• List-Making as Art

    Ding Ren has the perfect gig: Typing as performance art. She just held an exhibition yesterday, but will perform "Observations with a Typewriter" again on August 20th as part of two-month "Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art." Here's a description of Ren's exhibition/performance:
    "Ren will sit at a desk in the gallery space generating lists with a typewriter. The content of the lists will be gathered through an on-the-spot observation of visitors in the gallery space that is akin to an ethnographer performing a field study. These observations may include, but are not limited to: what visitors are holding in their hands, untied shoelaces, bits of overheard conversations, and the color of visitors’ shirts. The observed content will be recorded through typewritten pages that will spill out onto the floor of the gallery for visitors to read. Like the lists already on display, the lists Ren creates in real-time are meant to highlight potential patterns and find meaning in the easily overlooked, near-nothings of everyday life. Past records kept by Ren include an observation of falling objects, red dots, stray pennies on the street, and other people’s reading material on public transportation." ~ The Pinkline Project
    Part one in this series began February 5th, and it looks like the whole collection might be available through September. Fascinating business, actually. Take a look at Smithsonian's online exhibit HERE, or order the companion book, Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists, although I'm sure neither will come close to that live performance. If anyone is handy to DC and can make that trip, be sure to let us know.

    As a side note, that folded printer paper is for the birds. Clearly Ren hasn't yet experienced a fine BAROP.

    In honor of all things Smithsonian and list-y, I'm proposing we all typecast a list or two to celebrate the everydayness of common writing. Besides, it's an excuse to make lists I don't have to follow.

    List on, typosphere!

    3 comments → List-Making as Art

    1. This has me thinking about lists as proto-poetry. Entries become stanzas, etc.

      After reading this post, my Grandson and I went on a July 4 morning motorcycle ride, ended up at the Range Cafe in Bernalillo, sat at the counter (to avoid the Sunday morning crowds) and wrote while we ate. We had both brought our "writer's bags," mine including a comp book and Pelikan M100. I hadn't used it in almost 2 months, had to refill with Parker blue/black Quink right there, in public. (Secretly, I was thrilled.)

      And then I thought about this post, and therefore began a list, right there on the spot. I'll have to finish that list, and post it soon. Thanks for the nudge.


    2. First of all, I believe you are the finest Grandad on the planet. All men should take grandparenting classes from you then throw a yearly parade in your honor. Every time I read your blog I want to shake your hand.

      Second, I'm a big fan of lists-as-poetry. McSweeney's has always been a favorite haunt of mine for that reason, although there are many reasons to love McSweeney's.

      Can't wait to see your list!

    3. Oh, my, performance art after my wife's heart. My wife's favorite scene from "Meet the Robinson's" is when the bowler-hat guy says how much he loves lists, because my wife is a list-keeping freak. I can't complain, because she's the most organized person I know. It makes for keeping things sane around here!

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