Thus Spake Zuska

Philagrafika 2010 is happening now, all over Philadelphia.

Involving more than 300 artists at more than 80 venues throughout the city, Philagrafika 2010 will be one of the largest art events in the United States and the world’s most important print-related exposition. Prominent museums and cultural institutions across Philadelphia are participating in Philagrafika 2010, offering regional, national and international audiences the opportunity to see contemporary art that references printmaking in dynamic, unexpected ways and to experience the rich cultural life of the city in the process.

If the damn snow ever lets up and/or melts a little, I intend to see as much of it as I can. But even if the snow never lets up, and even if you can’t make it to Philly, you can partake of a bit of Philagrafika online. That would be The Tract House: A Darwin Edition. You can read a bit about it in this Philadelphia Inquirer editorial by artist Lisa Anne Auerbach.

Of course, religious tracts have long been crafted to communicate with sinners, which is doubtless why I found them so appealing. Their basic message has nearly always concerned salvation…

…The French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire said, “Twenty-volume folios will never make a revolution. It is the little pocket pamphlets that are to be feared.” I agree with Voltaire about the potential of pamphlets – that these collectible sound bites can sway public opinion more than prolix treatises. There’s something refreshing, sentimental, and perhaps even slightly mystical about holding a short text that aims to be life-changing.

Once I decided to start my own tract revolution, I invited friends, acquaintances, and strangers to submit ideas, manifestos, illustrations, and rants. I employed a graphic designer, Roman Jaster, to create pages that were beautiful and readable. The 62 tracts that resulted offer a collection of concerns, solutions, stories, tactics, rules, and questions inspired by the life and work of Charles Darwin.

I’d be willing to stand on a street corner and hand out copies of, say, tract #122. At least until some angry reader came back and beat me to death for my troubles. It might still be worth it.

Take a look and tell me if any catch your eye. Which one would you stand on a street corner to hand out?

Comments

  1. #1 Luna_the_cat
    February 17, 2010

    Personally, I really like the one addressed to “Dear Brain.”

  2. #2 veganrampage
    February 26, 2010

    Many are terrific and I would stand on a corner handing them out. I take all handbills as a rule except of course religious rants and porn ads as per “Down and Out In London and Paris.” Thanks for the groovy link.

    The one I certainly would not touch is titled “Narcissism” with a woman, naturally, inevitably depicted on the front gazing at her reflection in the mirror. Everyone knows that Narcissus was a woman after all. The nerve, the never ending all encompassing fucking endless and I do mean endless nerve.