Image: Tyler Coburn. Organic Situation, Koenig & Clinton, New York, 2015. Installation view.

Review of container artist residency route #2 Tyler Coburn

I woke up ready to be critical of route #2 artist Tyler Coburn, but instead I find myself obsessed with his line of logic. We have many shared interests, namely logistics, automation, digital labor and extrastatecraft. Many are effectively introduced in his 2012 E-Flux article “Charter Citizen.”

In short, I like the way that he talks about his work in the exhibition “The Promise of Total Automation,” documented in this interview.

I love research-based artworks that reveal compelling, little known histories. In his case, his artwork Sabots highlights the history of a French clog called the sabot and lights out manufacturing. The accompanying piece Waste Management (http://www.tylercoburn.com/waste.html) was also made in a factory, this one in Taiwan, to in part, rejuvenate a little known 18th century literary genre called it-fictions. In Mark Blackwell’s book The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-Century England, the author explains how this genre “languished in critical purgatory.” Perhaps this is why I instinctively quieted my interest  Tom Robbin’s 1995 book Skinny Legs and All with its inanimate objects (Can o’ Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell) and happily found those ideas revisited when Jane Bennet’s 2010 Vibrant Matter became popular among art historian friends.

A review of the power of inanimate objects certainly makes senses in any project about global trade. His thoughts on writing for robots also connects to my writing this blog, almost wholly for my own use, knowing that it will likely only be read by a search engine.

Additional reading / watching:

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