Field, Blockade, Crash

With Johanna Drucker & Matt Sheridan Smith 7:30 p.m. MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House
835 North Kings Road, Los Angeles

Please join scholar Johanna Drucker and artist Matt Sheridan Smith for a conversation about the evidence of Katie Holmes’s secret Whole Foods entrance, Venn diagrams of third-rate hip hop, Athanasius Kircher’s 1669 Ars Magna Sciendi, and other forms of visual knowledge production.

For the past several years, Drucker and Smith have each investigated how affective dimensions can be visually diagrammed. How do some images produce knowledge while others only display information? How do the contingent texts and transient documents of digital environments change the way we read and interpret diagrams today? Drucker draws upon diverse fields of study—including semiotics, psychology, cartography, and art history—to develop a new, critical language for describing our increasingly screen-based and networked lives. Stemming from a longstanding interest in overlaps between narrative and abstraction, Smith’s recent solo exhibitions and forthcoming digital project for Triple Canopy deploy true lies and real history, charting a complex narrative around four mysterious characters: a Royal Air Force pilot, a Tour de France cyclist, a Grand Dame of Champagne, and a Hollywood actress.

With Triple Canopy, Drucker and Smith recently organized a twelve-person working group to conduct a series of diagramming experiments. The goal was to better understand how intuitive diagrammatic languages may or may not evolve to graph new experiences, and inform other diagrammatic conventions or systems. Drucker and Smith will discuss the results of this session, as well as their related independent work, with Triple Canopy editors Molly Kleiman and Peter J. Russo.

  • Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She has published and lectured widely on topics related to digital humanities and aesthetics, visual forms of knowledge production, book history and future designs, graphic design, historiography of the alphabet and writing, and contemporary art. Her most recent titles include Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press, 2014), the jointly authored Digital_Humanities (MIT, 2012) with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp (just released in Italian translation, 2014); Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide (Pearson Prentice Hall) with Emily McVarish, and SpecLab: Projects in Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (Chicago, 2009). In addition to her academic work, Drucker has produced artist’s books and projects that were the subject of a retrospective, Druckworks: 40 years of books and projects.
  • Matt Sheridan Smith is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He is represented by Hannah Hoffman Gallery, galeria kaufmann repetto, and mother’s tankstation.