Words to live by


I like pretty things. And for personal reasons, I'm pretty interested in examining the nature of fear right now.

So as I was catching up with my perpetual six-month backlog of New Yorker magazines last night, this illustration caught my eye. The caption, which I did not scan, reads:

"Five airplanes will fly the artist Jenny Holzer's aphorisms over the Hudson on Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1, from 1 to 3:30 P.M."

This morning, I looked up Jenny Holzer, whose work is pretty intriguing (although I think a site devoted to art ought to look rather more...um...artful). She's been shown everywhere, but a huge part of her work is about getting art to people who wouldn't ordinary be exposed to it via site-specific installations and unusual media.

There's a good Wired interview with Holzer in which she discusses a piece of virtual reality art she created for the Guggenheim SoHo. In talking about creating art in a new medium, she makes an interesting point about effective communication in general:

WIRED: Do you worry that the technology will become the master in place of the artist?

HOLZER: Not really. I think the problem is more whether you can start from zero and make sure everything you put in is right. I've never been particularly paranoid about a medium being overwhelming. I think the real problem is whether you're talking about the most important thing and whether you're doing it in a way that's accessible to almost everyone. And whether you can do it in a way that's not merely didactic - that what you're conveying is felt as well as understood. Same problem in any medium.

Yeah. What she said.


Bonus extra links: a cool, interactive Holzer-aphorism project on the web. Explanation here. Straight link to the project "Please Change Beliefs" here. Check it out.

Illustration by Marcellus Hall of aphorisms by Jenny Holzer, via The New Yorker