Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wojnarowicz Digitized

Gallerist brings the news that "New York University’s Fales Library has completed digitizing the journals of artist David Wojnarowicz and has released them all online."

Wojnarowicz did a lot in his short life. The library gives this description: "David Wojnarowicz was a painter, writer, photographer, filmmaker, performer, and activist. He made super-8 films, created the photographic series 'Arthur Rimbaud in New York,' performed in the band Three Teens Kill 4 - No Motive, and exhibited his work in well known East Village galleries. In 1985, he was included in the Whitney Biennial, the so-called 'Graffiti Show.' He died of AIDS on July 22, 1992. The David Wojnarowicz Papers includes journals, correspondence, manuscripts, photography, film, video and audio works, source and production materials, objects, and ephemera."

The journals span 1971 - 1991 and many are set in New York--in the Village and on the Lower East Side. The artist writes about hot knishes at an "ancient knish palace" on East Houston, and the characters playing bocce by Second Avenue, where winos set up their wash buckets for cars.

The pages are not transcribed into digital text, but photographed, so you see the diarist's handwriting, his typing, the corners of his notebook paper, his scratch-outs and doodles. Bits of ephemera are glued to the pages--take-out Chinese menus, news clippings about artists, ads for music shows.

What sort of future "papers" will we have after the Digital Age? Who keeps real journals anymore? In a world where, increasingly, we no longer have the thing itself (Dinge an Sich), to have the thing at least reproduced as it is--in blue ink and pencil, with sticky glue stains and faded newsprint--is a thrill.

View the diaries online here. If you'd like to read the diaries in print, check out In the Shadow of the American Dream.


editrrix said...

Thanks for turning me onto these, Jeremiah. I read three DW books this year before renting How to Survive a Plague and getting even more intimate with him seems like a dream fulfilled. He was so brave!
P.S. I've always kept a journal and still do (I hope you do to!).

laura said...

J, i think i met him in the EV in 1968. he may have lived there. am i correct?