Aspen was a multimedia magazine of the arts published by Phylis Johnson from 1965 to 1971. Each issue had a new designer and editor. “Aspen”, Johnson said, “should be a time capsule of a certain period, point of view or person”. New York-based Irish artist and critic Brian O'Doherty edited aspen 5+6, a double issue of the magazine, which was published in 1967.
aspen 5+6 is currently being exhibited as part of the Coast-Lines exhibition at The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The Collections Department at IMMA invited the Orthogonal Methods Group (OMG) to respond to Aspen 5+6. Our response, entitled 1967-2017, considers the legacies of Aspen 5+6 and Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). E.A.T. was established in 1967 – the same year in which Aspen 5+6 was published – in response to the success of the previous year's 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of events at New York City's 69th Regiment Armory.
One facet of OMG's response is an object called Placement as Language. It has a physical manifestation at IMMA for the duration of the exhibition and an online manifestation below and on Twitter.
Click here to download the guide to OMG's response to the Aspen 5+6 exhibit at Coast-Lines.
Placement as Language
Aspen 5+6 contained three essays: Roland Barthes' Death of the Author; George Kubler's Style and the Historical Representation of Time; and Susan Sontag's The Aesthetics of Silence.
Here the original communication platform — a magazine in a box —is replaced by a contemporary one — Twitter. Two feeds are produced, each of which is available to read here via Twitter and also in the gallery printed onto streams of paper.
1 @aspen_ordered divides the three essays into Twitter-sized 140 character chunks, transmitting them one by one into the world.
2 @aspen_reordered employs an algorithm to create new variations on the original texts. These variations are generated by a statistical algorithm called a Markov Chain that generates sentences based on the probability of one word following another in the original text.