of wooded trails, paved pathways, and traveling crisscrossing clover-leafed freeway overpasses in works by Ian Lynam, Matthew Monk, Randy Nakamura, Chris Ro, and Gail Swanlund. Writing Writing was held from August 29, 2020 through April 18, 2021 at West Museumkwartier in The Hague. It was the seventh installment in the Alphabetum series of exhibitions at West.

Writing Writing embodies five manifestations of expanded approaches to ‘writing’, demonstrating and explaining the way each contributor says ‘yes, and…?’.

The contributors put together a 108-page softcover catalog for the exhibition with one-color covers and one-color interior printing.

Topics within include dark media, sewing, image-making, speculative time travel, and contemporary political criticism.

You can obtain a printed version of the catalog from Wordshape here: https://wordshape.com/writing-writing/

Ian Lynam both edited and designed the catalog.

The catalog went through two print runs of 1,000 each.

The exhibition itself featured a series of offset prints by Chris Ro, prints and patterns by Gail Swanlund, monumental lettering assemblages by Matthew Monk, recombinant print sets by Randy Nakamura, and a flag design by Ian Lynam.

One of the essential parts of the Alphabetum series is that contributing exhibitors curate a collection of books that is exhibited alongside the visual work and becomes part of the West library.

Writing Writing featured these books, as well as others:

Aime Cesare – Solar Throat Slashed
Leonard Trilling – Authenticity & Sincerity
Andrew Potter – The Authenticity Hoax
Svetlana Boym – Nostalgia & It’s Discontents
Oscar Wilde – Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young
Edward Bernays – Public Relations
Gennifer Weisenfeld – Imaging Disaster
Junichiro Tanizaki – Naomi
Wajiro Kon – Modernologio
Kiyoshi Inoue – Women’s History Of Japan
Beatles – White album
Authenticity? – Cueto & Hendrikx
A few back issues of Maximumrocknroll magazine
Michel Foucault – Discipline & Punish
Giorgio Agamben – What is an apparatus?
Simone Brown – Dark Matters
Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
Martha Rosler – Culture Class
Sharon Zukin – The Culture of Cities
Hito Steyerl – The Wretched Of the Screen
Octavio Paz – Eagle or Sun
Robert Walser – Microscripts
Kathryn Yusoff – A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None
Alexander R. Galloway, Eugene Thacker, McKenzie Wark – Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation
Eugene Thacker – In the Dust of This Planet (Horror of Philosophy)
Pamela M. Lee – The Glen Park Library: A Fairy Tale of Disruption
Geoff Kaplan – Power to the People; The Graphic Design of the Radical Press and the Rise of the Counter-Culture
Ahmed Saadawi – Frankenstein in Baghdad
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
Miriam Toews – Women Talking
Douglas Kearney – Mess and Mess and
Christopher Alexander – Pattern Language
Christopher Alexander – Nature of Order Volume One The Phenomenon of Life
Christopher Alexander – Notes on the Synthesis of Form

Ian also contributed an alternate colored version of his booklet The Letter I in an edition of 1,000 printed in The Netherlands.