Open source analogue mark making

I have supplied invited contributors with a sheet of high quality blotting paper supplied by Spicer Hallfield and a beautiful fountain pen supplied by Sheaffer. I have asked that they use the blotter at their work desk. At the point that they wish to be rid of it, either because it is full or tatty, no longer engaging or just in the way, they are asked to return it to me to be published and included in an exhibition.
The papers will hold a history, a personal expression and be visually engaging. The blotting paper will record their accidental, intuitive marks but may also inspire them to create and express something intentional. There is an archaeological and investigative sense to looking at used blotting papers, reversed telephone numbers, psychologically revealing doodles.  Blotting paper is unassuming and is perceived as a ‘soaker up’ of the ‘real’ marks, the inverted imprints of the letters and signatures. It generally receives marks by default, absentmindedly or as a clean up operation, removing marks from the ‘important’ document onto it. The surface quality of blotting paper is however very appealing, it soaks up fluids and separates certain inks and solutions, and is a pleasure to draw on with a variety of instruments. Blotting paper and ink pen are also definitely analogue not digital, they have traditional and professional associations, and as such are personal and evocative. The title of the project ‘Desktop’ relates to the ubiquitous computer desktop that confronts us all. It is my sense that the reading of paintings has been affected by the digital. My conversations with curators and artists illustrated their commitment to technology and interested me partly because of the lack of art history knowledge, the desire for functionality, and the political and mythical ideologies, one of which is ‘open source’. Aesthetic concerns and human nature appeared secondary to the almost fundamental faith in technology expressed. The sending out of blank blotters and inviting people to contribute to ‘Desktop’ mirrors the online digital ‘open source’-programming model.

Contributors: Annie Gardiner, Justin Adams, Judit Bodor, Stella Rollig, Imogen Stidworthy, Edward Bayntun Coward, David Toop, Bisi da Silva, Annie Middleton, Xa Sturgis, Jon Ronson , Tim Smit , Roanne Dods, Rebecca Johnson, Jay Griffiths, Regine De Batty, Mark Jones, Ian Jack, Ana Lopes , Daljit Singh, David Lee






Sponsors: Sheaffer Logo Spicer Hallfield Logo These companies have been imaginative and very supportive I am grateful for their patience and faith.