Friday, December 15, 2006

Mezzotint of the NYT Arts page about a drawing of the NYT Arts page by Turkish artist Serkan Ozkaya

The NYT went wading in the waters of recursive art today. Their Arts page is a collaboration between the NYT staff and Turkish artist Serkan Ozkaya, who drew the entire page and whose drawing was then repeated on the page in an endless recursive regression of pictures of pictures within pictures. Copies of the page along with drawings the artist made of it are being displayed at a show called “Altered, Stitched and Gathered” at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City. As NYT reporter Randy Kennedy noted, it made for a strange interview.
It turns out to be a strange thing to interview someone for a newspaper article who you know will then hand-copy some of that article before it is printed, including some of the sentences he is just then uttering. During the interview that afternoon at P.S. 1, Mr. Ozkaya and this reporter talked admiringly about Borges and his “Pierre Menard” short story, giving the reporter the idea of mentioning the story in the article while at the same instant knowing that Mr. Ozkaya would later transcribe the words, reminding him of the discussion during the interview.
The story at the link includes reflections on author Jorge Luis Borges and his short story, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” as well as -- naturally -- critic Walter Benjamin. There's also a video showing Ozkaya creating the drawing and an explanation of how the page was made up. I wanted to keep the chain of recursive transformations going, but didn't have the time or the patience to draw the page. Instead, I shot a photo and converted it to a mezzotint in Photoshop (click to enlarge).

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