Make Ready #3: Lost for Words (Pink Floyd)
25 x 18 inches
5 Unique Posters donated to MATERIAL
THE AURA OF WASTE
“The medium is the message.”
—Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
“The phatic image—a targeted image that forces you to look and holds your attention—is not only a pure product of photographic and cinematic focusing. More importantly it is the result of an ever-brighter illumination, of the intensity of its definition, singling out only specific areas, the context mostly disappearing into a blur.” —Paul Virilio, The Vision Machine
The term make-ready refers in commercial printing to a process that occurs just prior to a project actually being on press. Paper feeders are adjusted, ink fountains are filled, printing plates are set up, image registration is established, and ink densities are calibrated: it is a sequence of orchestrated actions intended to ensure precision in the final product. Typically stacks of paper are designated just for this process; press operators perform make ready, layer over layer, for several unrelated projects before these stacks are finally discarded as waste. Anyone who has spent time in proximity to the insistent hum of commercial printing machinery, is aware that the stack of paper in the room that seduces, like moth to a flame, is the stack of waste. These sheets reflect an inky collision between form and content, capturing what results when random accumulations of disparate texts and images pile on top of each other and form no meaning, or an altogether different kind of meaning. They are the exquisite detritus of press operators and printing machines performing their respective functions. First and always a discard, an artifact of commercial production, make ready collapses not only many layers of information into an abstraction, but authorship as well.
Make Ready: The Lost Posters is an ongoing series begun in 2004. The project involves Silton's commissioning printers internationally to replicate the process, using jobs currently being printed in-house. The final result is an edition of 500 identical posters, each edition a compilation of several layers. Although Silton views the prints at various stages of development, and makes final decisions about the number of layers, everything else is out of her control. Except for one final text layer that is printed at the very end of the process, over all other layers. The texts are all song titles that contain the word “lost.”
Susan Silton resides in Los Angeles. Her work is supported through diverse media, including photographic-based processes, video, installation, performative-based works, and offset lithography, and internet-based technologies, and has been exhibited nationally and internationally at Feigen Contemporary, New York; SolwayJones, Los Angeles; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; bank gallery, Los Angeles; Natural History Museum, Los Angeles; Angles Gallery, Santa Monica; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Vassar College, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; ICA/Philadelphia; Hammer Museum, among others. Most recently she was one of twenty-one artists commissioned by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles to conceive a billboard for the large-scale exhibition, How Many Billboards? Her work has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, X-TRA, ArtLies, Flash Art, Cabinet, and in noted art historian’s book, Self/Image. Silton’s latest multilayered project about whistling recently launched at LAXART in the debut performance of the women’s whistling group she has formed, the CROWING HENS.