Paper and me.
It is incongruous on first glance, like many great romances.
Paper: Archival, botanical, the substrate of so much knowledge, and a surface so variable, from crisp ultra smooth to hand-poured and soft. How to fill out the profile: is it elemental, or common yet still mysterious? A flattering look for every light.
Me: Not so archival. Botanical friendly. Perhaps the opposite of the above.
Paper: A twenty century history, origins in Asia, entwined with the earliest movements of people across Eurasia, from origins in China to Japan to Spain and lower France, long before the Americas were perceived from across the Atlantic Ocean. But wait! Enter the Americas, and ideas of freedom, information, and paper, all intertwined.
Me: Imported from Detroit.
Paper: World-wide practice not centered in Europe, yet with an ancient art historical tradition which easily satisfies even the most strictly pedantic / European formalist art history probing.
Me: (Laughs to himself. Laughs, and laughs.)
Me: So you look at a backlit LED all day, and want to look at something unlit and reflective? Paper. You find yourself living in the midst of the real-life de-materialization of objects? Paper. You have no confidence that you can navigate the vast proliferation of digital document formats over time, and want to standardize on one thing that multiple generations can understand and has centuries of archival understanding? PAPER.
Me: There’s more. The thing about paper is that it is still heavily used as a primary creative medium. I think on paper. I use paper to write down ideas in a notebook. I inkjet on it. I try to make big sheets of it with wet pulp and a robot. Why not? I see artist from John Cage to Nam June Paik to K-HOLE on paper. I see graphic scores, graphic diagrams for layering, random doodles, flippant marginalia, ways to describe hybrid media. I see bande dessinée from Moebius, the pop culture of Japan in the seventeenth century, and the hacker zines Phrack and 2600 as a meta-universe of works that were rendered on paper. In a disparate world, there is still no more common denominator.
Me: You. Even if the art jumps of the page at a later stage, it started on paper. And often comes back to it, in unexpected ways.