One of the things I appreciate about meme/challenge/prompt blogs is that they inspire me to write more. Well, and do more art. One of the truths I discovered moving from graduate school to being an academic is that I love assignments, but I am very bad about making them for myself. So thanks again to Satu Kaikkonen and her new blog Time for a Vispo for inspiring me with an invitation to create work.
This set of images continues my fascination with bar codes, but goes in a slightly different aesthetic direction. I locate this "difference" in a tension I struggle to articulate. At its broadest, I think it is a tension between the more abstract (yesterday's offering) and the more representational (today's). Similarly but not isomorphic, it might be a tension between image (aesthetic composition) and words (linguistic meaning). And maybe there is a little tension between the accessible and the indeterminate. I am not really interested in choosing sides; I am obviously not even sure what the sides are. My point, though, is that I find both (all?) sides productive places to work. In truth, visual poetry (like its predecessor, concrete poetry, and its contemporary variants like poemics) is open to multiple approaches, multiple styles, multiple philosophies. As it should be.
So, with no apologies, I offer today's take on the bar code. I am influenced, obviously, by a pun (linguistic and visual) on both "bar" and "code." Satu's prompt notes the ubiquity of the bar code in contemporary life. But aren't bars and codes, themselves, also sort of ubiquitous? Part of the Vispo heritage is the "intermedia" of the Fluxus movement, one that valued the found poetry of urban signage and the DIY aesthetic of the Xerox zine. Today, that is the influence I honor (or, well, maybe just borrow).