Untitled Text is an unpublished work from renowned artist and poet Etel Adnan. Incorporating grammatical signs and words, Untitled Text is a poem that reflects the tumult of the world today through the use of grandiose, gargantuan, all-consuming interplanetary and nature imagery, leaving a surreal, almost psychedelic impression on the reader. First saved in the word processing software Textedit, Untitled Text retains the draft quality of the piece as Etel intended.
Echoes of the “shape-centric” nature of concrete poetry abound in Adnan's Untitled Text, as well as Jenny Holzer's declarative poster series Truisms & Inflammatory Essays and Louise Bourgeois' text-filled fabric pieces, lithographs, screen prints, and reliefs. Riven with dark humor, Adnan’s piece is a prescient portrait of our fragile world.
This work is part of the series Files, available exclusively on Badlands’s website. Artists in the 21st century have a multitude of technological options for creating artworks. Using a computer, artists now print paintings, extrude sculptures from plastic compounds, even automate entire performances from a laptop. But whatever the form the work finally takes, it was first and foremost a file—a computer file that the artist created in order to control and direct the devices at her disposal. Artists using technology are all, in this regard, filemakers.
A file is the work before the work. It is the “score” that directs the printer, or projector, or speaker to create the form of expression we experience. And as such, artist files hold immense value and potential in contemporary culture. They are works in their own right that illuminate the sensibilities and ideas of some of the most compelling artists working today.
Each file is created by the artist and is saved as a document derived from the originating software that the artist used to create the file and subsequent work. As an essential element of the final work, the file is unique in how it manifests the “spirit” of what the work ends up becoming.
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