Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tony Cokes at Greene Naftali


"Printing, having found in the book a refuge in which to lead an autonomous existence, is pitilessly dragged out onto the street… If centuries ago it began gradually to lie down, passing from the upright inscription to the manuscript resting on sloping desks before finally taking to bed in the printed book, it now begins just as slowly to rise again from the ground. The newspaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizontal plane, while film and advertisement force the printed word entirely into the dictatorial perpendicular."
Walter Benjamin, “One-way Street”

The dictatorial perpendicular enforced the decrees of the powered and wealthy, but now text is aerosolized, language appears from all corners buzzing up from your hand to see newscasts across the continuum. An economy of speech value is recalculated on the ability to harvest attention. And how many novels, even great ones, have come out in the last couple year that read like sporadic bulletins.  We make sense of the world in lozenge form. Compartmentalized by the feed, everything must self-contain. Cokes' amassments of others' don't make sense but sure read like poems of how text feels today, a glitchy attention deficit, while the videos chop longer texts into segmented, and affectually applied by music, chunks. They are difficult to read but they command attention.