Page 15 - Studio-International-January-1974
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verbal information, so the visual attractiveness   encore' for 'over and over'). I think it is   types of causation, to 'change' and to
          must not allow itself to be construed as the   important to note, however, that the   `accomplish'. The ten works in the book
          aesthetic content of the communication.   translations are done by a professional   divide into five pairs in which 'affect' and
          Pressed on this point by Roald Nasgaard in our   translator working in collaboration with the   `effect' are specified as to area of operation,
          class-discussion, Lawrence Weiner compared   artist.                                `pressure and/or pull', 'heat and/or cold',
          his concern for the material presentation of his   One of Lawrence Weiner's primary concerns   `explosion and/or implosion', 'corrosion and/or
          books to a simple act of courtesty like combing   is that art should operate as a practical everyday   vacuum' and 'noise and/or silence'. The first
          one's hair or brushing one's teeth. It emerged   activity. In the Avalanche  interview, he   work in each pair begins : 'Affected as to
          that the printer who did 10 Works was also the   compares the role of the artist to that of a   pressure and/or pull' (or heat and/or cold as the
          printer for the Department of Public Works of   die-maker, a doctor (if the doctor is no good to   case may be) and continues to specify on
          Paris, and as that seemed to be the sort of   a butcher) and to a physicist; at Guelph, for   subsequent pages five different ways of being
          book he could do best, most efficiently and at   the benefit of a non-metropolitan campus, he   changed: 'curtailed . . .', disengaged . .
          short notice, so the volume is not only   added 'agronomist'. However, 'Artists are   `restrained ...', 'weakened .
                                                                                                                       and 'tinged as
          attractive but also expressive in its somewhat   basically semi-skilled labourers',19  and   to pressure and/or pull', each phrase
          rough unbleached paper and grainy pink cover   Lawrence Weiner readily defers to the expertise   spreading across the top of an open double page
          of the source from which it emerged. 'Standard'   of professionals wherever his work impinges   and repeated across the bottom with the order of
          is relative, like the 'purity' and 'clarity' of   on more definitive areas of competence,   `pressure' and 'pull' reversed (figure 7); the
          minimal art, to the context within which its   printer, flautist or translator. In each case, as   first work runs to twelve sides in all. As 'affect'
          criteria are effective, and so 10 Works looks very   with the receiver, deference is a device as well   refers to change so the mode of change can be
          French compared with the spiral binder and   as a courtesy. If the translation seems to isolate   detailed, but 'effect' means 'bring into being'
          smooth immaculately bleached pages of     the particular meaning of the word intended, the   and being is an absolute which can only be
          Causality: Affected and/or Effected produced   intervention of a second understanding in the   affirmed, so the second work is simply
          by Leo Castelli in the same year, 1971.   person of the translator leaves a modicum of   Effected as to pressure and/or pull  across one
           One appreciates the distinction Lawrence   doubt which, if it does not suspend the meaning   open double page.
          Weiner makes in the Avalanche interview   function of the words, helps to make us aware of   Causality: Affected and/or Effected marks an
          between the expressionist 'unique emotional   language as material in a sense quite distinct   extreme in the total regularity of its verbal
         object produced by a prophet' and the 'show   from the physical materiality of printed ink-  permutations. The splitting of each phrase so
         and tell . . . which art is basically all about'.18     marks and spoken sounds.     that the 'and/or ...' section always occupies
          In the cultural conditions of our time, it has   The Mill Valley holes were unique and   the page on the right gives a visual emphasis to
          rarely proved possible for art's traditional   specific material entities, the works which   this regularity. It is also the most abstract in its
         morphologies to operate on an authentic show   followed standard patterns of material structure.   material concepts. If 'effect' and 'affect' are
         and tell basis and that is clearly one of the   The earliest verbal presentations in Statements   interestingly related words, the possibilities of
         reasons Lawrence Weiner prefers linguistic   were noun phrases which specified the details of   elaboration that each offers is the result of the
         expression, but even a word in the most    material structure within the tolerances of a   nature of change and being as such and not of
          practical use-context always declares more   standard formula. Traces supplies no more than   the vagaries of idiomatic usage. More than any
         than the appropriate dictionary definition for   the mode of actualization, while 10 Works gives   of the other books, this one (whose American
         that context. Words like 'standard' and    only locational qualifications that leave site,   spiral binder suggests a scientific manual)
          `regular' may be an indication of personality   substance, pattern and means of construction   reduces language to a series of statistical norms.
         as much as their opposites, and having counted   to be decided on the occasion of receivership,   Even without the confirmation of a translation,
         these words it might be interesting to go through   should the collector ask for the piece to be built.   we can be quite sure that 'Effected as to cold'
          Traces  and hunt out words like 'affronted',   As the works progress, this possibility seems   must mean 'brought to a definitive condition of
         `obstructed' or 'shattered' which in other   less likely, the third condition becomes   existence as regards to temperature reading in   a
         contexts might have revolutionary connotations   noticeably more equal than the other two.   relatively low range', but that may not at once
         and reflect on the artist's marxist convictions.   In the Avalanche interview, which dates from   call to mind any very graphic material
         In  10 Works,  we see Lawrence Weiner himself   that same year of 10 Works, Causality: Affected   illustration.
         exploiting the residual indeterminacy in any   and/or Effected and Flowed, Willoughby Sharp   A Primer23  of the following year is also
         use of language. 'Down and out', 'around and   asked what use the material construction had   fundamental in its way but according to
         about' and 'over and out' have idiomatic   and Lawrence Weiner replied, 'As illustration'   altogether more humane criteria. If there is a
         readings which in any book-as-literature   — which makes it definitely subordinate to   certain regularity and system to both its contents
         would almost certainly be the correct ones,   linguistic description."               and presentation, it acknowledges in full the
         and even 'in and out' has a colloquial reading   From as early as 1969, dates a piece for the   basic irregularity, specificness and asymmetry
         which may turn a knowing sensual eye on the   Art and Project Bulletin where he had the   of language. A Primer was produced for
         standard Department of Public Works of Paris   phrase 'A translation from one language to   Documenta 5 (whose theme was Inquiry into
         pink of the cover. These disappear as soon as the   another' translated into two other languages. 21   Reality — Today's Image Worlds) and this fact
         sequence is inverted but 'on and off' means the   Whatever the disposition of the receiver, it does   also accounts for the German translation, but
         same as 'off and on' and 'through and through'   not seem possible that the work could be   the two versions of the title, for instance, extend
         is still 'through and through'. In this case, the   fabricated in any material other than that of   its meaning in a way altogether more germane
         translation establishes the shared meaning of the   language itself, nor does it seem, in fact, to   to the context than the double entendre  of
         French and English even though 'a travers et   leave anything for him to decide. In   10 Works. 'Primer' has overtones of 'primeval'
           travers' may have an idiomatic reading in that   Causality: Affected and/or Effected22  where the   as well as 'primary' while 'Elementarbuch'
         language. When it comes to the crunch, he opts   possibility of building in other materials does   suggests 'elemental' as well as 'elementary'
         for the literal material reading and this in the   remain, the designation is on so general and   and it is this sense of the German that
         end serves to point up the fact that this is art   fundamental a level that the reader is left not   provides the key to the contents. The 'elements'
         and not literature. He also opts for the meaning   so much with the evocation of physical art   are defined not according to the notions of
         of individual words and it is only where this is   structures as with an awareness of the   modern chemistry, but according to the
         in dispute that the translation offers an   subtlety of semantic distinctions.       humanistic tradition of Aristotelean physics
         alternative (`dessus et dessus' and 'encore et    The basic distinction is between the two    which survives today as part of our literary

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