To Figure Out What Is Happening

Interview with Johanna Drucker published in JAB21 (Journal of Artists’ Books), Fall 2006, and excerpted in Druckworks: Forty Years of Books and Projects by Johanna Drucker,” published by Epicenter Press, Chicago, 2012

From the interview:

TS: You’ve called your book Damaged Spring “a work of darkly figured reportage, synthetic, contemporary, [it] interweaves personal anecdotes, tales of friends and family life, and current events,” and so I wonder, would you be willing to spell out what reportage means for you? Are there other, similar examples of reportage that have inspired you?

JD: Reportage is my term for that figuring out—for trying to understand how one is produced as a subject of language and the cultural symbolic while also struggling with the individual particularity of historical/situated/individual identity. I've never been interested in autobiography—too fictional, too self-indulgent, too normative—but I find the problem of understanding one's self as a historically specific subject very compelling. …Identity is always relational, systemic, and particular. Individual subjectivity is both structural (position) and particular (inflection). I wanted the images and text to show that in Damaged Spring—to be about the attempt to describe one's position from within unfolding events. So it was written as the spring unfolded, not after the fact, though of course I edited and shaped it.”

For more information or to order a copy contact the Journal of Artists’ Books or the Epicenter Imprint of Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts

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