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Text Art? Forget About It!

By Rhizome

Jason Lewis works in a variety of media to craft projects that contemplate a common mode of expression: language. In particular, his projects focus on text and the ways on which our delivery and experience of written and spoken words are influenced by engagement with the body and spatiality. His exhibition, 'Everything You Thought We'd Forgotten' (open through February 17 at Montreal's Oboro Centre for new media) presents seven projects, developed over the last seven years, 'that explore the border lands between conflicting cultural identities, memory and history, and the visual and the textual.' The artist's work is tempered by a very formal interest in the classical discipline of kinetics, as it is imagined by interactive media. 'Nine' (2001) is a personal narrative in which digital storytelling techniques meet the conventions of literary genre to employ poetry and photos of the artist in excavating 'lives that could have been--but were not--lived.' The more playful 'TextOrgan' (2000) allows users to spraypaint Lewis's poetry on a wall, while 'Cityspeak' (2006) allows users of handheld communication devices to answer a series of otherwise rhetorical questions about identity and public space. These and Lewis's other projects are extensively documented on the website for Obx Labs, the research studio directed by the artist with the mandate of pushing 'at the boundaries of computationally-based expression.' - James Petrie

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