Logos – Words and the Contact Zone

Logos—Words And The Contact Zone is an exhibition exploring contemporary uses of text in art that seeks to understand, transcend, address, or provide a meeting space bridging physical, ideological, or cultural distance between different places and individuals.

The term “contact zone” is used in reference to Mary Louise Pratt’s text “Arts of the Contact Zone”. Pratt coined the term as: “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today.” While Pratt’s text discusses colonialism in a manner that the artworks in the exhibition do not touch on, the concept of a space for “autoethnography, transculturation, critique, collaboration, bilingualism, mediation, parody, denunciation, imaginary dialogue, vernacular expression”, is something very present in the work. Pratt also cautions that “miscomprehension, incomprehension, dead letters, unread masterpieces, absolute heterogeneity of meaning—these are some of the perils of writing in the contact zone”, and admittedly, also perils of making art that uses writing within the same space.

The pieces in this show include letters mailed to unknown individuals addressed to random addresses found using Google maps, comic-esque drawings created through the experience of a new city while studying abroad, postcards created by the students in a letterpress class and mailed, a book that describes visually the process of learning a new language in preparation for traveling to a new city, an invented alphabet and a painting with a phrase written in the invented language written on it, and a record of all the individuals on Facebook that identify themselves by the same name.

OPENING: April 3rd, 6:30pm

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