May 21, 2014
In this video Lisa Anne Auerbach explains how her art works in the 2014 Whitney Biennial are meant to be examples of alternative publishing. By this, I think she means that her knitted items can carry around and display a legible narrative, by way of text and symbol. Using a knitting machine, she makes garments that record her chants & rants ("keep abortion legal"), her past times (food and drink are represented with readable symbols), her collections (an archive of psychics' predictions makes up a large banner). Also, to make the publishing theme unavoidable, she has included in the show a "megazine" -- an oversize publication that documents her research into psychics at work.
In the video she comments on her self-sufficiency in the works' production. Really, it is her use of studio-sized industrial machines that makes her self sufficient. The oversize colour printer is pictured, and the knitting machine cannot be too far away. I find this intriguing: her work refers to DIY culture (yarn bombing and 'zine culture), but through the works' materials and processes, she has forced this aesthetic through industrial processing. Is she claiming a creative territory in the rapidly expanding world of rapid prototyping? What does the "maker" culture think of her work? What is retained from the DIY in her large-scale, quick-copy publishing?
Her work is well placed in this iteration of the Whitney Biennial since so much of the selected work concerns the "complex relationships between linguistic and visual forms," in the words of her curator, Stuart Comer. I thought the exhibition in its enormity displayed the complex relationships between visual forms and just about everything else. Much of the work situated art practices in other worlds, and situated other worlds (publishing, archiving, narrative film...) inside the world of art.