The Annotated Reader: A publication-as-exhibition and exhibition-as-publication conceived by Ryan Gander and Jonathan P. Watts
Thu 20 Jun – Sun 14 Jul 2019
Imagine you’ve missed the last train. Is there one piece of writing that you would want with you for company in the small hours? Perhaps this text transformed your thinking. It might be a mantra continually returned to. Perhaps it is a text you felt should be read by younger generations or that you wish you’d encountered as a student.
Artist Ryan Gander and critic and writer Jonathan P. Watts put this question to a range of creatives, artists, academics, writers, musicians, and designers, inviting them to suggest such a piece of writing and then annotate it. The annotations add a further layer to the texts, demonstrating and suggesting ways of reading, displaying thought, complicating the relationship between image and text, reading and looking.
Collected together to form a library for our times, The Annotated Reader includes texts beloved of almost 300 contributors including Marina Abramović, Art & Language, Paul Clinton, Tom Godfrey, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sarah Lucas, Alistair Hudson and Hans Ulrich Obrist.
First launched during Frieze London 2018, the project has now embarked on an international tour, with the aim of disseminating knowledge freely and equally. A snapshot of the preoccupations and perspectives of hundreds of inspiring and creative people throughout the world, it is also an educational resource that can be used as a teaching aid for future generations. The Annotated Reader is a curriculum, an index and an ethics.
In the exhibition, the texts were printed out and exhibited as stacks hanging from the walls. Visitors were invited to tear off printed texts to compile their own Annotated Reader. In addition, a vending machine sold USBs containing the entire ream of submissions at the cost price of £5.