Postpost publication plan #1: Muxi Gao, Recent Studies
“This book is an image dictionary compiled by collecting debris of news, reproducing moments that almost seem like fiction, and rewriting hearsay as alphabets for distributing these new vocabularies. I repeatedly attempted to understand these recent, incredulous years, which seemed to me have revealed fragility to be our society’s fundamental base, an infrastructure of sort, connecting us to each other. My question: what happens if we construct something on, or out of, fragility? Something that will hold, yet may collapse at anytime, or never?”
Muxi is an artist and designer who lives and works in Beijing since Covid-19. We met under the walnut tree in postpost, 3standardstoppage’s space in Beijing, where she shared “Recent Studies” with us. It is an ongoing project that lasted for 3–4 years beginning from her study in the US and then moving back to China. She observed, collected and reacted to some pieces of the world since Donald Trump’s election to the pandemic. Paul Elliman generously contributed four gorgeous pieces written during the lockdown in London. Recent Studies was first written in English then translated into Chinese. It was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of MFA at Yale University School of Art. The second edition was published in Beijing in 2020, with a lot of help from family and friends.
Current Studies is comprised of three main parts:
Part 1 Current Vocabulary. Muxi selected 26 found images as her alphabets from A—Z, and hand drew them as a way of studying this language. Some of the images may seem familiar, as they have been sourced from a piece of news or meme, or a scene from a popular Japanese anime.
While some others are from her personal memories.
In Part 2 Writing Practice, Muxi practices using the vocabulary she learned in Part 1. Each entry comprises of floating thumbnails of the original found images, with a corresponding text. The title of the text, composed of the letters (or matching reference images), reveals the complex yet strong intertextuality between texts and images.
Part 3 Souvenir is a new set of letters (to go), reinterpreted and further developed from Part 1. Each Souvenir is a response to its previous version. The new A—Z, presented as postcards, can be re-inserted to the real world through their circulation and consumption, while the empty spaces of the pages created by the removal of postcards anticipate forthcoming letters to continually replace and update the vocabulary set.
In between each section are four beautiful written pieces contributed by Paul Elliman. The first, How to getin, slipped inside the cover as a secret opening, is a note Paul discovered from his friend who has been an Airbnb host of his central London apartment. During Covid, he had to write a complicated note for his guests to find the hidden apartment key by themselves without having to meet in person. The second piece, Contact Improvisation, depicts how passengers mysteriously communicate in a subway station in New York. Vai e Volte (to go and to come back) tells about how language illustrates us. Lastly, in Guess where I am, Paul shares an encounter with an old friend who passed away some time ago.
在每个章节之间，流畅地衔接了一共四篇来自Paul Elliman的美丽文章。藏在封面里的第一篇“如何进来”是全书的秘密开场，这是Paul从一位朋友那儿发现的便条，他是伦敦市中心一间公寓的Airbnb房东，在疫情期间为了避免与客人见面，他写了这张复杂的字条，好让客人自行找到被他藏起来的公寓钥匙。第二篇“即兴通讯”描绘了在一个纽约地铁站中，乘客们用神秘方法交流的情形。Vai e Volte（往返）讲述了语言是如何刻画我们。最后，在“猜我在哪”中，Paul分享了与一位已过世朋友的重逢。
English / 中文 172 pages 330 x 250 mm 两种艺术纸张 特种纸UV和模切工艺 正背四色印刷 2020年 ISBN 978-0-999849-6-6