The Redactor - Apexart, New York

THE REDACTOR, was launched for 'The Incidental Person' at Apexart 2010 in New York.

Antony Hudek on 'The Incidental Person'.

"The British artist John Latham (1921–2006) coined the expression the "Incidental Person" (IP) to qualify an individual who engages in non-art contexts – industry, politics, education – while avoiding the "for/against", "you vs. me" disposition typically adopted to resolve differences. The IP, Latham argued, "may be able, given access to matters of public interest ranging from the national economic, through the environmental and departments of the administration to the ethical in social orientation, to ‘put forward answers to questions we have not yet asked'."... Diagrammatically, the IP transforms the linear, two-dimensional plane of conflict into a three-dimensional, triangular network that fosters the flow of ideas and the interconnections between individual perspectives. Though the IP was Latham's own term, it was to find practical application within Artist Placement Group, or APG, the "artist consultancy and research organisation" conceived in 1965 by Barbara Steveni and established a year later with Barry Flanagan, Latham and Jeffrey Shaw. (APG's fluctuating membership would include over the years, among others, Ian Breakwell, Stuart Brisley, Garth Evans, David Hall, Anna Ridley, Rolf and Ros Sachse, as well as industrial and political representatives.) Steveni's role in negotiating invitations (not commissions) from private corporations, non-profit organizations and governmental bodies was instrumental to APG's success in placing artists in situations where they would be paid and, more importantly, would enjoy – at least during the placements' initial feasibility period – complete freedom from any contractual obligation to produce a material outcome (be it an object or a report)."

Antony had worked with members of Office of Experiments whilst both were based at John Lathams Flat Time House between 2007-9. The commission followed the event The WAGER which was staged there. The REDACTOR was a manifestation of the commitment of OOE to the legacy of Latham, and the 'incidental person', whilst acknowledging the issues raised in the operations of APG and O+I (Members of OOE have had positions on the board of O+I - formerly APG).

THE REDACTOR is a stamped limited edition publication that features an exclusive interview with leading UK secrecy activist, campaigner and journalistic source, Mike Kenner (whose archive is featured in Dark Places) as well as incidental editorials, news and features from our correspondents in the field - Rich Pell (Nature Correspondent - Center for Post Natural History, US), Steve Rowell (US, Real Estate) and visual features by John Latham and Jenny Holzer.

The Launch issue is a stamped limited edition of 500 only, with free insert, and is produced by Office of Experiments. Design - with Design by Sara de Bondt. If you would like to obtain an electronic copy (unlimited as a PDF from late Jan 2010) please contact us.

Editorial from The Redactor.

The art of the redactor embodies the will to create and destroy - it is incidental to life itself.

Redaction is foremost an incidental practice conducted by institutional power, a will to resist the judgement of those to whom it is accountable. Its aim is to control the means through which the intentions of institutional power are uncovered. Openness and freedom of information have thrown light into dark places, and have unwittingly created a deeper pattern of shadows, a new and highly ordered aesthetic based on pre-existing informational and communication structures.

The formal language of the Redactor generates blind spots in the machinery of our democratic will, both in language and its printed forms, systemically and across networks. But in order to anticipate and understand the Redactor’s motivation, we must acknowledge that to explore redaction is more than an effort to undermine open and accountable governance. The Redactor's remit instead extends from the intention to conceal in the name of a common good (to prevent the enemy from gaining access to the information) to the desire to negate language itself, a method of exploring a fantasy of the void.

Redaction further recognises its own temporal potential, for to redact is not only to remove information from circulation, possibly indefinitely, but also and more crucially to introduce time into language: the redacted information lingers unseen, hampering language’s assumed transparency and spurring the imagination to circumnavigate the occluded areas in order to reconstitute, bit by bit, the voided meaning.

Contrary to its intended institutional aims, redaction attracts attention to the truths that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, delaying judgment and stoking fear and righteous outrage that truth is being withheld. Under the effect of redaction’s cover-up, truth finds itself potentially multiplied, exceeding the apertures which open society considers to be the conduits for truth.

Here at the Redactor, however, we understand the incidental impulse that puts time and events in play, and are drawn to the questions that negate the usability of language. We appreciate that the subversion of meaning into form and back has become a malleable process bound not by physical materiality, but by communication and the social context, and through the flux and dynamics of events, which in turn become the substance and context of the Redactor’s practice.


For more information see The Incidental Person.